It would appear that even the warnings and the chance that they might not find themselves a hotel room has contributed little to stemming the arrival of opportunist economic migrants from safe countries. While average weekly arrivals have fallen since the pre Christmas period, they are still on course to at least match the 13,651 non Ukrainian war refugees who arrived here in 2022.
In fact the 1,306 who arrived in January this year, is more than three times the total for January 2022 which was under 400. If the January figure was to be replicated over the entire year, and bearing in mind that numbers increase as the year goes on, last year’s total could be significantly surpassed. Which makes it all the more imperative that the authorities crack down on the scale of illegal and opportunistic migrancy given the state’s own admission that the accommodation system is over capacity.
The overall burden on services provided by the Irish taxpayer is indicated by the fact that the number of people living in accommodation under the control of the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) has increased from 6,809 in January 2022, to 19,874 as of February 19 this year.
The fact that the vast majority of arrivals in January continue to be from internationally designated safe countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, Georgia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Egypt and others underlines the ongoing problem that the Irish state has in preventing such people taking advantage of a system that is designed for the protection of genuine asylum seekers. As the breakdown of numbers in IPAS accommodation shows, very few of those in accommodation are people genuinely fleeing war and other human rights crises.
There is no more absurd example of this than the fact that there are 31 people who came to Ireland from the United States of America living in accommodation provided for free by YOU. What are they fleeing? Are they Septuagenarian draft dodgers from the 1960s? Or maybe Trump voters from Tribeca? People who unpatriotically grabbed a beer instead of watching Rihanna’s half time Super Bowl show?
All mirth aside, no serious state in the world takes in other than the very odd and usually eccentric person who claims that if they were sent back to the United States that they might be persecuted on grounds of political belief, or religious or ethnic origin. How long should it take to process these people and deport them? How much does it cost to keep them in pizza and donuts?
In January 2022 there were 71 different nationalities represented among 552 people in IPAS accommodation whose country of origin was not published by IPAS on the grounds that this was done to “protect their identities.” Among those whose identities needed to be protected were 78 people from north America, and others from Brazil and other safe countries the numbers of whom are listed elsewhere.
The same of course applies to the majority of the rest, given that by any reasonable reckoning no more than 20% could be considered to be from countries where there are wars or other crises that would mean that a person from one of those countries would be at risk of death or persecution if returned home. The overall statistics indicate that the typical profile of a resident in IPAS accommodation continues to be a single man from a safe African country.
As of February 19, there were 172 centres being used by IPAS. Among them are the 122 emergency centres some of which have become the focus of ongoing protests around the country as local communities object to their being placed among them. There is currently a tented blockade of a proposed site in Finglas where it seems another attempt was made to move people into a former commercial premises late last week.
As the pressures on accommodation continue, the state will have to force communities to accept these centres, which even the HSE and the Dublin Fire Brigade were deeming to be unsuitable and without proper certification as in the Finglas Bargaintown centre, or alternatively to take measures to reduce the demand. Those measures would have to include a meaningful crackdown on the ongoing and unsustainable level of illegal, undocumented and opportunistic economic migrants.
All of which would be popular outside of the establishment’s own immediate circles of reference, and outside of the disproportionately influential sector which is financially dependent on the huge sums of public finance that are channelled through this enormously lucrative economic sector.