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Thursday 30 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Google Maps Citywest Hotel has been closed as accommodation for asylum seekers.

New asylum accommodation might not be ready for five weeks, as charities prepare for influx

The news comes amid reports of people being forced into sleeping on the streets upon entering Ireland.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 25th 2023, 1:30 PM

IT MAY TAKE up to “four to five weeks” before the government can provide new accommodation for asylum seekers.

In the meantime, Minister for Integration Joe O’Brien said they are looking at setting up rest centres “around the country” amid reports of people being forced into sleeping on the streets upon entering Ireland.

It comes following the pausing of CityWest Transit Hub as emergency shelter for new International Protection adult applicants, though the facility remains operational for processing.

The news has been blasted by one charity as a sign of a “lack of planning and coordination” by the government in its response.

O’Brien told Prime Time on RTÉ last night that his department is trying source new accommodation for people entering the country.

“As I speak my officials in the department are trying to locate additional accommodation. We’re trying to stand up ‘rest centres’ around the country as well to deal with the next few weeks.” the Dublin Fingal TD said.

We do have line of sight on more international projection accommodation – however, it is four to five weeks away. And in those four to five weeks we’re going to try and stand up rest centres to make sure people have shelter.

Louisa Santoro, who leads the Dublin 8 Mendicity Institution, said she was alarmed by discussion of no accommodation being available for at least four weeks, which “can be hugely impactful”.

The group provides a meal service and daytime shelter with access to hygiene and phone charging facilities for people experiencing homelessness.

“I think, like anything else, we’ve seen in the last few months that planning, information and coordination are absolutely critical.

“And certainly even as an immediate response, if it isn’t the perfect or ideal or long-term response, there needs to be a response and leaving people in the airport just can’t happen,” Santoro said.

Food parcels 

Homelessness services in Dublin have been preparing in recent days for the fallout of the closure of the CityWest centre to new arrivals in the country.

Alan Bailey, the manager of the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin city, today told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland: “Once we received the advice from the government that there may be an influx we’ve been getting ready for it, we were here this morning at 6am to get ready in case we have an influx of the people who arrived yesterday.”

Speaking to The Journal this afternoon, Bailey said that while the centre is busy there has not been a huge increase in numbers, describing it as a “typical” day.

“We were told to prepare for an influx but that hasn’t happened today. It could be Friday or so by the time we see the impact of [CityWest closing],” he said.

The centre handed out over 1,100 food parcels this morning and expects to give lunch to over 500 people – a mix of Irish and non-nationals – this afternoon.

Bailey said the centre is still making preparations for an increase in the number of people seeking food in the coming days.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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