An Afghan man who arrived in Ireland on Thursday has described feeling “hopeless” after spending three days sleeping on the streets of Dublin.
“I have nowhere to go, I’m tired and I’m afraid I will die in the cold,” he told The Irish Times.
Mohammed Younis arrived in Ireland on Thursday, January 26th, from Afghanistan. After submitting an application for asylum in the Irish Protection Office (IPO), Mr Younis was told there was no accommodation available for him.
The Government announced on Tuesday that it could no longer provide shelter for those seeking international protection because of pressure on the system.
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Minister of State for Integration Joe O’Brien said on Saturday morning that the 55 people who arrived between Tuesday and Thursday and were homeless have now been found temporary accommodation.
However, Mr Younis is still on the street with no word of when accommodation might become available. He has only received automated emails from the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) acknowledging receipt of his application and warning of an “unprecedented level of demand on services”.
“It’s not true because I still have nowhere to sleep,” Mr Younis said. “I went three times to the Irish Refugee Council but they also told me they didn’t have space, I don’t know where to go. I am tired from travelling here and because for three days I’m going by foot from one road to another.
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On Friday, Mr Younis met another Afghan man who gave him space for one night to sleep, “but they already have four people in one room, I can’t stay there,” he said.
“I’m afraid to show my family videos of where I am because my wife and children will cry for me if they see. I am very unhappy.”
Mr Younis said he had brought €155 to Ireland, but had already been charged €50 for one night in a hostel “just to sleep for a few hours”.
“I got a SIM card and paid €20 on it. I am eating from the remaining money but it will run out soon,” he said.
In desperation, Mr Younis “even told refugee agencies if there is no accommodation then send me to some family, I will work for them all day, I don’t want money, just some place for me to sleep”.
Mr Younis is the first person from his family to come to Ireland, fleeing life under the Taliban. “But if I knew before that there would be such a difficult life for me like this I would never have come here. I came from Afghanistan because the Taliban wanted to kill me but I didn’t know that Ireland’s Government would be very bad to me,” he said.
According to the Department of Justice, the numbers seeking international protection in the State was 1,142 between the start of the new year and Thursday, January 26th. The numbers decreased from 362 in the first week of January to 210 this week but, with more than 70,000 refugees already in the country, most of them from Ukraine, the situation in recent weeks has become critical.