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File image of Mosney Direct Provision Centre. Alamy

Harris expects details on locations of promised asylum reception centres 'in the coming weeks'

The Taoiseach is to meet integration minister Roderic O’Gorman today to discuss the issue of migration more broadly.

THE LOCATIONS OF promised reception centres to house people arriving to the country and seeking asylum will be detailed “in the coming weeks”, according to Taoiseach Simon Harris.

In January, integration minister Roderic O’Gorman announced an €10 million plan to fund areas where the reception centres will be located. The first five locations, primarily for those seeking temporary protection from Ukraine, were announced last month.

Earlier this month, Harris renewed the promise that the State would complete the centres when he said Ireland will be fully compliant with the EU Migration and Asylum Pact, which includes the establishment of the centres.

While the Government are yet to complete the list of remaining locations, Harris told RTÉ Radio One this morning that he is to meet with O’Gorman this evening to discuss the broad issue of migration and expects to make developments in the coming weeks.

Defending the delay from Cabinet to confirm the remaining locations, Harris said the process is not “easy”.

The Taoiseach said that an extensive community and local consultation process needs to be carried out to stop “the Government rocking up to their town or village and taking the only hotel in the town or village out of circulation”.

“We’ve done it. But we need to move beyond that emergency crisis response to be more planned response, and as Taoiseach, that’s what I expect from my government.”

Migration has become one of the main issues facing Ireland and the rest of the EU member states ahead of the European elections in June, with a populist kickback in many countries in response to increased numbers entering the bloc seeking asylum.

There has been a significant increase in people coming to Ireland to seek international protection. There have also been widespread protests against buildings being converted into asylum seeker accommodation, and a number of arson attacks carried out.

While prospective centres have been destroyed in some instances, Harris said today that hotels and other commercial accommodation, which the State has been leasing from the owner for nearly two years in some cases, will not have their contracts renewed.

The Taoiseach said that in some cases, hotels will be put back into use for towns and that the Government is going to work to deal with each reception centre location on a “case-by-case basis”, as people seeking protection arrive. 

“It’s so important that we maintain social cohesion in relation to [migration],” Harris said. “Irish people are good, decent people who see the benefits of migration. They also would like to see a bit of common sense when it comes to migration.”

He added that he believes the EU’s Migration and Asylum Pact will benefit the State and other European countries by helping them to identify applicants who have secondary movements (people who have applied for and were granted asylum elsewhere before arriving to Ireland).

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