The number of asylum seekers living in emergency accommodation has more than trebled over the past five months.

Figures released to RTÉ News from the the Department of Justice show that as of 3 March there were 381 people being accommodated in hotels due to an over capacity in the direct provision system.

The figures show that there are currently 6,308 people in Direct Provision in Ireland. The current capacity of direct provision accommodation is 6,192.

The number of asylum seekers being accommodated in emergency beds increased from 114 in October 2018 to 351 on 24 February, with a further increase of 30 people in just a week to 381 as of 3 March.

The issue of over capacity was first highlighted by RTÉ News last month, which showed that there were 6,355 people in total in Direct Provision.

Last month, the department said that the Reception and Integration Agency has had to access emergency bed spaces in hotels since September 2018 due to insufficient capacity within its existing portfolio of centres.

There are currently 39 centres within the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) accommodation portfolio.

The Department of Justice said it has "commenced a public procurement process that will be rolled out throughout 2019 for the provision of accommodation and ancillary services, through an independent living model, to persons in the protection process.

"The process is being rolled out on a regional basis throughout the state and the first regional competition is currently in the assessment phase."