Jennifer Whitmore TD

It is absolutely disgusting that more than 1,000 vulnerable asylum applicants are living in tents on the streets – during sub-zero weather – while nearly 5,000 asylum and refugee beds are vacant, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“It is absolutely disgusting that there are literally thousands of empty beds throughout the integration system while more than 1,000 vulnerable migrants are living on the streets. These beds have been paid for by the State, yet they are lying empty.

“Last night, the weather was extremely cold and there is heavy snow in Dublin today. Nobody should be sleeping rough on our streets, especially in these extremely dangerous conditions.

“It is becoming clear that Integration Minister Roderick O’Gorman’s priority is not providing accommodation for these migrants – but rather keeping them on the streets in an effort to dissuade other asylum applicants from coming to this country.

“That is the only logical explanation for the persistence of this extremely concerning issue when there are nearly 5,000 vacant beds in the asylum and refugee system.

“It is notable that the Integration Minister is a member of the Green Party, which made abolition of direct provision a condition of entering government. After four years of government, the Minister is now presiding over a system in which migrants are sleeping rough.

“It is unconscionable to think that so many people, who have already experienced severe trauma and have come to this country seeking safety from persecution, are being treated in this unforgiveable manner.

“Not only do these asylum applicants have to deal with a lack of sanitation on the street, and the threat of violence from racist gangs, but they have to contend with snow, torrential rain and gale force winds.

“Ireland has both a legal and moral obligation to provide accommodation to those seeking asylum in this country. Not only is the Minister failing in this duty – it is increasingly looking like that failure is deliberate and conscious.”

1 March, 2024


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