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Senior civil servants predict 180k asylum seekers by year’s end – report

Top Irish civil servants believe that as many as 180,000 asylum seekers could be resident in the country by the end of 2023, according to a report by RTÉ.

The state broadcaster alleges that briefing material compiled by “senior civil servants” and released under a Freedom Of Information request predicts a continued surge in asylum claims this year, similar to the numbers that arrived last year.

The figures were reportedly compiled for Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton. Naughton is both the Government’s Chief Whip, and a Minister of State at the Department of Health.

According to RTÉ’s report, the December briefing said that between Ukrainian arrivals and international protection applicants, Ireland could expect around 90,000 refugee arrivals by the end of 2022, and “up to twice that by the end of 2023” – i.e. 180,000.

The true number of arrivals in 2022 was less than 90,000, but not by much, totalling around 83,000 by the end of that year.

The number of non-Ukrainian asylum applicants in 2022 was the highest Ireland has experienced in 20 years.

According to the HSE report, 18,000 asylum seekers in Ireland are currently receiving healthcare from the HSE, with 13,000 of these arriving to the country just last year.

In addition, 50,000 medical cards were reportedly issued to Ukrainian arrivals, and “just over half” of these refugees were assigned a GP.

The development comes after Green Party TD and Minister of State at the Department of Integration, Joe O’Brien, has said that Ireland should prepare to accommodate an extra 80,000 asylum seekers this year.

Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman has already warned that there may be no place for refugees who arrive in Ireland, as several asylum seekers have already ended up homeless.

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