Britain dumps its refugee crisis on Ireland. Dublin is horrified. – POLITICAL

Other routes by sea and air are not so simple. Although Britain and Ireland have maintained a common travel zone for the last century that gives British and Irish citizens freedom to live and work in each other’s countries, police-operated passport checks still operate on the Irish end of UK flights to check the entitlement of non-travellers. -To enter nationals of the European Economic Area. Crossing by vehicle or train from Northern Ireland has become increasingly popular once Irish authorities began tightening rules to allow asylum seekers from the United Kingdom to board planes bound for Ireland.

Over the past year, Ireland’s Department of Integration and the International Protection Office have struggled to find enough shelter for 100,000 Ukrainian war refugees and at least 30,000 asylum seekers already here, amid a national crisis in the housing supply and affordability. A series of derelict properties earmarked for development as asylum centers have been burnt down in suspected arson attacks by angry locals. Public officials working hard to manage the fallout expect the pressures to continue to mount, perhaps to the breaking point.

“It’s a madhouse,” said an International Protection Office worker, taking a smoke break outside the office on Mount Street in the Georgian heart of Dublin. Nearby, two groups of men (mostly Somalis on the left and Nigerians on the right) loitered next to rows of tents on the sidewalks that had been their home for weeks. “We have nowhere to put them all and more keep arriving. There is no end”.

To illustrate the disproportionate nature of the challenge, the approximately 7,000 asylum seekers who have already arrived in Ireland this year mirror the almost 7,000 who crossed over the same period in small boats from France to England, a country that has 12 times the population. from Ireland. | Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images

For a year now, a tent city had been allowed to set up outside the International Protection Office, winding along paths and alleys down Mount Street. The shanty town eventually spread beyond the headquarters of a government party, Fianna Fáil, and moved ever closer to the local office of the European Commission and the base of the Government Buildings of Simon Harris, the new prime minister. from Ireland.

But at her weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Harris authorized an operation to move refugees from Mount Street, mainly to a confiscated conference center on the outskirts of the city, and to a more remote military-style camp with tents for 12 persons.

At dawn on Wednesday, a fleet of buses and taxis took nearly 300 men to those emergency facilities as health workers in protective suits cleared the sidewalks of months of public urine and accumulated trash. Police erected 1,000-kilogram concrete block barriers where tents had been and told refugees they would face immediate arrest if they tried to camp on Mount Street again.