Concern that Hundreds of Refugees may Face Homelessness
Refugee and migrant rights organisation Doras is today calling for urgent action to prevent hundreds of refugees from facing homelessness in the coming weeks and months.
The call follows an announcement by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman who has said it is likely that the State will no longer be able to accommodate newly arrived international protection applicants, and that the Citywest Transit Hub will soon close to new applicants.
“This is a worrying new low for the international protection system in Ireland. We already have a situation where people are sleeping in tents in freezing conditions, despite promises this practice would end. We appreciate that the Department of Children is under huge pressure but we simply can’t throw the towel in and ignore our moral and legal obligation to offer refuge” says Doras CEO John Lannon.
“The EU Reception Conditions Directive compels Ireland to ensure that a basic standard of housing, food, clothing and health care is provided to people seeking international protection. We’re talking about people who have faced great hardships to flee war, oppression and human rights abuses. Ireland has very real challenges but as a country, we have access to resources and the solutions are there if the will is there. That’s why we continue our calls for greater leadership and a better-resourced and more coordinated effort that takes a long-term approach beyond the constant focus on crisis management, which is incredibly costly and causing great harm”.
“We are especially concerned about those who are more vulnerable when they arrive seeking protection. Single men are likely to be worst affected by the current situation but their need and right to protection is no less than others. We cannot sit by and allow these people to end up on the streets. It’s simply not acceptable to refer them to places like the Capuchin centre, which is already doing so much. Nor can we rely on damp, cold and crowded tents such as those in Knockalisheen, which are no place for human beings in the height of winter.”
“There is a real concern that the drop in standards of accommodation for asylum seekers becomes an acceptable new norm. Sub-standard accommodation or the even worse prospect of no accommodation put Ireland in breach of our obligations and put lives and wellbeing at risk”
“It is essential that the government combines the delivery of short-term accommodation options with immediate effective planning of longer term sustainable solutions.
“The failure to respond properly to Ireland’s housing crisis, and in particular the accommodating and integrating of International Protection Applicants, is now being exploited by far-right extremists who seek to sow division to gain political ground. Government needs to respond by ensuring better resourcing and communications are in place at the community level. People must feel safe and welcome and not be exposed to the threats and attacks that have been escalating in recent times. We need politicians and policymakers to proactively engage with communities in advance of accommodation centres being opened. We cannot stop the inflow of people seeking protection here, so the solution to the current crisis needs to be in how we respond to their arrival, not in trying to stop their arrival. In all of this, we cannot forget our moral compass, and the need to uphold a standard of decency and compassion for fellow human beings”.