Marion Landers, Martina Walsh, Liaison Officer for Bridgewater House and Bridgewater House resident Andleeb meet Santa at the centre before Christmas.
Bridgewater House in Carrick-on-Suir town centre has re-opened as a residential centre for people seeking asylum in Ireland and currently accommodates 112 people from Eastern Europe and Africa.
Asylum seekers and their children based at the former Mercy Convent and boarding school complex off Main Street were visited by Santa just before Christmas. They were delighted with the hospitality shown to them. The children received presents and had their photos taken with Santa.
Bridgewater House operated as a "direct provision" centre for asylum seekers and refugees for 15 years before its closure in 2016. At the time, the Department of Justice cited a fall in the number of asylum seekers entering the country as the reason for Bridgewater House's closure.
It re-opened its doors as a residential centre for refugees and asylum seekers on November 24 last. Its residents include asylum seekers, both adults and children, from Albania, Nigeria, Pakistan, The Congo and South Africa.
The property is owned by Millstreet Equestrian Services Ltd., a company run by Cork entrepreneurs Noel C Duggan and his brother Thomas Anthony Duggan. It is leased to the Department of Justice & Equality.
Martina Cronin, Community Liaison representative for Bridgewater House said it was decided to re-open Bridgewater House as other residential centres for asylum seekers around the country were reaching capacity. Alongside this, the shortage of housing nationwide has led to in a delay in people granted asylum in Ireland being able to move out of direct provision centres to permanent accommodation in houses and apartments.
She said the return of asylum seekers to Carrick-on-Suir will greatly benefit businesses in the form of regular orders for food and related services from Bridgewater House.