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Some tents were blown into the canal by the wind PA
Asylum Seekers

Tents cleared at Grand Canal for the third time as over 100 asylum seekers moved on

One young man who was offered State-provided accommodation today said he was fleeing conflict in Somalia.


TENTS SET UP by asylum seekers at the Grand Canal in Dublin have been cleared and more than 100 men who had been staying there have been moved on in the third such operation in recent weeks. 

Almost all the tents have now been cleared and people have been told they will be relocated to State accommodation. It is understood that some are being sent to the Citywest accommodation centre.

More than 90 minutes passed before the international protection applicants were informed by volunteers they were being asked to move.

The volunteers assisted with uncovering tarps from the tents as they made efforts to ensure the people were awake and packed before the operation began.

Contractors began erecting additional barriers around the site from 5am. Gardai began to arrive at the scene from 6.45am.

The men started boarding multiple coaches to be transferred to other sites at 7am.

One young man who was offered State-provided accommodation today said he was fleeing conflict in Somalia.

He added that he has been awaiting an offer of accommodation in Ireland since February.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said that men at the camp were fleeing conflict.

He also said he believes the move to State-provided shelter is good as there is no access to facilities at the makeshift camp.

He further expressed concern about “misinformation and propaganda” being spread about the men online and in the media.

International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) said it was making sure the limited available bed space for International Protection applicants is prioritised “for those most in need, including those who are found to be rough sleeping”.

IPAS said a number of beds became available in recent days and that offers of accommodation had made to 109 people, 96 at Citywest and 13 at Crooksling.

The Department of Integration said it had, along with a number of homeless charities, conducted outreach services visits at the Grand Canal over the past number of days.

“Any individual identified as eligible for International Protection accommodation at one or more of those outreach visits was offered accommodation at Citywest and Crooksling,” the department said in a statement.

The men started boarding multiple coaches to be transferred to other sites at 7am.

Representatives from the health service and Waterways Ireland were also present.

Olivia Headon, a local volunteer and former aid worker, said she is part of a group of around 50 volunteers who have been regularly visiting the asylum seekers who have been sleeping rough.

“We’re ensuring they’re OK because there are safety concerns.”

The volunteers have also been informing the men about where they can access services they need such as food, water and showers.

“We’re trying to be a friend to people who are quite vulnerable and in need,” she said.

Headon said it was a positive development that the particular men who were present during the operation had been offered State-provided shelter.

However, she added: “This isn’t everyone. There are people rough sleeping in other parts of the city, at bus shelters.

“There are people at hostels during the week or on the streets at the weekend.”

Headon said that there are other people who are sleeping on couches but warned this was an “indefinite support system”.

“They will erode as this crisis goes on – and it is a manufactured crisis,” she said.

Headon said the solution was to provide more emergency accommodation on Government land where there are appropriate services and safety for the asylum seekers.

She also called for improved communication from State bodies to those who are rough sleeping.

Additionally, she raised concern about the State’s level of awareness of where the 1,939 rough-sleeping asylum seekers may be staying.

This is the fifth time asylum seekers sleeping in tents have been moved from parts of Dublin city in recent months, twice at the International Protection Office on Mount Street and now three times along the Grand Canal.

It is also understood that the tents used by asylum seekers were mostly provided by charities funded by the government as part of its response.

Similar operations earlier this month saw asylum seekers moved on buses to Citywest, as well as Crooksling in the Dublin mountains.

Around 1,000 asylum seekers will be accommodated in tented accommodation at Thornton Hall, a state-owned tranche of land in North County Dublin, by the end of June, The Journal understands.

The 156-acre site, owned by the Department of Justice, will be used for “emergency-style” tents. 

There are currently over 1900 international protection applicants awaiting an offer of accommodation.

With reporting from Press Association

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