'Impossible' | 

Aontú TD says Ireland will struggle to take in more asylum seekers

“The Government is talking about 180,000 people coming to the State. And, you know, that is not going to be feasible.”

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín. Photo: Frank McGrath

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Ireland will struggle to cope with the anticipated number of people seeking asylum in the country this year, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín has warned.

He was speaking as new figures released by the Department of Justice revealed that almost 40pc of all migrants entering Ireland between January and November last year produced "false or no documentation” on their arrival.

Almost 70pc of these 5,074 adults were men while 30pc were women.

Mr Tóibín raised the issue in the Dáil last week, describing the current system as an “absolute disaster”.

He told Newstalk Breakfast that the State had a responsibility to help people fleeing war in a “sustainable and sensible” manner, but claimed the international protection process has allowed “economic migrants” to take advantage of the system.

“The truth of the matter is there are people who are using the process as economic migrants to come to the country,” he explained.

“Given the pressure that we have in terms of not being able to even provide housing for real asylum seekers, we need to be able to identify who needs help and who doesn't.

“We have a situation where there are more people arriving seeking asylum without travel documents than are arriving in the Netherlands and the Netherlands has a population about three times the Irish population.”

Mr Tóibín told listeners that it cost the State “roughly €141 million” to accommodate the 5,074 undocumented migrants who entered the country in 2022.

However, he clarified that it is unlikely that these people are all “false applicants”.

“All we're saying is we need to adjudicate faster and more efficiently. Who needs help and who doesn't?” he continued.

“We're not going to be able to deal with the numbers that the Government is talking about.

“The Government is talking about 180,000 people coming to the State. And, you know, that is not going to be feasible.

“There's an issue of physics here. And if you're building 30,000 houses a year, there's no way you can bring in 180,000 people a year; it’s just impossible in terms of practicalities.”

Speaking in the Dáil last week, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the Government were doing everything in their power to tackle the “ongoing challenge” of bogus asylum applications.

“The Deputy says ‘abused’ but on the documentation issue, basically people come and seek asylum, and under the Geneva Convention and various international conventions we are obliged to consider the application for asylum,” he said.

“We are also looking at stronger controls in respect of abuse issues and are constantly on the lookout. Our officials and teams are constantly on the lookout for any potentially fraudulent [paperwork].

“In any event, on the broader issue, controls have been stepped up over the last year and a half.

“We took action in terms of the convention in respect of refugees travelling across Europe because that was being abused in some instances and we dealt with that.

“It is an ongoing challenge,” he added.

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