‘This is for our town’: Ballina locals protest against plans to house families seeking international protection

The Twin Trees Hotel & Leisure Club has offered 33 bedrooms to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for accommodation

Several hundred people joined a protest in Ballina on Saturday objecting to plans to house families seeking international protection.

In a statement earlier this week, the Twin Trees Hotel & Leisure Club explained it had offered 33 bedrooms to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to accommodate families seeking international protection.

However, management stressed that 35 rooms will remain open to the tourism market.

“Our plan is to elevate the hotel to a lifestyle leisure resort for the area, bringing a new premium standard of hospitality for the north Mayo region”, management said in a Facebook posting.


A ‘silent rally’ was held through the town centre to object to these plans which include accommodating 120 people.

The group gathered at a trailer outside the hotel which is earmarked for IPAS accommodation.

Speaker Marie Loftus said she prided herself on not discriminating against anyone.

“This locality is part of me”, she continued. “I have two children, a nine-year old and a seven-year old, and I am trying to ensure they grow up with a similar freedom and ease that was afforded to me as a child but also that they go forward into the world with a sense of pride and admiration for their hometown.

“This is not a discussion of race or ethnicity. This is a discussion of cold, hard facts. No matter how you dress it up we do not have the facilities or services to adequately provide for Irish people and we certainly do not have the additional resources to provide for the large number of international protection applicants”.

One of the activists, Alan Flannery called for total quietness along the parade route.

“This is sombre, not a joyous occasion. This is for our town and we have to make sure we look after it,” he said.

Although local public representatives attended a previous public meeting on the issue, none turned up for today’s rally.

During the week, councillors who are members of Ballina Municipal District voted that a letter be sent to the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Integration asking that the plan to house migrants in the hotel be abandoned.

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