There are fears refugees arriving in Ireland in the coming days and weeks may be forced to sleep outdoors in sub-zero temperatures because there is no shelter for them.
It is understood that several newcomers had a bad night’s sleep last night as they had nowhere to stay.
It was announced yesterday that the provision of overflow emergency accommodation for adult asylum seekers at Dublin’s Citywest Transit Hub has been suspended.
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) has confirmed that the facility is at capacity.
The ministry said the hub will remain open for all other services, including processing accommodation for Ukrainian people receiving temporary protection, while the state-run International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) will continue to provide accommodation for International Protection (IP) families with children will provide.
Last week, Integration Secretary Roderic O’Gorman warned that the Citywest center was almost full and that asylum seekers arriving in Ireland for the next month might have to live on the streets as there was a “very real risk” the government wouldn’t will be able to accommodate them.
Between IP applicants and those fleeing the war in Ukraine, Ireland took in over 73,000 people last year.
“Response to the ongoing migration crisis has now entered an extremely difficult phase, with insufficient housing available nationwide for IP applicants, and the prospects for housing for people fleeing the war in Ukraine are also challenging,” said DCEDIY in a statement.
“As a result, it has now become necessary to halt the provision of emergency housing for IP adults arriving at the Citywest Transit Hub.
“Due to the nationwide lack of available housing for IP applicants, particularly single males, the transit hub has provided emergency housing while applicants wait to be assigned housing. It is no longer possible to provide shelter for IP adults as the transit hub is now at capacity.”
The department said all IP applicants who are not provided with accommodation upon arrival or when applying for international protection with the International Protection Office will take their contact details and will be contacted as soon as “accommodation becomes available”.
It said the decision would be reviewed.
The Irish Refugee Council has warned the decision means “mass homelessness”. [is] probably”.
“This is a terrible situation that is likely to result in a humanitarian crisis. New applicants for protection, men and women, will not be accepted. It requires immediate attention and coordination. It is also worrying that it is likely to continue for at least a few more weeks and no shelter will be offered to all adults, male or female. We have written concerns and recommendations to the government,” said the organization’s chief executive, Nick Henderson.
It comes as three people were treated in hospital for minor injuries following a public order incident at the Citywest Transit Hub on Monday night.
Several Garda units, including members of the Armed Support Unit, visited the facility.
Emergency services were alerted around 6.30pm with video footage from inside the compound showing a number of men fighting and objects being thrown.
Gardaí confirmed no arrests were made.
A spokesman for DCEDIY said the decision to stop upon entering the Citywest Transit Hub was “marked by Secretary O’Gorman prior to the incident” and was “unconnected”.
The charity Doras works to promote and protect the rights of people with a migrant background in Ireland.
Its CEO, John Lannon, said while he was unaware of the specific circumstances that led to the disruption at the Citywest facility, the incident was “reflective” of the “overcrowding, insecurity and stress” experienced in the state’s asylum-seeker accommodation system exist.
“People find themselves in situations that they seem to have a hard time dealing with and as a result we have incidents like this,” he said.
“We have felt that standards for receiving and housing asylum seekers are falling dramatically, and we know we have people in unsuitable factory and garage accommodation. We have people in tents and now we run the risk of making people homeless too. This creates additional burdens and difficulties across the board.”
“We know it’s difficult to find housing when needed, but this requires an urgent response from the government at the top to ensure we can continue to accommodate asylum seekers… We need a plan that will work us out of this crisis.” and that ensures that all those seeking protection are safe while their application is being processed,” he added.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/fears-of-mass-refugee-homelessness-as-hub-closes-to-new-arrivals-and-temperatures-dip-below-zero-42312128.html Fear of ‘mass refugee’ homelessness as hub closes to new arrivals and temperatures drop below zero