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(File photo) People in tents outside the International Protection Service offices in Dublin city centre. Alamy Stock Photo
INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION

Taoiseach says those who already have housing elsewhere should not come to Ireland to seek asylum

It has been 11 days since the Department of Integration announced the state had run out of accommodation for all new entrants to the county.

LAST UPDATE | 15 Dec 2023

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has advised that people who already have accommodation where they are, should not come to Ireland seeking international protection.

Speaking on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels this morning, Varadkar said: “We are aware of our international obligations, we’re not going to turn anybody away, but we can’t guarantee your accommodation, so if you’re coming from a place where you have accommodation already, we wouldn’t advise that you come to Ireland.”

It has been 11 days since the Department of Integration announced the state had run out of accommodation for all new entrants to the county and presented to the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS).

As of today, 257 eligible male International Protection Applicants have presented in Ireland since 4 December. Accommodation was offered to 28 of those after availability and vulnerability triage and 22 others were subsequently offered accommodation. 

A total of 207 of the applicants are still awaiting an offer of accommodation. 

The Department previosuly said while it would continue to prioritise accommodating families, it would be directing others to present to charitable day services in the country in order to receive clothing, sleeping bags and tents.

The Government has since introduced measures to increase the living expenses given to the cohort by €75, bringing the total to €113.80 per week.

“We are trying to source accommodation, we’re trying to do that all the time,” Varadkar told reporters this morning, adding that “nearly every country in western Europe has the same problem”. 

“Because of what’s happening in the world we’ve all seen an increase in the number of people arriving … into our country seeking international protection,” he said. 

“So we’re by no means unique in not being able to provide accommodation for everyone who arrives,” the Taoiseach said. 

“I would say to people who are coming to Ireland to seek international protection, of course we will process your application if you make one,” he said. 

“We are aware of our international obligations, we’re not going to turn anybody away, but we can’t guarantee your accommodation, so if you’re coming from a place where you have accommodation already, we wouldn’t advise that you come to Ireland.”

Irish Refugee Council 

The chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council, Nick Henderson, said earlier today that at least 25 people have presented to its offices since the state ran out of accommodation seeking support.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland today, Henderson said the people who are presenting to the council have voiced concerns over their safety and are increasingly running out of methods to stay safe on the streets in Dublin.

Henderson told the programme that over the last 18 months the group has seen the refugee population face a “very difficult” accommodation situation, that has been hampered by the state running out of available accommodation and the riots in Dublin three weeks ago.

He said that of the 25 people who’ve presented to them in the last 10 days, one of them had been chased and robbed of their shoes, while others have said they “feel unsafe” and have been moving around the city to stay safe and to avoid having their belongings stolen.

Henderson has said that the financial support package from the Government is not enough to justify the state breaching their own domestic and international obligations to house people presenting to the country seeking asylum.

Henderson said: “We don’t believe this is a lawful situation and we don’t believe that the package of support given to people is sufficient enough to meet people’s needs and certainly not to meet people’s safety.”

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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