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Govt to set up reception centres for asylum seekers

The Government is planning to soon acquire at least three large properties around the country which will be used as reception centres for those seeking shelter in Ireland.

The plans that are currently being drawn up could see the State either buying or leasing these centres.

The thinking within the coalition is that the State needs more control over the accommodation it provides for people arriving from Ukraine as well as asylum seekers.

Already there is a two-year lease in place at the Citywest hotel in Dublin which serves as a reception centre and can house up to 2,000 people.

It is likely that this model will now be replicated as the Government looks to take a more prominent role in the running of these centres.

The plan is expected to go to Cabinet in the coming weeks and decisions around either buying or leasing properties will be made on the basis of what represents the best value for taxpayers.

Today, Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan said larger State-run centres are needed rather than relying on private facilities.

“I think that has been one of the difficulties. We have had to call on a whole series of smaller centres,” he said.

The Government was today accused by Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín of failing to take seriously the threat to life that exists in the trafficking of migrants into Ireland.

He said an answer from the Justice Minister, Helen McEntee to his parliamentary question stated that 76% of people who migrated to Ireland last year did not register their asylum application at a port or an airport.

Up to September 2023, some 6,821 migrants registered at the International Protection Office, while only 2,056 migrants registered their application for asylum at airports or ports.

The Justice Minister said what information on how a person enters the country when not through a designated port, including by travelling over the land border, is not recorded.

“This is incredible. The Minister does not know how the vast majority of migrants are now coming to Ireland because the Minister’s policy is, not to ask the vast majority of people how they are coming to Ireland. How can any administration manage this situation if they don’t know what’s happening?,” the Aontú Leader said.

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