#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 16°C Monday 27 June 2022
Advertisement

McEntee says Ireland 'will not be found wanting' when helping people fleeing Ukraine

Under a new proposal, those escaping the conflict will be given a residence permit in EU countries.

Flowers and messages of support that have been left outside the Embassy of Ukraine in Dublin
Flowers and messages of support that have been left outside the Embassy of Ukraine in Dublin
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated Mar 3rd 2022, 1:00 PM

IRELAND “WILL NOT be found wanting” when it comes to helping people fleeing the war in Ukraine, Justice Minister Helen McEntee has said.

McEntee is in Brussels today to attend an EU Council meeting of justice and home affairs ministers.

Officials at the meeting will discuss the European Commission’s proposal to activate the Temporary Protection Directive to offer assistance to people fleeing Ukraine.

Under this proposal, those escaping the conflict will be given a residence permit in EU countries and will have access to education and the labour market.

Speaking in Brussels ahead of the meeting, McEntee told EU News Radio she will be pushing to ensure a decision is taken to activate the protection mechanism.

“Already we have opened our doors and we have waived visa requirements, but this will allow Ukrainian citizens to come to Ireland to live, to work, to study, to access our healthcare for an initial period of one year, but this is something that could be extended potentially to up to three years,” McEntee stated.

“The most important thing for us is making sure that our doors are open. Obviously we’re working very swiftly at home bringing together departments, ministers, who will be impacted here, making sure that we have the right mechanism in place to support people.

“And already we’re seeing people at home, our own Irish citizens, offering support, offering accommodation, offering to help in whatever way that they can.

“So we will come together collectively to make sure that Ireland will not be found wanting,” she said.

The Irish Government last week confirmed that it would waive visa requirements for all Ukrainian people who wished to travel to Ireland.

‘Barbaric attack’

Speaking to reporters today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it’s currently “very difficult to be definitive” about the number of refugees Ireland will take in due to the evolving nature of the situation.

“It’s a consistently changing situation. What is clear, though, is I think we all need to realise that we are in a wartime situation on the continent of Europe. Ukraine is a very populous country with 43 million [people], I understand.

The barbaric nature of the attack, the indiscriminate nature of it in terms of targeting of civilians. Last evening, I saw one report where a maternity hospital was attacked – 15 newborns had to go into the subway, one woman gave birth in the subway, all pregnant women had to be moved into the underground. That is the nature of how barbaric that is.

“We’ve all seen the scenes of train stations and people endeavouring to flee. So we are looking at a very, very serious humanitarian challenge which we have to respond to, and the timelines in terms of how this develops, again, we can’t be definitive about but I think we’re looking at very large numbers. And we do have to respond as best we can as a country.

“The management of this is going to be, I anticipate, much different to other human crises that we’ve experienced arising out of conflicts in the past. And I think we have to take it in stages and we have to do it in a phased way, that’s my sense of it, in terms of supporting those at the frontline first in terms of those countries who are taking enormous numbers in.”

Martin said Ireland will work to support countries such as Poland, Hungary and Moldova as large numbers of refugees flee from Ukraine to neighbouring countries.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

The Taoiseach added that people in Ireland and all over the world have been shocked by the “sheer scale and nature” of the barbarity of the attack on Ukraine.

“So the implications then is how do we deal with the immediate humanitarian crisis. Right now, the focus is on logistical supports and financial supports to those at the borders that are to [Ukraine], countries like Poland, Hungary, Moldova and others, who are looking after huge numbers of people.

“And so we have to make sure that we can do everything we possibly can to support that effort,” Martin said.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

Read next:

COMMENTS (12)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel