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Protest continuing at hotel due to house asylum seekers


A protest is continuing at the entrance to the Racket Hall Hotel on the outskirts of Roscrea, Co Tipperary.

Protesters have maintained a presence at the hotel since Thursday night in opposition to plans to house 160 International Protection Applicants, made up of families.

Another protest is scheduled for 3.30pm on Roscrea’s Main Street.

Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Michael Smith has expressed concern about job losses as a result of the hotel’s change of use.

In a briefing document sent to local representatives, the Department of Integration said that “staff numbers will be increased as and when resident numbers increase on-site”.

RTÉ News understands that senior staff met management yesterday and they were offered the option of retaining their jobs with additional training provided as necessary.

It is understood that they have until Tuesday to decide if they will accept that offer.

However, less is known about the fate of part-term staff.

“That’s where the uncertainty is, and this hasn’t really been clarified,” Cllr Smith said.

RTÉ News has reached out to the owners, Swiftcastle Roscrea Ltd for comment.

At the monthly meeting of Tipperary County Council yesterday, Cllr Smith said it that it was confirmed that the Council would contact the owners directly to find out what their plans were for Racket Hall.

A meeting had also been requested with Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman, Mr Smith said.

Fine Gael Senator Barry Ward said he understands that the will be used to house those seeking asylum.

However, he added that this is a matter for the Department to clarity.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Saturday with Colm Ó Mongain, Mr Ward said the Government needs to better inform communities where there are plans to home international protection applicants.

This would help allay fears, he said.

He also stressed that the information would not amount to consultation and said he did not want groups to get the impression that they could veto a decision on where people are housed.

Speaking on the same programme, People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said people should not be put on the streets and that any accomodation is better than being on the streets.

He said the far-right is “scaring the be-jaysus” out of people with misinformation and that politicans on the ground are not countering this properly.

Mr Murphy said that communities need to be given more resources and that asylum seekers need to be given the right to work immediately.

The concerns about resources are legitimate, he said.

Mr Murphy said there has been some opposition where centres have been proposed for men, regardless of where the centres are proposed, and at least part of this is based on misinformation.


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