The Shannon Key West Hotel at Rooskey which has been earmarked by the Department of Justice as a potential direct provision centre to be used to accommodate 80 asylum-seekers. The plans have hit another major obstacle as a referral question, or appeal, has been made to An Bord Pleanála against the change of use of the Shannon Key West Hotel to accommodate asylum-seekers.
An Bord Pleanala have ruled that the appeal should be looked into further, and have begun adjudicating on the matter. The outcome won’t be known until July at the earliest, and the 18-week delay, which may be longer, might deter the Department from moving ahead with the plans.
Last November, the Department of Justice notified Leitrim County Council chief executive, Lar Power, that it intended to open an direct provision centre for 80 asylum-seekers at the property. As part of the usual due dilligence in cisrumstances such as these, the department asked the local authority to confirmation that the hotel had no planning or fire safety issues. But it is now evident that a potential planning issue has arisen.
On January 16th, a question arose as to whether turning the hotel into a centre for asylum-seekers was, or was not, exempted development. This question was referred to the council by Sinead Flaherty, of Knocknacrory, Rooskey. On February 12th, the local authority concluded it was exempted development. It cited Section 3 of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2018, which it said states that change of use of a hotel for accommodating asylum-seekers or refugees is exempted development.
However, well-known architect Liam Madden, of Convent Road, Longford town, acting for Ms Flaherty, has referred the matter to An Bord Pleanála. Mr Madden wouldn’t elaborate on his referral but the planning appeals board did declare the appeal to be valid on Friday last, February 20th. A decision on the case won’t be made for at least 18 weeks.
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