Caherciveen hotel to house up to 150 asylum seekers

A new accommodation centre for 150 asylum seekers is being opened in the former Skellig Star hotel in Caherciveen.

The Department of Justice says it is part of its emergency response to COVID-19

The Department says in light of the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of asylum seekers they need to transfer those who are currently in emergency accommodation in commercial hotels to dedicated accommodation centres.

The Department says the asylum seekers have been in Ireland for some time and they have been fully health screened by medical professionals.

In a statement the Department also they are in the process of consulting with local representatives and will provide as much information as possible to the local community over the coming days.

However independent TD Danny Healy Rae says there should have been local consultation.

The Skellig Star Hotel, formerly known as the Watermarque Hotel, underwent a €3 million revamp in 2017 when it was purchased by a group of Irish and Chinese Investors.

The Department of Justice earlier this year denied that there were plans for a direct provision centre for the town of Cahersiveen.

In its statement today it says the decision has not been taken lightly and says we are in unprecedented times.