More than 4,500 refugees and asylum seekers arrive in Ireland since start of the year

Government is scrambling to find more places to house new arrivals

Just over 4,500 refugees and asylum seekers have arrived in Ireland since the start of the year, according to the latest data from the Department of Justice.

Some 3,073 Ukrainians fleeing the ongoing Russian assault on their homeland have arrived in Ireland since January 1st.

The number of Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection – as Ukrainian refugees are officially referred to by the State – increased from 389 in the first week of January to more than 700 per week in the last fortnight.

The number of Ukrainians arriving are yet to return to the more than 1,000 per week seen in mid-December.


In addition a total of 1,437 people seeking international protection from other countries arrived in Ireland since the start of the year.

Some 362 people sought asylum here in the first week of January though the number dropped in each of the following weeks to 246 last week.

On average 902 people per week seeking protection from Ukraine and other countries combined – or a total of 4,510 – arrived in Ireland since the start of the year.

Around 70,000 Ukrainians arrived in Ireland in 2022 with the State providing accommodation for more than 50,000 of those.

There were also 19,000 international protection applicants being housed by the State, last year.

The Government is scrambling to find more places to house refugees and it has not been able to guarantee accommodation for all arrivals in recent weeks.

There has been dozens of anti-immigration protests around the country and there are fears amongst politicians that sentiment against refugees is being whipped up by far-right elements.

The Irish Times reported at the weekend on how senior Coalition figures have been warned that hoteliers are backing away from Government contracts to host refugees due to fears about protests and local opposition.

Papers drawn up for a high-powered Cabinet committee warn this is “contributing to provider reluctance to engage on accommodating IPs [International Protection applicants]” with the department “meeting significant resistance [from providers, communities and others] when trying to accommodate IPs”.

On Monday it was reported that the Government has sanctioned the resumption of passport checks at the steps of aircraft in an attempt to address the significant numbers of non-Ukrainian asylum seekers who have lost or destroyed their travel documents while flying into the State.

Officers from the Garda National Immigration Bureau are carrying out “doorstep operations” on a twice-weekly basis by checking documentation as passengers disembark from flights at Dublin Airport.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times