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Ireland failing asylum seekers, court told

4 June 20240 comments

Ireland is failing in its international obligation to house asylum seekers, a court in the republic has been told.

Ireland’s High Court has heard that there is “overwhelming” evidence that the state is failing in its “clear and undisputed” obligation to provide accommodation to international protection applicants.

The Dublin-based court is hearing a case brought by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) against the government over its failure to provide accommodation to people seeking asylum in Ireland.

The IHREC has urged the court to make a declaration that the Irish Government has failed its obligations and is breaching applicants’ rights under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Late last year, the Irish Government said it could no longer offer accommodation to men seeking international protection.

The court heard that more than 2,800 people who were entitled to be offered accommodation have not been, nor have they been provided with adequate resources to find their own.

It is the first time that the IHREC has taken legal action to defend the human rights of asylum seekers.

Eoin McCullough, a lawyer for the Commission said there were four provisions under the charter which are key to the case.

“First, is that the state is under an obligation pursuant to Article 1 of the charter to provide accommodation whether in kind or otherwise,” the lawyer said.

“The second is that it is a mandatory obligation. Any lack of resources is not to be relied upon.”

The court was told that while the position of the government in providing accommodation may be difficult, the obligations still must be met.

Recent reports said more than 1000 international protection applicants were still awaiting an offer of accommodation.

The court has been asked to rule that the government’s failure to offer accommodation to those who are entitled to it is unlawful.

It was told by commission lawyers that the government was under an obligation to provide applicants with an adequate standard of living which protects their physical and mental health, and any failure to do so is in breach of the applicants’ rights.

It was also under an obligation to provide housing, food and clothing which can be done so in kind or as allowances or vouchers as well as the provision of an allowance.

The lawyers argued that the 113.80 Euros ($A180) provided each week to asylum seekers was not enough to fund accommodation and food.