Can hold up to 21 people
6th July 2011: New detention centre for illegal immigrants has come up in Co Antrim. It will keep in custody up to 21 people, for about a week before they are removed from the UK. The UK Border Agency can keep up to 3,400 people in detention across the UK at any one time.
The strategic director at the UK Border Agency, David Wood said that a tough system of enforcement and exclusion is one of the cornerstones of an effective immigration system.
The new facility in Northern Ireland is an addition to the UK Border Agency’s estate. The first detainees will be lodged into Larne House on 11 July.
Last autumn, when Larne Borough Council was consulted on planning permission for the centre, some residents expressed concern about the impact of high fences and bright lighting. Some changes were made to the development following the council’s response.
Patricia McNeill, vice chair of Larne District Policing Partnership, said that it was a good news day for Larne. It had created jobs through building work.
She added that it was a very good facility. The fact that people will be held in the centre rather than in police cells is good for them. The immigrants are not prisoners; they just have to be returned to their countries of residence.
McNeill said money had been generated for the PSNI from the decision to turn a custody suite at Larne police station into the new detention centre and they were lobbying for the money to be returned to the area.