Government consider paying people €800 a month to take Ukrainian migrants into their home – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Government consider paying people €800 a month to take Ukrainian migrants into their home




The government is working on a proposal to increase the pay for those who take in Ukrainian families from €400 a month to €800.

It is likely that this increase in fees will also be paid to those who supplied empty houses to Ukrainians.

There will also be a renewed call for people to pledge accommodation for those seeking refuge here, under the supervision of local authorities.

A plan to charge Ukrainians staying in hotels for food was also considered,

However, it is thought that this will only apply in the case of new hotel contracts, which would only cover accommodation.

The matter is expected to go to Cabinet next week.

It is also likely that more modular homes will be purchased to house those arriving here from Ukraine.

This number is expected to grow from 500 households to at least 700, but the first of these is not expected to go into effect until early next year.

Previously, the Taoiseach stated that Ireland has a legal and moral obligation to welcome people arriving in Ireland from the Ukraine.

Micheál Martin said that the EU countries were all involved together and one country cannot give up.

Meanwhile, the minister for public spending and reform said there is “undoubtedly” pressure on the emergency housing system for Ukrainians that the government will try to address, but the amount of work being done must also be recognised.

Some 43 Ukrainians have been left without state housing since Friday, with a 200-person overnight facility set to open at Dublin Airport today.

Michael McGrath said no one is happy that a small number of people have become homeless in recent days, but “it is a measure of how much pressure the system is under,” reports RTE.

According to RTE, speaking in Cork, McGrath said “about 55,000 people have fled Ukraine and come to Ireland for protection, for safety. At this point in time we have issued in the order of 43,000 medical cards to Ukrainians, we have about 12,000 Ukrainian children attending our schools here, we are accommodating about 42,000 directly in state run accommodation and there is undoubtedly a set of constraints in terms of the provision of accommodation which we will seek to address.”

McGrath said today’s subcommittee will be briefed by all relevant ministers on modular housing, the renovation program and the options open to them, including promised housing and the recognition payment.

But he said that with more than 7.7 million Ukrainian refugees in Europe, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, it is not just Ireland that is under pressure.

He said: We are doing the best we can. The Irish people have been remarkably understanding and generous in their support and we recognised that there are areas we need to do better and we need to find more accommodation to make sure people have basic shelter and support, and we will do that,” reports RTE.

The cost for the current year of providing accommodation and support is expected to be “in the order of €1 billion”.

Currently, some 1,200 people from Ukraine seek refuge here every week, but in early October they reached almost 1,500 a week.

In addition, this year more than 10,000 applicants for international protection have arrived in Ireland seeking refuge.

This compares with just under 3,762 in the first nine months of 2019, before Covid.

The weekly number of arrivals of applicants for international protection is around 300.

“We do want to provide shelter of a good standard and to met the basic needs of people coming here. Some may decide to stay, but others will be here for a relatively short period of time and we just need to ensure that we look after their basic needs and today will provide a good opportunity for Government to assess the current state of play, recognise there are pressures there and see what more we can do to fill the gaps that are currently still there,” Mr McGrath said, reports RTE.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister said today’s cabinet subcommittee meeting will examine how the state could help more people fleeing conflict.

Simon Coveney said it was not acceptable that those traveling from Ukraine could not find accommodation here and that more options were available.

He said that the Department of Defense had some facilities that had been offered but had not yet been used.

And he said there may be better supports for members of the public, who may want to help refugees in guest rooms or vacant properties.

The minister said that more could be done in terms of financial support available in this regard.

Labor leader Ivana Bacik said she believes Ireland has the capacity to provide adequate housing for refugees.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Drivetime, she said it was made in other countries “with few less resources than us,” reports RTE.

She said there is “immense pressure” on the system and a government approach is needed to address the challenge.

“It’s a task of some magnitude to ensure that everyone is accommodated, whether they are refugees from Ukraine fleeing war, or others coming here seeking asylum and international protection. Really what we want to do is ensure that there is a whole of Government approach and we want to ensure that we in opposition can also assist and support this collective effort,” she said according to RTE.

She said her group is demanding that the empty Baggot Street Hospital facility, among other properties, be rebuilt to house refugees.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, called the situation “unacceptable.”

Lily Orlovska, an interpreter working to help refugees from Ukraine, said she spoke to several people looking for a place to stay, but they all had to return to Dublin airport because there was no room for CityWest.

Those who returned to the airport slept on the ground, she said.

They didn’t have any food, any money, nothing has been given to them to support, it is just to stay in the airport,” Ms. Orlovska said, added RTE.

She added that some people did not return to the airport, as they did not know they could return there, so they slept in the open on the streets.

According to Ms Orlovska, some people are now reluctant to officially seek international protection in Ireland and are considering returning to other European countries, such as Germany, as they can find accommodation there.

She said that people arriving from Ukraine were surprised by the lack of housing here.

“TThey were just shocked, and I could see that some of them were nearly crying because some of them just sold some of their belongings, like some property, to buy the ticket to come to Ireland through Europe,” she said, reports RTE.

The national coordinator of the Ukrainian Civil Society Forum said that the government must present a plan to create short-term emergency housing capacity.

Emma Lane-Spollen said there is some frustration with the situation, as predicted a few months ago, but nothing has been done to alleviate it.

Speaking at the same time, she said the cabinet meeting is important because the Taoiseach has to make decisions now that will create an agreement that will take effect in six months.

She said much more than a community-led response is needed, as people are in the best position to know where empty properties are.

Capuchin Center volunteer coordinator Alan Bailey said the center provided food and showers to a number of Ukrainian refugees on Friday and that they returned on Saturday, before returning to Dublin airport to sleep.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, he said people felt very welcome and apologized to them “that maybe it all didn’t live up to their expectations, but insofar as we could with our meals and medical services or hygiene services, that we give them the welcome they were looking for”, reports RTE.

According to RTE, Bailey said that the Capuchin Center does not have accommodation facilities “but certainly they were given the use of all the various facilities – hygiene and clean clothes”.

He said there was “a certain level of shock” and disappointment at the lack of accommodation.

Mr. Bailey said the center offers more than 200 breakfasts each day on a typical day.

“This morning we have over 350. We have 150 families queueing outside for nappies and baby food as I speak. So, we have a lot of services and a lot of demand”, which the centre is meeting, he said, reports RTE.

According to RTE, he said the centre’s founder, Brother Kevin, “always maintained that nobody should leave here hungry, and we’re ensuring that that doesn’t happen.”

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