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Leitrim County Council Opposes Establishment of Asylum Centres, Heightening Local Debate

Carrick on Shannon: The dispute over the usage of the former hotel in Carrick on Shannon to accommodate refugees has escalated, with Leitrim County Council taking a firm stance against its conversion. Legal proceedings have been initiated, with the council contesting the hotel’s transformation into a refugee center. Following a significant protest by local residents expressing concerns about refugee accommodation, the matter has now landed in court.

In a related case, the decision to house 150 international protection applicants in a former hotel in Dromahair is also facing legal scrutiny. The hotel owner has taken legal action against the council, challenging the conversion and seeking the annulment of council decisions. Both cases have been transferred to the High Court’s Planning and Environment list, with a hearing scheduled for April before Justice Richard Humphreys, who specializes in planning matters.

The council has accused the owner, Dromaprop Limited, of undertaking unauthorised construction activities to repurpose the Abbey Manor Hotel into a refugee centre, contravening its original planning permission for tourism-related use. The council has deemed this activity unlawful.

In response, the hotel owners argue that they are entitled to provide temporary accommodation for displaced individuals or those seeking international protection. Their legal representation informed the court that full compliance with regulations was achieved in December following the council’s intervention. They contest the council’s decision to revoke the compliance certificate and pursue enforcement actions.

Meanwhile, an authorised person has appealed to the county council to prevent Dromaprop from undertaking illegal developments at the hotel. In an affidavit submitted to the court, the council’s senior planner, Bernard Green, acknowledged the housing challenges faced by refugees but emphasized the importance of adhering to legal procedures.

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