Around 50 tents pitched by homeless asylum seekers near Grand Canal in central Dublin

Latest camp emerges as number of international protection applicants awaiting State-provided accommodation stood at 2,170 on Friday

Around 50 tents have been pitched beside an empty office building close to the Grand Canal at Charlemont Place, Dublin. Photograph: Kitty Holland

Around 50 tents have been pitched near the Grand Canal in Ranelagh in the latest camp of homeless asylum seekers to emerge in central Dublin.

More than half the tents on the footpath, by an empty office building on Charlemont Place, were occupied on Thursday evening, with some unoccupied as the men who had been sheltering in them were offered accommodation earlier. Among those there present were men from Palestine, Jordan, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Malawi.

The latest figures from the Department of Integration’s International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) show that as of Friday there were 2,170 male asylum seekers “awaiting accommodation”, an increase of 34 since Tuesday.

IPAS announced on December 4th that it would no longer offer accommodation to single, adult males when they applied for asylum. A total of 4,041 men have presented since then, with 398 offered accommodation following a “vulnerability trigae” and 1,473 “subsequently” offered accommodation. In lieu of being provided with accommodation the men receive an “enhanced” allowance of €113.80 per week.

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Several men at the Charlemont Place camp said they had not received a payment at all and asked how they could access it.

Among them was Hadi (24), who has been in Ireland for 10 days having left his home in Afghanistan in 2021. He said he travelled through Iran and Turkey on “dangerous roads”, by boat to Italy and onwards through Switzerland, France, the UK and finally by bus to Dublin. He said he had not had a shower since arriving in Dublin and asked where he could have one.

A shopkeeper in Afghanistan, he said it was “very difficult” to leave his wife and children behind. He said it was a “too dangerous journey” to bring them but he hoped they could join him in Ireland when he gets refugee status and a job.

A Nigerian man (30) said he had been in Dublin since early March and “there is no accommodation”. He said he went to the International Protection Office and was told to email IPAS, which he had done.

Standing by the tents with a man from Malawi (20), he said: “We have been waiting. Is there any way you can help us to contact IPAS? We need to leave this place. There is no toilet, no shower, no facilities.

“Nobody knows when there will be accommodation ... Is there any way you can help us and come to our rescue? We are desperate.”

Aubrey McCarthy, chief executive of the Tiglin charity which operates the Lighthouse support service for homeless people on Pearse Street, said about 250 people had come to them on Thursday night. Of these, about 120 were asylum seekers “looking for food, clothing and other supports”.

The Department of Children has been asked for a comment.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times