State to provide 14,000 new beds for asylum seekers through turnkey properties, empty offices and rapid-builds

Minister for Justice reviewing eight nations which could be added to existing list of safe countries of origin

A new plan to accommodate asylum seekers will see the State provide 14,000 beds by the end of 2028, as part of a wider plan to make 35,000 spaces available across the system.

Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman said the new beds will delivered through a mix of building and buying. New spaces in reception and integration centres will be delivered through acquiring larger turnkey properties, taking over empty offices and commercial buildings, and rolling out rapid builds on State-owned lands.

The Department of Integration plans to lease two locations from the HSE and one from the Department of Justice. Rapid build prefabs will be built on this land. The HSE sites identified include Crooksling, near Dublin, and one near Newtownmountkennedy in Wicklow.

The plan is based on projections that a system with capacity for up to 35,000 asylum seekers will be needed by the end of 2028. That is assuming that between 13,000 to 16,000 arrive on average per year between 2024 and 2028, and that people granted refugee status move from their accommodation.

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Each international protection applicant will be allowed to remain in the reception centre for six months. Accommodation centres will then be needed for people who have passed the six month mark but are still awaiting a decision. Under existing criteria, they can stay there for 12 months.

The Government plans to continue using emergency commercial accommodation in the short to medium term, but intends to scale this down as more State places become available.

Meanwhile, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has confirmed that she is reviewing the status of eight further countries which could be added to the list of safe countries of origin. There are currently 10 on the list. This could mean faster processing times for people arriving from those countries.

At present, there are 28,181 beds available in the system. This comprises 20,824 spaces in emergency commercial accommodation, 6,173 beds in permanent IPAS centres and some 1,184 State owned beds.

Under the Coalition’s new plan, there will in future be 35,000 beds. This will comprise 10,000 spaces in emergency commercial accommodation, 11,000 beds in contingency commercial accommodation, some 1,000 community State owned beds, and 13,000 other State owned beds.

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