371 newly-arrived refugees now homeless in Ireland

Many of the people now approaching the IRC for help are Muslim, Mr Henderson said, pointing out the holy month of Ramadan has begun.

The number of refugees arriving into homelessness continues to increase.

Eoghan Moloney

There are currently 371 refugees in Ireland who have nowhere to sleep, the Irish Refugee Council have (IRC) said.

The IRC also believes just one international protection applicant that has arrived in Ireland since March 8 has been housed.

Government had indicated two months ago that it would not be able to accommodate all arrivals “for a number of weeks”.

Nick Henderson, the CEO of the council, said it warned such a situation would occur back in January and that, “unfortunately, those concerns have been borne out”.

“There are currently 371 international protection applicants in Ireland who have not been offered accommodation. This is a situation that began in mid January. We said then, that we had huge concerns about what would happen in the following months and unfortunately, those concerns have been borne out.

“There's several things that make the current situation of really very grave concern to us. Firstly, it seems that while people were being re-accommodated or offered accommodation in January and February, it seems now that only one person has actually been accommodated since March 8.

“So people are without accommodation or homeless for a longer period of time. And then secondly, also we were told on Thursday in writing that couples wouldn't be accommodated,” Mr Henderson told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Previously, couples were being accommodated and it was just single males that were not offered accommodation.

Many of the people now approaching the IRC for help are Muslim, Mr Henderson said, pointing out the holy month of Ramadan has begun.

“You can imagine how difficult it would be to fast and also be in a situation of homelessness. We believe this is a breach of Ireland's international obligations, but also very importantly, Ireland's own domestic obligations under the reception conditions directive.

“But we've also said to the government agencies, not just the Department of Children, but different government departments health, housing, and social protection, that if somebody is going to be homeless, then you should be putting supports and services in place and are relatively straightforward things that can be done and we've communicated that to government three times now,” Mr Henderson said.

International protection applicants are typically given a €25 voucher for a supermarket and then “left to fend for themselves on the streets of Dublin,” he said.

“People are trying to cope and trying to survive in lots of different ways. But this is of such concern. To us that there just doesn't seem to be these basic supports and services that are the responsibility of different government departments in place.

“A weekly stipend of €38.80 is in place for refugees but Mr Henderson said that as of last week, people have not been able to access this payment and were instead being directed towards Intreo offices to, “try and apply for an additional needs payment which is quite a technical payment and takes time to be issued”.

Almost all international protection applicants are also asked to give up their passports on arrival in Ireland so this prohibits them from accessing hostels or hotels, as typically these businesses require ID before accepting a booking, Mr Henderson said.