[Sinn Fein]

25 April 2000

Deputy mayor slams `flotel' plan for Sligo Harbour

The deputy mayor of Sligo, Sinn Fein Alderman Seán MacManus, has slammed Government proposals to dock a so-called `flotel' in Sligo Harbour to house refugees and asylum seekers. Alderman MacManus is a member of the Sligo Harbour Board.

Alderman MacManus was speaking after he revealed that the Government has been in contact with Sligo Harbour Board about the possibility of a `flotel' in Sligo Bay. He said:

``The Government should immediately withdraw any plans it has for putting a `flotel' in Sligo Harbour. These `flotels' - which will effectively be prison ships - are not a solution to the refugee housing crisis. They are indicative of the failure of the Government to deal properly with this issue. Housing refugees in such a manner will create more problems than it will solve. It is clearly an inhumane way to treat people who are refugees. Refugees are human beings and they deserve to be treated with some respect like the rest of us.'' Alderman MacManus added:

``There would, quite rightly, be an uproar from animal rights groups if a ship full of cattle were to be moored out in Sligo Bay for up to two years. Yet this is what the Government now proposes to do with other human beings, a situation that will create major health and safety problems for those living and working aboard such a prison ship.'' ENDS

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