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McEntee stands by her claims that migrants are coming into Republic from N.I

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EMBATTLED Justice Minister Helen McEntee is standing by her claim that 80 per cent of migrants are coming into the Republic over the border from the north.

She explained to Laois/Offaly Independent TD Carol Nolan how she and her Department got the figure in reply to a written Dail question on the controversial issue.

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Justice Minister Helen McEntee stands by her claims that migrants were coming from Northern IrelandCredit: � 2024 PA Media, All Rights Reserved
It is believed that 80 per cent of migrants have crossed the border into the Republic from Northern Ireland

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It is believed that 80 per cent of migrants have crossed the border into the Republic from Northern IrelandCredit: RTE News

Minister McEntee explained how patterns in international protection applications vary over time.

She stated: “It has long been the case that a significant number of people apply for international protection for the first time in the International Protection Office.

“This has increased in 2024. At the close of business on April 29, 2024, there were 7,054 applications for International Protection at the IPO.

“Of these, 6,468 — or 91.7 per cent — were made at the IPO for the first time and not at the port of entry.

“There are a number of circumstances in which someone might apply in the IPO without first applying at a port of entry.

“They may enter at an airport with valid documentation, for example, but choose not to apply at that time.

“Or they may apply having been in the State for a period previously, for example, on foot of a different permission to remain.”

However, Minister McEntee said her Department’s firm assessment based on the experience of staff and others working in the field, and based on the material gathered from interviews, is that most of those applying for the first time in the IPO have entered over the land border.

She added: “This is my Department’s operational assessment of the situation.”

Stark pictures show migrant ‘tent city’ weaving through roads outside Dublin asylum processing centre

Meanwhile, Heather Humphreys, the Minister for Social Protection, urged her political colleagues and the opposition to be cautious when speaking about closed borders in this country.

She said: “The only open border we have is with Northern Ireland and we want to keep that in place.

“We fought hard to keep that open border during Brexit and it is important that stays.

“I think people need to be very careful in the language they use. We know what the British said around Brexit, it was to bring back our borders.

“That’s wrong, we shouldn’t be talking like that. It is a dangerous language and we need to be careful.”

UNACCOMMODATED ASYLUM SEEKERS

Meanwhile, there are now more than 70 tents sheltering unaccommodated asylum seekers pitched along both sides of the Grand Canal in Dublin.

The number of tents has grown from the original 40 erected on Friday night between Mount Street Bridge and Huband Bridge.

The location is less than 400 metres from the International Protection Office on Mount Street, where a large number of tents were removed on Wednesday.

Barriers were erected on the footpaths along Mount Street and around the IPO to prevent more tents being set up.

Chairperson of the South Georgian Core Residents Association Kevin Byrne called on Simon Harris to follow through on his commitment not to allow “shanty towns” to develop.

Byrne said there was “a political commitment given by the Taoiseach that no other shanty towns will be allowed to emerge in the city”.

“But yet, what we have here today is evidence of a very large encampment that’s emerged only a few days after that operation,” he said.

Mr Byrne said residents are “looking for that commitment to be ­followed through on and encampments not allowed to be established in the city centre”.

He told RTE: “We’re just seeing a return to the problem we had before.”

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