The owner of the King Thomond Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, which is to be converted into a centre for asylum seekers next month, has urged the local community to give it a chance.
It’s been confirmed that the property on the outskirts of the North Clare village will welcome applicants for international protection from Marth 5th, for an initial period of one year.
The announcement has led to concern from many in the local community, and anger from certain quarters about a lack of consultation.
Tomorrow, representatives from the Reception and Integration Agency will take part in a meeting on the matter in Lisdoonvarna.
In an exclusive interview on today’s edition of Clare FM’s Morning Focus, hotelier Marcus White insisted his decision to apply for a contract to host the centre was not motivated by money:
Meanwhile, our reporter James Mulhall is in Lisdoonvarna to gauge the opinion of those living locally.
From there, he has this report:
The King Thomond Hotel is currently used as an overflow hotel in the North Clare village of Lisdoonvarna at the peak tourist season.
But from March 5th, it will instead be used as accommodation for asylum seekers.
As the news broke this week, Clare County Council told Clare FM it advised the Department of Justice to consult with locals in Lisdoonvarna before pressing ahead with the plan.
But locals say this didn’t happen, and that this has caused concern in the North Clare village.
Local resident John O’Donnell is worried about the impact on local services.
A meeting with an official from the state’s Reception and Integration Agency is due to take place at the Pavilion in Lisdoonvarna tomorrow, where locals will be given the opportunity to air their concerns.
Chair of community organisation Lisdoonvarna Failte, Paddy Dunne says engagement with the community is crucial between now and March 5th.
Birgitta Curtin runs the Burren Smokehouse Restaurant in Lisdoonvarna with her husband.
A native of Sweden, who has felt the Clare welcome first hand, she’s confident the asylum seekers will be made to feel at home here.
But she’s concerned that the necessary support facilities may not be in place in the community for the people travelling here.