Minister of State for Equality, Immigration, and Integration David Stanton
Local representatives are unhappy with the lack of consultation prior to the announcement that 100 people seeking international protection will arrive in the county within the next fortnight.
On Friday night, it was revealed by the Donegal Democrat/DPP that the Caiseal Mara hotel in Moville will be used as an accommodation centre to house 100 people seeking international protection.
Since news of the plan emerged, local politicians have been insisting that they knew nothing about it.
Cllr Paul Canning said he was very unhappy with the lack of consultation.
“The infrastructure in Moville isn't fit for 100 extra people,” he said.
He suggested that it would fit the government better to improve the infrastructure in Moville, adding that services across the community would be strained.
Cllr Jack Murray said there was “real concern” among the community of Moville and that he personally did not agree with direct provision.
The Cathaoirleach of the Inishowen Municipal District, Cllr Martin Farren said the population of Moville would increase by 7 per cent with the arrival of 100 people.
“There was absolutely no consultation at all. There is no doubt that this is a massive challenge,” he said.
He called on Minister Joe McHugh and the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) to hold an information evening to answer the questions and concerns of the local community.
However, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration, and Integration David Stanton said there will be no consultation.
Minister Stanton said that previous public meetings in other areas didn’t add anything to the process.
Meanwhile a Fianna Fáil Deputy has said that it is very important that concerns of the people of Moville are listened to by the relevant authorities before 100 people arrive to reside in the area within the next few weeks.
Deputy Charlie McConalogue said: “They should take on board the concerns of the local people. This is not the way to do things, it doesn't reflect well on the Department of Justice.”
Minister Stanton said the community of Moville were made aware of the plans at the earliest opportunity.
Speaking yesterday, he said it was a commercial contract with the owner of a private operation and therefore the issue was not one that could have been discussed in a local town hall, and at the same time as a contract was being negotiated.
Minister Stanton said the news could not be made public until an agreement was made with the owner.
“Irish people in general are very welcoming,” he said.
He added that the Chief Executive of Donegal County Council Seamus Neely was written to on the matter on November 7.
He said that the hotel ‘Caiseal Mara’ has been inspected by department officials and that high standards are adhered to in these centres.
Cllr. Martin McDermott said council members should have been told of the situation.
He said the fact that councillors in Inishowen were not told was poor practice.
“It's only manners to let people know what is happening,” he said.