The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has expressed “deep concern” about reports of a shortfall in emergency accommodation for applicants for international protection as soon as this week.
It has written to Roderic O’Gorman (Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) to highlight its concerns.
The human-rights body says that, if the State fails to provide accommodation for people seeking international protection, it would be in breach of the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 and a related EU directive.
It has also pointed to a High Court ruling in April that failure to provide international-protection applicants with material reception conditions was unlawful, and amounted to a breach of an applicant’s right to dignity under the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
‘Swift response’ needed
IHREC has called for “an appropriately swift response” to the immediate emergency of a lack of shelter for newly arriving international-protection applicants.
“We are also of the view that the medium- and longer-term solution to the ongoing needs of those seeking international protection – and temporary protection – in Ireland needs to be an urgent, whole-of-government priority,” it adds.
Sinéad Gibney (Chief Commissioner) says that international-protection applicants are among the most vulnerable members of society.
“Any refusal of shelter by the State puts these individuals at high risk on the streets, particularly in the context of increased activity by those wishing to foment anti-immigrant sentiment,” she adds.