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Varadkar believes the treatment of Palestinian refugees has been "very unfair", historically. Rolling News
Refugees

Taoiseach: Ireland won't give Palestinian refugees the same protection as Ukrainians

The Taoiseach said Ukraine is “very much in our neighbourhood”.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that Palestinian refugees will not be granted the same temporary protection as Ukrainians and claimed that Ukraine is in a “different category”.

Thousands have been displaced internally in the Gaza Strip since Israel ordered the evacuation of over 1.1 million people from the north of the densely populated region.

While Varadkar said he thinks the treatment of Palestinian refugees is “very unfair” globally, he said that the group was “different” when it came to providing them with the same protection status as those fleeing Ukraine.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Claire Byrne, Varadkar said: “I think Ukraine is a different category. It’s a European country, it’s an EU candidate state, and we’ve given us a special recognition by granting temporary protection.

Varadkar said “Palestine is different” and said that he believes that it would be the responsibility of the “arab countries” to welcome the those who have been displaced, similar to how Ireland has with Ukraine’s.

“In the past two years, we’ve accepted over 100,000 people, mostly from Ukraine fleeing the war there but also another 20,000 or so people fleeing [elsewhere],” Varadkar told the programme.

We’re very short on accommodation, I think everyone knows that. There is only so much we can do.”

The Taoiseach added Ukraine is “very much in our neighbourhood”.

Varadkar added that he believes the treatment of Palestinian refugees has been “very unfair”, historically, and noted the number of alternative measures the government has taken to try and assist with the cohort.

Yesterday, Tánaiste Micheál Martin announced an “immediate” €13 million humanitarian aid package – to sent to two UN agencies – to help with those inside the Gaza Strip.

“Ireland’s assistance programme to the Palestinians has been in existence since the year 2000. Our assistance programme this year was to amount to €16 million. That will now almost double following my decision today to allocate a further €13 million in the light of the extensive needs in Gaza,” he said.

Separately, an overwhelming majority of the Dáil voted in favour of a government motion last night, to endorse a two-State solution between Israel and Palestine, and called for clear observation of international law.

Social Democrats and People Before Profit did not vote in favour, claiming that the motion had failed to include stronger language that was critical of Israeli conduct so far.