Justice Minister ignorant to concerns of Lisbrook residents, says senator

The Minister of Justice has been slammed for backing the decision of the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA ) to close a Galway asylum accommodation centre with Sinn Fein senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh accusing him of being “absolutely ignorant to the fears and concerns of residents”.

Despite widespread condemnation and the tireless efforts of campaigners and local representatives Minister Alan Shatter hammered the final nail in the coffin yesterday by announcing the RIA’s decision should stand and that the transfers of more than 270 asylum seekers, many families with school going children, will begin with immediate effect.

A number of campaigns have been running since it was first announced in early September that the RIA had sent letters to residents of Lisbrook House - formerly known as the Ibis Hotel and located off Bothar na dTreabh - informing them of the planned closure. However there was much criticism as to the manner of the notifications and also concern expressed for the effect it will have on the children who have already started a new school year. Just as residents expected the first of the transfers to begin Minister Shatter postponed the relocation pending a review of the RIA decision.

However hope turned to dismay yesterday after it was confirmed the closure is to go ahead without delay. Minister Shatter gave assurances that all steps will be taken to minimise the disruption caused and to ensure that families with school going children will be accommodated as much as possible.

These assurances have done little to allay the concerns of long-time campaigner Senator Ó Clochartaigh who has described the decision as “shocking and unexpected”. He explained that although a delegation from Lisbrook House pleaded their case at Leinster House he and other representatives have struggled to “pin down” the Minister for a meeting.

The Minister of Justice has been slammed for backing the decision of the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA ) to close a Galway asylum accommodation centre with Sinn Fein senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh accusing him of being “absolutely ignorant to the fears and concerns of residents”.

Despite widespread condemnation and the tireless efforts of campaigners and local representatives Minister Alan Shatter hammered the final nail in the coffin yesterday by announcing the RIA’s decision should stand and that the transfers of more than 270 asylum seekers, many families with school going children, will begin with immediate effect.

A number of campaigns have been running since it was first announced in early September that the RIA had sent letters to residents of Lisbrook House - formerly known as the Ibis Hotel and located off Bothar na dTreabh - informing them of the planned closure. However there was much criticism as to the manner of the notifications and also concern expressed for the effect it will have on the children who have already started a new school year. Just as residents expected the first of the transfers to begin Minister Shatter postponed the relocation pending a review of the RIA decision.

However hope turned to dismay yesterday after it was confirmed the closure is to go ahead without delay. Minister Shatter gave assurances that all steps will be taken to minimise the disruption caused and to ensure that families with school going children will be accommodated as much as possible.

These assurances have done little to allay the concerns of long-time campaigner Senator Ó Clochartaigh who has described the decision as “shocking and unexpected”. He explained that although a delegation from Lisbrook House pleaded their case at Leinster House he and other representatives have struggled to “pin down” the Minister for a meeting.

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