Photo credit: Houses of the Oireachtas

High Court: Letting asylum seekers go homeless is “unlawful”

It was “unlawful” for the Irish state to allow an Afghan asylum seeker to go homeless after arriving in the country, the High Court has declared.

The case was taken by a young single male from Afghanistan, who arrived in Ireland on February 7th of this year. However, upon his arrival, he was told by authorities that there was no accommodation available for him, and said he was simply given a €28 Dunnes Stores voucher, the addresses of several private charities, and left to fend for himself. He claimed that he had been forced to resort to begging, and had to sleep in various locations around Dublin city centre, in constant fear of attack.

Ultimately, he was given accommodation by the state on February 28th, meaning he was homeless in Ireland for a total of three weeks.

With the help of the NGO the Irish Refugee Council, the young male then took a High Court case against the Irish state, Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman, the Attorney General, and the Child and Family Agency.

Today Justice Charles Meenan concluded that Minister O’Gorman breached his obligations under the European Union (Reception Conditions) Regulations of 2018, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The judge claimed that O’Gorman “fell far short of what is required,” adding that this case was “but one of many” from single males seeking asylum in Ireland.

While the Minister insisted that every possible effort was made to provide accommodation for the asylum seeker on his arrival, the court heard that there had been a 600% increase in non-Ukrainian international protection applications since the beginning of 2021, and that the arrival of large numbers of Ukrainian refugees had significantly strained the State’s resources.

However, the judge was told that this does not “absolve” the Minister of his responsibilities, adding that giving an applicant a €28 Dunnes Stores voucher and the addresses of charities “does not come close to what is required.”

As of the start of this month, there were a total of 371 homeless asylum seekers in Ireland, with the country experiencing record homeless figures for single adults.




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