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‘They’re playing with people’s minds’: Disappointment for those left behind after Mount Street tent clearance

Several men waited hours outside International Protection Office only to be told there was no accommodation, leaving many with no tent and few options

Gardaí on Mount Street, Dublin on Thursday evening where a number of asylum seekers returned. Photograph: Collins

Shortly after 8am on Thursday, there were about a dozen men standing outside the International Protection Office (IPO) on Dublin’s Mount Street, the number gradually increasing throughout the morning.

Most of them were the unlucky ones who had missed their opportunity to board buses to new accommodation in Crooksling and Citywest on Wednesday morning, after which there was no more space.

One man had attended an appointment to get his PPS number and came back to find his luggage gone; it’s still missing. Another went to shower, while others simply went to charge their phones, or get breakfast.

For operational reasons, international protection applicants were not given “specific advance notice” of the planned move, according to the Department of the Taoiseach.


“I went to bathe and when I came back, there was nobody here,” said a 53-year-old from South Africa, adding: “I really need accommodation, look at my age.”

The hope and excitement that was ignited on Wednesday evening as the remaining men believed they would be brought to Crooksling or Citywest was diminished within an hour after a bus took just 30 or so to separate accommodation in Swords.

Once the IPO office closed on Wednesday evening, another 30 or so who were left behind were “forgotten”, and left standing on Mount Street without their tents, they said.

Some travelled to Citywest believing they just had to make their own way there to get beds. They say they were told something to the effect of: “There is no accommodation for you, your names are not there, you have to go back again.”

That contingent then took the Luas back to the city centre and travelled to the IPO on Mount Street that evening.

“Gardaí said we can’t stay here tonight and we had to go look for where to stay and get another tent,” the 53-year-old said.

At 9am on Thursday, a coach bus pulled up on Mount Street, leaving off about 30 men who had been brought to Swords just 15 hours before.

“They told us you can stay just for one night, no more,” said Ladi from Albania.

The 19-year-old had arrived to Northern Ireland five days ago and initially slept in a park in Belfast for two nights.

After this, he was accommodated by Albanian men in Belfast until they brought him to the IPO in Dublin on Wednesday, he said.

As the number of men waiting for accommodation grew throughout the day, some spoke about their journeys to Ireland.

The tents may be cleared but Government still a long way off clearing migration challengesOpens in new window ]

“There is a civil war, there are terrorist groups who will recruit people by force if they get kids or guys above 18,” a 23-year-old who fled Somalia said.

He travelled to Egypt and then by boat to Spain, but left due to the wait to be granted asylum, he said.

When asked why Ireland, the Somalian man said: “You can understand them”, a reference to the English language, adding: “They welcome people, and the country’s not full.”

Meanwhile, a man from Afghanistan travelled via Iran and Turkey before taking a “very difficult” five-day trip on a boat to Italy.

He then took a train to Switzerland and crossed the border to France, where he spent two years, but “they didn’t give me documents”, he said.

The man then paid to travel to Ireland in the back of a truck on a ferry, he said.

By 2.30pm the now 100 men who stood waiting hours for news of accommodation were told by IPO workers that there was no accommodation available.

They were handed leaflets in English advising of day services and were moved on from the entrance by gardaí.

“Once you have your piece of paper, leave this area,” said gardaí.

Some cried, having waited all day.

“They’re playing with people’s minds,” said one man, who added: “We came here in the morning, we were told to wait, then we were given papers which were given months ago.”

By 3pm, Mount Street was once again quiet, with the exception of a few stragglers and their suitcases, following others towards the city centre.

Jack White

Jack White

Jack White is a reporter for The Irish Times