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Images of the tents in Dublin on Friday. Alamy Stock Photo
Cold Weather

Emergency accommodation offered to homeless asylum seekers ends, despite freezing temperatures forecast

The Department of Integration had offered emergency accommodation to those sleeping in tents.

ARRANGEMENTS TO PROVIDE shelter to homeless men who had been sleeping in tents near to the International Protection Office in Dublin City Centre have ended.

Over 100 men have been sleeping rough in tents near to the International Protection Office (IPO) on Mount Street in Dublin 2. They are some of the over 1,100 men who have come to Ireland seeking International Protection (IP) who have not been accommodated by Government. 

Following advocacy, media reports and outcry on social media on Friday, the Department of Integration – which oversees accommodation for asylum seekers – said temporary emergency accommodation would be provided “due to the current extreme weather”.

According to RTÉ News, 40 beds were also provided by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive for Irish people or people who are not asylum seekers who have been sleeping rough.

According to volunteers who were present at the scene on Friday, men who have applied for International Protection were taken to a number of different forms of accommodation on coaches and in taxis from Mount Street. 

Though many had to leave at 8am yesterday morning for the day, and at least one person claimed they had not been allowed into the temporary accommodation. 

Despite forecasted lows of 0 degrees tonight, the Department of Integration said that the emergency measures had now ended.

“In response to the recent extreme weather, the Department provided temporary shelter for International Protection applicants who had been rough sleeping,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“This was done at a number of locations, some of which were night-time only. The arrangements are emergency in nature and will end today (Sunday).”

Speaking to RTÉ News, Dr Fiona O’Reilly, CEO of Safetynet Primary Care, which was involved in assisting those sleeping in tents access the emergency accommodation available, said sleeping rough has many negative effects.

“The cold and wet increases stress on the body and this lowers immunity and increases the risk of infection,” she said.

“It also exacerbates pre-conditions like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure.

We’ve seen an increasing number of protection applicants sleeping out on the streets and the more time they spend there, the more despondent they become and this really has a negative effect on their mental health.

In its statement today, the Department also said there were no more available beds for IP applicants in the system.

“It is important to note that recent reports of several thousand available beds in the IPAS system are inaccurate,” it said.

“All available beds are being utilised at present. Where beds are not being utilised, it is due to family configuration (for example, a four person family in a five bed room), or accommodation for families and children arriving the coming days.

The Department is continuing to work intensively to source further accommodation.

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