After Protests, Helen McEntee Disputes that the government “backed down” on Housing for Asylum Seekers

Helen McEntee
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Tensive demonstrations in Carlow opposing the housing of men as the Department takes a “abrupt” decision to accept families in their place

Regarding housing for male asylum seekers, Minister of Justice Helen McEntee has refuted claims that the government “backed down” in the face of demonstrations in Ballinrobe and Carlow.

She told Newstalk Breakfast that housing for women and families was the “first priority,” which occasionally left male candidates for international protection without a place to live.

On Wednesday night, a tense demonstration against the accommodation of applicants for international protection took place inside a former Capuchin friary in Carlow town.

Starting this Friday, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth Integration intended to house fifty males at the location on Dublin Street.

Nevertheless, it immediately abandoned the plans in favor of accommodating a number of families that are anticipated to begin arriving on Friday and continue throughout the weekend. The move comes after a comparable choice to put families in housing in Ballinrobe, County Mayo, which also sparked protests in the streets.

“We are responding to an extremely difficult circumstance as best we can. When questioned about developments, Ms. McEntee stated, “We want to provide a roof over everyone’s head.”

According to the Minister, her department is attempting to expedite the application procedure. The Government was processing more than 1,000 cases each month, and expediting that process was one of the steps it would be taking to meet its responsibilities. In the upcoming weeks, Minister of Integration Roderic O’Gorman will provide a review to Cabinet that includes information on a nationwide response, including welcoming centers.

In Ireland and around Europe, the number of people requesting international protection has grown dramatically in the past two years. It was imperative that Ireland could react in the “most effective way possible.” In response, the government will say that if someone has a legitimate reason to be in the nation, they will be protected, and if not, “that we’re firm and that they’re asked to leave.”

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