Fine Gael Minister, Andrew Doyle has expressed his disappointment at the proposed closure of the The Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town so it may be used as a direct provision centre.
Speaking on the proposal, Minister Doyle outlined: “I only became aware of this issue last week when I received an invitation inviting me to a meeting to discuss this matter.
“From the information I have received to date, this is a commercial decision by the owners of the Grand Hotel who actively sought approval to use the hotel as a direct provision centre.
“From the perspective of tourism and the recently launched Wicklow Tourism Strategy, this proposal will have a negative impact on tourism in Wicklow Town and surrounding areas.
“Wicklow County Council and numerous local community groups in the town have worked tirelessly to encourage tourists to Wicklow to boost job creation and improve the local economy.
“The Grand Hotel is the only hotel in Wicklow town and it plays a vital role in the area providing essential accommodation for tourists in Wicklow as well has hosting many community events.
“I am hugely disappointed that there was no apparent public consultation with Wicklow County Council, Wicklow residents or indeed with elected representatives. I am concerned that the provision of associated services, including schools, GP and health services has not been adequately taken in to account,” Minster Doyle added.
“I have expressed my concerns surrounding this proposal with Minister Charlie Flanagan, Minister of State David Stanton as well as senior officials in the Department of Justice.
“In particular, I have outlined my concerns regarding the assessment process fo