A ‘devastating milestone’ – JRS

February 27, 2024 in Featured News, News

The Jesuit Refugee Service in Ireland (JRS Ireland) is calling on the government to bring additional housing supply on stream as a matter of urgency, after the devastating mileston of more than 1,000 single male asylum seekers unaccommodated on the streets of Dublin and elsewhere was reached on Friday, 23 February 2024. JRS Ireland says there is an urgent need to address this emerging humanitarian crisis.

Eugene Quinn, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Ireland, National Director, stated “JRS Ireland are hugely concerned about the safety and wellbeing of more than 1,000 asylum seekers on the street. Through the ‘No Place to Call Home’ initiative, JRS are delivering regular outreach to the men in tents and providing necessary material assistance and support. It is a humanitarian crisis requiring an emergency Government response to bring on significant additional accommodation supply as a matter of urgency.”

Speaking the RTE Radio News at One » David Moriarty, JRS Ireland Assistant Director, outlined the lived experience of homeless asylum seekers. “It is a bleak situation with awful living conditions for the men..” he said. “JRS are supporting around 80 applicants in tents behind the IPO. For safety reasons and to protect the tents from damage some asylum seekers have to stay with the tents at all times. At night they have been threatened and shouted at by hostile groups telling them to leave and go home.”

Mr Moriarty explained that JRS Ireland are providing necessary material support and in some case waterproof tents as: “A number of homeless asylum seekers approached JRS Ireland seeking help because their tents had leaked. All the meagre belongings were soaked in water. There are no washing facilities for themselves or their clothes. Only accessible 30 minutes away in homeless day facilities. Many have been on the streets for weeks falling into hopelessness with no prospect of accommodation anytime soon.”

Since 4 December 2023, 1,265 single males have sought international protection in Ireland. Of those only 255 applicants deemed vulnerable have received accommodation following triage with An Garda Siochana, Homeless Agencies and NGOs, including JRS. This means that there are now 1,010 unaccommodated single male applicants.

JRS Ireland says that when the Irish State denies a person seeking protection accommodation, it is in breach of its international obligations under the EU Receptions Directive to provide material supports and accommodation. As asylum seekers cannot access homeless services at night, it knowingly puts them on the street. At the present time asylum seekers are offered an enhanced payment of €75 per week in lieu of accommodation, an amount far short of what is needed to cover food each day and a bed at night.

Since the start of December 2023, JRS Ireland has been able to provide material supports to 600 unaccommodated persons, winter clothing and blankets to 150 men in tents on the grounds of the Central Mental Hospital, offer regular outreach and support, including waterproof tents on request, to asylum seekers on the streets behind the IPO, under the ‘No Place to Call Home’ initiative, generously funded by Belvedere Sleep Out 2023 »