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Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Asylum Seekers

€813m: Ireland's bill for housing asylum seekers since 2002

Government figures indicate that the accumulated cost of housing Ireland’s asylum seekers will top €800m this year.

THE COST TO the State of providing accommodation for foreign nationals seeking refugee status is expected to exceed €800m for the decade ending this year.

Figures from the Department of Justice, which has responsibility for immigration procedures, show that the State’s accommodation expenses for asylum seekers since the beginning of 2002 is estimated to reach a total of  €813m.

The figures cover the period since the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), which was set up in 2001 and which accepted its first applications in 2002, began operations.

The most expensive year for providing accommodation was in 2008, when €91m was spent housing asylum seekers awaiting the results of their applications for refugee status.

This year’s projected expense, of €67m, is the lowest since the agency began – largely attributable to the falling numbers of people seeking asylum, and the reduction of delays in processing each individual application.

Figures released by the Department last week showed that the RIA had processed 49,871 asylum seekers since the beginning of 2002 – meaning an average cost to the State of around €15,500 for each asylum seeker arriving here.

The RIA operates 42 accommodation centres for housing asylum seekers, with a total capacity of 6,230. The latest figures showed a total of 5,437 people currently residing in those locations.

The former Mosney holiday camp in Co Meath is the largest such centre, with 575 asylum seekers currently resident there, and a further 25 spaces available.

49 asylum seekers committed suicide while in State care >

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