The Government is set to approve higher payments to asylum seekers it cannot accommodate amid an anticipated shortfall in accommodation in the coming days.
Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman told reporters on Sunday that he expected that single male applicants for international protection would be turned away without being accommodated in the coming days.
The Department for Integration has in recent days flagged the shortfall – it will be the second time this year asylum seekers have had to sleep rough due to the State’s inability to accommodate them.
Mr O’Gorman said, as of Sunday, nobody had been left without accommodation but that “it is likely in the next number of days we won’t be in a position to accommodate everybody seeking international protection here”, with priority given to families arriving into the country.
“We will take steps at that stage in terms of providing them with some additional resources and take steps to target those who are vulnerable in terms of potentially sleeping rough.”
Asked what form the additional resources would take, he said that the Government recognised that additional financial resources would have to be made above the weekly €38 living expenses payment that the State paid to asylum seekers.
“That would need to be increased for those who we aren’t able to accommodate and we’d also want to work more closely with homeless services and particularly An Garda Siochána where people are identified as sleeping rough and be able to intervene more quickly so that situation doesn’t continue.”
“It is likely that we will run out of accommodation for everyone seeking international protection in the next number of days,” he said. He didn’t have a number to hand on how many beds were available.
On Friday, the Department of Integration said asylum seekers arriving in Ireland this weekend could be left to find their own accommodation due to a “severe shortage” of emergency housing options.
The department warned on Friday it had entered “an extremely difficult phase” in securing accommodation for international protection applicants and that there was “insufficient accommodation available nationwide”.
“The department may not be able to provide accommodation to all international protection applicants over the weekend due to the severe shortage,” it said in a statement. The department has faced increasing challenges in securing beds for asylum seekers in recent weeks amid growing community resistance and local opposition to new emergency accommodation.
Amid cold and icy conditions over the weekend, there are also fears that unaccommodated asylum seekers could find themselves vulnerable as tensions remain in the aftermath of last week’s riots in Dublin and an attack on and burning of a tent in the city centre earlier this year. d.
It is understood there are concerns within Government regarding the safety of foreign nationals who are forced to sleep rough, in light of last week’s riots which were instigated by far-right, anti-immigrant groups. During the riots, some former and still-operating accommodation centres for asylum seekers were targeted and vandalised.
Any international protection applicants without accommodation will be provided with contact details for the International Protection Accommodation Services and information on accessing health and other public services in Ireland, the department said. Those without housing who present to the International Protection Office will be assessed for significant vulnerability and health issues and prioritised for accommodation as necessary, it added.
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