Refugees having to sleep on chairs with no blankets, campaigners claim

ireland
Refugees Having To Sleep On Chairs With No Blankets, Campaigners Claim Refugees Having To Sleep On Chairs With No Blankets, Campaigners Claim
Citywest transit hub, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Cate McCurry, PA

Refugees have been forced to sleep on chairs with no blankets at the Citywest transit hub, it has been claimed.

Concerns have been raised by campaigners about asylum seekers being subjected to conditions that fail to provide a suitable standard of living.

Bulelani Mfaco, of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), said the group was recently contacted by refugees based at the Dublin facility.

The site caters for hundreds of people and is understood to be full because of the sharp increase in refugees arriving in Ireland.

In a letter to the Department of Children, MASI said some refugees have had to sleep without blankets in recent days.

 

A spokesman said: “A big part of our work is providing peer to peer support to asylum seekers, especially through our information sessions for asylum seekers who arrived recently in the country.

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“We also receive queries from asylum seekers who have concerns about their applications for international protection or access to public services. We were recently contacted by asylum seekers who have been sleeping on chairs with no blankets in Citywest since August 14.

“While we are aware of the pressures in the accommodation system at the moment, we remain concerned that asylum seekers are being subjected to conditions that do not provide a suitable standard of living as required by the EU Directive on Reception Conditions for Asylum Seekers.

“While the directive permits use of emergency accommodation, it explicitly provides for member states to ensure that such accommodation upholds the rights of the recipients.

“Additionally, Ireland has an obligation in domestic and EU law to protect people, including asylum seekers, from being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, and to have regard to the vulnerable status of asylum seekers in society.

“We have received anecdotal reports of some asylum seekers not being provided with material support, including accommodation, as required.

“We intend to make inquiries about this in the community at our next information session and weekly meetings.”

Refugee numbers have increased this year due to the war in Ukraine (Andriy Andriyenko/AP)

The group has urged Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman to address the situation.

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In a statement, the Department of Children said Ireland is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of arrivals of people seeking international protection from all parts of the world.

“This is in addition to the arrivals as a result of the Ukrainian crisis,” the spokeswoman added.

“Due to the severe pressure on available accommodation, it is necessary for international protection applicants to temporarily await their allocation of accommodation in the Citywest transit hub.

“The International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) is working to ensure they are allocated accommodation in the shortest time frame possible and where vulnerable people are identified, they are prioritised for allocation.

“IPAS is always available to deal with any complaints from residents and residents are encouraged to engage with IPAS if they are unhappy with any aspect of their accommodation.

“IPAS staff are on-site each day at the Citywest transit hub.

“Where a complaint is significant in nature or a resident is not comfortable raising a complaint with a centre manager, they may make the complaint directly, or through a representative authorised to act on their behalf, to the IPAS customer service team.

“IPAS also funds a dedicated helpline where residents can raise any concerns or issues they may have.

“All international protection applicants have access to the services of the Ombudsman and Office of the Ombudsman for Children, should they consider that their complaint has not been managed appropriately.”

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