Inch hotel blockade lifted with talks planned before further transfers of asylum seekers

Round-the-clock demonstration to continue on the Magowna Road but not directly outside the Magowna House Hotel

Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development Joe O'Brien talks to asylum seekers at the Magowna House Hotel outside Inch in Co Clare last week

More talks will take place between protesters and the Government before any further transfers of asylum seekers to Magowna House Hotel, Co Clare, where a blockade was lifted on Sunday after almost a week.

Government sources said an agreement was struck during Minister of State Joe O’Brien’s visit to the hotel last week, which included a meeting with a delegation of protesters.

While no undertaking has been given to permanently suspend transfers, the intention is that the parties continue a dialogue during the coming weeks and reconvene talks in four weeks.

Despite the end of the blockade, the round-the-clock protest will continue on the Magowna Road, but not directly outside the accommodation centre. “We remain convinced that this location is totally unsuitable for the purpose of asylum-seeker accommodation,” said a spokesman for Inch Community Group.


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The decision by local residents to lift the blockade was welcomed by Mr O’Brien.

Local residents had been protesting outside Magowna House since last Monday after a group of 33 applicants for international protection were brought to stay in the hotel building.

Elsewhere, President Michael D Higgins has said Ireland has a “moral and ethical responsibility” to welcome and support those in need from around the world. Mr Higgins spoke at the workhouse in Milford as part of National Famine Memorial Day.

A tractor at the entrance to asylum seeker accommodation at the Magowna House Hotel in Inch, Co Clare last week. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

In his address, the President said we must honour our commitments to those who have been displaced and seek asylum in Ireland.

“We have a moral and ethical responsibility to support our global family in dire need, to help with sustainable solutions to ending all famines, wherever they occur on our shared, vulnerable planet, and to provide a decisive response to climate change which itself is leading to an increased incidence of famines globally,” he said.

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“The UN migration agency believes that two people die in the Sahara for every one who drowns at sea” trying to reach Europe.

“The parallels with An Gorta Mór and the mass displacement it caused 175 years ago must not be lost on us. We have a moral duty and a great opportunity to continue to honour our commitments to those vulnerable and displaced who seek asylum and refuge on our shores.”

More than one million people died and a further two million people emigrated from Ireland during the Famine years from 1845 to 1852.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist