Government has not opposed motion that failure to provide proper facilities for international protection applicants is unlawful

O’Gorman acknowledges Crooksling site is ‘basic’, but says it is an improvement on ‘unacceptable situation at Mount Street’

The Government has not opposed a motion in the Dáil which said its failure to provide proper facilities for international protection applicants was unlawful.

Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman told the Dáil on Thursday he accepted “we are failing to meet their basic needs”. However, he said the suggestion that moving asylum seekers from an encampment at Mount Street in Dublin city centre to Crooksling in Co Dublin at the weekend was in any way linked to St Patrick’s Day was “entirely wrong”.

He also said there was “rampant misinformation” about the Crooksling site shared online over the weekend. “The shared photo of a filthy toilet purporting to show the only toilet on the site is entirely untrue. The suggestion that there were no indoor areas for those staying there – that’s not true. The suggestion that there was no food available on Saturday – that’s not true.”

The Green Party TD acknowledged the Crooksling site was “basic”, but added it was an improvement on the “unacceptable situation at Mount Street”.


“I understand the frustration felt by those who have come to Ireland seeking shelter and I accept that we’re failing to meet their basic needs,” he said.

Mr O’Gorman was speaking as the Social Democrats put forward a motion which calls on the Government to agree that “its failure to provide material reception conditions to international protection applicants is unlawful”.

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore said scores of asylum seekers sleeping rough directly in front of the International Protection Office in Dublin could only be described as a “dystopian illustration of where our State is going and, unfortunately, where it is at at the moment”.

The Wicklow TD said she welcomed that her party’s motion was not being opposed by the Government, who were effectively “putting your hands up here today and saying that, yes, how you have been treating these people is unlawful”.

Mr O’Gorman also said the challenges facing the State in terms of accommodating Ukrainian refugees and rising numbers of people seeking international protection were “increasing”.

He said January and February of this year saw the highest numbers of monthly international protection applicants on record. “As many people now claim international protection in six weeks as they did previously in a year prior to Covid,” the Minister added.

Mr O’Gorman said he would be bringing a new accommodation strategy to Cabinet next week that sets out measures to activate additional resources of the State to “bring this situation under control”. He said it will be about moving away from the current reliance on private providers and towards ensuring there is a stock of State-owned accommodation.

The Minister said finalising the policy had “taken longer than I would have liked”, but he was confident it would “take us out of the current unacceptable situation”.

He added it was totally unacceptable to say there were available beds at scale within the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) system, with around 450 to 500 people seeking international protection each week.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times