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Asylum seekers to move into Leitrim apartments after 'constructive' meeting between Minister and locals

Ballinamore Community Group had held protests over the plans in recent months.

The protest in Ballinamore in October
The protest in Ballinamore in October
Image: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

A NUMBER OF asylum seekers will be moved into apartments in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim before Christmas after Minister of State David Stanton met with community representatives today.

In a joint statement, Stanton and representatives from the Ballinamore Community Group said the meeting was “very constructive and open”. 

Stanton welcomed “positive progress” made at the meeting and, as a result, seven families (27 people) will move from emergency accommodation into the Rock Quarter Apartments before Christmas. 

This development comes after the Ballinamore Community Group had been undertaking silent 24-hour protest outside the apartment block during October and November. 

The protest was eventually stood down after the owners of the apartment complex secured an injunction preventing protesters interfering with works to complete the structure. 

At the time, a spokesperson said the group are not against immigration, but that the current direct provision system for asylum seekers is broken and does not meet their needs. 

In tonight’s statement, Stanton committed that there will be further full engagement and consultation with the community in the new year. 

The Department confirmed to the group that it has “no plans, whatsoever, to open any other accommodation centres in Ballinamore, other than the existing 25 Rock Quarter apartments, which will cater exclusively for families”.

Stanton thanked the group for engaging fully with the Department and for the community’s ongoing commitment to supporting asylum seekers. 

The Minister and his officials will “continue to work closely and in collaboration with the fully community, including to establish a ‘Friends of the Centre Group’,” the statement said. 

The Department of Justice has also faced resistance to opening new direct provision centres, with arson attacks at hotels in Moville, Co Donegal, and Rooskey in Co Roscommon, earlier this year.

Includes reporting by Press Association

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