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"A complete cock-up" — Plans for Refugee Centre in Rosslare scrapped after outrage

Kershaw

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via The Wexford People:

CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert the old Cedar’s Hotel in Rosslare into a reception and orientation centre for war refugees from Syria have been scrapped.



The Department of Justice and Equality last week gave the council formal notice of its intention to open the hotel as an emergency reception and orientation centre, which it said would be up and running by September. But, less than a week later, the Department said the project would not be proceeding because the owner of the Cedar’s Hotel still wanted to use it as a commercial hotel.

It’s believed that hotel owner, Dublin businessman Colm Menton, had leased it to a guest house owner from elsewehere in the county and were not aware until last week of his plans to sub-let it as a refugee centre.

News of the project first broke last Tuesday, prompting local people to question the suitability of the holiday resort as a base for between 60 and 90 refugees, with questions raised about the ability of already-stretched facilities at the national school to cope with more children.

Rosslare Strand - the flagship of tourism in the region - has a population of around 1,500. No-one the village was ducking any responsibility for taking in refugees from the Syrian war, and Val Boggan, chair of the Rosslare Development Commmunity Association, said local people would have been prepared to take them into their own homes. But she rounded on councillors who unanimously supported the opening of the centre in Rosslare before consulting local people and said Rosslare was not represented at the council.

Vote wouldn’t have been unanimous

‘We don’t have a councillor from Rosslare.. if the refugee centre was going to Kilmore Quay, Bridgetown or Carne, the vote wouldn’t have been unanimous,’ she told this newspaper in her family shop, the busy Londis supermarket in the village. ‘I’m very disappointed that we weren’t told of this in any way,’ she said, adding that a senior council official had said on the day of the council briefing that the decision was a fait-accompli.

Cllr Ger Carthy said he thought the Department of Justice had handled the issue very badly. ‘ They certainly should have spoken with the local community rather than do things in a cloak-anddagger manner. They put a serious amount of stress on a local community down there,’ said Cllr Carthy, who last week said he hoped the community would embrace the refugee centre.

‘It’s a small community down there is too much.. it wasn’t well thought out,’ he said after the plan was scrapped. ‘It created unnecessary worry for people,’ said Cllr George Lawlor. ‘ The notion that the Department could have signed off incorrectly on such a deal of such a sensitive nature is quite ridiculous..I understand people’s concerns, but as a community we have to ensure that affected refugees are treated with dignity and respect,’ he said. ‘I feel the people of Rosslare would have embraced it once the initial discussions died down,’ he said.

"A complete cock-up"

Wexford Mayor Cllr Frank Staples described the Department’s handling of the issue was ‘a complete cock-up’. ‘It was nothing to do with Wexford County Council. It seems like we made a mess of it but it’s nothing to do with us. ‘It wasn’t fair on the councillors or on the county council and it certainly should have been put to the community first,’ he said.

‘I think the Department were heavy handed in the way they handled it,’ said Cllr Staples, saying that while everyone accepted that we had to take in Syrian war refugees, the Rosslare plan had been badly thought out.

The plans came to a shuddering halt last Wednesday, when in an email sent to the chairman of the county council and all members, council chief executive Tom Enright said he had been told by the Department that they had been notified by the owners of the Cedars that they will not be facilitating the leasing of the property as a refugee centre. ‘ The proposed opening of a refugee centre in Rosslare Strand will therefore not be proceeding,’ he said.

On June 15, the Department had written to Mr Enright saying it was in the process of completing contractual negotiations with the landlord of the Cedars as an Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre.

‘ This is on behalf of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) to temporarily accommodate relocated asylum seekers from Greece and possibly Italy for a period of two years from late August/early September 2017.

The hotel, which has been closed for some time, will therefore be re-opening as an EROC. The main cohort to be accommodated in the hotel at this time will be of Syrian origin. Ireland’s expressed preference has been to receive families. To-date the bulk of those arriving have been families and a large number of the arrivals are young children. The contractual discussions are now completed with a private contractor on foot of a nation wide expression of interest in October 2016 and assessments conducted in over the last few months. This expression of interest gave rise to a large number of properties being put forward for consideration.

These properties were located country-wide. The Cedars will be used to accommodate an intake of relocated asylum seekers from Greece which is likely to take place in late August or early September 2017. Ireland is accepting approximately 80 persons a month under the relocation strand of the programme so a cohort arriving from Greece will be of this size and they will be accommodated in the hotel.

‘I want to take this opportunity to provide you with formal notice of our intent to open the Cedars Hotel as an EROC in your capacity as CEO of Wexford County Council so that you have the opportunity in turn to inform public representatives and other interested parties in the Wexford area.’

"A fait accompli"

As a result of this, Department officials briefed councillors at County Hall last Monday, June 19, and some local business people in Rosslare Strand were informed of the decision the same day. One was told by a council official it was a fait accompli.

On Wednesday, June 21, the Department said that because it was the owner’s intention that the property would be developed as a commercial hotel the project could not proceed. ‘In these circumstances, we cannot complete our contractual negotiations with the contractor and the project will therefore not proceed.’

The Department expressed its regret ‘at any inconvenience cause to you or you colleagues as a result of this development which was completely outside our control’ and thanked both officials and councillors for their assistance. The Department was asked to comment by this newspaper, but by the time of going to Press had not responded.

Council left to pick up the pieces

Cllr George Lawlor said that because of the ham-fisted way the issue was dealt with the department, ‘ the bar has been set across the county and that almost every community in Wexford will rebel against one of the centres as a result’.

Wexford’s outgoing Mayor Cllr Frank Staples said that all the councillors supported the establishment of the resettlement and reception centre when they were first told about it last week, but he was highly critical of the department’s role and the lack of prior consultation.

He said that since last week’s ‘in-committee’ briefing and reports on it in the local media, he had received calls from people, some worried about it and some strongly opposed to it, but all largely in the dark because of the way the issue had been handled by the Department of Justice.

Cllr Ger Carthy said that ‘ the county council had been left to pick up the pieces’.

‘For the life of me I could not understand why local people could not have been consulted first,’ he said, describing the way it was handled by the Department as ‘ half-baked’.

Cllr Tony Dempsey said it was important to let people know what a reception centre was and that the plans should never have been presented as a fait accompli.

He said that if the department had been more transparent it would have been better for all concerned.


Back in 2000, there was outrage when people found out that the Office of PublicWorks had `secretly' bought Devereux Hotel and was leasing it to the Departmentof Justice as a refugee reception centre for around 50 asylum-seekers.

https://www.pressreader.com/ireland/wexford-people/20170627/281526521065258
 
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Tadhg Gaelach

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It would be nice to believe that local people power had brought a halt to this scam, but the sad fact is that it was probably nothing to do with the local people and merely the régime bowing down to the private property rights of the owner. Either way, it's good to see it stopped.
 

Tadhg Gaelach

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We need to bear in mind that the Syrian government has called on all Syrians to return home to help in the great task of rebuilding Syria. These migrants coming to Ireland are not refugees, but traitors and terrorist supporters. They don't want to live in Syria under a secular government and believe that they will be able to practice their extremist Islamic ideology more easily in places like Ireland. And, sadly, that is true.
 

Ire-land

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They should put them all in Dublin, it's already a complete write off, so a few more thousand won't make any difference. Putting them out into the most beautiful parts of physical and cultural Ireland is an absolute crime.

They could easily convert that IFSC building into accommodation, it's already now an 'International Centre', or whatever it is. They could use a few more of those lots down the docks too.
 

Thats Racist

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Classic class difference here.

Rich areas, No refugees.

Poor areas, lots of refugees.

Originally the idea was to share them around or give the illusion they were being spread around, we were all donning the green jersey so to say.

Now the truth is being shown, they will all go to poor areas, preferably in the country somewhere away from the rich elite types.

Out of sight, out of mind.
 

Thats Racist

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We need to bear in mind that the Syrian government has called on all Syrians to return home to help in the great task of rebuilding Syria. These migrants coming to Ireland are not refugees, but traitors and terrorist supporters. They don't want to live in Syria under a secular government and believe that they will be able to practice their extremist Islamic ideology more easily in places like Ireland. And, sadly, that is true.
Of course there is a high chance that those here are not refugee`s but enemies of the Syrian government.
 

Tadhg Gaelach

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Of course there is a high chance that those here are not refugee`s but enemies of the Syrian government.

And since the Leinster House régime refuses to talk to the Syrian Government, we have no way of knowing the criminal records of the migrants that are coming here - some of them are probably war criminals who have carried out beheading, mutilations and other psychotic crimes. Scum like that will kill again at the first opportunity.
 

Thats Racist

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And since the Leinster House régime refuses to talk to the Syrian Government, we have no way of knowing the criminal records of the migrants that are coming here - some of them are probably war criminals who have carried out beheading, mutilations and other psychotic crimes. Scum like that will kill again at the first opportunity.
And when some of them go onto commit further atrocities we can watch the liberal media elite shake their head in confusion and ask themselves if it were something we did wrong to radicalise them.
 

Asif

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The place was being sublet, that was against the contractual agreement between the owner of the property.

Just a case of civil law, nothing to see here at all.
 
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