Housing must be checked for suitability as vacant properties to be converted into housing for refugees from Ukraine

A vetting process is in place for accommodation offered to Ukrainian refugees, the Taoiseach said.

Icheál Martin also said vacant properties will be converted into housing for tens of thousands of refugees who are expected to arrive in the country in the coming weeks.

More than 20,000 pledges of accommodation have been made through the Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations and Mr Martin told reporters in Washington that a vetting process was now in place to protect refugees, “especially children”.

“There has to be verification,” he said.

“We have to make sure we get it right by applying the proper standards.”

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He said the children’s department is working with Túsla and An Garda Síochána “for a proper vetting procedure” that “will ensure that we protect children especially in situations like this.”

“They are very aware that there has to be proper verification, proper duties with respect to all of this,” he said.

He said reports of advertisements for hosting Ukrainian refugee girls in exchange for sex were “morally wrong”.

The Taoiseach said “work is already underway” to build modular homes on state land, which will be outside of the usual planning process so homes can be built more quickly.

Mr. Martin also said that government officials were considering housing the refugees in guesthouses and in vacant properties that could be converted into housing.

“The government has been working with hotels, bed and breakfasts, other forms of accommodation like that, securing premises that we can convert back into accommodation, that work is already underway,” he said. .

It came as it emerged that Ireland is to take in 500 refugees from Ukraine who are currently based in Moldova under a plan discussed by Cabinet today.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee briefed ministers earlier on the offer to help Moldova following an EU request to member states to take in refugees in the country fleeing Ukraine war-torn.

The Cabinet agreed to scale up the state’s humanitarian response to provide shelter and other essential support to refugees from Ukraine.

Ministers were informed that 6,646 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland, of whom 2,682 are staying in hotels.

The Cabinet has been told that around 500 people in hotels have arrived in the past 24 hours and that there has been a particular pinch point with hotel capacity this week due to St Patrick’s Day.

A Government source said the Department for Children and Equality, which manages much of the humanitarian response, should start approaching members of the public who have promised accommodation this week.

Officials also met with B&B Ireland yesterday about the role they will play.

In addition to hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts, and accommodation offered by the public, state-owned or private properties that may be suitable for short-term accommodation, religious properties and facilities of local authorities are also likely to be used, the government said. .

With the Taoiseach and Ministers scattered across the world for St Patrick’s Day, the Cabinet met virtually today to take stock of the state’s response to the crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia nearly three weeks ago.

Moldova, located southwest of Ukraine, is considered one of the poorest countries in Europe. More than 300,000 refugees have fled Ukraine to Moldova, putting the country under considerable pressure.

The Cabinet was informed last week that a large number of Ukrainian refugees are in Moldova, which is said to be particularly ill-prepared.

The country appealed to the EU for help under the bloc’s civil protection mechanism. Germany announced earlier this week that it would take in 2,500 refugees.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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