Mount Street was a dangerous and unacceptable situation, says Fianna Fáil TD

Mount Street Was A Dangerous And Unacceptable Situation, Says Fianna Fáil Td
Jim O’Callaghan said it was not possible to “just conjure up accommodation out of nowhere..
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Vivienne Clarke

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan has welcomed the removal of tents from Mount Street which had been a dangerous and unacceptable situation.

“It was unhygienic for everyone in the area, and it was extremely unfair on the people who live and work in the area. I welcome the fact that there's been a coordinated response to us.”


Mr O’Callaghan told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show the Government was making great efforts to provide accommodation for people coming to Ireland seeking international protection.

“At present, there are 30,000 people being accommodated by IPAS. And that's leaving aside the 75,000 Ukrainian people that are being accommodated. So the state has done extremely well.

"The Irish people have been very generous. But when you look at the numbers of people who are coming in and who are applying for international protection, it's considerably greater than it was in the past two years.

"Like last year, it was 13,500 already this year at 6700. So we're clearly going to hit 20,000 this year. So it's putting significant pressures on everyone.”


When asked if it had been acceptable to delay in providing accommodation for the men staying in the tents on Mount Street, Mr O’Callaghan said it was not possible to “just conjure up accommodation out of nowhere.

“I don't know where the men are off to, but I suspect that's preferable to the fact that they're going to a place where, if they're in tented accommodation, they're lawfully entitled to put their tents there. One of the big concerns I had was that not only was it dangerous and unhygienic and unfair, it was also unlawful what was happening, and we were just ignoring the law.”

It was acceptable and preferable that the people involved be accommodated in a place with toilets and shower facilities with access to health services, even if it was tented accommodation, he added.

“They'll have indoor food and they'll have transport. I think it's a very generous and appropriate response from the government.”


The CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, Nick Henderson has called for better communication around the removal of people in tents on Mount Street.

While it was understandable that the Department of Integration was not publicising to where it was moving the people, it was important for the people involved to receive communication around where they were going, he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

Many of the people getting on the buses did not know where they were going, he added.

His understanding was that the people were being moved to accommodation in army style tents in which there was a heater and cots.


Mr Henderson acknowledged that this was better than sleeping in a small tent on Mount Street, as the new location would have supports. However the Refugee Council continued to criticise the use of tented accommodation which did not meet people’s basic needs.

“One thing that is worth emphasising, is that there are 1800 people who are sleeping rough and who are currently without accommodation. And we don't think that what happened today addresses all of the people who are without accommodation. So 300, perhaps have been moved from Mount Street, but there's still a significant number of people who are without accommodation.”

In a statement from the Government, they said: "Those seeking international protection have now been safely moved to Citywest and to Crooksling tented accommodation in County Dublin.

"The Crooksling site has robust, weather-proof tents. It has toilets and showers; health services; indoor areas where food is provided; facilities to charge phones and personal devices; access to transport to and from Dublin City Centre; and 24-hour onsite security.


"While in Crooksling accommodation, residents will receive the same supports as at other locations. This includes access to medical care via the HSE social inclusion outreach teams and medical card provision; IPAS customer services team clinics; onsite support from the provider’s staff; and psycho-social and integration support from NGO partners.

"The encampment at Mount Street has been dismantled and the streets are being cleaned by Dublin City Council."

Tanaiste Micheál Martin said the operation in Mount Street is to ensure the “safe movement of people” who are seeking asylum.

He said the sites that people are being moved to has facilities like toilets, showers, health services and indoor areas and facilities to charge phones and personal devices.

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Mr Martin said: “The Crooksling site has transport to and from Dublin city centre and onsite security. The tents on Mount Street are not acceptable, not acceptable for migrants and not acceptable for migrants either.

“It’s very important that we do this properly and our objective is to make sure we continue to provide accommodation of this kind, and as well faster processing of those seeking asylum, particularly from designated safe countries. We discourage (the tents) very strongly.

“The state has, within its powers, the capacity to make sure we don’t have tents back up on Mount Street or other streets and our view in Government is very clear is that we can’t have tents in streets adjacent to neighbourhoods.

“It’s not good for those seeking asylum and not for residents in the area, and it can create a lot of tension.”

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