*Cllr Gerry Flynn. Photograph: Natasha Barton
A SHANNON COUNCILLOR has hit out at the Department of Integration for ‘insulting the people of Clare’.
At the June meeting of Clare County Council, a proposal from Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) was passed which called on the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister for Justice and Minister of State for Integration “to have consideration for the impact of placing huge numbers of people seeking asylum in Clare from a number of countries”.
The proposal added, “Clare is one of the counties hosting high numbers and the constituents contacting me feel that the county of Clare has accommodated enough at this point in time, and they are of the opinion that the Government need to adequately address the deficiencies in support services available and put in place additional measures to help the integration of people seeking asylum in Ireland and the numbers placed in Clare,”
He stated, “the motion is requesting the Government to consider the impact through Clare which is one of the highest receivers in Ireland and to accept that Co Clare has taken enough at this moment in time”.
Correspondence issued to Clare County Council from Lisa Hughes, the private secretary to Minister for Integration, Roderic O’Gorman (GP) responding to Cllr Flynn’s motion was issued in the past three weeks.
Ms Hughes outlined, “Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ireland has seen an unprecedented number of people arrive here fleeing the Russian aggression. In addition, there has been a huge increase in people seeking asylum from other countries. Since February 2022 to date, we are providing almost 93,000 people seeking refuge with state‐sourced accommodation, and that number continues to increase. This consists of almost 70,000 people who have fled the war in Ukraine and over 23,000 people seeking international protection”.
She added, “Given the scale and urgency of the operation to source accommodation for unplanned new arrivals, manage and process them appropriately, and transfer and settle them into their new homes and communities, there has been a requirement to act at pace, with developments often happening at very short notice”.
Officials in the Department are “working to improve how new accommodation is sourced, and how these developments are communicated to local communities. Our aim is to enhance communications and engagement and give communities more access to information and updates on what is happening in their community”.
She confirmed, “Since January 2022, there have been 170 emergency accommodation locations brought into use for international protection applicants in order to provide shelter and prevent homelessness and there are currently 666 international protection applicants being accommodated in Clare”.
Speaking on Monday, Cllr Flynn stated, “the response from the Minister did not address the queries in relation to the placement of asylum seekers in Clare”. He added, “I believe it is an insult to the people of Clare, I am requesting that we write again to Roderic O’Gorman, this response here today is not acceptable”.