Aontú raises concerns over housing shortage for asylum seekers

Peadar Tóibín says State has a responsibility to help people in a ‘sustainable and sensible’ way

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has warned that the country is not going to be able to accommodate the anticipated numbers of asylum seekers this year.

Mr Tóibín told Newstalk Breakfast that while most people in the country wanted to help those fleeing war, violence or hunger, the State had a responsibility to do so in a “sustainable and sensible” fashion.

The length of time it was taking to process applications was too long with some people waiting three years and in the case of one individual, 14 years. Applications needed to be processed within six months, he said.

“The truth of the matter is there are people who are using the process as economic migrants to come to the country. And given the pressure that we have in terms of not being able to even provide housing for real asylum seekers, we need to be able to identify who needs help and who doesn’t.


We have a situation where there’s more people arriving seeking asylum without travel documents than are arriving in the Netherlands, and the Netherlands has a population about three times the Irish population,” he said.

“Last year we had 5,000 people arrive without any travel documents or on false documents, and that was 40 per cent of the process. And it takes approximately €18,000 to accommodate an asylum seeker for one year. So, you know, you’re talking about roughly €141 million to accommodate people who are coming without travel documents or false documents,” Mr Tóibín continued.

“That’s not to say all of those are in any way false applicants. All we’re saying is we need to adjudicate faster and more efficiently. Who needs help and who doesn’t? Because, you know, we’re not going to be able to deal with the numbers that the Government is talking about. The Government is talking about 180,000 people coming to the State. And, you know, that is not going to be feasible.

“There’s an issue of physics here. And if you’re building 30,000 houses a year, there’s no way you can bring in 180,000 people a year, it’s just impossible in terms of practicalities.”

Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a media monitor and reporter