Asylum seekers continue to arrive in Ireland despite accommodation warnings

‘All I can say is that it is better than where I am coming from. My life is in danger in Zimbabwe,’ says 31-year-old Karl Masiiwa

Asylum seekers have continued to arrive in Ireland despite the Government warning them that there would be no accommodation for them.

The Department of Integration put messages on its social media accounts on Tuesday telling asylum seekers to stay away if they are in a safe place at present because of the shortage of accommodation.

However, there were still queues outside the International Protection Office in Dublin on Friday with asylum seekers who were not aware of the situation.

The numbers of asylum seekers who have become homeless due to the inability to provide accommodation has risen steadily from seven on Tuesday, to 24 on Wednesday, and 55 on Thursday.


A department spokeswoman said the situation remains “difficult and complicated”.

“Officials are doing everything they can to get new properties over the line, but there is no imminent change expected.”

The affected asylum applicants were given a €20 food voucher, a sim card and €5 worth of mobile phone credit.

Irish Refugee Council chief executive Nick Henderson said the situation facing asylum seekers at present was “extremely alarming and unprecedented”. He predicted that it would lead to a “humanitarian crisis in the form of large scale homelessness” given it was likely to persist for several weeks.

Staff from the council are “working with at least eight people who have presented to our office and are homeless”, he said.

Karl Masiiwa (31) came from Zimbabwe via Paris on Thursday. He was given temporary accommodation in Dublin on Thursday night and told to turn up at the International Protection Office on Friday. He has nowhere to stay as of Friday night and claims to know nobody in Dublin.

“All I can say is that it is better than where I am coming from. My life is in danger in Zimbabwe. Some of my family members who are in politics have fled,” he said.

“We are going towards elections in Zimbabwe. I was abducted, tortured and raped, so I had to run away. I don’t know what to do any more. I want a place where I can seek international protection and be out of danger.

“I was looking for ways to go to the UK but the person who offered to assist me has helped me to get to Ireland.

“I fully understand there is a war in Ukraine. It is painful on my side, but it is understandable that they are accommodating people from Ukraine.”

There were other asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Afghanistan who were sent to the International Protection Office, but they did not want to speak to The Irish Times. They also had no place to stay.

A department spokesman said officials had taken the details of asylum seekers it could not accommodate, who would be contacted “as soon as accommodation becomes available”.

Mike Allen, head of advocacy at homeless charity Focus Ireland, said the situation was now “totally shocking”.

“Nobody seems to have done a disaster mitigation plan”, such as providing further temporary tented accommodation or camp beds in sports halls, he said. “All these are better than saying, ‘here is a voucher and clear off’ – that is the worst.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times