Regional balance and fairness in Government accommodation plan for refugees and asylum seekers

Clare TD Michael McNamara has called on the Government to ensure that accommodation provided to refugees and asylum seekers is more evenly dispersed across the State.

Deputy McNamara was addressing Justice Minister Simon Harris during Questions on Promised Legislation in Dáil Éireann today (Wednesday, 17 May 2023).

He pointed out that the accommodation being provided at present was overly concentrated in western counties.

He said afterwards, “Other than transferring responsibility to County Councils, the Government doesn’t seem to have any plan to ensure that accommodation provided to people seeking international protection and given temporary protection is more evenly dispersed across the State, instead of being heavily concentrated in western counties reliant on tourism.”

Addressing the Dáil, Deputy McNamara said, “Even in this city there is a discrepancy. If you travel north from this building or travel south, there’s a huge difference statistically. What is the Government doing to address that and when will it take effect so that the inevitable burden of meeting our international obligations is borne equally by all parts of the State as opposed to almost exclusively by certain parts of the State?”

“The Government intention wasn’t that,” stated Mister Harris in response.

“The Government intention was to identify any potential accommodation that was available and in the first instance any accommodation that was available quickly,” he added. “You and I understand why that was in terms of responding in an emergency. Now as we move into a more sustained phase and need to maybe move into from the initial phase into more medium-term planning, I think the point the Deputy makes about every local authority to plan in relation to this and us needing to support how this is done in a coordinated manner comes into even sharper focus.”