Grand Canal asylum seeker campsite situation won’t become ‘another Mount Street’ Taoiseach vows

Simon Harris spoke out as number of tents at Grand Canal site grows

Tents have been pitched along a stretch of the Grand Canal
Tents have been pitched along a stretch of the Grand Canal in Dublin. PICTURE: PA (Brian Lawless/PA)

Efforts are underway to secure accommodation for a growing number of asylum seekers camped out along Dublin’s Grand Canal.

Up to 100 tents have been pitched at the side of the canal after asylum seekers were moved from a makeshift campsite at Mount Street in Dublin city centre last week.

Most of those who were sleeping at Mount Street were moved to tented accommodation sites in the Citywest area on the outskirts of the city, and Crooksling in Co Dublin.

However, with the tents having been erected at the Grand Canal, Taoiseach Simon Harris has said he is keen to act to address the situation.

It was reported on Tuesday that the number of tents at the canal site had doubled in the space of a few days.

Mr Harris said: “What happened on Mount Street was allowed to go on for weeks and weeks, and months and months in fact, this will not be the situation in relation to the Grand Canal.”

He added: “I’m very confident progress will be made in relation to this, both in terms of sites for people to safely sleep, safely live and safely access sanitation facilities.”

Mr Harris said the situation in Mount Street had become “utterly unacceptable” and “was getting very near a public health emergency”.

Mount Street is where the headquarters of the Republic’s International Protection Office is based, and following the dismantling of the tents in the street, the Irish government confirmed 285 single male applicants were offered accommodation, with 186 in the Citywest area, and 99 at Crooksling.

Speaking to RTÉ, the Republic’s agriculture minister Charlie McConalogue said the state is working to secure additional accommodation places after 4,000 were already sourced this year.

“The focus for the moment will be on sourcing state land where tented accommodation can be provided or state-owned buildings,” he said, adding that “work is ongoing”.