“No transparency” as Loreto Convent to become fifth migrant centre in Bray

Locals have expressed upset and concern after learning that an additional migrant centre for the area seems set to open in the former Loreto Convent in Bray, which shares grounds with the local secondary school. 

A number of local parents have raised concerns that an IPAS centre would be located on the grounds of the convent. One parent described the decision as the government operating in an “underhanded” way, without “transparency or discussions”.

Local Councillor, Aoife Flynn Kennedy, said that the former convent had been “earmarked some time back” for Ukrainian families, but one local woman said that parents felt that government assurances in this regard could not be relied on.

The Convent is the fifth centre for migrants and refugees now established in the Bray area. The Royal Hotel, The Esplanade Hotel, the Wilton Hotel, and Bray Manor (a former nursing home) are also providing migrant accommodation.

Last month, a Georgian national who had been staying in Bray Manor appeared before the courts charged with stabbing a fellow resident in an “unprovoked attack”. The court heard that the accused had “destroyed his passport upon arriving in Ireland to seek asylum”.

Robbie Doyle whose daughter attends the Loreto Secondary school was sharply critical of the government’s failure to discuss the issue with local residents.

“This is just another example of the underhanded nature this issue is being dealt with by this government. No transparency or discussions with residents or parents,” he said.

“All the stops are being pulled out for other people to find them accommodation while Bray has Irish people sleeping on the streets and in tents, where is the logic in that?”

A local mother whose daughter attends Loreto Bray but did not wish to be named said that her concern was that the experience of other areas would be repeated in Bray.

“The government have claimed before that an centre is for Ukrainian refugees but the next thing there is men, and only men, being put into the centre,” she said.

“Look what they did in the Grand Hotel in Wicklow, they dumped hundreds of men in on top of families there for years. I do not know one parent who has an issue with helping genuine people but its the sly way the government go about things like this. Did they honestly think they were going to set up an asylum seeker centre beside a school grounds and people would not ask questions,” she said.

She added that the school had said there was no access to the convent and the school did not own the property, but she said “somebody must take responsibility and inform people what is going on”.

Mr Doyle also said that he contacted the school this morning who advised they knew nothing about the new refugee centre and the site housing refugees was separate from the school.

“How can a school not be aware of this? Politicians talk about rumours and misinformation, well the rumours here have proven to be true and the only problem with information is the lack of it,” he said.

“People from all over the world are being packed into what seems like every empty building in Ireland while we have a crisis with homelessness and housing that is getting worse. This government talk about moral obligations, where are there moral obligations to Irish families, and Irish homeless people.”

“A nursing home in Bray was converted for men from Georgia and other countries, again no information about that was given they just went ahead. Why could the council not do that for Irish people.”

Parents said that Green Cllr. Erika Doyle had previously said that plans were underway to house Ukrainian refugees but she was not aware as to what stage those plans were at.

In a video seen by Gript, a security guard at the centre said that there were over 60 people staying in the former convent which shares the grounds with Loreto Secondary School in Bray.
The security guard in the video said he had been working there for 2 weeks and did not know how long the refugees had been staying there.
Local Cllr for Fine Gael, Melanie Corrigan, said that she was going to make queries with the Council as to the status of the building.
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