O'Gorman rules out closing East Wall facility for emergency accommodation

O'Gorman rules out closing East Wall facility for emergency accommodation

A crowd of people gathered outside the former ESB offices on East Wall Road on Saturday. Picture: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

The integration minister has ruled out closing the former ESB office facility in East Wall which is being used as an emergency accommodation centre and has seen a series of protests in the last week.

Around 100 migrants are currently being housed at the former office building near Dublin Port, with around 280 more people in need of accommodation expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

Protests began at the site last weekend and continued into last week. Residents' groups had complained about a lack of consultation but said that they would call off the protests if Minister Roderic O'Gorman met with them.

However, at that meeting on Friday Mr O'Gorman was told that protests would resume if the facility was not closed entirely - a proposal which was flatly rejected. That led to the resumption of protests on Saturday.

Speaking in Dublin today, Mr O'Gorman said that the Government "cannot countenance" closing any immigration facility during the current crisis.

"I and the Government aren't in a position to countenance closing any international protection facilities either for international protection applicants or Ukrainians. As I have said a number of times, we are now accommodating 64,000 individuals from Ukraine who have come here seeking shelter from war.

"That has necessitated us having to act quickly, securing emergency accommodation where we can. We've secured it in East Wall and around the country and that will continue."

Mr O'Gorman said that he would work with residents on specific concerns about the operation of the facility.

Asked about the 200 Ukrainians being moved from Clondalkin in Dublin to Cork, Mr O'Gorman said that around 50 had been able to avail of pledged accommodation and this "shows the importance of pledged accommodation".

The minister said it was "really important" that his department provides information to local communities and said his department would soon establish a communication unit to do that.

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