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Capuchin Friary, Dublin St
emergency accomodation

Carlow premises earmarked for 50 male asylum seekers to be used instead for families, Dept says

Another protest outside the building was planned for this evening.

A BUILDING IN Carlow town earmarked for 50 male international protection applicants will now house families instead.

The 15-room Capuchin Friary on Dublin Street is the latest site of a protest over the housing of men in emergency accommodation.

In a statement, the Department of Integration said local representatives, including senators, TDs and councillors, were briefed on the details of the Dublin Street arrangement in advance. 

“Although it had initially been expected that the property would be used to house men, following a departmental meeting last night regarding the increasing number of families, and despite the ongoing acute shortage of accommodation for single males, it has been decided that the requirement to prioritise families must take precedence,” a spokesperson said.

“As the Capuchin Centre is available for immediate use, it will be used to address the needs of families. This is one of a number of premises that will change use as a result of this shortage.”

The Department described it as a a “nationwide urgent situation”, which “all counties” have been enlisted to help with.

“There have been over 190 accommodation locations utilised since January 2022 across 26 counties. These options must be considered to prevent homelessness for people with their families and children arriving seeking international protection.

“The Government is continuing to work intensively to source further accommodation and to follow up with those International Protection applicants awaiting an offer of accommodation.

“While demand continues to outstrip supply, the Department on behalf of the Government, is doing all it can to ensure that all families and children have been accommodated.”

Another housing plan was changed after a days-long protest in Ballinrobe Co Mayo by locals seeking assurances from the government that 50 asylum seekers wouldn’t be brought to the locality. 

The Department said that the hotel will now house “families and children” despite previously being earmarked for adult males.

Fine Gael representative Michael Burke claimed that the owner of the JJ Gannons Hotel on the main street of Ballinrobe withdrew a lease that was being offered to the Department of Integration after the demonstration outside the premises. 

Fears are growing about the safety of emergency accommodation centres in light of a series of arson attacks that have been carried out on buildings thought to be housing international protection applicants.

Across Ireland, there have been around 20 arson attacks, or attempted attacks, on properties earmarked as such in the last five years.

The Journal understands there have been no arrests in relation to the arson attacks to date, including the recent incidents in Ringsend in Dublin and Rosscahill in Galway.

The motive of a suspected arson attack at a former school in Tipperary last night is also being investigated by gardaí. 

The old Shipwright Pub on Thorncastle Street in Ringsend was set ablaze in the early hours of 31 December amid speculation it was going to be used to house immigrants.

However, as reported by The Journal last month, the property was due to house homeless families.

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