Dublin’s ‘tent city’: 55 asylum-seekers set up camp along Grand Canal hours after tent clearance (2024)

40 tents are still in place just hours after operation to clear the banks of homeless asylum-seekersThe tents are pitched on a small patch of grass a few hundred metres up from where they were beforeEamon Ryan denies migrant camp was dismantled ahead of the high-profile Europa League final in the AvivaThe Government has said it wants to move asylum-seekers out of tents and into in modular or prefabricated housing by winterUp to 30,000 asylum-seekers are expected to arrive in the State this year as around 600 arrive each week

Around 55 men have re-pitched their tents at the Grand Canal in Dublin just hours after another state-agency operation to clear the banks of homeless asylum-seekers.

Around 40 tents are still in place along the Grand Canal in Dublin after 89 male asylum-seekers, sleeping rough in the same location, were moved this morning.

The asylum-seekers who remain did not get offers of accommodation and have re-pitched their tents on a small patch of grass a few hundred metres beyond where they were before.

This evening, more men were on their way to bed down for the night.

Dublin’s ‘tent city’: 55 asylum-seekers set up camp along Grand Canal hours after tent clearance (1)

Barricades were put up along the canal to prevent new tents from being pitched. However, Olivia Headon, a volunteer who has been helping those seeking international protection, said only a portion of people were offered accommodation this morning and remain near the site.

She told RTÉ's Drivetime: "We have a lot of men who are still on the canal in a very small green space that has not been barricaded yet, who will possibly sleep there tonight.

"There was quite a lot of anxiety from the men. They did not fully understand what was happening. I think always in the back of people's minds is - 'Is this deportation, are they bringing us to the airport?'"

Dublin’s ‘tent city’: 55 asylum-seekers set up camp along Grand Canal hours after tent clearance (2)

"We do not need to have this massive multi-agency operation each time that costs thousands it can be done in a more humane and dignified way that it does not always have to be this urgent removal," she added.

There were tense scenes at lunchtime when a number of men appeared at the canal and began to shout abuse at those gathered. Attempts to calm the situation by one woman were met with further racist insults.

Earlier, as efforts to clear the area began, there was widespread bewilderment and confusion among the asylum-seekers.

Some of the men had received an email from the IPO advising them to make their way to the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum to avail of accommodation.

The email advised that the “Number 44 bus will bring you to Dundrum or alternatively you can take the Luas Green Line”. Many of the men do not speak English and were confused about where they should go.

Dublin’s ‘tent city’: 55 asylum-seekers set up camp along Grand Canal hours after tent clearance (3)

Using a translator app on a smartphone, one man from Jordan said he did not know whether he had received an email because he cannot read. He said he had been sleeping along the canal bank for a week.

Another man, Brian Mogotsi, said he had arrived in Ireland in January and had had no offer of accommodation since then. He had fled South Africa to seek asylum in Ireland due to safety fears for his life.

“With each day that goes by I just get more and more desperate,” he said. “I’m out here by myself and it can really get to a person. I honestly don’t know how long I can keep this up.”

Dublin’s ‘tent city’: 55 asylum-seekers set up camp along Grand Canal hours after tent clearance (4)

Ibrahim Nasir, from Ethiopia, said he had been sleeping at the canal bank since last Wednesday.

“I went to the IPO and then I came here,” he said. “ I had no tent for four days. I slept on the ground. I haven’t slept for three days. I did not eat, I cannot sleep or live anywhere. I came with two friends. I do not know where I will go. I have no place to go and no-one I know here.”

Another asylum-seeker from Afghanistan said he had been sleeping in a tent along the Grand Canal for two months.

“They don’t allow me for working. If they give me a permit, tomorrow I’m working. I just want to have a home,” he told the Irish Independent.

This morning’s clearance was the fourth time asylum-seekers sleeping in tents were moved from parts of Dublin city in recent months - twice at Mount Street and twice at the Grand Canal.

The Government hopes to have asylum-seekers out of tents by winter and into modular or prefabricated housing instead.

A Green Party spokesperson said the Government wants to get asylum-seekers in tents in sites such as Crooksling, out of there by winter.

The Coalition is looking at “a number” of other sites where such migrant camps will be set up and “everything is being assessed”.

The spokesperson said the use of tents is “short term”. Previously, migrants were also housed in tents at Stradbally, Co Laois.

However, he declined to give an indication of a timeframe, saying the situation is “complex” and sensitive.

“It’s a very challenging situation,” he said.

“I’m not going to pin myself to a certain date. They are working at speed, they are working around the clock.

“We have never had the levels of migration that we’ve seen over the last two years.”

The Government expects up to 30,000 asylum seekers to come into the State this year as around 600 people seeking international protection arrive each week.

The State is currently looking at using a part of Thornton Hall in north county Dublin to house asylum-seekers in military-style tents.

The site is expected to be ready within four to six weeks.

Earlier, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan denied that homeless asylum -seekers were moved ahead of the high-profile Europa League final in the Aviva Stadium tomorrow evening.

The Green Party leader said they were moved as accommodation became available and not because of the final between Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen.

Mr Ryan told RTE’s News At One: “That’s not the reason you would be looking to provide people accommodation, because of a football match.

“It is an ongoing reality that we have to provide protection for people seeking refuge here. That has been a real challenge because the numbers that have been coming.

“We did not have the available accommodation, but as soon as it becomes available we clearly want to provide it for those who are in a more perilous situation who are camped in that way, so that is the reason it was done now – it is because we have the accommodation available.”

Mr Ryan acknowledged “you could never stop if someone wanted to pitch a tent in a certain location”, but said ministers want to stop makeshift camps for safety reasons.

Early this morning, almost two weeks after the previous attempt to clear the encampment in the capital, a multi-agency operation began to remove tents set up by asylum-seekers who had been sleeping rough along the canal.

Gardaí, staff from Waterways Ireland, the HSE and medics from the Safetynet charity are taking part.

A number of beds have become available in recent days, meaning 89 International Protection applicants were offered spaces at specially designed accommodation on Tuesday.

Some of the men received an email from the International Protection Office advising them to make their way to Central Mental Hospital at Dundrum before 10am to avail of accommodation.

They were advised to get the number 44 bus or the Luas Green Line.

Dublin’s ‘tent city’: 55 asylum-seekers set up camp along Grand Canal hours after tent clearance (5)

However, a number of tents are still in place on the canal, with the remaining asylum-seekers yet to be accommodated. Many of the men do not speak English and were confused about where they should go.

Using a translator app on a smartphone, one man from Jordan said he did not know whether he had received an email because he cannot read. He said he had been sleeping rough along the canal bank for a week.

Another man, Brian Mogotsi, said he had arrived in Ireland in January and had had no offer of accommodation since then. He had fled South Africa to seek asylum in Ireland due to safety fears for his life.

“With each day that goes by I just get more and more desperate”, he said.

“I’m out here by myself and it can really get to a person. I honestly don’t know how long I can keep this up.”

The latest migrant camp on the Grand Canal in Dublin had grown to more than 100 tents two weeks after a similar camp was dismantled.

Today's News in 90 seconds - 21st May 2024

The new camp started to grow between Baggot Street Bridge and Wilton Place on the city centre side of the canal within days of the removal of a camp of around 100 tents at Mount Street Bridge on May 9.

The removal of the Mount Street Bridge site came just over a week after an extended camp of more than 200 asylum-seekers was dismantled from Mount Street, Grattan Street and the surrounding side streets and laneways on May 1, which had existed for more than a year.

Asylum-seekers at that time were brought offsite to accommodation in Crooksling and Citywest after local residents and businesses in the Mount Street area threatened legal action.

In a statement this morning, the Department of Integration said: “International Protection Accommodation Services (Ipas) continue to work towards ensuring that the limited available bed space for International Protection applicants is prioritised for those most in need, including those who are found to be rough sleeping.”

Last week, Taoiseach Simon Harris defended government action on the growing problem of migrant camps and said he believed “a blind eye was turned by official Ireland to the development of what became almost a public health emergency”, in relation to the camp on Mount Street Lower.

He added that state-owned land must be identified very quickly to provide tented accommodation with sanitation.

“It’s extremely important. We have obligations in relation to accommodation and we will meet them.

"But it is just one part of a broader conversation that needs to happen about what a sustainable migration system looks like,” Mr Harris said last week.

Dublin’s ‘tent city’: 55 asylum-seekers set up camp along Grand Canal hours after tent clearance (2024)
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