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Thursday, 11th April 2024

Refugee contract at D Hotel must not last a day longer than 2 years –O’Dowd

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Aontú candidate for Drogheda Urban, Michael O’Dowd, is urging the government not to renew the two-year lease that allows the d Hotel to serve as a refugee centre, saying it is vital that the contract does not extend for a single day past that.

“Opposing the lease renewal is a stance I take not from a lack of empathy for refugees but from a responsibility to our town's future prosperity” O’Dowd said. “Tour operators, vital to our tourism sector's health, depend on a 12-month planning window to arrange accommodations, tours, and activities. An early decision concerning the d Hotel is vital for these efforts”.

O’Dowd pointed out that the drawbacks of not having a large hotel in the town are becoming apparent.

He cited local industries and the Lourdes hospital having to put key external personnel, temporary staff and consultants into out-of-town locations, golf clubs receiving cancellations from golf societies that had planned trips because now they have nowhere to stay and locals who live abroad struggling to get accommodation for their annual trips home.

O’Dowd said that he had organised a walking tour of the town recently for 40 people from North America who were interested in the cultural and historical heritage of the town but couldn’t stay due to the lack of accommodation.

“Making it clear from the start that the contract with the D hotel is a temporary one provides refugees with the certainty they need and allows the hotel's owners sufficient time to transition the facility back to serving tourists” O’Dowd said. “This transition is key to ensuring Drogheda is ready to welcome visitors and celebrate our town's rich cultural tapestry.

“I am committed to working with all stakeholders to find a balanced approach that supports both our refugee community and the economic and cultural vitality of Drogheda. My goal is to foster a plan that respects our town's history while paving the way for a prosperous and inclusive future.”

 

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