As the silent vigil outside the Achill Head Hotel in Keel is continuing, there is as yet, no news on an arrival date for asylum seekers to the facility where the Dept of Justice plans to set up an emergency accommodation centre.

The dept of Justice has told Midwest News that its officials have been “engaging with public representatives from the area” about the planned facility. 

The vigil outside the Achill Head Hotel has now been continuing 24.7 since the end of last month (Oct), and so Midwest news contacted the dept of Justice about its plans and asked to speak to the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan about the situation, but we were told Minister Flanagan was not available.

Midwest News asked if dept officials were engaging with the community in Achill, as had been promised by Minister Flanagan at the end of last month, when the arrival of the first group of asylum seekers to the hotel was postponed.

In response the Department of Justice said it had hoped to accommodate 13 female international protection applicants in the Achill Head Hotel for a number of weeks until places became available in a dedicated accommodation centre.  They were to be in Achill for a maximum stay of 3 months.  

However, an ongoing protest remains in place outside the hotel, so the Department has regrettably decided that, at the moment, to ask the women to move there would not be in their best interests, as they may be vulnerable while awaiting decisions on their protection applications.

Officials from the Department have been engaging with public representatives from the area

From that response it would appear that the dept officials are not in any direct contact with the local community but rather with public representatives -  deputies, senators and councillors.

Midwest News will now contact public representatives today and ask them about their engagement in the plans.

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