The Tánaiste says there are no easy solutions to the issue of accommodating asylum seekers in Kerry.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Micheál Martin said the wartime situation in Europe is having negative repercussions right across the board.
The Tánaiste was responding to Kerry Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae, who asked where the government will accommodate the asylum seekers and refugees in Killarney when the tourism season begins.
Deputy Healy-Rae asked the Tánaiste what alternative accommodation he will provide for the 4,500 Ukrainian refugees in Kerry and Killarney, many of whom have children in local schools.
Deputy Healy-Rae also said the 400 asylum seekers being housed in Hotel Killarney should be removed from the town.
The Independent TD said the people of Kerry and Killarney want to know how people with no documentation are vetted.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin said when someone arrives into the country, in many cases without documentation or with no documentation on them when they present, they seek asylum.
He said the legislative process then kicks in and that application is then assessed, and he added the numbers seeking asylum here dramatically increased last year.
Micheál Martin said Ireland is obligated under law to give people a fair hearing, and this is creating pressure on accommodation, to which there is no easy solution.
The Tánaiste said public servants have worked extremely hard to try and absorb and accommodate the very significant increase in migration that has occurred, which is also happening in every European country.
Deputy Healy-Rae said the Tánaiste has an obligation to the people in the town, and those who are supported by the tourism industry.
He implied the presence of asylum seekers was intimidating locals, at which point Dublin Mid-West TD Gino Kenny said “Shame on you” to the Kerry TD.
An exchange followed which included the Ceann Comhairle asking Deputy Healy-Rae to sit down, before the Tánaiste said he understands the challenges in terms of tourism and the pressure on accommodation.
He said Putin wants this debate to be happening across Europe, even though Deputy Healy-Rae is bona fide in terms of the pressures on his constituency.