St Peter's in Castlepollard.

St Peter's not considered as accommodation for IP applicants

St Peter's in Castlepollard has not been “examined nor considered” as a location to accommodate asylum seekers or refugees, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has said.

Responding to a query by the Westmeath Examiner about the possibility of St Peter's being used to house International Protection (IP) applicants, the department says that the former mother and baby home is not on their radar.

“IPAS (International Protection Accommodation Services) has not examined nor considered this property for use. A detailed assessment must take place before any property can be deemed suitable as accommodation for international protection applicants. IPAS will respond to all offers of accommodation made in due course.”

There had been widespread speculation locally that St Peter's was going to be used to house IP applicants.

Meanwhile, earlier this week the department confirmed that 120 IP applicants will “shortly” be housed in the tents that have been erected in Columb Barracks.

In an open later published last Friday, the Columb Barracks Restoration and Regeneration Committee criticised the government for its lack of communication with the 30 community and sporting groups based in the barracks ahead of the arrival of the IP applicants.

They also said that “Irish homeless” should be accommodated in the barracks alongside the new arrivals.

“In the barracks we fear our new visitors will outnumber our clients, creating imbalance and ultimately, inequality. To alleviate this inequality and discrimination against our own population, we would advise that homeless Irish would be homed alongside our visitors. This would also provide a good opportunity for integration and education about Irish culture," the CBRRC said.