Transport will be arranged for relocated asylum seekers to Dublin city centre, department pledges

Some 37 tents pitched back around International Protection Office on Dublin’s Lower Mount Street, the location cleared of homeless asylum seekers over the weekend

The number of tents pitched back around the International Protection Office (IPO) on Dublin’s Lower Mount Street, the location cleared of homeless asylum seekers over the weekend, continued to increase on Monday.

At around 4pm 37 tents could be counted in front of the offices and around Grattan Court and Grattan Street. There were also several newly arrived men who had no tents and hoped to get some from volunteers before nightfall.

The Department of Children and Integration said on Monday 130 men who had been sleeping there in recent weeks had been offered tented emergency shelter at the site of a former HSE nursing home in Crooksling in southwest Dublin.

“As of Sunday afternoon, 14 had left,” its spokesman said.


The Department added that “transport will be arranged by the Department shortly to provide a link [from Crooksling] with the city centre. Health services will be on site this week, and IPAS [the International Protection Accommodation Service] will run a clinic with those staying there.”

The spokesman said the site had 15 toilets and six showers, with more being installed, and people at Crooksling will be moved to alternative accommodation as it becomes available. “Until then, they will remain listed as ‘awaiting offer of accommodation’ [in the twice-weekly published data]“.

Dr Fiona O’Leary, chief executive of the medical charity Safetynet, was on site at Crooksling on Monday and said facilities “appear to be functioning” well. She said there was an indoor dining area where meals, brought in from outside, were being served and tea and coffee were available through the day. The mood among the men there, she said, “seems to be good enough”.

Men in contact with The Irish Times continued to express upset at how cold they were in tents at Crooksling, however.

Back at the IPO on Mount Street, Mayowa (32) from Nigeria, said he had arrived on Monday morning by boat. He said he “explained myself to them at the port” and was advised to go to the IPO office, despite it being closed for the bank holiday.

“I have no tent but someone said he is going to fix that,” he said. “I apply for asylum tomorrow. I will sleep anywhere.”

An older man who had no English explained through a volunteer translator that he was Syrian and had been directed to the IPO by a garda. He showed a cardboard Garda card with “Mount Street” written on it. He too was provided with a tent by volunteers. He said he had not slept in three days.

Another man, using a translation app, said he was from Palestine and had just returned from Crooksling. “I have been here 13 days. The first day I arrived they say they did not have housing and they did not help me. They took us to a mountain so we were surprised. There were people outside who attacked us. It was scary. The situation here is bad. I want to die.”

A number of people stopped at the IPO during Monday afternoon making negative comments about the tents. One woman in her 60s said she had been pleased to see it cleared at the weekend. “I went to Roderic [O’Gorman, Minister for Integration]. I went to everywhere. I had this sorted and now here we are again.”

Two gardaí, who remained around the site throughout this time, asked her to move on.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin expressed dismay at the return of tents. “There is no sense of anyone in charge here. The Government has not exhausted the potential for imaginative responses to this humanitarian crisis. Baggot Street hospital. Cathal Brugha barracks. It’s not good enough.

“The camp is back, it’s going to get bigger from tomorrow and the situation is inevitably going to get back to square one, where we were last week, without a proper solution and someone taking charge.”

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times