Concerns over ‘inadequate’ accommodation for 150 refugees at Kinnegad Hotel

Concerns have been raised in a Co Westmeath town after 150 asylum seekers were moved to a 45-room hotel “without consultation”.

ary’s of Kinnegad is now used as an emergency shelter by the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS).

Labor councilor Denis Leonard called the decision unsuitable for the community of Kinnegad and claimed that the community council was not informed in advance.

The Irish Refugee Council, meanwhile, has expressed concern about “deteriorating conditions and standards” in accommodation for IPAS applicants across Ireland.

In a letter to Roderic O’Gorman, Secretary of State for Children, Equality, Disability, Inclusion and Youth, Mr Leonard called for the group to be relocated to a “more appropriate location”.

“We’re a very small city with very limited community facilities, no indoor sports building, no library, no community buildings, no adult education facility, and a tiny city park,” he said.

“Adding to the pressure is that there is nothing to do for 150 men who are not working and have not organized any activity at the hotel.”

Mr Leonard also claimed some people were moved out of the hotel at short notice last week.

“This arrangement is not appropriate for the local community, nor for the men who were conscripted overnight,” he said.

“The hotel had accommodated many guest workers in recent months. These men never caused trouble within the community. They were asked without warning or consultation to leave the hotel to accommodate this large group.

“The newcomers constantly complain about the lack of food, facilities and intimidation from certain members within their own group.”

He urged the government to act “immediately” on the matter.

“There must be a more appropriate place for a group of this size that needs more appropriate and humane care,” he added.

Irish Refugee Council CEO Nick Henderson said it was a “challenging situation”.

“We are concerned about the deteriorating conditions and standards in accommodation for IPAS applicants.

“We have communicated this to the government and continue to communicate this,” he said.

“There also needs to be support and communication with communities that are welcoming to people.

“In our experience, communities across Ireland have been at the forefront of welcoming protection applicants over the past 20 years and we hope that will continue to be the case.”

In a response to inquiries, the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Inclusion and Youth said shelters across the country had to be used because of “unprecedented demand”.

“Harry’s of Kinnegad was recently used by the International Protection Accommodation Service to provide such emergency shelter.

“The hotel will accommodate around 150 people applying for international protection. IPAS officers work closely with all shelter providers on the services needed for applicants for international protection.”

The hotel’s website says it has 45 rooms.

That Irish Independent contacted Harry’s of Kinnegad for comment. Concerns over ‘inadequate’ accommodation for 150 refugees at Kinnegad Hotel

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