Minister 'doesn't accept argument' that Ireland is full

It comes as the State could not accommodate 55 people who arrived here as of Thursday
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.34 27 Jan 2023

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Minister 'doesn't accept argum...

Minister 'doesn't accept argument' that Ireland is full

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.34 27 Jan 2023

Share this article

Ireland is not full and can continue to support people fleeing conflict, the Minister for Integration has said.

It comes as the State could not accommodate 55 people who arrived here as of Thursday.

Roderic O'Gorman told The Hard Shoulder the number of refugees without accommodation will increase.


"I think it's likely that it will rise," he said.

"As you know right now we're accommodating about 19,000 International Protection applicants, and 54,000 displaced persons from Ukraine - so 73,000 people in total.

"So just in comparison: at the start of 2022, my department was accommodating 8,000 people.

"So there's been a massive increase over the last year.

"Across that period, by and large we have been able to supply accommodation for everybody - but there have been a number of periods where the particular pressures at a particular time have meant we haven't been able to.

"We're in one of those periods right now".

Ireland 'in breach' of obligations

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has said Ireland is "currently in clear breach of its international obligations regarding newly arrived applicants for International Protection".

"We are deeply concerned by the communication from the department which says that newly arriving applicants for International Protection, who present as single people without children, will not be provided with accommodation," the IHREC said.

"The Commission believes that this is a clear breach of the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 230/2018) and the related European Directive."

'I don't accept that'

Minister O'Gorman acknowledged this is a breach, but said nothing more can be done.

"We are, there's nothing I can say that can change that - other than we are working to resolve this situation, other than that we are working to source accommodation.

"It is extremely serious and as Minister for Integration and as Minister for Equality, it doesn't sit well with me - it doesn't sit well with anybody across Government," he added.

Asked if Ireland is full, based on the numbers, he said this is not something he supports.

"I don't accept that argument, I think we can continue to support people fleeing conflict," he said.

"We are undoubtedly experiencing a short-term lack of accommodation... but I think as a system, as a State, we can continue to fulfill our legal obligations and our moral obligations."

'Contingency plan'

He said the Government is working "across all State agencies" to identify a contingency plan.

"It's not acceptable and it is a very serious situation where we can't accommodate people, and we're working to bring in place a contingency as soon as we can.

"We have line of sight to bringing on additional accommodation later in February/March - but the next number of weeks, despite very sustained efforts in my department, we don't have line of sight to enough accommodation to meet what we expect will be the arrivals numbers".

"Even since December we've brought in over 4,000 additional beds for both Ukraine and International Protection accommodation - so we're always looking to source additional accommodation," he added.

Main image: Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O'Gorman in the Government Press Centre in September 2022. Picture by: Sam Boal /

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IHREC International Protection Irish Human Rights And Equality Commission Minister For Integration Roderic O'Gorman The Hard Shoulder Ukraine

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