Martin ‘wants’ fenced-off areas to be reopened

By Cillian Sherlock, PA

The Tourism Minister has said she wants to see fenced-off public areas in Dublin reopened after action to prevent migrant encampments.

Large security barriers were erected in a number of locations around the city following operations to remove tents being used by homeless asylum seekers.

The fences were installed where the encampments had been located outside the International Protection Office on Mount Street, as well as along a stretch of the Grand Canal.

Approximately 450 migrants were relocated to State-provided shelter during the early-morning actions.

However, the Government remains in a position where it cannot provide accommodation to all asylum seekers amid a dramatic increase in arrivals.

There are currently 1,780 male international protection applicants who have not received an offer of State-provided accommodation.

Refugees have since pitched tents at other locations, including further along the canal from where the barriers were initially put up.

Asked if there would be an increasing portion of the city being fenced off from the public, Catherine Martin said that is a position the Government is not “aiming to be in”.

She said: “It is not a Government decision to put up those barriers and obviously we want to see that amenity back for everyone.”

A Government spokesman said that the decision to install the fences ultimately lies with the local authority, in this case Dublin City Council.

Ms Martin said: “This is a really difficult situation with huge numbers coming in.

“We’re trying to do right by those who are seeking refuge but the numbers are massive.”

She said the decision to relocate the migrants from the camps was taken because the “situation simply wasn’t sanitary nor safe”.

She added: “We’re looking to secure further State sites that are more secure and are better serviced.”