Ireland set a new record for the number of new asylum seekers in 2022.
13,319 people from around the world applied for asylum in Ireland last year, according to data released by the Department of Justice - the highest figure since records began, exceeding its previous record high of 11,634 in 2002. Separately, almost 70,000 Ukrainian refugees were granted protection in Ireland in the last year.
The numbers have put a huge amount of pressure on accommodation services, according to the Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman. Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland he said this came on top of "dealing with the biggest humanitarian challenge the State has ever faced in terms of Ukraine."
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He added: "Ireland will need to devise a migration service and a migration system that responds to larger numbers of people. Ireland, and all European countries, are going to have to recognise that migration at this scale is something that we have to prepare for."
Modular homes for displaced Ukrainians should be ready by the end of the first quarter of this year, and there will be further development of modular homes at sites across the country, Minister O'Gorman added. Around 800 Ukrainians and 570 international protection applicants arrived over the Christmas period from December 23 to January 2 and, according to Mr O’Gorman, the Government “provided accommodation for everyone”.
"We are continuing to look to source additional accommodation, but it is a real challenge I think, particularly over the Christmas period where it is harder to access accommodation," he said. "But we were able to provide accommodation for everyone who arrived over the Christmas and New Year."
A further challenge to the accommodation situation would be hotels that took in asylum seekers looking to revert to holiday accommodation over the summer. "That's going to be a real challenge, and we do expect a a number of the hotels and guest houses we've currently contracted primarily for Ukrainian accommodation will look to reverse," Minister O'Gorman said.
"And that's why we're bringing forward alternative methods of accommodation, be it the modular. be it the refurbishment of large institutional buildings or barracks that the Department of Housing is working on, or be it the provision of the new vacant home scheme that's being run through local authorities."
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