Gardai investigating fire at hotel earmarked for asylum seekers in Rooskey

More than 80 scheduled to occupy the premises.

Sligo News File.

A fire which damaged the Shannon Key West hotel at Rooskey is being investigated by Gardai. The building had been earmarked by the government as an accommodation centre for asylum seekers.

The cause of the blaze which broke out before 8 pm on Thursday has not yet been established.

It is understood the government proposed to house more than 80 asylum seekers at the premises, the second hotel to be used as a Direct Provision centre in county Roscommon. The Abbeyfield Hotel in Ballaghaderreen was contracted in 2017 to accommodate upwards of 240 Syrians and is now being mentioned as a location for a further 111 migrants from Lebanon.

Last year, the 39-room Rooskey-based building was the subject of a dispute in the High Court.

Recently a hotel in Donegal in which the government planned to accommodate 100 migrants was also damaged by fire days before the migrants were to have moved in.

Refugees.

Contrary to denials, accounts suggest that the number of refugees pouring into the country is at record levels. According to an informed source, centres are at present catering for a refugee population of about 7,000.

The asylum system is believed to be costing Irish taxpayers around €170 million a year and rising. Hotels converting premises to migrant reception centres are being compensated to the tune of millions of euros. The system is said to have accommodated some 60,000 asylum applicants in 2018.

Under measures announced by Charlie Flanagan, the Justice Minister, asylum seekers are now allowed to take up full employment in the State, a move which is expected to facilitate the employment of thousands of migrants. Migrants are also entitled to bring their relatives to live with them in Ireland.

As of now, it’s not known how many foreign migrants in the State are undocumented or illegal. Some have put the figure at several thousand.

Last month, Flanagan went on to commit Ireland to provisions of the UN Global Compact on migration, a new and highly controversial measure some countries argue will lead to increased immigration flows and erode the sovereignty of individual States over migration.

UN Conference

A UN Conference on immigration in Morocco which Flanagan attended before Christmas heard that some 30 countries, among them many EU States, flatly refused to endorse the pact.

The agreement or Compact is heavily backed by global banking and multi-national conglomerates. It identifies as priorities easement of border controls on the movement of migrants, basic services to economic migrants and ramping up of laws to make public criticism of migration a criminal offence. The Compact also discourages its signatories from funding organisations they consider to be racist.

Although represented before and at the Conference as non-binding,  it is being claimed that the pact is already de facto international law with the UN now discussing plans for a four-year check-up of pact endorsing countries, starting in 2022 to establish whether they are implementing the agreed policies or not.

Despite the apparent implications for the country, it doesn’t seem that the Compact has been agreed, even debated by the Dail.