Asylum seeker tents not removed because of Europa League final, insists minister

Asylum Seeker Tents Not Removed Because Of Europa League Final, Insists Minister
Asylum seeker tents, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Homeless asylum seekers sleeping in tents along Dublin's Grand Canal were not moved because of a high-profile football match, the Transport Minister has said.

The Europa League final between Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen is to be held in the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday evening.


Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said around 89 male asylum seekers who had been sleeping in tents along Dublin’s Grand Canal are to be housed in various centres after being moved on Tuesday.

He said they were moved as accommodation became available and not because of the sporting spectacle.

This is the fourth time asylum seekers sleeping in tents have been moved from parts of Dublin city in recent months – twice at Mount Street and twice at the Grand Canal.

The day before St Patrick’s Day, male asylum seekers who had been camping at the International Protection Office on Mount Street were taken by bus to a separate site outside the city.


The Taoiseach denied at the time the tents were removed to avoid an “eyesore” for tourists and “an embarrassment for the Government” ahead of St Patrick’s Day.

Eamon Ryan
Eamon Ryan said the men were being removed from their tents because accommodation had become available for them (Brian Lawless/PA)

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Ryan said officials from the Department of Integration had met people sleeping in tents along the Grand Canal to inform them they would be offered accommodation.


“They’ll be going to a variety of accommodation centres – the IPAS centres,” said Mr Ryan, who is also a TD for the Dublin Bay South constituency.

“About 89 men… have been provided with that accommodation in a number of different centres and they will be making their way there and that will, I think, take away from what no-one wants.

“It’s not right for us to have people on the canal, it’s not a safe place.”

Asked why the men were moved ahead of the Europa League final, Mr Ryan told RTÉ’s News At One: “That’s not the reason you would be looking to provide people accommodation, because of a football match.


“It is an ongoing reality that we have to provide protection for people seeking refuge here. That has been a real challenge because the numbers that have been coming.

“We did not have the available accommodation, but as soon as it becomes available we clearly want to provide it for those who are in a more perilous situation who are camped in that way, so that is the reason it was done now – it is because we have the accommodation available.”

Mr Ryan acknowledged “you could never stop if someone wanted to pitch a tent in a certain location”, but said ministers want to stop makeshift camps for safety reasons.

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