IPO: Asylum seeker tents “slashed” by a “hooded and masked” man

Homeless asylum seekers were moved to alternative shelter this morning according to the department

Tents of homeless asylum outside the International Protection Office (IPO) have been “slashed” by a “hooded and masked” man, according to witnesses on the scene. 

Volunteers present at the IPO told Trinity News that the man “threatened” and “pushed” them. 

Hundreds of asylum seekers have been sleeping rough outside the IPO over the past several weeks. This morning, volunteers received reports that they were being moved to a facility in Saggart. 

Volunteers then received reports that tents were being “slashed” and disposed of. 

Volunteer Roisín McAleer told Trinity News that she witnessed a “hooded and masked” man slashing the asylum seekers tents. She received information this morning that they were being moved and “a picture of a coach”. 

She then arrived on the scene to “collect the tents and start doing a bit of salvage cleanup”. She then stated that when she arrived “a man was slashing, hooded and masked, was slashing the tents and [she] asked him to stop”.

Two other men were “hoarding the tents onto a trailer that was hooked to a big jeep”. She asked the men “why” and “who were they” and “they wouldn’t answer”. She said she “begged and pleaded” with the men to allow volunteers to “take out the belongings out of the tents even though they’re slashed”. She also said she had “supplies in one of the tents”. 

She said the men loading the tents eventually identified themselves to her saying they were “only carrying out orders”. The man then told McAleer that they were “private contractors for Dublin City Council”. 

She also said that she was “physically pushed” and “threatened”. She said she was “asked for [her] name”, they “took photographs of [her]” and “they said they know where [she lives] and [she] should stop now”. 

Photo by Niko Evans for Trinity News

Another volunteer, Sean O’Connor told Trinity News “it would appear that the Council, or whoever is in charge, doesn’t want the Paddy’s Day tourists seeing that”. 

A statement from the department Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said: “This morning, the department has offered alternative shelter to all international protection applicants camped at Mount Street.”

“All those who accepted the offer will be provided tented accommodation at a site in Crooksling, where food, personal toiletries, toilet and shower facilities are also available. The department will engage with HSE and health care providers in order to ensure the wellbeing of those on site.”

The department also said they “engaged closely with Dublin City Council regarding the situation at Mount Street” and “DCC has confirmed that the site at Mount Street will be cleaned following the removal of the tents currently there”.

“More broadly, the situation in relation to accommodation remains very challenging. The supply of available accommodation is severely diminished.”

They said that “what accommodation can be opened is primarily being utilised for families in order to avoid women and children becoming homeless”. 

Dr Eve Gaughan who was also at the scene and spoke to a reporter from Trinity News at the scene. She arrived after the tents were slashed. 

She said she was “really pleased to hear the men were being moved to somewhere hopefully with better conditions and sanitary facilities because”.

She said she was “a little distressed to see the tents were being slashed” because they were “perfectly good tents that could be used again if we disinfected them and they’ve just been destroyed”. 

Dublin City Council declined to comment. The Department of Integration has been contacted for further comment.

On scene reporting by Rory Chinn.

Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw is current Editor-in-Chief of Trinity News, and a graduate of Sociology and Social Policy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.