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Tents pitched at the Grand Canal last week

Govt working to create more accommodation for asylum seekers as tents remain on Grand Canal

Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman stopped short of saying that another clearance operation is planned for the tents.

THE GOVERNMENT IS working to increase the number of international protection applicants it can accommodate, as dozens of people continue to sleep rough.

Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman stopped short of saying that another clearance operation is planned for the tents pitched along the Grand Canal in Dublin.

“In terms of providing accommodation for those who are currently unaccommodated, my department has been working hard over the last week and we will have additional capacity available across this week,” he said today.

“We will be working hard with other government agencies to ensure we can provide offers to those currently sleeping rough on the Grand Canal.”

Minister O’Gorman reiterated that the increase in the number of people seeking asylum here is on par with other countries.

“Every European country is seeing an increase in international protection applicants and it is because of the violence we see in places like Syria, like Afghanistan, now like in Palestine, and a whole range of other social and economic pressures across north and central Africa,” he said.

“The level of desperation is huge. 

“We need continue to work to increase the scale of our ability to deal with people seeking international protection, whether it’s the accommodation side or the processing side – and we are doing that.”

Thornton Hall

The Thornton Hall site in North County Dublin is expected to be utilised for large-scale tented accommodation for asylum seekers. 

Minister O’Gorman welcomed works on the site, part of which, it is understood, will be used for “emergency-style accommodation”. 

The 156-acre site in north Dublin is owned by the Department of Justice. 

Since 2005, the State has spent millions of euro on the site, where a proposed new ‘super prison’ was to be built, but never proceeded. Just last month, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the matter of a prison on the site was still under consideration. 

O’Gorman said he “can’t give a specific timeline” for when asylum seekers may be accommodated there, but that it will likely be in the next few weeks.

Clonmel attacks

The minister also said he is “deeply concerned” about security guards being attacked at a site earmarked for Ukrainian refugees in Clonmel.

He said the staff “were engaged in their lawful business” where modular homes were being constructed.

The site is to include 82 modular homes that would each house four people. 

Gardaí said “a number of individuals” assaulted the security guards, one of whom had to be brought to hospital.

The assailants also damaged a number of vehicles at the site.

No arrests have been made. Investigations are ongoing.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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