Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed his concern at the failure of the Green Party Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderick O’Gorman, who is ultimately responsible for the welfare of the residents in the Grand Hotel, Wicklow Town, to respond as promised to a number of concerns which he had put forward, regarding the safety and welfare of residents at the hotel.
“We have a situation where residents of the Grand Hotel, Wicklow Town, are being kept in wholly unacceptable conditions.
I have raised the issue several times with Minister O’Gorman, yet I have yet to receive a reply outlining what action that the Minister intends to take to address the serious problems at the hotel.
Approval was given prior to Christmas to increase the capacity from 111 residents to 255. Resulting in residents being kept in cramped overcrowded conditions.
Wicklow County Fire Service had not been informed in advance of what was in effect a private agreement between the Grand Hotel and the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) to use the hotel for emergency accommodation. This is a serious oversight, potentially endangering the lives of hundreds of people.
Residents at the hotel also run the risk of not just Covid, but of TB, following an alleged outbreak at the hotel. With gross overcrowding, poor ventilation, and minimal washing facilities. I have been informed that there are only four showers available – one for every sixty odd people. These showers are in a portacabin in the carpark.
With four showers going flat out, and each resident taking a maximum of five minutes per shower, it would take almost five and half hours a day for all of the residents to shower. This is not acceptable. Particularly when they have to que outside in the middle of winter to gain access to the shower area.
I find it very frustrating that the Minister has yet to reply to me. This despite the fact that I both wrote to him, and spoke to him in person on this issue, where he assured me that his department would be in contact as soon as possible.
This is not acceptable. And while there is no doubt of the pressures that the Minister is under, we simply cannot allow this shameful treatment of human beings to be allowed to continue.
I believe that there is a role here for the Green Party Minister’s government colleagues here in Wicklow to intervene to inject urgency in this matter, before matters deteriorate even further.”