Thornton Hall tented village plan: Three meals a day for asylum seekers, CCTV, bed numbers ‘under review’

Briefing note from Department of Integration says tented village is an ‘emergency’ response

Details of a contract to house refugees at Thornton Hall on an emergency basis for one year have been circulated to local politicians in north Co Dublin.

According to a briefing note distributed to local politicians in recent days, the exact number of beds to be provided at Thornton Hall “is currently under review and further information on this will be provided closer to the time the site is available”.

The briefing note said “a portion of the larger site at Thornton Hall”, located in an area known as The Ward, is to be used to provide tented accommodation to adult male international protection (IP) applicants. The move is described as a short-term solution which allows the department more time to make alternative arrangements.

The site is owned by the Irish Prison Service which has entered a caretaker agreement with the Department of Integration. A facilities management company will operate the site.


The update said the facilities manager will provide will a sufficient number of toilet and shower blocks for residents.

A fully catered service will be provided, with three meals daily for residents. Snacks and tea/coffee stations will be available to residents 24/7.

There is “and will continue to be” a security presence on the site. CCTV is in-place and the facility will be staffed at 24/7, the briefing said.

The noted Ireland was legally obliged under an EU directive to provide accommodation to IP applicants who seek it, while their claim for international protection is being determined by the Department of Justice.

It said: “Our communities and neighbourhoods have responded with a generosity of spirit, in keeping with both our international reputation and our obligations, that recognises the human plight and trauma that people are experiencing, and their right to seek protection and help from the international community.”

The briefing note said the last few years had seen a sharp increase in people seeking asylum. In addition, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ireland has seen “an unprecedented number of people arrive here fleeing the Russian aggression”.

The briefing note said the state is providing 30,256 people seeking international protection with State-sourced accommodation and support services.

“In addition to that, since February 2022, we are also providing accommodation to 65,012 people who have fled the war in Ukraine, resulting in over 95,000 people in state-provided or pledged accommodation in Ireland, and that number continues to increase.

“In the last six months there has been an average of 560 people seeking accommodation every week.

“The most recent seven-day average number of people seeking international protection arrivals is 55,” the briefing note said.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist