Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman said that it is “entirely unacceptable” for hotel in Inch, Co Clare which is housing asylum seekers to be blockaded.
This comes as people in Co Clare continue to block the access road to the Magowna House Hotel outside Ennis, which houses 29 asylum seekers, reports RTE.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said earlier that while people’s concerns about refugee housing should be heard, the government will fight back against those with racist and extremist views.
“We should not dismiss concerns that people have about their locality, people do want to know what is happening and they want certain assurances and we have a responsibility to do that, but that does not mean that anyone can say that certain types of people cannot live in their area,” Mr Varadkar said, reports RTE.
Clare politicians met with Minister O’Gorman this morning to express local concerns about the hotel’s unsuitability to accommodate asylum seekers.
Local people want the hotel, which is about 5 miles from Ennis, to be closed to asylum seekers and they say it is the only solution that satisfies them.
Secretary O’Gorman gave no guarantees and said it was not an option to close the facility to men seeking international protection.
The attitude of the locals seems to be getting stronger. They say that given the conflicting information they have received about the number housed there, there are many doubts and this does not help at all to find a solution.
The 29 people were brought to Ennis by bus this morning to access the services of the local Department of Social Protection, reports RTE.
On Monday evening, 33 asylum seekers were brought to the hotel by bus.
When they arrived, locals blocked both sides of the hotel street with tractors and bales of silage.
Speaking tonight on RTÉ’s Drivetime, Clergy Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway said he believed the blockade should be “stepped down”.
Senator Conway said the accommodation was not “ideal” or “suitable” but “it’s certainly better than people having to live in tents or worse still, people living in the streets – that is what’s happening in Dublin city and in other parts of Co Clare”, reports RTE.
Ennis Councilwoman and Ennis Deputy Mayor Mary Howard said she believes it will be very difficult to find a solution to end the protests, adding that the lack of communication in advance about the move is appalling.
Separately, Attorney General Simon Harris and Mr O’Gorman will meet Garda Commissioner Drew Harris tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishop of Kildare Fintan Monahan visited the hotel tonight where he spoke to local people and the men who live in the hotel, reports RTE.
He said that he had been informed that some of the inhabitants were Christians and that he wanted to visit them and talk to them and invite them to worship at the local church in Ennis.
Bishop Monahan also spoke to local people outside the hotel, who he said had legitimate and serious concerns.
He hopes that they will be listened to and that their concerns will be taken into account so that a solution can be found.
The bishop offered all possible support so that a sensible solution could be found, reports RTE.
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