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Taxpayer funded €500 taxi trip for asylum seekers to Mayo temporary accommodation

Three men from Palestine who are seeking asylum in Ireland were driven from Dublin Airport by taxi to Claremorris in Mayo last week at a cost of €500 to the taxpayer, the Independent has reported.

The three men, described as single, were all in their 20s and had arrived on a flight from Italy on Wednesday morning.

Anyone claiming asylum is entered into the refugee system and the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) then secures temporary lodgings in a direct provision centre or hotel accommodation.

It is understood that the IPAS usually places asylum seekers in accommodation in Ballymun or Swords in north Dublin, but since none was available, the three men were sent by taxi to emergency accommodation in Co Mayo.

The Independent noted that the three men had already sought asylum in Italy, meaning they are legally obliged to remain in that country as they have entered the asylum system there.

“Those who go on to claim asylum in Ireland, but have already entered the system in another EU country, can be returned to this country, in line with law. However, this process is described as “arduous” by immigration sources and is rarely undertaken,” the paper reported.

The Independent has come under fire from a member of the IHREC for quoting a security source in the immigration sector as saying “It is asylum shopping. We see a lot of it. People coming to Ireland even though it is not permitted when they have sought asylum elsewhere.”

Lucy Michael, a long-standing fixture of Ireland’s anti-racism industry, tweeted: “Disgusting headline in an Irish broadsheet paper today describing Palestinian asylum seekers arriving in Ireland as “asylum shoppers”.”

However, the European Commission says that it is a term used by the EU office in its communications.

According to its website, “the term ‘asylum-shopping’ has no legal definition, but is used in an informal sense and also in Commission Communications. It is often used with a negative connotation, as it implies an abuse of the asylum procedure through the lodging of more than one application for international protection in different EU Member States (choosing the EU Member State which may grant the most appealing social, humanitarian and economic standards).”

Previously, it was reported that more than 90% of asylum seekers in Ireland had their applications refused.

Figures released by the International Protection Office  show that the top five nationalities applying for protection in January 2022 were Somalia, Nigeria, Georgia, Algeria and then Afghanistan. Although refugees are typically thought of as fleeing war or persecution, Nigeria and Georgia have featured in the top five nationalities applying for asylum in Ireland very frequently.

The IPO said that the total numbers applying for asylum in January represented ” a 184.1% increase on the figure for the same period in 2021″.

In February,  Green Party Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman, said there had been a “significant increase” in asylum claims in Ireland, just months after the government announced plans to offer subsidised own-door accommodation to asylum seekers and alleged refugees.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ireland has opened its doors to Ukrainian refugees fleeing war with some estimates of 200,000 possibly arriving.

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