Asylum seekers transferred out of Citywest and Crooksling ahead of expected Grand Canal clearance

Men received transfer letters but no indication of where they will be sent on Wednesday and Thursday

Tents along the Grand Canal in Dublin City Centre. Photograph: Sam Boal/Collins

More than 100 male asylum seekers were being transferred out of accommodation in Citywest and Crooksling, in southwest Dublin, in an apparent move to free up space for others currently in tents along the Grand Canal.

About 60 men were preparing to leave Crooksling on Wednesday, with a further 50 to leave Citywest on Thursday, say residents of the two locations. Notices posted at the sites say transfers will take place from 10am. The men have not been told where they will be moved to.

At Crooksling, a notice was posted on a board on Tuesday, accompanied by a list of names of about 60 men from countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine and Nigeria, saying: “Personnel on this list to report to security hut at 10.00 on 08/05/2024 with all your belongings. Yous [sic] will be getting a transfer to a different site. WE HAVE NO INFORMATION ABOUT WHERE YOU WILL BE GETTING TRANSFERRED TO AS YET.”

In Citywest, a notice on a screen, understood to be in the main dining area, says: “Transfer. On Thursday 09th May 2024. The applicants who will receive transfer letter please be available in the departure area at 10am Thursday, 9th May, 2024.”


A resident there told The Irish Times he understood about 50 men had received transfer letters but they had not been told where they were going. “When they get there they will let us know,” he said.

The moves come as the number of tents pitched by homeless male asylum along the Grand Canal in the city centre continues to increase and amid growing pressure on Government not to allow numbers there spiral further.

The Dáil was told on Wednesday that asylum seekers in tented accommodation along the Grand Canal in Dublin have been offered an increased daily expense allowance if they leave that area.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik highlighted the issue as migration dominated Leaders’ Questions. She said a sign had gone up in the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) office advising people in the tents “that they can have an increased daily expense allowance if they leave that tented accommodation”.

“This is clearly a desperate stopgap attempt to try and move people on without any sort of reality in the provision of longer-term accommodation,” she said in the wake of the 100 tents now at the canal following the removal of the encampment of some 200 tents last week from outside the IPAS office.

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Taoiseach Simon Harris told Ms Bacik that the Government had had a “very positive impact” on Mount Street, where a previous encampment has lasted months, when “290 more people got accommodation, got access to sanitation and we managed to avert a public health emergency”.

Mr Harris said he became Taoiseach four weeks ago and “I took charge of this situation”. He believed there had been a “tacit acceptance by many State agencies that the situation on Mount Street could just continue”.

But he said “good action” had been taken by “good Government” and he added that action would be taken on the canal.

St Brigids Home in Crooksling, Co Dublin, where asylum seekers camping at Mount Street were relocated to last week. Photograph: Arthur Carron/Collins

In the Dáil, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Taoiseach that the situation on the Grand Canal was an “outrage” and a “monument to your abject failure to manage”.

Ms Bacik said it was “inhumane, it is unsustainable and your Government has failed to provide adequate accommodation” for those arriving in Ireland seeking protection and called for the implementation of the Catherine Day report to provide reception centres with adequate facilities and accommodation.

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore said the only thing Government policies had done was to “move tents from one part of the city to another”.

But insisting that he had taken charge of the situation Mr Harris said “I’m telling you now that we will deal with the Grand Canal. Action will be taken.”

Taoiseach insists asylum seekers camping by Grand Canal not another Mount Street situationOpens in new window ]

The Taoiseach accepted calls for a debate on the issue but warned that “we have to have a broader discussion that is not just about accommodation” because “it will quickly fill up”.

Hitting out at Sinn Féin he said their local election candidates were promising to end the open border policy. But Mr Harris called on the party to explain what that meant. He also criticised Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire who he said had appeared in a Sinn Féin video about closing open borders but he intervened and insisted that was untrue amid heated exchanges.

Tents pitched alongside the Grand Canal in Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

On Tuesday, the Taoiseach insisted that the appearance of tents used by asylum seekers along the banks of the Grand Canal near Baggot Street was not another Mount Street encampment. Alternative accommodation was being identified, he said.

A week after the authorities removed tents from the streets surrounding the International Protection Office (IPO) on Mount Street – and offered alternative accommodation to 290 people – up to 100 tents were evident on the stretch of canal between Mount Street and Baggot Street on Tuesday. Tents were also erected on ground close to the Salesforce offices near the Docks.

Mr Harris said that the Government would find new accommodation for arriving asylum seekers and would not allow the same situation as Mount Street to arise.

As of Tuesday there were 1,710 asylum seekers awaiting an offer of accommodation, according to the Department of Children and Integration.

Since December 4th 2023, when the Department announced it would no longer be able to offer accommodation to male asylum seekers on presentation, 2,935 men have applied for asylum. A total of 288 were offered shelter after a “vulnerability triage” and 937 have “subsequently” been offered accommodation after being initially denied shelter.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times