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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Louise Burne

Asylum seeker arrivals at Clare hotel suspended four weeks as blockade talks continue

No more asylum seekers will be sent to Magowna House in Clare for four weeks while the local community considers lifting blockades.

However, the Minister of State at the Department of Integration for Joe O’Brien could not confirm tonight if the barriers would be removed following meetings with the local community.

The trip happened just 24 hours after Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman said that he would meet with groups in the Department of Integration or over a video link.

READ MORE: Leo Varadkar says 'misinformation' on asylum seeker accommodation must be tackled

Mr O’Brien travelled to Inch to meet asylum seekers and view the accommodation that they are living in. He also met a small group which he said represented the wider community.

The Green Party TD for Fingal was not, however, able to confirm if the blockade which has been in place since Monday evening would be lifted, but said he would revisit the locality in four weeks’ time.

“I met a small delegation of people who represent the local community and I listened carefully as best I could to their concerns, about what's happened over the last week in particular,” he said.

“They were very unhappy about how information was communicated. They have various concerns about the location as well.

“How we left it was that they are going to take some proposals back to the wider community and see if they will be accepted.

“My request was that the barriers are taken down, the barricades are taken down.

“In four week’s time, I’ll come back down and meet with them again and during that four week period, there will be no additional people coming to Magowna House.”

When asked if the group had agreed to take down the blockades, Minister O’Brien said that it had to speak to the wide community.

He also said that residents feel “angry” about how they have been portrayed and attempted to distance themselves from the far right.

Minister O’Brien explained that the group had expressed concerns “about what the men will do” and he attempted to allay fears and that the “start of the timeline is always the most difficult part because the systems haven't been fully set up and bedded in yet”.

He added: “I hope that in four weeks’ time, the people of Inch see that this is a better situation for residents and a better situation and a less fearful one for them as well.

“It is linked to the barriers coming down. The barriers need to come down. I'll come back down in four weeks’ time. We’re not thinking beyond that.”

The Irish Mirror understands that it is not expected that the barriers will stay up for four weeks and that the group said they would revert “shortly”.

At the same time that Minister O’Brien was in Inch, Minister O’Gorman and Justice Minister Simon Harris were meeting with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to discuss violence seen at recent anti-asylum seeker protests.

This included an incident last week in Sandwith Street in inner-city Dublin that a makeshift campsite set alight.

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon and Angela Willis, Assistant Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Region.

The Commissioner told the Ministers that a number of investigations are underway into recent incidents and that these are live and active.

The Ministers and Commissioner agreed that finding accommodation for currently unaccommodated International Protection applicants is an absolute priority for the safety of the individuals involved.

The ongoing liaison between An Garda Síochána and the Government of accommodation was discussed.

It is understood that this will focus on all parties communicating more about accommodation and services that are in operation.

One source described the enhanced liaison between the Gardaí and the International Protection Accommodation Services at a more local level as “significant”.


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