Over 1,000 asylum seekers now without accommodation

Over 1,000 asylum seekers now without accommodation

Nick Henderson

More than 1,000 people seeking asylum in the State are without accommodation, according to new government figures which the Irish Refugee Council has described as indicative of an emerging humanitarian crisis.

The figures also show that very few people in that position are subsequently being accommodated, with only nine such people having been subsequently accommodated since 2 February 2024.

The High Court previously ruled in April and December 2023, in cases brought by the Irish Refugee Council’s independent law centre, that Ireland is in breach of its obligations under Irish and European law by not providing reception conditions to protection applicants.

The Irish Refugee Council says it is aware of challenges in securing accommodation, but also believes that existing capacity is not being used, including 2,500 vacancies in the Ukrainian beneficiary of temporary protection (BOTP) system as of 24 January.

Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said: “This situation cannot be normalised. 1,010 people without accommodation is of deepest concern to us.

“Government response is completely inadequate and, as confirmed by High Court, there is a mandatory obligation to provide international protection applicants with basic needs including accommodation.

“We understand the difficult environment the Department of Children is working in to secure accommodation, but we are very concerned that accommodation capacity that does exist is not being used.

“It is hard not to conclude that this policy is an attempt to deter people from seeking international protection and that this situation is by choice and not inevitable.

“The passing of this milestone should give concern to all and spark action from all relevant government departments.”

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