Housing asylum seekers is reportedly costing Ireland over €1 billion
Accommodating asylum seekers and refugees in hotels is costing Ireland’s tourism industry over €1 billion, the Irish news outlet Buzz reported, citing a government memo.
A growing influx of asylum seekers and refugees into the country since last year has led to a shortage in hotel accommodation, hitting the tourism industry hard, the outlet writes. According to the memo it cites, for every €1 a tourist spends on accommodation, they spend €2.50 in the local economy by visiting attractions and restaurants.
However, according to the figures cited by the outlet, in some towns the ratio of tourist accommodation given to refugees and asylum seekers exceeds 70-80%, with the national average – excluding the capital Dublin – standing at 34%.
The situation has also led to the displacement of some 10,000 jobs in the tourism industry, according to Buzz, adding that the Irish tourist industry is going to take a €1.1 billion hit as a result.
In a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar admitted the country had no choice but to put people fleeing hostilities in various parts of the world – including Ukraine – into tourist accommodation. He said the government was working on a plan to support the businesses that were “adversely affected,” with one such initiative being encouraging “more day trips to tourism towns” to help the attractions, bars and restaurants offset the losses.
The European Union, Switzerland, and Norway received close to 5 million people seeking international protection last year, with 4 million Ukrainian refugees and the other 1 million people coming from the Middle East and North Africa, according to figures released by the European Union Agency for Asylum in February.
According to a recent report in The Guardian, Ireland was housing about 74,000 asylum applicants as of March, nearly 50,000 of whom were Ukrainians. A year ago, the total number was 7,500, the outlet notes. The influx has triggered protests in the country under slogans like “There is no room” and “Ireland is full.”
Under the EU common asylum system, member states have a shared responsibility to welcome asylum seekers and provide them with housing, food and clothing, as well as access to health care, education or employment under certain conditions, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
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May 15, 2023 at 11:12AM