Asylum seekers warned by Government of possible prosecutions for failure to move

Tents may be seized and people may face charges if they do not comply with orders, leaflet states

Tents may be seized and asylum seekers may be prosecuted if they refuse to move from tented encampments, the Government has warned.

More than 100 tents that had been sheltering homeless asylum seekers along the Grand Canal in central Dublin since late last week were cleared during a multi-agency operation early this morning.

The asylum seekers were handed an information sheet during the 6am operation and were told they do not have permission to stay beside the canal.

“You are committing an offence. If you refuse to come to the available accommodation or you later return to stay in this area you may be moved on by An Garda Síochána (Police) and you may be arrested and prosecuted,” the information docket said.


In a statement on Thursday afternoon, the Government press office addressed questions around the legal implications for those who choose not to relocate to offered accommodation.

“While the State has always taken a sympathetic approach towards International Protection applicants, it is nevertheless a criminal offence, in principle, for a person to pitch a tent on public land, or on private land without consent. Depending on the circumstances, for example, the person may be moved on, requested to remove their tent or the tent may be seized if there is a refusal to remove the tent. Each case would be considered on their own set of facts in terms of the legal implications arising,” the statement said.

The offer of places in International Protection Accommodation Services centres is “voluntary”, the Government said, adding that some applicants decided not to take up a place at the offered and assigned accommodation centre on Thursday morning.

“IPAS will continue to engage with these applicants and efforts will be made to ensure these applicants do not continue to reside at the Grand Canal location.”

From about 7.15am on Thursday, tents were gathered by Waterways Ireland staff to be removed by lorries with grabber claws. Waterways Ireland is the State entity with responsibility for the Grand Canal property. The estimated cost to Waterways Ireland of the clean-up operation is €13,500.

The site was cleared of people and tents by around 8am. The area along the Grand Canal where the tents were placed was then secured, with barriers to prevent the placement of tents.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times