- 03 Feb 23
In the first 15 days of 2023 alone, more than 1,500 people have arrived in Ireland seeking shelter and safety.
Integration Minister Roderic O'Gorman has pleaded with his Government colleagues to find any available building to help house asylum seekers and refugees.
In a letter seen by RTÉ, the Green Party TD urged TDs to locate spaces anywhere in the country, with large sports halls where mattresses and sleeping bags could be set up seen as a priority.
The letter also called for conference facilities, art centres, student centres, and any larger buildings that are deemed safe and compliant with fire regulations.
The news comes after Columbs Barracks in Mullingar, Co Westmeath is said to be used for temporary refugee accommodation, with plans for 15 tents on the site of the former army barracks.
The Department of Integration has confirmed that Columb Barracks will be used to accommodate 120 men.
Those seeking international protection here are being told they could be waiting up to four days to hear if accommodation becomes available, as the crisis reaches the worst point “ever seen”.
The Department for Integration said it can no longer provide emergency accommodation to International Protection Applicants (IPAs), as Citywest has reached capacity.
Gardaí are also conducting an investigation into a second anti-refugee assault in Dublin this week.
There has been criticism of Pat Kenny's Newstalk radio show, which addressed those arriving without documents or falsified documents in a way many claimed would stoke far-right narratives.
Some of the reasons why asylum seekers would arrive without documentation are if they cannot obtain travel documents from their government or if they literally do not have any.
They also may have destroyed documents for fear of being sent home where their life is in danger. They may not have time or would never be eligible for a visa, therefore they obtain fake documents - which are then destroyed or taken back by handlers.
Read the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees @PatKennyNT. You might wish to encourage your listeners to do the same. There is no visa anywhere in the world for travelling for the purpose of seeking asylum. Seeking asylum, with or without a travel document, is lawful. https://t.co/Xl0v2ZJGU1 pic.twitter.com/4mJL3s2pB2
— MASI - Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (@masi_asylum) February 2, 2023
Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre, chief executive Fiona Hurley, told The Irish Examiner that the accommodation crisis and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers was a “deep failing to reach this point”.
"These are some of the worst conditions that we have ever seen for international protection applicants coming to Ireland. It is something that would have been unimaginable even a year ago that we would be openly stating that people would be coming and being on the streets."
Ms Hurley acknowledged the “enormous pressure” the Government is under, but referred back to international legislative requirements.
“The state has a legal obligation to provide accommodation for people who are claiming international protection, so we are currently in breach of that obligation by turning people away.”
Those without accommodation are also restricted in terms of trying to access homeless services.
Although hopeful that further accommodation will become available, Ms Hurley called for temporary measures to be put in place.
“Otherwise, I think we are going to see a lot of people on our streets, and that’s exceptionally dangerous.”
MASI also criticised the government's handling of the situation last week, in light of attacks against migrants in Ashtown.
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 01 Feb 23