Just What Exactly is Happening with Accomodation for Refugees?
08 February 2023
STATEMENT BY IVANA BACIK TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on the Environment and Climate
Wednesday 8 February, 2023
- Taoiseach confirms serious staff shortages in international protection accommodation service.
- New Minister urgently needed to coordinate accommodation effort.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Labour Leader Ivana Bacik TD questioned the Taoiseach on his government’s hands-off approach to housing those who come to Ireland seeking refuge from war, conflict and persecution.
Deputy Bacik said:
“As we approach the first anniversary of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, today’s news is dominated by yet more death and destruction – this time in Turkey and Syria, following the terrible earthquake there.
"Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those affected, as the horrific death toll continues to rise, and more and more people are being displaced from their homes.
“Yet despite the impact of so many wars and natural disasters on migration, the government still has not sorted out the crisis in refugee accommodation here.
"There is clearly a shortage of supply, but the government has not provided the Department of Integration and the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) with the necessary resources to ensure these state agencies will have capacity to deliver the necessary accommodation for refugees.
"Despite the shortfall, reports by Daniel Murray in the Business Post today show that not one of 300 properties offered by the HSE in recent times for accommodation of refugees was taken up.
“We in Labour have been proposing sites for accommodating people to the Ministers for Integration and Housing with little to no take-up or response.
"This is an emergency situation and Minister O’Gorman is right to call on public bodies to make sites available. However, it is no use making such a call if IPAS is not in a position to convert those offers into beds.
“The Taoiseach confirmed to me in the Dáil that IPAS is lacking in staff, and that the government is unable to fill existing vacancies in the service. We cannot waste any more time.
"Labour is calling for a dedicated Minister to be appointed, tasked solely with coordinating the accommodation of refugees and people seeking asylum, and based in the Department of Housing. Neither the Taoiseach nor the Tánaiste appear to be in a position to reveal what exactly their plan is.
"Contracts for up to 19,000 hotel beds currently in use by refugees will expire before the end of March and it is time for a designated point person to take responsibility for ensuring a Covid-style cross-government response is put in place urgently.”