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Dublin destroys its latest tent city as Ireland struggles to cope with migrant influx blamed on Britain’s Rwanda policy

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Irish authorities have dismantled another ‘tent city’ in Dublin as the country continues to face an influx of migrants, many of whom have arrived from the UK.

Asylum seekers had pitched more than 100 tents in a makeshift camp along Dublin’s Grand Canal, a short walk from the International Protection Office, as the government struggles to provide them with accommodation.

Pictures show the early morning operation, which involved crews checking tents were empty before they were spray-painted with an ‘X’ and cleared onto a truck by a ‘grabber’ machine.

The encampment sprung up along the waterway just days after more than 200 asylum seekers were cleared from a similar makeshift camp on nearby Mount Street. 

The removal comes amid an ongoing row with the UK government over asylum seekers crossing the border from Northern Ireland, with claims that they are doing so to avoid deportation to Rwanda.

Tents were spray-painted with an ‘X’ before being cleared onto a truck by a ‘grabber’ machine

Men living in the tents were seen leaving the area ahead of the removal operation this morning

Men living in the tents were seen leaving the area ahead of the removal operation this morning

Gardai were seen searching the area ahead of the removal as the road was closed to traffic

Gardai were seen searching the area ahead of the removal as the road was closed to traffic

A large number of asylum seekers reportedly boarded buses by 7.30am this morning

A large number of asylum seekers reportedly boarded buses by 7.30am this morning

The Irish Government said Thursday morning’s operation involved the Irish police service, Dublin City Council, the national health service, the Department of Integration and a waterway authority.

It was conducted more quickly than the previous operation last week, which removed people who had been living in the roadside camp for months.

A large number of asylum seekers reportedly boarded buses by 7.30am today, with the operation wrapped up by 7.45am.

The Irish government said that all asylum seekers were moved to accommodation in County Dublin, with a total of 186 applicants accommodated in the suburb of Citywest, and 99 at Crooksling, an hour from the city centre in the Dublin mountains.

A statement from the Government said: ‘The purpose of the operation is to ensure the safe movement of people seeking international protection from the tents on the Grand Canal to International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS)-designated accommodation.

‘The IPAS-designated accommodation has toilets and showers; health services; indoor areas where food is provided; facilities to charge phones and personal devices; access to transport to and from Dublin City Centre; and 24-hour onsite security.’

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Irish premier Simon Harris said the similar operation last week had a ‘very positive impact’ and averted a ‘public health near-emergency’.

A crane operator removes the tents from the waterside area, lifting them into a lorry to be taken away

A crane operator removes the tents from the waterside area, lifting them into a lorry to be taken away

The operation involved the Irish police service, Dublin City Council, the national health service, the Department of Integration and a waterway authority

The operation involved the Irish police service, Dublin City Council, the national health service, the Department of Integration and a waterway authority

He said: ‘I continue to believe that it was the right action to take. I became Taoiseach four weeks ago, I took charge of this situation.

‘There had been, in my view, a tacit acceptance by many State agencies that the situation on Mount Street could just continue and was just the new norm. That was not right.’

He added: ‘We will deal with the Grand Canal. Action will be taken.’

Justice Minister Helen McEntee, who recently alleged that more than 80 per cent of migrants in Ireland are coming in via Northern Ireland to avoid deportation to Rwanda, said that the government must ensure a tent city does not return.

‘Once people are moved, measures will be put in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Crews hauled pop-up tents away from the area, which was closed to pedestrians and cyclists during the operation

Crews hauled pop-up tents away from the area, which was closed to pedestrians and cyclists during the operation

Asylum claimants leave with their belongings during an early morning operation by Irish authorities to remove tents

Asylum claimants leave with their belongings during an early morning operation by Irish authorities to remove tents 

The asylum claimants moved into the area after another makeshift migrant camp surrounding the International Protection Office (IPO) on Mount Street, Dublin, was dismantled last week

The asylum claimants moved into the area after another makeshift migrant camp surrounding the International Protection Office (IPO) on Mount Street, Dublin, was dismantled last week

‘When they are provided with that accommodation, it’s also really important that we don’t see scenes like we’re seeing now at Mount Street again, that it cannot re-emerge, that we have hundreds of tents – not just outside the international protection office – but outside people’s homes, outside people’s businesses.’

Tensions between London and Dublin over migration have been mounting in recent weeks, with each blaming the other for their immigration problems.

Rishi Sunak declared last month that he is ‘not interested’ in taking back migrants from Ireland given that the EU refuses to take back Channel migrants who arrived from France.

His comments were a sharp response to senior Irish ministers who warned they would draft emergency laws to force refugees back to the UK.

Taoiseach Simon Harris vowed in to pass new laws to facilitate returns of migrants after the country’s courts declared the UK cannot be classed as ‘safe’ due to its pact with Rwanda.

But the UK Government said it would ignore any law passed by Ireland, with a No 10 spokesperson declaring: ‘Even if Ireland was to pass legislation, it is up to the UK Government to decide who it does or does not accept into the country.

‘We are not going to start accepting returns from the EU, just as France doesn’t accept returns from the UK.’

Amid domestic pressure to get asylum seekers off the streets and into accommodation, Harris defended his Government’s handling of the issue last Friday.

A truck-mounted crane was even deployed to tear the canvas structures away from the pavement and deposit them into a skip on May 1

A truck-mounted crane was even deployed to tear the canvas structures away from the pavement and deposit them into a skip on May 1

Tents cluster near Dublin's Office of International Protection, serving as temporary homes for asylum seekers on April 30, 2024

Tents cluster near Dublin’s Office of International Protection, serving as temporary homes for asylum seekers on April 30, 2024

He said ‘makeshift encampments’ on public roads and footpaths were illegal, and ‘never the solution’.

‘It’s also not in the interest of the people who are sleeping in those tents, people who don’t have access to proper sanitation,’ he said.

Mr Harris added: ‘We work at this every single day but I need to be clear and honest with people coming to our country, we are doing our very best in very difficult and challenging circumstances to provide accommodation.

‘But accommodation isn’t always readily available but we are keeping working at it day by day.

‘The conversation about migration can’t just be one about accommodation, because no matter how much accommodation you have, if it’s just a conversation about accommodation, accommodation will fill.

‘It also has to be a conversation about faster processing times, about efficient and effective systems.’

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