Asylum seekers: 970 without State accommodation as number likely to breach 1,000 later in week

Just three international protection applicants have been accommodated since last week

There are currently 970 international protection applicants without State-provided accommodation, according to new figures from the Department of Integration.

The number of those without shelter has risen by 43 since Friday and is likely to breach 1,000 later this week.

Just three asylum seekers have been accommodated since last week, all of whom were offered accommodation after being triaged for vulnerabilities.

Since running out of accommodation for all single male asylum seekers at the beginning of December last year, 1,382 have presented to the International Protection Office. Out of those, 157 have since been accommodated following a triage for vulnerabilities.

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Some 225 international protection applicants without vulnerabilities have been accommodated since December 4th.

International protection applicants who present to the International Protection Office during this period are assessed by IPAS and HSE staff for significant vulnerabilities and health issues and are prioritised for accommodation as necessary, according to the department.

In total, 1,225 international protection applicants received a contingency payment instead of accommodation, a temporary increase of €75 to their existing daily expense allowance. This increases the allowance from the current rate of €38.80 per week to €113.80 a week for all eligible applicants.

In the week leading to February 11th, 326 people sought asylum in Ireland, an average of 47 arrivals per day. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those were children (78), while a further 64 were single women or lone parents. Just over one-fifth (68) were couples while the remaining 116 were single men.

On X, formerly Twitter, The Irish Refugee Council said the number of those without State-provided accommodation is likely to breach 1,000 this week adding that there is a “complete absence of Government plan to address this escalating humanitarian emergency”.

Several international protection applicants who have been sleeping on the streets marched to Leinster House from the International Protection Office on Tuesday in protest.

Among them was Akhtar Muhammad Shinwari who had bruising behind his left ear. He said he had been attacked from behind in Tallaght on Sunday night. “I have been physically abused, verbally abused and slept rough nights,” he said, adding he was in Tallaght Hospital for 12 hours following the most recent assault, and required a CT scan to rule out serious injury.

“There was a person who asked me for a lighter and I said I don’t have that and then when he asked me where I’m from and I said Afghanistan, he just hit me with something, I didn’t notice what it was,” he said. He could not see his attacker properly.

Mr Shinwari lost consciousness and fell to the ground before locals in Tallaght helped him. “Luckily it wasn’t a major issue,” he said.

The 25 year old arrived to Ireland from Afghanistan on December 20th and has not been offered State-provided accommodation since then.

He said the contingency payment has allowed him afford hostel accommodation for two weeks in total out of those two months. The remainder of his time has been filled sleeping in tents, often near a mosque when possible for greater security and facilities during the day.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Rizwan arrived to Ireland from Pakistan about a month and a half ago, and said since then he has been robbed and attacked while sleeping in a tent in Dublin city.

“It’s hard for us to live, some people hit me, it’s hard for me to stay on the road without accommodation and not enough money,” he said adding that his tent and a pair of shoes have been robbed.

Tuesday’s protest was organised by Ailbhe, who did not want her surname published.

“What’s happening here is shameful and it’s against human rights. The Government should be ashamed of themselves,” she said adding: “If I was working a job and I didn’t do it, I’d be sacked.”

She described 970 asylum seekers without State-provided accommodation as “embarrassing”.

“Considering that we are one of the richest countries in the world capita, what’s happening here and the amount of people on the streets is embarrassing,” she said.

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