Rumoured proposals to charge people in Direct Provision for rent have been condemned by People Before Profit as “divisive”.
Around 55,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Ireland since the conflict began and in the first eight months of 2022, 8,892 asylum seekers arrived as well.
Amid the worst housing crisis in the history of the state, the Government is struggling to house them and is considering charging rent to those who have been given work permits. However, left-wing TDs say such a proposal sends out the wrong message.
“They’re trying to create a division between those who rely on Direct Provision and the rest of society - which is very much at the receiving end of a housing crisis,” Bríd Smith TD told Newstalk.
“Whether it’s in homelessness or on the waiting list or overcrowding in their homes.
“This sends out the signal, ‘Oh, those in Direct Provision get everything. The rest of us are being discriminated against.’
“And that’s not the case. Everybody deserves a secure place to live."
Deputy Smith believes that refugees in Direct Provision are the wrong target for a Government looking to raise extra revenue.
“If it’s a question of equity, then the Government needs to think about how they’re going to charge people,” she continued.
“Are they going to say, ‘You can pay up to 2,000 euro a month for a space in Direct Provision.’
“Or should they be looking at the equity of how the vulture funds come into this country and can charge that kind of rent without paying proper taxes on their profits?”
In its Programme for Government in 2020, the coalition committed to replacing Direct Provision with a “a new International Protection accommodation policy, centred on a not-for-profit approach.” Although, amid the fallout from the Ukraine crisis, speculation has mounted that the Government will not be able to achieve this by the end of the current Dáil.
The Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has been contacted for comment.
Main image: Mosney Direct Provision centre in Co Meath. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire