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Statement by the Department of Justice & Equality

As part of the Department’s emergency response to COVID-19, we are opening a new accommodation centre for international protection applicants (also known as asylum seekers) in the former Skellig Star hotel in Caherciveen, Co. Kerry.

We understand that the residents of Caherciveen, and surrounding areas, will have questions and some concerns regarding this announcement. This decision has not been taken lightly. We are in unprecedented times. The Department has a duty to protect all persons seeking international protection, and this is one step that we are taking in this regard.

To ensure the safety and wellbeing of applicants, we need to transfer those who are currently in emergency accommodation in commercial hotels to dedicated accommodation centres to ensure that they can be supported by a centre management team and receive all HSE information and guidance in an appropriate and timely way.

We will continue to work tirelessly to support our residents and would ask local people to understand the unique environment, pressures and strains on the system at this time as we look to ensure the safety of all involved.

Note for Editors

The contract with the former Skellig Star hotel in Caherciveen is for a 12 month period, will eventually provide accommodation for 150 single people across 56 bedrooms and was offered to the Department under the Expressions of Interest process. These residents have been in Ireland for some time, and have been fully health screened by medical professionals.

We are in the process of consulting with local representatives and will provide as much information as possible to the local community over the coming days.