Ballinamore Community Group to meet Minister this week - Martin Kenny TD
A meeting will take place on Thursday of this week, in Leinster House Dublin, with community and political representatives from Ballinamore Co Leitrim and Minister David Stanton along with Government officials.
The meeting will discuss concerns for services in Ballinamore, arising from the provision of asylum seeker accommodation in the town.
Sinn Féin TD for the area Deputy Martin Kenny said:
“There was a request at a meeting in Ballinamore last Wednesday night that Department of Justice Officials would meet representatives from Ballinamore to bring clarity to the recent developments.
"I spoke with Minister David Stanton the next day, about people’s genuine concerns and the request for a meeting.
"He agreed to set up that meeting and that as Minister with responsibility for international protection, he would like to attend himself.
"I have since been contacted by an official who told me that the meeting is planned for this coming Thursday and will take place in Leinster House.
"The Government officials, led by the Minister, will be from Justice, Education and the HSE, to deal with concerns about resources and pressure on services, arising from the provision of asylum seeker accommodation in the town.
“I understand that official invitations from the Ministers office, will be sent out on Monday morning, to Ballinamore Area Community Council, elected Councillors in the Ballinamore area and Oireachtas members for Sligo Leitrim.
"I expect that some clarity will be forthcoming from the Government on the number of families and arrangements with schools and childcare facilities etc.
"There was a desire expressed at the Wednesday night meeting, that these families would come on a phased basis and I have been assured that that will be discussed.
"I have also been made aware of a €50,000 grant to assist with community facilities and integration of the new people into the area.”
“There has been much concern about lack of consultation by the Dept of Justice with the local community around this new accommodation centre and this can also be addressed, with the Dept officials responsible at this meeting.
"For years now, there has been widespread criticism of the direct provision model of dealing with asylum seekers and its many failures, including the absence of proper consultation.
The Dept of Justice also have a programme to set up a ‘Friends of the Centre’ group to support integration and friendship opportunities between new and established residents.
"Similar Groups operate successfully in the other 38 accommodation centres and they encourage residents to get involved with this.”