Abbeyleix asylum centre to close

A HOST of families in Abbeyleix have to pull their children out of local schools following the closure of the asylum seekers accomodation centre next Monday, July 18.

A HOST of families in Abbeyleix have to pull their children out of local schools following the closure of the asylum seekers accomodation centre next Monday, July 18.

The 55 people, who are currently living at the Hibernian Hotal will be transferred to Tipperary and Cork. The Centre originally opened on July 2, 2001 and the contract runs out next Monday and is not being renewed.

A commercial company have been running the centre for the last ten years, and the Minister For Justice explained to Sean Fleming TD in the Dail last week, that the contract was not being renewed due to the declining number of asylum seekers.

“The contract is not being renewed by The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), not because of any unhappiness with the running of the centre but rather because of the falling numbers of asylum seekers and the need to keep costs to a minimum,” Minister Alan Shatter wrote last week.

But Deputy Fleming said the asylum seekers were concerned at having to move their children to different school.

“Some of the families have expressed concerns to me because their children are already in the local primary schools or Heywood. They are disappointed at having to move, but their accommodation was always just temporary while their applications for asylum were being assessed.

“At least the move is happening during the summer holidays and the children will be able to start fresh in their new schools in September,” he said.

“Some people have moved already to their new centres and the rest of the people will be moving during the week and over the weekend.”

The Centre had been originally contracted to RIA from July 2, 2001 to December 22, 2005. The centre closed ut re-opened again on July 24,2007.

Because of a decline in demand, the number of asylum accommodation centres is falling. Five closed in 2008, six centres closed in 2009, eight in 2010 and more are due to be downsized or closed this year.

There are currently 45 asylum seeker accommodation centres accommodating 5,800 residents across 18 counties. The Montague Hotel is one of these.