It is understood that plans by the Department of Justice to house asylum seekers in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim have been put on hold.

Community representatives met Minister of State David Stanton and Department officials yesterday afternoon.

They say the minister has agreed to pause the department's plans in relation to the provision of an asylum centre in the town.

The Ballinamore Community Group began a continuous protest outside an apartment complex in the town last Monday in opposition to plans to accommodate 130 asylum seekers there.

The group says it has no issue with the asylum seekers and has welcomed them to the town previously, but in this case the number involved is out of proportion and would increase the population of the town by 15% overnight.

A statement issued by the group last night described the meeting in Government Buildings as robust and positive.

It states: "The minister having heard the serious and justified concerns as communicated to him now intends to liaise further with his Department/officials in the coming days and, following that, to communicate with representatives of the community before anything further arises."

Spokesman Gordon Hughes said: "The minister gave an unequivocal commitment to the representatives that nothing further will be progressed while he now considers the options open to him.

"The peaceful silent demonstration which has been ongoing, will continue at the site until such time as this situation has been fully resolved."

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Today, the Department of Justice issued a statement that Minister Stanton will "reflect" on the issues raised and he was looking forward to further discussions taking place.

The statement said: "Minister Stanton welcomed the opportunity to have an exchange of views with elected and community representatives from Ballinamore yesterday.

"He will reflect on issues discussed and is looking forward to further dialogue taking place."

Yesterday, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said Minister Stanton held "constructive meetings" with representatives from Ballinamore and Borrisokane, Co Tipperary.

Concerns have also been raised in Borrisokane over plans to house asylum seekers in the town.

Mr Flanagan said meetings between the Government and public representatives are important because they are community leaders.