*Inch locals at Magowna Cross on Tuesday. Photograph: John Mangan

JUNIOR MINISTER, Joe O’Brien (GP) has told Inch residents a pause on the addition of extra asylum seekers to Magowna House will be maintained if locals agree to enter a mediation process.

In his second visit to Co Clare to deal specifically with the arrival of over thirty male asylum seekers to Magowna House in Inch, Minister of State for Community Development, Integration and Charities, Joe O’Brien met with representatives of a community group from Inch.

During the meeting on Thursday afternoon, the Junior Minister offered the Inch delegation a structured and agreed mediation process that would include Inch locals and residents of Magowna House, provided both parties accepted this.

Inch locals will revert to a meeting of the community with this proposal and have until Sunday to inform the Junior Minister of their decision.

If this offer is agreed to, no further international protection applicants will be sent to Magowna House while the mediation process is ongoing.

At the first meeting held with Inch locals at The Temple Gate Hotel and the asylum seekers at Magowna House, issues raised included transport connection, supports for the men in terms of occupation and job prospects, work permit processing, wi-fi connection and the local communities understanding of how Magowna House operates.

Employment has been secured by some of the men, Thursday’s meeting was informed, others have job opportunities lined up and agreement to volunteer with local organisations has also been issued.

Not all work permit applications have been finalised for the men but the majority remain at the processing stage with officials in the Department confident that they have good employment prospects when the applications have been completed.

Groups such as Clare Immigrant Support Centre, Clare Local Development Company, Clare Volunteer Centre and Mid-West Simon have been visiting and available to the men on an ongoing basis and many links have been made.

Over a six day period last month, Inch locals had mounted blockades at Magowna Cross, Magowna House and Magowna Hill following the arrival of 34 male asylum seekers. The blockades were removed following the first meeting with the Junior Minister. For the past three weeks, locals have  continued to hold peaceful protests with Inch residents operating on a two hour rota where they have been based at Magowna Cross.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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