Nearly 50% drop in refugees arriving in Ireland

DUBLIN, Ireland: There has been a nearly 50 percent decline in the number of refugees seeking asylum in Ireland, raising hopes of an easing of the refugee crisis.

The number of applicants has fallen 48 percent since the first week of January, when the large number of new applications forced the Government to close the application process.

Officials note that the number of applicants remains high compared to pre-Ukraine war figures, with the number of refugee arrivals in Ireland dropping for the last eight weeks.

In the last four weeks, the number of new arrivals has remained below the average of 261 weekly arrivals seen in 2022, according to data provided by the Department of Justice.

Though officials are cautiously optimistic that the numbers may signal a slowdown in the refugee accommodation crisis, in which the government had to scurry to find housing for refugees, they caution that accommodations will remain in short supply.

A new record was set in 2022 as 13,615 refugees sought protection, resulting in those newly arrived often having to sleep in substandard accommodation, and sometimes in tents or on the streets.

New figures released by the International Protection Accommodation Service report an ongoing decline in new arrivals seeking housing, as there were 172 new applications for housing in the week ending February 19th, compared to 350 per week at the start of the year.

However, the International Protection Accommodation Service is now housing 19,874 refugees, including 4,139 children, in 172 locations around the country. This is a 90 percent increase in 12 months and a 266 percent increase since 2018.

Officials note that they do not yet know why there has been a reduction in asylum applications.

It has been reported that the drop might have been caused by the government’s recent decision to increase monitoring for people entering the country with no travel documents, along with the speeding up in processing asylum applications from those arriving from ‘safe countries.’

Additionally, fewer Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland, as 710 Ukrainians arrived in Ireland last week, compared to 1,273 per week in mid-December.

Since the war began in February 2022, 58,940 Ukrainians have arrived in Ireland.