2 days in and this issue ain’t going to go away. Achill protests continue and the taxpayer foots the bill one way or the other.
Questions on immigration, direct provision set to arise for candidates
The Pollagh protest on Achill Island will end in the middle of the Election 2020 campaign.
The three-month “vigil” outside the Achill Head Hotel, has been held in opposition to the establishment of emergency accommodation for asylum seekers.
It all began when members of the small community discovered that contracts had been signed between the Department of Justice and the hotel owner for emergency accommodation.
The initial plan was that 38 men would be accommodated, but following resistance by locals, the Department of Justice suggested that 13 “vulnerable” women would be accommodated instead.
A brief visit by three members of the department did not allay concerns that had been expressed by members of the community. If anything, it heightened them.
It resulted in the compilation of a roster ensuring that members of the community were outside the hotel, 24 hours, seven days a week for the duration of the three-month contract.
It has been an expensive lesson for the Department of Justice and by extension, the taxpayer. By the end of this month, almost €350,000 will have been paid by the department to the Achill Head Hotel.
Achill is just one example of how direct provision and emergency accommodation have come into the spotlight in recent months.