Outside Columb Barracks this morning.

IP applicants still housed at Columb Barracks, says dept

Despite claims on social media that many of the IP applicants who have been staying at Columb Barracks since Friday had left, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth says that it will continue to use the facility to house asylum seekers.

In a statement to the Westmeath Examiner this morning, the department said that there are 53 IP applicants being accommodated in tents at the barracks, the same figure provided to the paper at the weekend.

The department also said that "given current pressures on the international protection accommodation", it "does not intend to end its use of the facility".

In the lead story in this week's Westmeath Examiner, local politicians condemned what Deputy Sorca Clarke described as the "thuggish actions" of some of the protesters outside the barracks gates at the weekend.