There are a total of 20,001 people living in direct provision and emergency international protection accommodation, according to the Department of Integration.

Figures contained it its weekly report show this has almost doubled in a year, up from 10,447 people on 27 March 2022.

The new figures come as letters have been sent to 52 people living in direct provision, who have been granted international protection in Ireland, informing them that they must move to emergency accommodation.

RTÉ News has seen a letter advising a person that they are being moved from direct provision accommodation to a tent in Knockalisheen, Co Clare, next week.

A spokesperson for the Department of Integration said that "in order ... to accommodate those still in the international protection process in accommodation centres we must transfer those who have been granted international protection for the greatest length of time to alternative accommodation".

The spokesperson confirmed that all of those written to have had international protection status in Ireland for two years or more.

They said that 52 letters have been sent out to date, and so far they are only being sent to single adults.

The spokesperson said that "not all have been offered tented accommodation, other available emergency accommodation has also been offered".

They said that five people have taken up the offer of alternative emergency accommodation and all others have left (IPAS) International Protection Accommodation Service accommodation.

Of the 20,001 people living in direct provision and emergency international protection accommodation, 5,064 have been awarded international protection in Ireland.

People who receive international protection status can access housing supports such as the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and homeless services, while those still awaiting determination of their international protection status cannot.

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The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland has said that it is "appalled" by the proposed transfers.

"They fail to have regard for the lives of the people affected. People often lose jobs and college spaces when they are transferred from one county to another without a say on the matter as if they are livestock," spokesperson Bhulelani Mfaco said.

"We regularly get calls from people in direct provision looking to move out and are struggling to find accommodation which may also be due to the HAP rate being set well below what is available including some landlords who simply refuse to accept HAP."

In November last year, the department adopted a policy that "over the coming months it will support their move to independent accommodation and self-sufficiency".

As part of this, the department withdrew access to the voucher food scheme in direct provision centres.

A spokesperson said that "all of those who have been written to ... have access to assistance from the Peter McVerry Trust and Depaul to progress into the community".

"Since 2020 over 2,800 people have progressed into the community from IPAS accommodation," the spokesperson said.

There are currently 79 people sleeping in tented accommodation in Knockalisheen, Co Clare.

More than 13,000 new international protection applicants arrived in Ireland last year and more than 2,250 have arrived so far already this year.

On 24 January, the State ceased offering accommodation to newly arrived adult asylum seekers presenting without children due to what it said was an acute shortage of available accommodation for international protection applicants.

At least 554 have been initially refused accommodation on arrival.

As of Thursday night, 233 remain without accommodation, while spaces have been found for 321.