Protest outside Mayo hotel over plans to house refugees

Protest Outside Mayo Hotel Over Plans To House Refugees
The assembly heard from local residents and townspeople who shared their concerns about the Department's decision and it.s potential impact on Ballina
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A large crowd gathered at the Twin Trees Hotel in Ballina, Co Mayo this evening for a public assembly over the announcement that 120 International Protection Applicants are to be accommodated at the hotel.

According to the Western People, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has agreed to use 33 of the hotels bedrooms to accommodate 120 asylum seekers.


The assembly heard from local residents and townspeople who shared their concerns about the Department's decision and its potential impact on Ballina.

A number of speakers spoke of their concern over the makeup of the asylum seekers that are to be moved into the hotel and the number of asylum seekers already situated in the Ballina area.

"We want to know who is coming in and we want to know if we are going to be safe," said Bernie O'Donnell, one speaker.

"We're here to let you know we're not going to accept any refugees at the Twin Trees. We all have to stand together and not accept this," said Declan Howley.


"This is about people power, its the only way to do it. Concerned people of Ballina, let's join up once and for all and say we're not accepting this," said Marie Graham.

Fine Gael local election candidate Hugh Rouse said the people of Ballina need to come together and stop this from happening.

"We're all neighbours, we're all from the town. We need to go though the right channels and not let this get out of control and do it peacefully for the people of Ballina," he said.

Fianna Fáil TD Minister Dara Calleary, who was among the speakers, told the crowd he is planning to engage further with the Department and Minister Roderic O'Gorman in relation to this.


Fianna Fáil councillor Annie May Reape told the assembly that Ballina is "over capacity."

"I think we've had enough, enough is enough for Ballina. We certainly gave over capacity and we do not have the facilities. We don't have the infrastructure, we don't have the medical centres or the schools," she said.

Fine Gael Cllr John O'Hara said there was no consultation with him or other elected members about this.

"We're here tonight to back you all up and pass on your message. Ballina has taken its fair share already," he said.

Independent Cllr Mark Duffy said councillors were only informed of this yesterday.

"The first official communication we got on this was yesterday afternoon."

"I find it difficult that we can't look after our people in difficult situations related to housing and we can accommodate people from far away."

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