Government drops plans to house migrant men in favour of families at Carlow premises

The Department of Integration said that the former Capuchin friary in Carlow town was ‘one of a number of premises that will change use’

The Government has abruptly dropped plans to house 50 men in Carlow town as they seek international protection, saying migrant families will instead use the accommodation.

Without providing any further detail, the Department of Integration said that the former Capuchin friary in Carlow was “one of a number of premises that will change use” because of a shortage of accommodation for families.

The move came as one local person in Carlow reported a “small” protest at the former friary on Wednesday over the plan to provide shelter there for male asylum-seekers. No information was available from the Garda press office or Carlow gardaí.

The change of plan for Carlow follows a similar reversal on Monday when the Government said it would house families in a Co Mayo hotel that had been earmarked days previously for men seeking asylum. The original plan to house men at the former JJ Gannon hotel at Ballinrobe led to a protest there.


Closed since 2022, the Capuchin friary in Carlow is available immediately to house asylum-seekers.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, the Department of Integration said the new residents will move there “in the coming days”.

The Department attributed the decision not to provide housing for single men to the rising number of families seeking international protection.

“Although it had initially been expected that the property would be used to house men, following a departmental meeting last night regarding the increasing number of families, and despite the ongoing acute shortage of accommodation for single males, it has been decided that the requirement to prioritise families must take precedence,” the statement said.

“A briefing note containing all the detailed information and answers to all the questions people may have has been issued to all political representatives in the areas, including Senators, TDs and councillors.”

The Department said the situation nationwide was urgent, adding that emergency centres such as the Carlow premises have been opened in all parts of the State.

“All counties in Ireland are providing help and assistance with this. There have been over 190 accommodation locations utilised since January 2022 across 26 counties,” the statement said.

“These options must be considered to prevent homelessness for people with their families and children arriving seeking international protection.”

The Department said intensive Government efforts were under way to source further accommodation and “follow up” with international protection applicants who await an offer of housing.

“While demand continues to outstrip supply, the Department on behalf of the Government, is doing all it can to ensure that all families and children have been accommodated.”

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Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley

Arthur Beesley is Current Affairs Editor of The Irish Times