Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said that plans to house asylum seekers in the Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey should be suspended in light of ongoing legal proceedings in the High Court.
The case is back before Justice Leonie Reynolds today (Thursday) after the owner of the hotel, Mr. James Kiernan, submitted an affidavit as requested, earlier this week.
Last weekend, the hotel was defaced by signs criticising local public representatives, the Department of Justice, and current owner James Kiernan. The signs appeared on Sunday morning but were later removed.
“The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan needs to clarify exactly where the situation in Rooskey now stands, given the recent legal proceedings,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.
“This is not about being against asylum seekers; but Rooskey is a very small village. The medical, educational and transports services that would be required to house these asylum seekers are just not there.
“In the local area, medical practitioners are at capacity. Are we going to see what happened in Ballaghaderreen, where people were – through no fault of their own – foisted by the HSE on top of services that were already bursting at the seams?”
Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy raised the issue with Minister for State David Stanton during topical issues at the Dáil on Tuesday and denounced direct provision as “legalised people trafficking” and said that there has been no communication between the Department of Justice and the people of Rooskey.
“The term ‘locked away’ might not be appropriate but if I was an asylum seeker waiting ten years for my case to be adjudicated on and I was confined to a small area in a hotel, I would certainly call it being locked away.
“The Minister of State knows if all our families were put together in a small space, how long we would stay sane in it. That is one part of the argument.
“He has answered the second part. He has spoken about communications with the Department of Education and Skills and other Departments. My information comes from speaking to the medical and educational people. There certainly was no communication with the people. There was no communication with the community.
“What is wrong with the Government that it cannot come and talk to people? Does it think people are foolish? They are human beings. I have a significant issue with direct provision. I have said it before and will say again, it is legalised people trafficking,” he said.