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600% rise in asylum seekers – apart from Ukrainians – leaves government scrambling for accommodation 

Ireland has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of people travelling here illegally and then seeking asylum, with a 600% rise in numbers in the first five months of this year alone. 

The sharp rise in applications saw almost 5,000 undocumented people come to Ireland illegally in the first five months of 2022  – almost twice the total of 2,649 for the entirety of 2021, the Irish Times reports.

These numbers are separate from those travelling from Ukraine, as since the outbreak of the war there has been no requirement for Ukrainian nationals and others covered by a Temporary Protection Decision to seek international protection in order to receive the support and protection of the Irish State.

More than 34,000 Ukrainans have already come to Ireland, but the jump in those also travelling here from other countries is adding to a system already under serious strain.

While the Irish Times said senior government sources had pointed to the decision by the British government to transfer asylum seekers to Rwanda, it is noteworthy that policies recently adopted by the Irish government make Ireland a more attractive proposition to those wishing to leave their own country.

The state announced last year that it would amnesty immigrants who have come to live here illegally. No-one knows the upper limit for those numbers.

Minister Roderic O’Goman also said that any new migrants who come here claiming asylum would be fast-tracked into public housing and public supports.

Analysing the numbers for Gript, Dr Matt Treacy pointed out that “the leading source countries for applications remain, as has been the case in other years, states which are mostly not considered to be “unsafe” for the purposes of international protection.”

The Irish Times reports that the Cabinet subcommittee heard “that there were 35,000 people (including those from Ukraine) in emergency or direct accommodation in Ireland, compared to only 6,500 people last year.”

The government is now scrambling to provide accommodation even as Irish people endure a housing crisis that has drifted for years and is now becoming more acute weekly, with sky-rocketing rents, huge competition for new builds, and an ongoing deficit of supply.

Yesterday it was reported that 93% of rooms and housing pledged to the state and to NGOs to house Ukrainian refugees had not materialised, similar to the experience in 2015 during the Syrian war.


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