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€141m: cost of accommodation asylum applicants with “false or no documentation” in 2022

Aontú Leader, Peadar Tóibín TD, has revealed the cost of providing accommodation in 2022 to asylum applicants who travelled to Ireland on “false or no documentation”.

He said that it had been reported that 5,000 asylum seekers arrived in Ireland without valid travel documents last year.

“That’s 40% of the total number of people applying for asylum. A PQ answer I received back stated that that the cost of providing accommodation for 1 year for an asylum applicant is €18,568”.

“Another PQ answer I received recently stated that the median wait time for an asylum applicant is 1 and a half years. This means that the cost of providing accommodation for those who provide “false or no documentation” on their arrival is €141m,” the Aontú leader said.

“It took 2 years to process 5,000 asylum applications. It took 3 years to processes 1,000 asylum applications. Indeed the longest wait for processing over 14 years,” he added.

“Most Irish people really want to do the right thing for people who are fleeing from war, violence and famine. But most people do not want this system abused, considering the enormous pressure on the system and that so many Irish people and asylum applicants are sleeping on the streets.”

He asked Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman: “would you agree minister that your asylum process is an absolute disaster?”

Speaking after the Dáil contribution, the Aontú leader said: “Its very important that we do the right thing by those who need help. We wont be able to do that, if we don’t have the systems to identify who really needs help”.

The reply given by Minister Roderic O’Gorman in full was:

My Department’s overall objective is to have decisions made on applications from people seeking international protection as quickly as possible. This ensures that those who are found to be in need of protection in Ireland can receive it quickly and begin rebuilding their lives here with a sense of safety and security.

As the Deputy will be aware, during 2022 the number of people claiming international protection increased significantly, with 13,651 applications made with the IPO. This is a 186% increase on the same period in 2019, the last year in which application numbers were not impacted by COVID-19.

Since the introduction of new efficiency measures during 2022 the IPO have been able to increase the number of first instance recommendations and permission to remain decisions being made by the IPO by 44%, when compared with the same period pre-Covid in 2019.

Notwithstanding the very large increase in the number of applications during 2022, the median processing time for all international protection cases (which includes decisions on permission to remain) and processed to completion by the IPO in Quarter 4 of 2022 was 10 months for all cases. The median processing time for cases processed to completion for all of 2022 was 18 months.

The longest application processing time for 2022 was 170 months, i.e. first instance determination issued in 2022, but 170 months after initial application. It should be noted that unusually long processing times for individual applications such as this are often attributable to circumstances outside of the control of the IPO. The reasons for such extended delays in processing can include an applicant who may have an ongoing Judicial Review, certain applicants may be uncontactable or missing including children with separate applications where a parent has already received a decision, and some applicants may not be co-operating with the application process itself.

92% of cases decided in 2022 were processed in 3 years or less and 62% of cases decided in 2022 were processed in 2 years or less

I can inform the Deputy that the number of applications pending at the International Protection Office at the end of December 2022 is 14,103. There were a total of 839 appeals pending with the IPAT (International Protection Appeals Tribunal) as at 31st December 2022.



  1. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the estimated average cost of keeping an applicant for asylum in direct provision per year; and the total cost for same in each of the past five years. [1188/23]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Roderic O’Gorman

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) is responsible for the costs associated with the provision of accommodation and ancillary services for international protection applicants in the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS).

The expenditure of my Department primarily relates to the running of the National Reception Centre at Balseskin; the contracting of commercial and emergency IPAS accommodation centres; the management, maintenance and utility costs of the seven State-owned accommodation centres; the provision of Covid-19 response centres for isolation and quarantine (during pandemic); the costs associated with the provision of PPE to residents (during pandemic); and grants to NGOs providing support services to residents in IPAS accommodation.

The total spend on IPAS accommodation in 2022 was €356,554,000. There were 19,202 people in IPAS accommodation on 31 December 2022. At a year end average of overall cost divided by the number of people residing in IPAS accommodation, the average annual figure for keeping an international protection applicant in IPAS accommodation for one year was €18,568.59.

The Deputy should bear in mind that the number of people who are resident in IPAS accommodation will vary day to day throughout the year as the number of daily arrivals increase on a cumulative basis. 2022 has seen a major increase in this respect.

Further information on previous years is included in tabular format below:

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