Ireland and Influx of Migrants: Growing Tension and Severe Housing Crisis

Asylum seekers pitch tents along Dublin's Grand Canal (Photo: TheIrishWatchdog / Twitter)

More protests took place in Dublin on Tuesday, coinciding with an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment in Ireland. The disturbance is a result of the government’s persistent struggle to provide shelter for asylum seekers.

A recently contracted shelter center sparked fresh protests in South Dublin on Tuesday night (May 22), blocking the facility’s entry for the first group of asylum seekers.

The demonstration draws attention to the continued difficulties the state and federal governments face in carrying out their mandates to assist those seeking asylum.

Many asylum seekers in Dublin and throughout the nation are compelled to spend the night in tents while they wait for the processing of their applications for refuge. The overall housing shortage, the rise in refugees leaving the war in Ukraine, and the rise in xenophobia—which has sparked anti-immigrant demonstrations and arson assaults on asylum centers—all contribute to the worsening of this scenario.

The Irish government claimed on its website that “the Department is currently not in a position to provide accommodation to all International Protection Applicants due to the severe shortage” despite “intensive efforts to source emergency accommodation.”
Asylum seekers are assisted by some charitable organizations, but these groups are increasingly under attack from malevolent actors.

Due to the organization’s assistance with asylum seekers, Aubrey McCarthy, the founder of Tiglin at the Lighthouse charity, has claimed receiving threats against his life as well as threats to set fire to the organization’s buildings. The nonprofit gives sleeping bags and tents to homeless individuals in collaboration with the Department of Integration and the IPAS.

McCarthy has given a statement, and the local police have been informed of the threats. The nonprofit carries on with its work in spite of the threats, holding activities to help the homeless community.

McCarthy stated that IPAS has “instructed us to work with the vulnerable individuals that come to us,” as long as they display the appropriate blue card proving they have asked for international protection, on the Irish radio station Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE). He added, though, that despite their adherence to directives from the government, some officials have voiced disapproval of the tent distribution.

All asylum seekers will have housing in the upcoming months, according to Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman, but he underlined the urgent need for additional emergency shelter spaces. Using state land is a part of the strategy to give asylum seekers safe havens.

The minister, in the meantime, defended the efforts of nonprofit organizations that supply tents, saying that the intention is to keep people from going completely without.



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