Rathdowney, Co Laois
Rooms are being booked at a guesthouse in a Laois town for asylum seekers to live in while waiting for space to open up in a direct provision centre.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told the Leinster Express a guesthouse in Rathdowney is being used to meet the demand for spaces in direct provision centres.
“The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) is currently booking a number of rooms at a guesthouse in Rathdowney on a short term, temporary basis until spaces become available in a centre.
“The premises is not a direct provision centre. The RIA is working actively to expand the number of centres available to meet demands and ensure Ireland adheres to its obligations,” the spokesperson said.
Direct provision is a means to meet the basic needs of food and shelter for asylum seekers while their claims for refugee status are being processed.
There are two direct provision centres in Laois at the former Montague Hotel in Emo housing around 200 people and the former Hibernian Hotel in Abbeyleix housing 60 people.
The centre opened in Abbeyleix last September. Between 55 and 60 asylum seekers, mostly made up of families, moved into the facility at the former Hibernian Hotel at Pembroke Terrace, Abbeyleix.
The Montague Hotel in Emo was opened in 2007 and is still in operation.
Residents live in the full board accommodation which includes light, heat and laundry services free of other charges, and are paid an allowance of €21.60 per person per week.
They may also qualify for other Social Welfare payments as determined by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.