A new ‘tent city’ of asylum seekers is expected to grow amid an “extremely serious” shortage of accommodation.
The State is currently housing just under 84,000 refugees and international protection applicants - the bulk of whom are from Ukraine.
With such high demand for accommodation, officials have been unable to source it for 582 people and many have set up camp in tents outside the International Protection Office in Dublin.
One resident of ‘tent city’, as it has become called, is originally from Zimbabwe and fled to Ireland after he was beaten up for his sexuality.
Being gay is a crime in Zimbabwe and LGBT people are at huge risk of violence if their sexuality becomes public knowledge.
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“It’s totally unacceptable,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“Better to be dead than in the situation I’m currently in.”
He claims he was tortured and arrived in Ireland with injuries to his head and neck in March.
Then, there were only a handful of tents - but now there are 41 and more and more people arrive every week.
It is a bleak situation but he is unequivocal it is better than where he came from.
“It’s so promising when we see people trying to help us in a way,” he said.
“The situation is really bad… but we just keep the faith… because we are free here.”
The International Protection Accomodation Service has been distributing €50 vouchers and applicants are entitled to a weekly payment of €38.80 - but the Irish Refugee Council believes the Government needs to do more.
“It’s extremely serious and it has to end,” CEO Nick Henderson said.
“It is also time for other Government Departments to play a role; we wrote to the Department of Housing two weeks ago to state that Minister Darragh O’Brien should instruct local authorities to give some support to people who are homeless.”
The Department of Integration said in a statement to Newstalk:
"Department officials are working tirelessly to bring more bed spaces into use. Since the beginning of 2023, more than 5,300 bed spaces have been brought into use by IPAS to accommodate new arrivals and 2,540 people who have had to be re-accommodated from hotels where contracts ended in the first four months of this year.
"While demand continues to outstrip supply, particularly for single male adults, the Department has ensured that all families and children have been accommodated.
"IPAS is now issuing non accommodated persons with weekly €50 euro vouchers. They are entitled to a payment of the equivalent of the Daily Expenses Allowance (€38.80) and this has been backdated to the point at which they applied for international protection. They are also entitled to exceptional needs payments from the Department of Social Protection.
"IPAS has an agreement with Mendicity to make its drop in day services available to non-accommodated persons. They are able to access information, food, Wi-Fi and shelter there."