*Photograph: Joe Buckley
OFFICIALS in the Department of Integration have scrapped plans to use a unit in the Shannon Industrial Estate for housing asylum seekers.

Minister of State for Integration, Joe O’Brien (GP) confirmed to Clare TD, Michael McNamara (IND) on Friday that the Department had opted against using the facility.

In February of last year, The Clare Echo reported that an approximate 300 asylum seekers were set to be accommodated at a State owned property in the Shannon Industrial Estate, this was later confirmed by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Last July, the Concerned Shannon Residents Group had circulated plans that designs were being prepared for Unit 153 in the Shannon Free Zones so that it could accommodate up to 600 international protection applicants with up to 70 bedrooms on the ground floor.

Soon after this the Department had said the facility would not come into use until 2024 at the earliest with work to be undertaken on making the former factory fit for use in accommodation purposes.

Mixed feelings had been voiced locally regarding the plans with one demonstration  in Shannon Town Park turning into a very tense affair.

Elected representatives such as Clare TD, Violet-Anne Wynne (IND) had been critical of Government with the vacuum of information around the use of the unit.

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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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