Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has written an open letter to the people of Caherciveen apologising over events surrounding the use of a direct provision centre in Caherciveen.
The centre at the Skellig Star has been a source of conflict and concern in recent weeks because of the manner in which people were relocated to it from Dublin, and a subsequent outbreak of COVID-19 among residents and staff.
Minister Flanagan says he regrets the extent to which his actions and the actions of his Junior Minister David Stanton fuelled upset, anger and suspicion over the opening of the centre.
He says that the decision was taken in the face of a pandemic when new centres were needed quickly.
Minister Flanagan says that there have been suggestions that they were aware that an asylum seeker had been transferred to Caherciveen from a Dublin hotel where the virus was known to be present.
He says that he wishes to categorically deny this, and that his department were never told of the case.
Minister Flanagan says that infection control measures are in place at the centre. He rejects calls for the centre’s closure, saying a 12-month contract is in place.
Deputy Danny Healy-Rae says the Minister’s apology is not enough.