Ireland over-reliant on hotels to house refugees, warns UN refugee agency

Ireland over-reliant on hotels to house refugees, warns UN refugee agency

Sasha Zmiievska, 4, and Sasha Petrova both originally from Kiev but living now in Dublin. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

About 64,000 asylum-seekers and refugees have arrived in Ireland so far this year.

The Government has reiterated there will not be a cap on the number of refugees or asylum-seekers who are entering the country.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee the Government was doing everything it could to ensure asylum seekers who arrive here are genuine.

Ireland has taken in 10,000 asylum-seekers this year — the highest number from Georgia.

Almost 40% of people seeking asylum here this year arrived through Dublin Airport without any travel documents.

Ms McEntee said the Government was clamping down on this and ensuring there was a robust system in place so those who are genuinely seeking protection can get that help.

With 10,000 asylum seekers and 54,000 Ukrainians entering the country this year, Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman admitted the Government was struggling to find accommodation.

"It is really difficult right now in terms of our response to both Ukrainians and those in need of international protection," said Mr O'Gorman.

"Our primary means of accommodating people is through hotels."

Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman admits the Government is struggling to find accommodation. Picture: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos
Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman admits the Government is struggling to find accommodation. Picture: Gareth Chaney / Collins Photos

Almost 15% of hotels in the country are now being used as accommodation for people arriving in the country seeking international protection.

The Irish Hotels Federation said this must be a short-term solution to the issue but Mr O'Gorman said for the winter season some hotels see it as supportive of their business.

He said the situation would continue to be monitored.

"We are conscious that in the first six months, there are certain parts of the country where the numbers of Ukrainians living there are significant.

"As we go forward, we will look to see what measures we can take to re-balance the occupancy."

54,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Ireland since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of this year. PictureL AP Photo/Bernat Armangue
54,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Ireland since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of this year. PictureL AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

Meanwhile, Enda O’Neill, head of office with the UN Refugee Agency Ireland said there was an over-reliance on the private sector here.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the approach of relying on the private sector, hotels and B&Bs and other accommodation that it can procure, that this has reached its limits," said Mr O'Neill.

In Donegal, up to 150 asylum seekers are to move into apartment blocks.

The Department of Integration said contracts have been signed and families seeking international protection will move in in the coming weeks.

The 48 apartments had been lying derelict in Ballybofey for a number of years.

Donegal TD Thomas Pringle said was is great to see the apartments being put to use and to see the families move in to a safe home.

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From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

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