Residents in Ballinamore, County Leitrim have indicated their support for finding an “appropriate accommodation solution” for asylum seekers in the town.
A group representing residents met with the Junior Minister for Immigration and Integration David Stanton today.
Plans for a Direct Provision centre remain “paused” following protests outside an apartment complex in the town last month.
Up to 130 asylum seekers were originally due to be housed in apartments in the town by the end of this month.
Both the residents group and the Department of Justice have described today’s meeting as “constructive and open” and agreed to meet again in the coming days.
Ballinamore campaigner Gordon Hughes said local residents are committed to finding a solution to the dispute.
“We met with Minister Stanton and his officials again today and we certainly appreciate him meeting us again at short notice,” he said.
“We obviously had further discussion in relation to the meeting we held last week and I think it is fair to say that we are trying to find an appropriate accommodation solution for all parties.”
In a statement, the Department of Justice said: “The group has articulated the community’s support for asylum seekers and to finding an appropriate accommodation solution in their town and the Minister thanked the community representatives for their continued engagement.”
When plans to house asylum seekers in the apartment complex originally came to light, some locals raised concern over the number of people it would bring and the potential impact on the town's services.
That led to 24-hour protests outside the proposed complex.
Main image shows people in Ballinamore, County Leitrim protesting against plans to open a Direct Provision centre for 130 asylum seekers, 31-10-2019. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews