Department official used standards from 1960s to assess Skellig Star suitability

Cllr Pa Daly (Sinn Féin) Tralee area Kerry County Council Photo By Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

The Department of Justice official who visited the former Skellig Star Hotel to assess its suitability as a direct provision centre was guided by room dimension standards from the 1966 Housing Act.

This was confirmed by the department, following questions by Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly.

He questioned Department of Justice officials about the circumstances surrounding the opening of the centre in Cahersiveen.

Deputy Pa Daly questioned officials during the Special Committee on the Response to COVID-19 in relation to congregated settings.

Oonagh Buckley, Deputy Secretary General, said the official who visited the centre on the 18th September, 2019 judged the property on certain procurement standards.

Deputy Daly said the department is still using guidelines from the 1960s, in which the standard size of rooms is 4.65 square metres – or approximately 50 square feet.

He took issue with the use of this standard.


Deputy Daly also put it to the department officials that accommodation was offered in the county to home some of the families in the direct provision centre.

He asked Ms Buckley why wasn’t the offer taken up.


During the session – which can be seen in full on his Facebook page – the Sinn Féin TD also questioned officials on issues around garda vetting, room specs and hotel facilities.