Inch: locals “disappointed and letdown” by Minister – TD’s anger at lack of consultation

Residents of Inch, Co Clare who have been protesting the sudden opening of a migrant centre in their village, have said they feel “disappointed and letdown” by Minister Roderic O’Gorman who declined to meet them in person to hear their concerns. They say the protest will continue until the decision is overturned.

Local TD, Michael McNamara also revealed in the Dáil that locals had asked questions in the weeks prior to the arrival of migrants about works being done in the area but received no answers.

Following a zoom call between Minister O’Gorman and Clare politicians, Agnes O’Malley, speaking for the local group, said they felt disappointed and letdown by his response.

“Our peaceful protest will continue,” she said to applause from the residents gathered in support of the blockade of the hotel.

The mother-of-five lives across from Magowna House Hotel at Inch.

Clare FM reported that there are “currently 29 International Protection Applicants being hosted at Magowna House in Inch following their arrival to the rural Mid Clare facility on Monday”.

Residents of Inch say their peaceful protest will continue until the Government overturns its decision to locate Asylum Seekers at Magowna House, the station said.

The sudden arrival of a bus load of 34 migrants and asylum seekers at the hotel in the small rural Clare village led to tractors and cars being moved into place to cause a blockade just after 6.40pm on Monday evening.

Locals are especially upset that their requests for information in the weeks before the bus arrived were stonewalled, and that they were not consulted. Others expressed safety fears and pointed out that the hotel was deemed unfit for Ukrainian refugees last year.

The Irish Times reported that around when locals attended a “hastily organised meeting” attended by local TDs and members of Clare Co Council, concerns were expressed “by one woman for teenage girls who engage in sports training in the area”.

She told the meeting: “You will have 69 men standing there. They are young men. We used to have young girls that would run up and down the road.

“This might sound like an obsessive fear but do you think anyone would be comfortable who has a 15- or 16-year-old daughter who would choose that road to train for her team? Now there will be 69 young lads inside. Let’s call a spade a spade in all fairness.”

The woman’s words were applauded by locals present.

She asked the meeting: “Are we just the garbage in the street?… We are being dictated to, we are being told ‘shut up and put up’. We are going to be portrayed as being the most awful bunch of lunatics for even questioning what is going on.”

In a testy exchange in the Dáil today, Clare TD Michael McNamara said that consultation regarding the opening of migrant centres had not happened.

He said that consultation was not the same thing as a power of veto, but that having a zoom call with people and saying “by the way, we’re not for changing” was “not consultation either”.

He asked an Taoiseach: “A community in Inch approached me – and one of your own party – because they saw works being done. We asked that on their behalf, no answer.”

The Clare TD said that he had also received no answer regarding works being carried out at the Lakelands Hotel in Scariff in Co Clare, but that it had been revealed that consultations had taken place with the community in Santry for 5 weeks regarding developments there.

“Why is there consultations for some and not for others,” he asked. “Is it ‘the strong do what they can and the weak do what they must’?”

In response, Minister O’Gorman said that the information provision timeline was “really tight” and that he was happy to address some of the issues with residents.

“But I have to be honest,” he said. ” We need to use this accommodation, the accommodation is suitable.”

“Can I get an answer?” Deputy McNamara said, adding that if there were “no answers” then people “were right to protest”.

“What alternatives do they have?” he asked.

In response to news of the protest, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that “nobody gets to say who can or cannot live in their area. And we can’t have that kind of situation.”

“We can’t tolerate that,” he added.

At the Magowna House hotel, one applicant from Algeria told reporters that he was leaving the hotel for Dublin.

“I want to live here, yes, (it’s) lovely here but (there’s a) problem with people, maybe,” he said.

There have been 3,628 applications for international protection in the first 4 months of this year to 30th April, an 8.5% increase on 2022, the International Protection Office reported. 

The top three groups of applicants came from Nigeria, Algeria, and Georgia – amounting to some 36%, or almost 4 in 10 of all requests for asylum. Neither Nigeria, Algeria, and Georgia are war-torn countries.





Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are closed

Do you support the Governments plans to put calorie labels on wine bottles?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...