Gardai in Wicklow Town are investigating a disturbance at a Direct Provision Centre on Thursday afternoon.
Two men were arrested following an altercation which started in the former Grand Hotel and spilled out onto the street.
Members of the public witnessed the fracas, as residents of the centre came out of the hotel and continued fighting on Wentworth place.
Gardai were quick to the scene and two men were taken to Wicklow Garda Station.
Speaking at a Joint Policing Committee meeting on Thursday evening Deputy John Brady said “The Direct Provision Centre in Wicklow had been upgraded from a level 2 grade to a level 1 grade meaning the centre should now only house single men and woman”.
This had taken place in September where the number of residents had increased from 111 from when the centre opened in 2018 to 255 at present.
15 families still remain in the hotel.
Deputy Brady said he had been in contact with the Minister as to what works were carried out to increase the number of people in the centre as it was his understanding at 111 residents the centre was at full capacity.
The Minister’s reply was as follows:
The International Protection Procurement Service (IPPS) procures accommodation for IP applicants. From 24 February until September of this year, IPPS worked to facilitate the accommodation solutions for both IP applicants and circa 40,000 Ukrainian beneficiaries of temporary protection (BOTPs), an unprecedented volume of persons seeking refuge in Ireland.
The pressure to accommodate circa 53,000 people since the start of 2022 has led to significant shortages particularly for the international protection cohort. Due to the unprecedented demand, and in order to meet the immediate and short term accommodation needs of this large increase in arrivals, varied accommodation options have been utilised throughout the country to help to house applicants on an emergency basis and to prevent homelessness.
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth published a Request for Tender in January 2022 for the provision of accommodation services and related services for international protection applicants to increase the Department’s capacity. The tender has an inbuilt flexibility to allow for re-advertisement to help address increased demand. Accommodation contracted under the Request for Tender process will provide independent living options in line with the National Standards.
Vesta Hotels Ltd entered the Grand Hotel in Co. Wicklow to this competition and were successful. After the awarding of a contract to a Tenderer, the Tenderer has up to 16 weeks to complete any mobilisation works identified in its tender.