Michael Healy-Rae says he didn’t know buyer of Cahersiveen hotel lease was involved in direct provision

Photo: Kerry County Council

Michael Healy-Rae says he was present at the signing of sale documents for a company which owned the lease for a Cahersiveen hotel which is now being operated as a direct provision centre.

Deputy Healy-Rae had a shareholding in the Skellig Hotel Experience company which owned the lease for the Skellig Star Hotel.

Businessman Paul Collins acquired the lease for the hotel by purchasing the Skellig Hotel Experience company.

The TD says he wasn’t aware that Mr Collins wanted to operate it as a direct provision centre, or that he runs other such centres across the country.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae says he was present at the signing of sale documents for the Skellig Hotel Experience company, which owned the lease for the operation of the Skellig Star Hotel – it was bought by Paul Collins.

The former Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen is now being used as a direct provision centre, and has had a cluster of COVID-19 cases.

Deputy Healy-Rae’s comments today follow a report in the Irish Examiner, which disclosed that Skellig Hotel Experience, which Michael Healy-Rae had a 25% shareholding in, had a lease for the operation of the hotel and sold it to Paul Collins, who operates a number of direct provision centres in Ireland.

The Independent TD said he wasn’t aware that one of Paul Collins’ business ventures is the running direct provision centres.

It was his belief the Skellig Star would continue to operate as a hotel, and he has today reiterated his call for the centre to be closed.

The Department of Justice has confirmed that prior to buying the lease for the hotel, Paul Collins had contacted them last September offering to operate the Skellig Star as a direct provision centre.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae told Jerry O’Sullivan on Kerry Today that he was unaware of this.