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Monday 27 March 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Sam Boal
# accommodation crisis
Ministers sign off on new €10m International Protection Fund to support community needs
The minister emphasised the need for urgent access to large-scale temporary facilities.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 31st 2023, 9:00 PM

THE CABINET SUBCOMMITTEE on Ukraine met this evening to discuss ongoing humanitarian response and options to tackle the current refugee accommodation crisis. 

Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman gave an update on the current accommodation outlook, in particular the current challenges on international protection accommodation. 

In this context, the minister emphasised the need for urgent access to large-scale temporary facilities for international protection applicants over the coming weeks.

The minister also brought a proposal for a new €10 million International Protection Community Fund to support community needs following the opening of new International Protection accommodation.

Ireland has taken in over 70,000 refugees from Ukraine. Alongside that figure, close to 20,000 people seeking international protection from other countries have also arrived, numbers Tánaiste Micheál Martin described as “unprecedented”.

The meeting is understood to have also focused on what other countries in Europe offer in terms of supports and accommodation for refugees and determine if Ireland is aligned with such an approach. 

Cabinet was told today by Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys that in 2022, payments and administration costs amounting to €246.3m were made under the Temporary Protection Ukraine Directive. This was made up of:

  • €156.7m of Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • €21m of Supplementary Welfare Allowance Basic Payments
  • €19m of Child Benefit
  • €16.8m of State Pension Non Contributory
  • €14.8m One Parent Family Payment,
  • €3.6m Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance,
  • €4.1m Additional and Urgent Needs,
  • €5.8m on administration

Under the temporary protection directive, Ukrainians that arrive in Ireland are entitled to a weekly social welfare payment as well as additional supports for their children, such as child benefit. 

Everyone arriving to Ireland under the temporary protection directive can also apply for a medical card.

Minister of State for Community Development and Charities Joe O’Brien told RTÉ’s Claire Byrne that he was not aware of a formal proposal to time limit supports, but said “it makes sense” to look at what other countries are doing as a response the refugee numbers. 

He said the level of comparison suggest that Ireland is more relient on private providers such as hotels. There needs to be more state owned and run accommodation. 

Government sources have stated that there is no doubt that Ireland wishes to welcome Ukrainians, stating that per capita Ireland has taken in more numbers than anywhere else in Western Europe, with the exception of Germany.

However, Government policy on the refugee response for both Ukrainian refugees and those seeking international protection has hardened in recent months with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stating that stronger border controls may be introduced to prevent people arriving into the country illegally.

In terms of Ukrainian refugees, the Government has introduced of a refusals policy which means Ukrainian refugees will not get a second offer if they turn down alternative accommodation and refuse to vacate their hotels.

The meeting today takes place against the backdrop of gardaí examining links between misinformation spread online recently and an arson attack on a building in Dublin’s north inner city yesterday evening.

Gardaí are investigating the theory that it was targeted by a group who believed, erroneously, that the building was to be used as a direct provision centre, sources said. 

The building had been earmarked for an apartment development and developers had applied for planning permission.

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