An asylum seeker from Yemen has told Newstalk he regrets coming to Ireland after finding himself sleeping on the street.
18-year-old Zachariah arrived in Ireland yesterday and had to sleep in a bus shelter near Dublin Airport last night.
He is one of 31 asylum seekers who are without State accommodation today.
According to the Department of Children and Integration, seven asylum seekers were left without accommodation on Tuesday, rising to 17 on Wednesday and 31 on Thursday.
The department has said it is prioritising women and children arriving into the country with accommodation extremely scarce.
It means men are being forced to sleep rough after arriving, with the serious shortage of accommodation expected to continue for several days.
"I had no idea"
Zachariah said he had no idea about the shortage of accommodation when he arrived.
“I arrived in Dublin Airport last night,” he said. “I was going to sleep in the airport but I was told I could not stay there. So, I found shelter near the airport”.
The 18-year-old was standing outside the International Protection Office in Dublin this morning where he was told there was no accommodation.
“They’ve told me there is nowhere for me to stay, so I will have to sleep on the streets tonight,” he said.
“I hope to find a building somewhere for shelter because it is very cold.
“I had no idea there would be no accommodation; if I had of known I would not have come here”.
There has been a civil war in Yemen since 2014 and according to UN figures, around 375,000 people (1.25% of the total population) have been killed by wartime violence since 2015.
More than 11,000 children have also been injured or killed.
Zachariah’s parents died in the war.
“My parents have passed away,” he said. “The only family I have is an aunt who is in Somalia.
“I’ve come to Ireland alone; I have no family or friends here”.
Meanwhile, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has today written to the Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman to warn that Ireland is currently in clear breach of its international obligations regarding newly arrived applicants for International Protection.
“We are deeply concerned that newly arriving international protection applicants, who present as single people without children, will not be provided with accommodation,” it wrote.
It warned that this is in “clear breach” of the European Communities Regulations 2018.