McEntee: Large-scale reception centres needed to ‘put a roof over’ asylum seekers' heads

It is thought a model already used in Dublin's CityWest could be replicated on a larger scale
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.04 11 Jan 2024

Share this article

McEntee: Large-scale reception...

McEntee: Large-scale reception centres needed to ‘put a roof over’ asylum seekers' heads

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.04 11 Jan 2024

Share this article

Plans to set up a range of new large-scale reception centres are needed to ensure we can ‘put a roof over’ asylum seekers’ heads after they arrive, the Justice Minister has told Newstalk Breakfast.

The Government is said to be considering buying or leasing at least three large properties around the country which could be used as reception centres.

A similar model already exists at the CityWest Hotel in Dublin which can house up to 2,000 people.


It is thought this model could be replicated on a larger scale.

Helen McEntee told Newstalk this morning that a White Paper examining how Ireland responds to international protection applicants is currently being reviewed by Integration Minister Roderic O'Gorman.

The review will be brought to Cabinet in the next couple of weeks.

She said the numbers seeking protection here have increased significantly.

"I think it's really important that we do have a Government and a national response," she said.

"We've seen the number of people seeking international protection in this country increase significantly in the last two years alone.

"We're not alone - that's something that's happening right across Europe, right across the world - but we need to be able to respond in the most effective way possible.

"We know that there have been shortages of accommodation, we know that it has been a challenge in the last two years, so, this will be our response to make sure [that] no matter who is coming to this country seeking protection, that we can put a roof over their head.

"We can then, through my Department, process their application as quickly as possible and if people have a right to be here, that we're fair with them, that we provide them with that protection.

"And if they don't [have a right to be here] that we're firm and that they're asked to leave.

"This will be part of a suite of changes and measures that we, as a Government, are putting in place to make sure that our obligation to those seeking international protection, that we can fulfil that obligation".

Asylum misinformation

Minister McEntee said there is a lot of 'misinformation' when it comes to our asylum system.

"There's a suggestion that we have a significantly higher proportion of people seeking international protection here in Ireland, that's simply not the case," she said.

"We represent about 1.3% of the European population, our international protection figure is about 1.17%.

"We base each decesion on each individual, so every person who comes here has an opportunity to make their case, to tell their story.

"People need to be afforded that opportunity".

Minister McEntee said arrests and prosecutions related to arson attacks on a number of premises are "probably not too far off".

It comes as Gardaí said they are aware of "misinformation, disinformation and rumour" about the use of vacant buildings after another Dublin property was damaged in a fire.

It is understood the fire broke out in a former guesthouse on Sandyford Road in Dublin days after far-right groups began claiming the building was being converted for use as asylum seeker accommodation.

It follows a similar blaze at a Galway hotel in December.

Listen back here:

Main image: Justice Minister Helen McEntee speaking at Government Buildings, 14-12-23. Image: Sam Boal / ©

Share this article

Read more about

Asylum Reception Centres Asylum Seekers Helen McEntee Integration Minister Roderic O'Gorman International Protection International Protection Applicants Misinformation Newstalk Breakfast White Paper

Most Popular