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.



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