Mixed views on resettlement of Syrians in Roscommon town

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The resettlement of families fleeing war in Syria has stirred up disagreement in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon.

County councillors held a meeting yesterday about the decision to house potentially up to 200 Syrians in a hotel in Ballaghaderreen.

Fine Gael senator Maura Hopkins, a Ballaghaderreen native, wants a number of questions answered about the resettlement plans.

“You’re talking about 250 people coming in,” she said. “Ballaghaderreen has a population of just under 2,000. That’s one in eight people when this happens.

“We need to know what extra resources will be put in place in order to be convinced that these people are properly supported.”

Councillors are also irked by the fact the arrival of the Syrian families was allegedly only communicated by email on Thursday by the Department of Justice.

An impromptu meeting of the council was arranged so department officials could brief local representatives.

Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy hit out at the Government and Department of Justice for their “appalling lack of consultation” over the decision to house the Syrian refugees in the former Abbeyfield Hotel.

He said employment options for the wider community would also have to be considered.

“Much of the hopes and plans around developing Ballaghaderreen’s tourism potential were linked into this four-star hotel in the town which includes a swimming pool as a tourist destination and now such tourism potential has been dashed,” he said.


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