Asylum seekers - Alarm bells ring again

Another alarm bell, the third in as many weeks, has been rung about how poorly we treat asylum seekers.

The annual report of the Reception and Integration Agency points out that asylum seekers are, on average, spending longer in accommodation provided through the state-funded hostels. This situation has developed despite the fact that the number of foreign nationals seeking political refuge here has fallen.

The agency also points to instances of inappropriate sexual behaviour among 121 incidents involving children at hostels.

The contrast between how we expect Irish people in difficulty to be treated abroad and how we treat asylum seekers is unacceptable. A more efficient and humane system does not equate with an open-door policy but rather the basic standards of decency we all expect.

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