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Refugees To Stay Put In Asylum Seeker Hostels, What’s Next? Maybe, Hospitals To Start Booking Patients In Prison Wards Instead!
The first one however is indeed true because Galway’s chronic housing shortage forced people to stay in the city’s two direct provision centres far longer than they need to.
New figures reveal that a total of 11% of the people living in the Eglinton in Salthill and Great Western House in Eyre Square have been granted ‘leave to remain’ which practically means giving an “Irish status” like you and I but without an Irish Passport. They can stay in the country as long as they wish to do so while enjoying all the benefits like any Irish citizen would on a normal, or I rather say abnormal sunny day.
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So our new fellows are staying in direct provision even though they have been granted refugee status or have been given permission by the Department of Justice to remain in Ireland, and they have not been returned to their country of origin.
Our new fellows have been residing in direct provision centres in the city up until they were granted permission to remain and they are then free to find an alternative accommodation.
However, due to the housing crisis our new fellows are forced to stay in direct provision because they cannot find alternatives anywhere in the country.
22 of the 170 people living in the Eglinton have leave to remain; and 13 of the 142 in the Great Western have leave to remain.
This is higher than the national average of 9%, although in Dublin more than a third of people in direct provision have leave to remain, reflecting the acute housing crisis in the capitals.
Disclaimer: The figures were provided in the Dáil to Róisín Shorthall, leader of the Social Democrats.
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Responding to the figures, the party’s city-based Galway West candidate, Niall Ó Tuathail, said: “The Galway housing emergency is really hitting the most vulnerable hardest and this is another example. Asylum seekers have fled their homes in hope of safety in Ireland. They were then put in cramped accommodation where they can’t work, cook for themselves, nor have any level of privacy. They go through a drawn-out process, sometimes taking more than a decade, for the Department of Justice to say their case is genuine.
“And then on being allowed to remain and build a life in Ireland, they can’t find a place to live and remain stuck in direct provision accommodation due to the housing emergency. It’s a terrible failure of a government that can’t do the bare minimum in ensuring there’s a basic functioning housing market.
“The city’s housing crisis will get worse before it gets better, (as if we don’t know this, huh) because new builds are not even keeping up with Galway’s population growth, let alone the housing shortage that has built up.
“The Social Democrats advocate starting a multi-billion euro fund that would finance or build high-quality affordable homes in Galway and other cities.
“It would then sell up to 70% as affordable homes, and keep the rest for social housing provision, making it a net contributor to the State finances. That kind of solution would ensure we don’t continue to fail people in direct provision, as well as people on low incomes, students and young families.”
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Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration, and Integration, David Stanton also chipped-in his two cents and said: “The provision of housing for persons coming out of the protection process has been incorporated in the recently published Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.
“Some families in centres who have sourced their own accommodation in the community may defer their move until breaks in the school year to minimise disruption to their children’s education. As the annual major school break approaches, it is anticipated that a number of families will move during that period.
“Following a recent call for proposals under the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund, a number of charities and NGOs have been successful in applying for funding for projects with the specific aim of providing assistance to those transiting from state provided accommodation to permanent homes in the community. While this work has only just begun, I am confident that it will prove of great assistance and benefit to all concerned.”
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