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25 May 2022

Concern over Summer tourism and lack of accommodation

Lough Allen Hotell

Lough Allen Hotel, Drumshanbo his accommodating more than 200 Ukranians

Leitrim Sinn Féin Deputy Martin Kenny said there are some concerns over towns that depend on Summer tourism and the lack of accommodation due to the now available due to the arrival of Ukranian families.

Deputy Kenny, speaking in Dáil Eireann last week commended the Department on the work it has done. He said the staff are really helpful and sensible.

In my county, Leitrim, we have a hotel, Lough Allen Hotel, in Drumshanbo, which has been closed for a number of years, since Covid, and is now open and has more than 200 Ukrainian refugees there. I have been there and visited them. It is a tremendous wonder to see people from practically the other side of the world come there and integrate and get on so well.

"I spoke to the principal in the local secondary school as well. There are children preparing to go there. Some of them will wait until after the school holidays because we are so close to them now. A big effort is being made. However, I think the schools will need more assistance with all this because some of the children who come, naturally, will have difficulties with language, etc.

"Also, for some of them, there is autism and all the things we have in this country, which will come with them when they arrive. There are also elderly people who have various disabilities, conditions and other issues who will need medical assistance. That is one of the problems. Even in County Leitrim, with our low population, it is very hard to get a GP. That is one of the big issues that is coming up for an awful lot of the refugees. They cannot get a GP. They are being sent from pillar to post with no assistance. Particularly in an area where there is a hotel and a large concentration of refugees, some kind of medical service needs to be put in place to assist with that.

"In some areas there is a little tension or concern, perhaps in towns which, over the summer in particular, depend on tourism, with other businesses in the town also depending on tourists coming. Such areas now find that the hotels and other accommodations are not available for tourists.

"That will cause a little tension, so there needs to be due care and diligence around that to ensure that jobs and the possibility of business and commerce in those towns are not displaced. We just need to get that right if we can at all. So far, in fairness, there have been huge efforts and we are making great progress in getting it right."

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