Protests prevent international protection applicants accessing South Dublin accommodation

At least one bus forced to turn back from Ballyogan centre near Carrickmines as online videos show protesters and gardaí present

The first group of international protection (IP) applicants to arrive at a newly contracted accommodation centre in South Dublin were unable to access the facility due to a demonstration on Tuesday evening.

At least one bus was forced to turn back having arrived at the Ballyogan centre near Carrickmines.

Social media videos showed a group of protesters, including numerous children, and a large garda presence gathered at the facility’s roadside entrance. One appeared to show four buses, although the number of IP applicants intended for the facility has not been confirmed.

It is understood they were not those recently moved from Dublin’s canal area, but had come from temporary centres in either Dundrum or Citywest.


A Department of Equality spokesman confirmed the buses had been unable to access the site. Gardaí confirmed they attended the scene and that no arrests were made.

“Any Garda response in relation to evolving events is in keeping with a community policing model and graduated policing response taking into account relevant legislation and public safety, primarily to ensure peace and public order is maintained, and no criminal offence is committed,” a statement said.

The Ballyogan facility had until recently been used as temporary shelter for Ukrainian refugees. It is understood, according to a number of sources, that an 11-month contract was recently signed with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to use it as shelter for IP applicants amid a growing crisis in accommodation shortfalls.

The facility, adjacent to the council’s Ballyogan Operations Centre, was equipped to accommodate up to 300 displaced Ukrainians for short periods.

Tuesday’s protest was the latest held against the accommodation of IP applicants in communities, and exemplifies the ongoing difficulties faced by Government and State agencies in addressing their legal obligations to provide supports.

Last week, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said it was expected people would be moved to the Thornton Hall site in north county Dublin within four to six weeks. It is planned to provide them with military-grade tents and access to mains water and sanitation facilities.

However, Helena McGann, a spokesperson for up to 20 local residents who have formed the Thornton Hall and Environment Support Group, said the infrastructure could not support a large number of people.

“No one is telling us anything,” she said. “How many people are they planning to put there? There are 162 acres available. If they fill all of that, that’s an awful lot of people.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times