Tensions High in Offaly as Asylum Applications reach 16 year high
The Marian Hostel in Tullamore, Co. Offaly to open as direct provision centre for asylum seekers
Figures from the Department of Justice show Asylum applications at a 16 year high with some 4,700 asylum applications in 2019.The top 5 Countries of Origin for Asylum Seekers entering Ireland were Albania , Georgia , Zimbabwe , Nigeria and South Africa with most asylum seekers arriving at Dublin Airport .
Last Tuesday , The Department of Justice announced it is opening a Direct Provision centre at the former Marian Hostel in Tullamore, Co. Offaly .
The centre will accommodate 168 asylum seekers with the first arrivals expected in the coming weeks .
The new centre follows a recent government tender process in Rural Ireland for Asylum Accommodation with 3 New centres since opened in Borrisokane Co Tipperary (comprising 16 homes: 3 town houses and 13 apartments) , Ballinamore Co Leitrim (comprising 25 newly refurbished apartments) and Clare Lodge in Ennis (comprising a newly refurbished Hotel accommodating 64 single people) .
The Tullamore centre will be run by Bridgestock Ltd which runs centres in Ballyhaunis Co Mayo , Sligo Town and Clare Lodge in Ennis . It is owned by Tullamore Businessman Seamus Gillen and Galway property owner Eoghan McGinty. The company is held by an offshore firm in the British Virgin Islands which means their accounts and profits are not disclosed in Ireland .
Below : Newly opened Direct Provision Centres as part of government tender process in Rural Ireland .
The Department of Justice said the Tullamore centre will provide Residents with "Independent Living Arrangements" including their own cooking facilities and onsite Food Hall .
The new centre will provide residents with ‘independent living’ where they will have their own cooking facilities and an onsite food hall where they can get their groceries. This is in addition to the weekly cash allowance residents receive (€38.80 for adults and €29.80 for children), which they can spend wherever they choose. Applicants can also access a range of State services and supports including healthcare, education, childcare etc, on the same basis as everyone else.
In advance of the centre opening , A "Friends of the Centre" group is to be established to assist in building a richer multicultural community in Offaly and the department is to meet with local officials to discuss what supports will be in place to facilitate the new accommodation centre and its residents.
Many Locals have voiced their opposition to the centre with a public protest planned in the Town for Saturday 29th February .
Offaly Councillor John Leahy said that public resources in the town are already oversubscribed ..
There is a shortage of medical care in the county and if you want to see a doctor you will have to wait a couple of days ,what happens here is that migrants and refugees come and they will be allocated a doctor regardless if a doctor is at full capacity .Then, from a housing point of view, if someone came to me and said 'my daughter is on a housing waiting list for the last eight years, will someone from this Direct Provision centre get a house before my daughter?' I would have to say yes .