- 26 Oct 23
A proposal to time limit accommodation for Ukrainian refugees to 90 days has been criticised by advocacy groups
Government proposals to time-limit the State’s provision of accommodation Ukrainian refugees for 90 days have been siad to be “problematic” and impractical, by refugee support groups.
In the wake of a heated Cabinet debate over the suggestions, which have been drawn up in the face of unprecedented pressure on the State’s system for receiving refugees and asylum seekers, Irish Refugee Council chief executive Nick Henderson warned against the proposals.
“Ethically it’s problematic, but as a policy idea it’s problematic because they don’t know if it’s going to be successful or not,” he said.
Speaking on whether or not Mr Henderson thought the policy idea would be successful he said: “I just don’t think it’s practical, where would people move on to?” he asked, questioning whether people would effectively be evicted from “welcome centres” planned under proposals drawn up by officials.
Concerns were raised in Cabinet on Tuesday, over a new proposal for accommodating Ukrainians for 90 days before absorbing them into the private rental sector or through offer a home scheme.
Tániaste Mícheál Martin raised concerns about the proposal, arguing that the proposal was essentially moving the onus of housing the Ukrainian refugees to the Department of Housing. The Tánaiste also raised concerns over the impact this would have on homelessness services.
These concerns were reportedly echoed by Darragh O'Brien- the Minister for Housing.
Immigrant Council of Ireland chief executive Brian Killoran asked of the new proposal: “Are we clear and are we sure they will not have an extremely negative impact if there are no mid- to long-term measures in place?".
The proposal was raised in cabinet on Tuesday by Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth of Ireland, Roderic O'Gorman first raised the potential need to tighten up the accommodation offering with the Coalition leaders in July, with a decision to push it back until after the summer recess.
Mr O'Gorman argued that the issue had been discussed at multiple cabinet subcommittees and twice been referred to the Coalition leaders pre Cabinet meeting, only not to proceed to Cabinet.
The Minister "vented a lot of frustration" at the lack of progress on reform at a time when the system is coming under extreme pressure, warning that the current system could see people left on the streets.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said when asked regarding the capacity for housing Ukrainian refugees during leaders questions: 'It doesn't take a mathematical genius to work out that this was unsustainable'.
The Taoiseach proceeded to say that if there are to be another 30,000 -50,000 refugees to arrive over the course of the next year, that the Governement may not have the necessary supports.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Larysa Gerasko, The Ukrainian Ambassador to Ireland, said Ukrainians “take into mind” Ireland’s housing crisis and “greatly appreciate” Ireland’s support. “Almost 20 months into Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the displacement crisis it caused is becoming increasingly protracted,”.