The Government must look at “every single option” when it comes to housing refugees, the Justice Minister has told Newstalk Breakfast.
It emerged this morning that plans to house asylum seekers and refugees in ships and barges will not be happening any time soon.
The Irish Times reports that a tender for floating accommodation is not likely to be awarded “in the immediate future”, with officials still working through legal and regulatory issues linked to the plan.
The Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman announced the plan back in May, noting that his department aimed to accommodate up to 1,500 people on ships and barges.
On Newstalk Breakfast, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the Government has to explore all avenues when it comes to providing refugee accommodation.
“We have done that to the tune of almost 90,000 people, if not more, who have come and have sought international protection here and we have provided that,” she said.
“I don't want to see anybody in tents but we have to make sure that we have shelter for people when they come here.
“Obviously, over time, it's about making sure that people have somewhere that's more permanent or not a tent so to speak, but I think, as a Government, we've shown we need to look at every single option here to make sure that somebody who's fleeing war [has a place to stay].”
Asked whether the boats plan had now been binned, she said she would support Minister O’Gorman in whatever he decides.
“That's a matter for the Minister,” she said.
“We meet on a regular basis, as a committee essentially, to decide what action should be taken moving forward, but whatever decision that the Minister takes, I will of course support him in that.
“This is about providing shelter for people no matter where it might be - people who are fleeing war - and we're absolutely committed to that.”
Figures from the Department of Justice show that Ireland has taken in some 92,500 from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.
In addition to that, the country has welcomed some 20,900 asylum seekers from other countries.
The Department of Integration says it is providing over 92,400 with State-sourced accommodation, ‘and that number continues to increase’.
That figure includes over 69,500 people from Ukraine and 22,700 people seeking International Protection.
You can listen back to Minister McEntee here: