Protesters stage sit-in at Department of Integration, saying homeless asylum seekers ‘left to rot’

Many people in tents surrounding the offices, with many needing medical attention, campaigners say

A group of protesters staged a sit-in at the Department of Integration offices on Thursday afternoon, calling for action for homeless asylum seekers.

The protest began outside the building on Lower Baggot Street, Dublin shortly after 1.30pm, when a green tent that read “We are not subhuman” was tied to a railing outside the department’s offices.

A sign that read “Stop normalising institutional racism” was brought inside the offices after about 12 protesters gained entry shortly after 2.30pm.

They were asked to leave by staff at reception. However, protesters refused and staged a sit-in, remaining for more than 1½ hours.


The protesters gained entry with the aim of hand-delivering a letter to Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman outlining how asylum seekers without accommodation are sleeping in “extremely dangerous” conditions.

The letter was penned by Róisín McAleer and Stephen Roche, activists with Social Rights Ireland, which is providing daily support to asylum seekers camped at the International Protection Office (IPO).

Ms McAleer said asylum seekers have been “abandoned, left to languish and left to rot”.

“We’re worried that somebody’s actually going to die on the streets and we’re here to do whatever we can, to ask for some justice,” she said.

The letter reads that there are now more than 200 men sleeping on the streets surrounding the IPO, several of whom need “urgent medical care”.

“Refuse, including human waste, is building up, creating an immense health hazard both for these vulnerable men and for other residents of the city,” it reads.

A department official arrived at reception to accept the letter about 90 minutes after they gained entry, assuring them that it would be delivered to the minister before asking the protesters to leave again.

The department was asked for comment concerning the protest.

On Thursday afternoon, there were at least 75 tents pitched in the immediate area surrounding the International Protection Office. Some bore signs saying “Refugees welcome”, others simply bore foil to conserve heat.

On December 4th, the Department of Integration confirmed that there was a “severe shortage” of accommodation and that not all single male international protection applicants would be accommodated.

Three months later, 1,159 of the 1,632 international protection applicants who have arrived since December 4th are without State-provided accommodation.

Some 190 have been accommodated after being triaged for vulnerabilities, while a further 283 were accommodated as beds came on stream.