Four TDs send joint state­ment on Grand Ho­tel

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

FOUR of Wick­low’s TDs have writ­ten a joint state­ment ad­dressed to the Depart­ment of Jus­tice which out­lines their op­po­si­tion to the clo­sure of the Grand as a ho­tel for at least twelve months.

In the let­ter, Deputies Pat Casey, An­drew Doyle, John Brady and Stephen Don­nelly state that the de­ci­sion to lease the Grand Ho­tel as a cen­tre for di­rect pro­vi­sion is “de­priv­ing the County town of its only Ho­tel and must be re­viewed”.

The four TDs agreed to is­sue the joint state­ment af­ter re­quests from the au­di­ence dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing held in Wick­low town and at­tended by close to 300 peo­ple.

The state­ment con­tin­ues: ‘Tourism in Wick­low is one of our core in­dus­tries and our County Town is of cen­tral im­por­tance to our re­cently launched tourism strat­egy. A cen­tral plank of Wick­low’s tourism strat­egy is the devel­op­ment and pro­mo­tion of ad­di­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion for the in­creas­ing num­ber of vis­i­tors to our county. The de­ci­sion of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to lease the only Ho­tel in Wick­low Town for a twelve month pe­riod de­prives the town of vi­tal tourism in­fra­struc­ture at a crit­i­cal stage.’

The four TDs are also crit­i­cal of the whole di­rect pro­vi­sion model.

‘We ac­knowl­edge the De­part­ments need to ac­com­mo­date ap­pli­cants for in­ter­na­tional pro- tec­tion. We en­dorse an Ir­ish wel­come and the high­est stan­dards of ac­com­mo­da­tion and ser­vice pro­vi­sion to be pro­vided by the State. The cur­rent sys­tem of Di­rect Pro­vi­sion does not reach that stan­dard as out­lined in de­tail in the re­port by Dr Bryan McMa­hon, re­tired High Court Judge. The cur­rent sys­tem of Di­rect Pro­vi­sion is fail­ing to de­liver ba­sic rights to those seek­ing asy­lum in Ire­land. The Gov­ern­ment should con­sider a state sup­ported hu­man rights model of ac­com­mo­da­tion as an al­ter­na­tive to the cur­rent model.’

They also con­demn the fail­ure of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to en­gage in con­sul­ta­tions with the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

‘To in­tro­duce a Di­rect Pro­vi­sion cen­tre into Wick­low Town with­out ad­di­tional re­sources for es­sen­tial ser­vices such as GP’s, teach­ers for lo­cal schools etc, is ir­re­spon­si­ble and un­eth­i­cal. Wick­low can­not pro­vide the Ir­ish wel­come to our new neigh­bours with­out ad­e­quate sup­ports. We call on the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice in the light of these se­ri­ous and le­git­i­mate con­cerns to re­view this model of di­rect pro­vi­sion and to ac­tively seek al­ter­na­tive, more ap­pro­pri­ate mod­els of ac­com­mo­da­tion. We are pre­pared to work closely with the Depart­ment in re­la­tion to this mat­ter. In that re­gard we are also call­ing for a meet­ing with Min­is­ter Flana­gan and Min­is­ter Stan­ton to dis­cuss the con­cerns and ex­plore long term so­lu­tions,’ the TDs wrote.

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