Yesterday morning, a group of homeless asylum seekers who had been camping outside the International Protection Office in Dublin City Centre were removed from their campsite and bussed out of the city. They were told that they would be taken to new accommodation, but instead found themselves handed tents and abandoned on a site on the Dublin-Wicklow border, a site which has previously been targeted in an arson attack by violent anti-migrant groups.

This is clearly an underhanded attempt to remove these homeless men from public view, since they had become an embarrassment to the government, and deposit them out of sight of the tourists and comfortable middle classes whom the government are courting.

This is just the latest example of the government’s degrading and cynical treatment of asylum seekers, who are seen only as a problem to be disposed of. The state’s inability to house these asylum seekers safely while their claims are processed is the result of a series of massive policy failures on the part of the government.

This includes not only their complete failure to build housing, but also an utterly dysfunctional immigration and asylum system. The Direct Provision system was long operated with no regard for the needs of asylum seekers or the communities in which they are housed, and has created the conditions for the rise of far right elements who now attack migrant housing centres with impunity. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine even this inadequate system has collapsed, as the state has proven completely incapable of fulfilling its open-ended promise to house Ukrainians, and International Protection applicants were displaced from accommodation to make way for Ukrainian refugees, leaving many homeless.

The state must urgently move to resolve this crisis by housing all those homeless on our streets, whatever their origin. Sadly, we see little hope of this happening in the near future. The thoughtless mismanagement of refugee accommodation and the failure to resolve the long-standing homelessness crisis have given an opportunity to a far-right element who feed off the justified anger of neglected working class communities, and seek to direct it against migrants. These far right elements now threaten to destroy any housing assigned for asylum seekers, and have thus far been given free rein by the Gardaí to do so. The state must act to protect those seeking asylum from violence, and its failure to do so can no longer be considered accidental.