The Archbishop of Tuam has warned against people who "trade in hatred and fear" who may be exploiting "sensitive situations concerning vulnerable people".

Archbishop Michael Neary made the remarks after plans to house 13 women in a hotel in Achill, Co Mayo were put off due to ongoing protests at the site.

In a statement earlier this week the department said it made the move because "an ongoing protest remains in place outside the hotel".

Archbishop Neary said Ireland is moving from an era of austerity and recession to a more prosperous period and said Christians are "morally obliged to welcome the stranger".

He said we should be particularly alert to those who are experiencing "serious upheaval and a crisis of hope in their lives".

The Archbishop added that we also have a "moral obligation to serve the common good by preventing the exploitation of sensitive situations concerning vulnerable people by those who trade in hatred and fear."

He said most Irish families know the feelings of "fear and trepidation" that accompanies emigration, adding that this should be a model for generosity to others.

However, he added that it is important that the State engages in "full and transparent consultation with local people" when planning to house people in communities.

"Such preparations should go some way to allay fears and misunderstandings," he said.

The Government has been criticised for what is perceived as a lack of consultation in the process.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland yesterday, James McNamara of the Welcome Committee on Achill Island said there was a  "justifiable sense of anger" about the level of consultation with the island community when plans to house the women there emerged. 

Earlier in the week Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh, who is based in Belmullet, said there has been a "complete vacuum of information" since the situation came to light last week.