Protests in Roscrea will continue until the Minister responsible for Integration Roderic O’Gorman agrees to a meeting with local people according to Cllr Shane Lee a councillor in the Roscrea LEA.
A motion was agreed at Friday’s Plenary meeting of Tipperary county Council to ask Minister Roderick O’Gorman to visit Roscrea and meet with local people to hear concerns about an agreement between the Department of Integration and the owners of Racket Hall Hotel to accommodate 160 International Protection Applicants starting today.
An estimated 800 asylum seekers and refugees are being accommodated in the town which has a population of slightly more than 5,000 persons.
Councillors are critical of a lack of consultation and preparation across the community when such accommodation is being put in place by the Department.
Cllr Noel Coonan also expressed concerns that some hotel staff may be losing their jobs because of the development.
Tipperary CEO Joe MacGrath praised communities across Tipperary for their support for migrants and asylum seekers and is to bring forward a community forum meeting this week.
An Integration Team within the council does not have any role in souring accommodation for IPAs but will act to assist with integration once a facility is established according to Mr MacGrath.
Independent Tipperary TD Michael Lowry says the addition of 160 people into the town is a tipping point that will overwhelm all services and infrastructure.
A public meeting was held on the street in Roscrea on Saturday and a protest continues outside the Rackett Hall Hotel building which is to be used to provide accommodation for 160 International Protection Applicants. The two events are being led by different groups. Tipperary TDs Michael Lowry, Martin Browne and Mattie McGrath addressed the Public Meeting on Saturday.
It is understood that the company managing Rackett Hall has offered any staff that wish to remain the option to retrain for new roles in the facility.
The Community Group Roscrea Stands Up, the organiser of the Public Meeting on Saturday, are to hold a committee meeting on Tuesday night to set out a course of action. To date no one is being accommodated in the building which will cease to operate as a hotel meaning the town is lacking a venue for weddings, information events and family gatherings.
Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne is accusing the government of failing the people of Roscrea.
The TD says the recent announcement that Racket Hall is to host asylum seekers for at least a year is shambolic as there was no engagement, communication or provision of additional services.
Deputy Browne describes Roscrea as a welcoming town, which is evident through the immense welcome the people have given to asylum seekers and refugees from a range of countries who are fleeing war and persecution.
The Cashel Based TD says health care and education services should be in place and the community should know about such plans in advance.
The current situation is due to a Government failure to formulate a plan to accommodate the increasing number of people who are desperately in need of international protection.
Deputy Browne says vacant properties should be used for this purpose.
Deputy Browne wants the Department responsible for migrants and the Government as a whole to fully engage with local residents and community leaders and also for an audit of the current level of services in the town of Roscrea and action taken to ensure there is no shortfall to meet the increased demand.