Emergency Accommodation

  • The Reception and Integration Agency has confirmed to Achill based councillor Paul McNamara that there will be 38 males availing of the Emergency Accommodation in the Achill Head Hotel in Keel.

    They will arrive in two groups from next Wednesday.

    The ages of the men range between early 20’s to 50’s.

    The Agency has not confirmed the nationality of the men, as yet.

    In a statement Cllr McNamara says the men will be transported by a contracted private bus driver and vehicle over the duration of their stay.

    The Achill Head Hotel will provide Emergency Accommodation for three months.

    The Reception and Integration Agency also stated they work closely with the HSE.

    It is then the job of the HSE to inform local GPs in the area.

    However, the Cllr claims, this is not the case as he has confirmed with local GPs that they were not made aware of an influx of 38 people to the area.

    In a statement Cllr. McNamara says Achill as a community has no issues in welcoming people of all nationalities to the community.

    However, it was voiced at the public meeting on Wednesday night the proposal at present which is to provide Emergency Accommodation on the site of The Achill Head Hotel is not suitable. He says he appreciates at present Direct Provision Centres and Emergency Accommodation is the only solution available. This is an ongoing issue both past and present governments have failed to address over the past twenty years.

    At the public meeting it was agreed the community would stand united on the fact that they are happy to integrate asylum seekers looking to start a new life into our villages and local schools in a different manner. The proposal to provide emergency accommodation on the site of The Achill Head Hotel was brought upon a small village with little to no consideration for the people of the village or to the people availing of the Emergency Accommodation.

    The Councillor has emailed the Minister for Justice and Equality David Staunton, asking for a meeting with Officials from the Department but has failed to respond. The Achill based councillor says he has also emailed The Reception and Integration Agency asking for a meeting, they also have yet to respond.

    This morning a representative from the Agency confirmed there will be in total 38 males availing of the Emergency Accommodation. 20 will arrive on Wednesday, the remaining 18 will arrive the following week. Their ages range between early 20s to 50s. The Agency cannot confirm the nationality of these men at present.

    In regards to how they will be transported over the duration of their stay, there is a private contract in place with a bus driver. At present The Achill Head Hotel will provide Emergency Accommodation for three months. The Reception and Integration Agency also stated they work closely with the HSE. It is then the job of the HSE to inform local GPs in the area. However Councillor McNamara says this is not the case as he has confirmed with local GPs that they were not made aware of an influx of 38 people to the area.

    The Councillor says if he does not receive a follow up email he along with representatives from the community are prepared to travel to Dublin to meet with Officials from The Department of Justice or representatives from The Reception Integration Agency.

  • The Department of Justice has confirmed to Midwest News that a private meeting will take place this evening between Department officials and local community representatives in Achill, in relation to plans for an emergency accommodation centre at the Achill Head Hotel in Keel.

    Meanwhile a 24 hour vigil is being maintained by local residents outside the hotels since yesterday, as they say they are peacefully protesting at the Direct Provision system being operated by the government nationally, and in particular the decision to accommodate asylum seekers on Achill Island without the necessary resources and facilities in place.

    A public meeting on the island last week heard local concerns over the lack of services in the area to accommodate a large number of asylum seekers and refugees, while concerns were also expressed about the suitability of the premises.

    In a statement to Midwest News this morning, the Department has again confirmed that it was offered, and has booked, available beds in the Achill Head Hotel during the low season, as emergency accommodation for those seeking international protection.

    The statement says this is not a Direct Provision centre, and there is no longterm contract in place.

    The contract is for 38 people to take up temporary accommodation at the hotel.

    It was expected that the first group of 20 male asylum seekers would arrive today, with a further group next week, but Midwest News understands that plan has now been delayed.

    Green Party candidate for the next general election in Mayo, Achill-based Saoirse McHugh has posted an update on Facebook, outlining that 13 female asylum seekers will be coming to Achill on Friday.Ms McHugh says the information has come from the hotel manager.

    It's hoped this evening's meeting between Department officials and members of the local community in Achill will clarify the plans.

     

  • A Galway charity is appealing to private property owners to help with the homeless problem.

    A one-day census by COPE Galway has found 174 households from across the city and county living in emergency accommodation - which is a 20 percent increase on last year.

    COPE's Martin O'Connor says they're looking for housing units that could be used to provide extra accommodation.

  • Over 200 people attended a packed public meeting in Achill last night over proposed plans that there is to be an emergency accommodation centre opened in the Achill Head Hotel.

    Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Paul McNamara told Midwest News this morning that no final decision will be made on the matter until the Department of Justice liaise with the community.

    He says the main concerns of locals is that there was a lack of consultation and clarification along with the unsuitability of the proposed premises.

    Cllr. McNamara has invited the Department of Justice down to speak to the community.

    Midwest News contacted the Department and they came back with the following response.

    In early September 2018, demand for accommodation exceeded the number of bed spaces available in our accommodation centres. As demand continued to rise, the Department sought expressions of interest for emergency temporary accommodation which was advertised in the national media in January of this year. 

     It should be noted that there are currently 36 emergency accommodation locations all over the country.  These emergency centres are temporary and short term in nature pending the opening of new centres. Emergency accommodation is provided through hotels and guest houses. To protect the identification and privacy of applicants and other guests, we do not publicly identify these premises. 

     All State service providers are notified once an applicant is given accommodation - as applicants are provided with a suite of State services while their claim is being legally examined.

     Midwest News has asked for the direct question to be answered and asked the dept for further clarification this morning.

  • Plans to accommodate up to 70 asylum seekers temporarily at a hotel in Achill have been paused, following a public meeting last night.

    Over 200 people attended the meeting in Cashel, which was called at short notice after it emerged yesterday that up to 70 migrants were due to arrive today, and would be temporarily housed in emergency accommodation at the Achill Head Hotel in Keel.

    In a statement to Midwest News, the Department of Justice has explained that, as demand continues to rise, they sought expressions of interest earlier this year for emergency temporary accommodation.

    However, to protect the privacy of applicants and other guests, they do not public identify the emergency accommodation centres, which are provided in hotels and guest houses.

    Following last night's meeting, Achill-based Fianna Fail Councillor Paul McNamara told Midwest News that no final decision will be made on the matter until the Department of Justice liaises with the local community, and he's invited Department representatives to Achill to speak with local residents.

    Councillor McNamara says the main concerns locally are the lack of consultation on plans for the emergency accommodation centre, and the suitability of the hotel for an emergency accommodation centre.

    Joe Daly of Mayo People Before Profit also attended last night's meeting in Achill, and has criticised what he calls the "inhumane" Direct Provision system.