As the Deputy will be aware, the number of asylum seekers entering the country has increased dramatically in the past two years. The directorate for asylum support services, established in November 1999 under the aegis of my Department, is responsible, inter alia, for meeting the accommodation needs of asylum seekers. Following advertisements for accommodation placed in the media, it became clear that a sufficient supply of suitable privately owned accommodation was not available to meet the needs of asylum seekers and that other measures would need to be examined.
The Office of Public Works, acting on behalf of my Department, has identified the Ballymullen Army barracks in Tralee as a site suitable for development under the asylum seeker accommodation programme. On 29 March 2000, I made an order under section 2 (2) of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1993 which allows, by reason of emergency, for the development of the site. The order provides that the provisions of the Local Government (Planning and Development ) Acts 1963 – 1999 or the provisions of part XIII of the Local Government (Planning and Development ) Regulations, 1994 shall not apply to this development. It is intended that approximately 50 mobile homes will be located on the site.