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Ireland: Tensions over refugee crisis and Dublin tent cities

Deutsche Welle

  19 May 2024, 13:51
Image: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/picture alliance

In Ireland's capital, Dublin, tent cities set up by migrants who lack temporary protected status are repeatedly cleared. The situation has been aggravated by Ireland's housing crisis and anti-migrant laws in Britain.

The center of Dublin glitters with architectural showpieces, the offices of global corporations. But there are increasingly tents at the base of the glass facades. Some of these belong to people excluded from housing, a scarcity across Ireland and simply unaffordable for many people in the booming capital. The housing crisis is the dominant topic in Ireland right now. When he took office as taoiseach, or Ireland's head of government, in April, Simon Harris promised to provide 250,000 new homes by the end of the decade.

The second group of people sleeping in tents constitute the second-hottest topic in the Irish republic. More and more migrants are arriving here, to this island in northwestern Europe, and its capacity to accommodate them is at its limits — not least because of the housing crisis. The situation has been aggravated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war, 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have registered in Ireland. An EU-wide agreement means they do not have to apply for asylum first.

Ireland's government openly admits that it is unable to provide all asylum-seekers with accommodation while their applications are processed. According to the government, as of May 14, 1,780 male applicants were as yet unhoused.

A veritable tent city sprang up around the International Protection Office in Dublin, which is responsible for processing asylum applications. Young men were sleeping here; they had to wash and cook on the street, and rely on bike hire docking bays to charge their phones with USB cables. On May 1, the Irish authorities cleared the camp, and divided 285 male asylum-seekers between two emergency shelters. Since then, new tent encampments have repeatedly appeared near the office, and have repeatedly been cleared.

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