Hospitality Sector accounts for 80% of asylum accommodation locations

80% of asylum accommodation locations are in the hospitality sector, it has been revealed. The information on the breakdown of accommodation was obtained by Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín through a recent Parliamentary Question.

Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday, the Aontú leader said that people want to see “common sense” deployed and a sustainable system put in place. Mr Tóibín said that the current asylum system was one of dysfunction.

“Most Irish people want to help those who are fleeing from violence, war and famine. Most Irish people want to be the Good Samaritan in this time of need,” the TD said.

“And it must be said that, to date, many refugees and migrants have been welcomed successfully in many parts of Ireland. But people also want some common sense and cop on deployed also. They want a properly managed system and a sustainable system. This is clearly not what is happening”.

“The application process is one of dysfunction. There are 14,100 pending applications for asylum at the moment. Thousands are waiting 2 and 3 years for their first decision to be made. The longest processing time for an application was an incredible 14 years. This is even before an appeal is made”.

‘UNSUSTAINABLE’

He also said that the job of the asylum application process is to differentiate between legitimate asylum seekers and those who are economic migrants.

“Leaving 14,000 people in the application process sometimes for years puts severe pressure on accommodation,” he said. “It  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. This is unsustainable”.

“4,631 deportation orders were issued to people whose application for asylum was rejected between 2018 and last year. The Government cannot confirm if 3,887 of these people who received deportations actually left the country. If the government are not enforcing deportations, we have in effect a voluntary deportation system. You could not make it up,” he continued.

The TD said that according to the answers he received in response to the PQ, over 80& of locations which are being used to house asylum seekers are either hotels or guest houses – something which is having an impact on families and the tourism sector.

“This dependency on the tourism sector for accommodation is having a massive effect on the ability of thousands of families to be able to earn a living. Hundreds of downstream tourism businesses are facing major challenges under the government’s current strategy,” Mr Tóibín said.

“This dependency has been down to incompetency on the government’s behalf. 500 modular homes promised this time last year for October are still not in place. 85% of the pledged rooms in private houses throughout the country for Ukrainians were never activated and hundreds of buildings identified and bought by the government for the purpose of accommodation were never brought into use,” he added.

“This state does have international responsibilities. But we also have domestic responsibilities too. We must do what we can to but there is a question of physics here that we can see on Mount Street. The current trajectory in terms of the dysfunctional asylum process and the inability of the government to provide housing is not sustainable.”.

The TD’s comments come as traders in Killarney traders look set to lose tourism revenue this summer. As per a report in the Irish Times from a fortnight ago, four of the larger Killarney hotels now housing refugees along with a number of hostels, guesthouses and self-catering accommodation, leading to a bed shortage.

As reported by the Irish Times, recent figures supplied to Ministers showed that Killarney was facing the biggest impact of all tourist destinations in Ireland because of the diversion of hotel beds and emergency accommodation.

There was a drop in tourism revenue to April this year for Killarney estimated at more than €100 million, with 2,722 tourism jobs displaced locally, prompting locals to express concern. Westport followed in terms of a fall in tourism revenue – with the County Mayo town losing an estimated €33.30m and 898 tourism jobs.

Tralee lost an estimated €32.40m in tourism revenue, along with 874 jobs in the sector – while Letterkenny followed according to the government statistics, losing €26.50m in revenue and 715 jobs.

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