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Roscrea protest over use of hotel for asylum seekers ends

A protest against the use of a hotel in Co Tipperary for the accommodation of people seeking international protection has ended after almost 11 weeks.

The action had begun on 11 January last, when the Racket Hall hotel outside Roscrea suddenly closed to all local business.

The Department of Integration confirmed to local politicians that the hotel was to house 160 international protection applicants.

Racket Hall had been a popular venue for weddings, meetings, social gatherings and dancing, and was the only hotel in the locality since another in the centre of the town closed some years ago.

Those protesting argued that Roscrea could take no more international asylum applicants as it was already accommodating more than 400 at a number of venues in the town.

They also said that the additional rise in people seeking shelter there was putting a strain on local services such as medical and GP services.

The protest had been attended by large groups of people from the locality and elsewhere and they had maintained a 24/7 presence at the hotel entrance since early January.

On 15 January, there were a number of scuffles when a garda public order unit was present to assist families of international protection applicants who had arrived at the hotel by bus.

It has now been confirmed that the protest ended over the weekend.

Read more: How Racket Hall became a scene of violence and anger

A Roscrea community action group was formed to press home the message to Government that a cap is needed on additional international applicants being accommodated there, and to continue to impress on them the impact that the accommodation of large groups of applicants is having on the town.

Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill had intervened with the Department of Integration to seek the reopening of Grants Hotel in the town as a community hotel as one of the measures that could offer further supports to the town and its residents.

The idea has support from the Government who are examining funding mechanisms towards such a move.

Yesterday, more than 1,000 people protested outside a disused warehouse in Coolock, Dublin, after it was confirmed the site could is being considered to house up to 500 asylum seekers.

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