Alarm sounded over risk of street homelessness among asylum seekers

Alarm sounded over risk of street homelessness among asylum seekers

Nick Henderson

Immediate action is necessary to prevent street homelessness of asylum seekers arriving in Ireland, the government has been told.

The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) has sent a paper to ministers following news early this week that the government would not be able to accommodation some new international protection applicants and that 32 people had been refused accommodation.

Ireland has an obligation, under domestic and EU law, to provide reception conditions to an international protection applicant where they do not have sufficient means to support themselves, including housing, food and associated benefits.

The IRC believes that protection applicants are at risk of harm and violence if they have to sleep rough, particularly in the context of the riots on 23 November and cold winter weather.

In the paper, IRC provides recommendations and ideas to source emergency accommodation. The paper also recommendations actions that could be taken, if people are not accommodated on arrival, to alleviate harm.

Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said: “In April the High Court declared that the State’s failure to provide accommodation, food and basic hygiene facilities to a newly arrived international protection applicant was unlawful and breached the applicant’s rights.

“In addition to the prospect of our domestic and international legal obligations being breached again, we are gravely concerned that the combination of the Dublin riots, cold weather and stretched homeless services is a perfect storm and people would be a heightened risk of harm on the streets.”

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