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The CityWest Hotel Leah Farrell
Emergency Accommodation

Govt facing 'pinch-point' on asylum seeker accommodation

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said that modular housing would come on stream in the coming weeks.

LAST UPDATE | 2 Feb 2023

THERE IS CURRENTLY “no line of sight” for the Government to provide accommodation for asylum seekers.

Minister of State for Integration Joe O’Brien said that the State is currently facing a “pinch-point” over the lack of accommodation and that all Government departments need to work together to provide support.

“We really need all government departments, both national and local to pull out all the stops so that those who we can’t accommodate, we can at least give a bit of safety and a bit of shelter,” O’Brien said.

“We’re going through a pinch-point over the next couple of weeks, where we don’t have line of sight of new accommodation for International Protection applicants.

“So we do need all the arms of the State to roll together now  so we can keep people safe.”

Late last month, O’Brien said that it would take between four and five weeks before the Government would be in a position to provide new accommodation for asylum seekers.

He told reporters today that the CityWest Transit Hub, which has been used for emergency accommodation, remains paused for new refugees entering the country.

He said that some people who were initially refused accommodation have since been offered a place.

“We have been able to contact some people who were initially refused the combination and we have enough to offer them accommodation,” O’Brien said.

“But overall, still there are people out there who we haven’t been able to offer accommodation to unfortunately.”

However, Tánaiste Micheál Martin told the Dáil this afternoon that modular housing for refugees is due to come onstream in the coming weeks.

The Department of Integration has also confirmed plans to use the Columb Barracks for temporary refugee accommodation purposes.

The intention is that no person should have to stay at Columb Barracks for more than three weeks before being moved on to more suitable accommodation, the Department said. 

“We intend using the site for a maximum of 12 months,” it said. 

The use of the Barracks will initially involves the installation of 15 tents for a limited period to accommodate 120 single male International Protection Applicants (IPAs).

It is the Department’s intention that these tents will only be used for a period of eight weeks.

This is in response to the current challenge whereby adult International Protection Applicants are not offered accommodation due to lack of availability,” the Department said.  

While the tents are in use, the Department plans to procure and install Portakabins for more medium term use.

The Portakabins will accommodate both Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTP, or Ukrainian) and IP families.

“The Department is aware of a number of community, sporting and other groups currently using the site. This will not be affected and the accommodation area will be separate,” it said. 


On the ongoing anti-refugee protests taking place across the country, O’Brien said that there needed to be a distinction between people who have “legitimate questions” and those who are “engaging in intimidatory tactics”.

He said that he was worried about the situation but that Gardaí were currently monitoring the situation and they had taken actions in recent days.

However, he did say that the majority understood that Ireland has international obligations to people seeking asylum.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin