In September of last year, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department published a call for expressions of interest in the national press for premises to meet the increasing demand for accommodation for persons in the international protection process (asylum seekers).
This call sought expressions of interest from parties interested in providing accommodation and related services on an urgent and emergency basis. This was issued in response to the urgent and unforeseen demand for accommodation and related services from those persons arriving in the state seeking international protection.
The Caislean Mara Hotel in Moville was offered to the Department. Negotiations were completed with the contractor and the centre was scheduled to open in December 2018.
As the Deputy is aware, the Caislean Mara was the subject of a fire on 26 November 2018 which has delayed the opening of the accommodation centre. I wish to reiterate my comments made after the fire and after the recent fire in another proposed accommodation centre in Rooskey, Co. Leitrim that both Minister Flanagan and I condemn both incidents in the strongest possible terms. These actions are not at all representative of the views of the overwhelming majority of people in Donegal or the Leitrim/Roscommon area or indeed of Ireland as whole. I once again urge anyone with information in relation to these incidents to contact the Gardaí.
I am not able to confirm an opening date for the centre in Moville at this time as the required repairs are not complete. I hope that these works can be completed quickly so that we can move to open the centre as soon as possible to accommodate persons seeking international protection.