Words: Ellen Kenny
Concerns have been raised over the growing number of asylum seekers who do not have accommodation in Ireland.
In a statement to The Journal, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has confirmed that between Thursday, 1 September and yesterday, 201 refugees were homeless.
According to the Department, the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) was unable to provide accommodation due to a “lack of availability”.
Since February, almost 48,000 people have fled the war in Ukraine and sought accommodation in Ireland. 15,000 international protection applicants from elsewhere also currently require accommodation. This means the Department is now accommodating more than 63,000 people, compared to 7,500 this time last year.
This summer, Cabinet agreed to lease the Citywest Hotel for two years to house Ukrainian refugees. Upon arrival in Ireland, refugees go to the hotel, which can house 2,300 people.
However, RTÉ reported on Tuesday that 130 newly arrived refugees did not get accommodation in the hotel. On Wednesday, the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) said 27 refugees were sleeping rough on that day.
The Department has said that as of today, IPAS “is in a position to resume offering accommodation”, though the situation “still remains challenging.”
The Department also confirmed that they have an agreement with Sport Ireland to utilise part of its Abbotstown facility.
Homeowners who offer their vacant properties to Ukrainian refugees are also may be offered enhanced payments under new plans being considered by the Government.
There are currently 12,000 people in direct provision, including 2,800 children. It takes, on average, more than two years to process an asylum application to completion. The United Nations previously recommended that Ireland reduce the application process for asylum to six months.
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