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11 November 1999 Edition

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Dublin's refugee service crisis

It was coming. Anyone could see it. The staff in the Refugee Application Centre at 11 Mount Street, the one stop shop for registration, money for something to eat, accommodation, legal advice, and counselling, shut its doors on Monday, 8 November. Refugees who had queued since 2am the night before, were left with no money, nowhere to sleep, nowhere to go, no one to help.

A refugee a few weeks ago was found in the toilet, attempting suicide. It was said that last Friday the head social worker at the centre had resigned. The job was unbearable. More than a hundred distraught people every day looking for help, for accommodation. On Wednesday, they doubled the staff to 20. But still there is nowhere to sleep.

None, only because the government has let a housing crisis gallop out of all control, allowing landowners and landlords to profiteer at will and regardless of thousands of people who suffer in unsafe, insecure, unfit housing.

The owner of Tathony House, Dublin 8, just one of the `hostels' for refugees, has over 60 asylum seekers double bunked into rooms and earns £18 per person per night - £400,000 per annum.

Forget Ireland of the thousand welcomes. It is Ireland's shame.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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