Written answers

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

International Protection

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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192. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in considering proposals for housing asylum seekers, if consideration is given to the existing population of an area; and if he will commit, despite the pressures on accommodation, to ensuring proportionate numbers and public engagement. [23299/23]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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As the Deputy is aware, access to suitable accommodation for international protection applicants is severely constrained at present. There are over 500 people seeking protection currently unaccommodated in the State.

The number of international protection applicants (IPAs) and Ukrainian beneficiaries of temporary protection (BOTPs) arriving in Ireland is expected to remain at elevated levels for the foreseeable future.

The Department is availing of all offers of accommodation made to it, including the use of repurposed buildings, to address the accommodation shortfall. These options are necessary in order to provide shelter to international protection arrivals, to meet basic needs and to prevent homelessness.

Due to the sheer scale of the present crisis this inevitably means that emergency accommodation of those seeking refuge must be occupied on a faster timeline than would otherwise be the case. Before the opening of any facility, the Department engages with local representatives to provide information as soon as possible following the agreement of terms with contractors. These constraints limit the time window for advance consultation.  However, the Department is cognisant of these issues and is working towards improving advance communications for elected representatives, local authorities and local communities.

The Department of the Taoiseach has convened a Senior Officials Group (SOG) which is looking at the issue of community engagement and communications. My Department, and several others are engaged in that process.  That is evaluating the most effective methods of engaging with communities in respect of refugees and international protection applicants.  A new community engagement and communications approach will be agreed, to be implemented under the auspices of Minister Joe O'Brien T.D., who has a specific mandate in this regard, once the SOG has completed its work over the next weeks.

It is not possible, however, to link the selection of international protection accommodation centres to population size.


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