Justice Minister wasn’t aware asylum seekers moved to Cahersiveen were suspected of having coronavirus

The Justice Minister has confirmed neither he nor his Department were aware that asylum seekers being moved to Cahersiveen had or were suspected of having coronavirus.

Charlie Flanagan says the Department of Justice didn’t know there were cases of COVID-19 in the Dublin hotel the asylum seekers were moved from, until after the transfer, when Deputy Catherine Murphy notified him.


Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Catherine Murphy said the Travelodge hotel in Swords, Dublin had been housing asylum seekers, as well as other guests.

On March 7th, a guest returned from Bergamo in Italy, which at the time was the European epicentre of the pandemic; that person was hospitalised and diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Social Democrats TD says the rest of the guest’s travel party remained in the hotel until March 22nd to self-isolate.

She says however, on March 18th and 19th, a group of 70 asylum seekers who had been resident in that hotel was moved without testing to two centres, including the former Skellig Star hotel in Cahersiveen, which went on to have a cluster of over 20 COVID-19 cases.

The Justice Minister says neither he nor anybody in his Department was aware of any guest at the Dublin hotel having or being suspected of having coronavirus at the time.

He says it was only after their arrival in Cahersiveen that this news came to light through Deputy Catherine Murphy.