'far from ideal' | 

88 asylum seekers still living in tents in Co Clare as temperatures dip below freezing

This is despite assurances from the Government that this would not occur in 2023

Gormanston military camp in Co Meath, which was at one stage used to house up to 350 Ukrainian refugees in military tents as an emergency measure. Tents are once again being used for refugees in Knockalisheen in Co Clare.

Eoghan MoloneyIndependent.ie

There are still 88 asylum seekers living in tents, despite assurances from the Government that this would not occur in 2023.

Integration Minister Joe O’Brien confirmed there are still 88 international protection applicants living in tented accommodation in the direct provision centre at Knockalisheen, Meelick, Co Clare.

This comes as temperatures are set to dip below -2C in the county tonight amid another cold snap which included snowfall in the southwest today.

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman in December gave a commitment on RTÉ Radio that: “We are not going to be using the tents in Knockalisheen again."

But, for the past two weeks, there have been dozens of asylum seekers sleeping in tents in the facility, Mr O’Brien said.

He acknowledged that the situation was “far from ideal” in Knockalisheen and said the Government couldn’t give the assurance that more people will not be living in tents in coming months.

Meanwhile Mr O’Brien said that the recent anti-immigration protests would not work, telling the protesters: “What you’re calling for won’t happen.”

“It is tricky to give them all one message except to say that what you did won’t work and what you’re calling for won’t happen,” he told The Hard Shoulder on Newstalk.

“Some of you will have legitimate gripes. You may be legitimately angry about other things that have nothing to do with the people living in the buildings that you are protesting outside, but there are better and more productive ways to bring your dissatisfaction through the political system as well.

“It can be very frustrating. A lot of the issues people face have been ingrained for a long time but it does work. The system does work in that regard so don’t point it at people that aren’t to blame for the issues you’re facing,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said that some of the attendees at these protests were trying to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment, and when asked if some attending them were racist, he said: “Yes. There is no doubt.

“You only need to see what they say.”

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