Progress on the placement of Ukrainian refugees in properties pledged by families continues to be slow, the Cabinet will be informed on Wednesday.
Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman will brief ministers on the continuing lack of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees and international protection seekers. It is understood that Mr O’Gorman will update the Cabinet on progress made in sourcing vacant properties from religious orders and describe the accommodation in use at all levels. Progress on the placement of refugees through voluntary pledges from private households remains slow and Cabinet will discuss this at the meeting.
The government last week issued an urgent appeal for hotels and guesthouses to welcome Ukrainian refugees and offered payments of €135 per night for single adults.
Applications opened on Tuesday for a monthly payment of €400 for households hosting Ukrainian refugees.
More than 40,000 refugees have arrived from Ukraine so far, with an average of 1,400 arriving each week. Ministers have been told the flow could continue at this rate for the rest of the year. A coalition source said on Tuesday that the situation remained “difficult”.
Separately, Mr. O’Gorman will also bring a note regarding the excavation of the remains at the site of the former mother and baby house in Tuam. He will seek approval to establish what is called the office of the Director of Authorized Response on Tuam. This is the agency that will oversee the work on the site. It is understood that the total cost is 15 million euros, less the 2.5 million euros already received from the Bon Secours sisters.
After Cabinet approval, a resolution will need to be passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas to create the agency. Before that, there will be work in the department to establish the office and perform environmental site assessments.
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien will seek Cabinet approval for a €186m multi-year funding package for the Clonburris Strategic Development Zone (SDZ). Sources said this funding will provide transportation, water and public park infrastructure to facilitate the construction of more than 8,700 new homes. Another memo from her department will seek to prompt priority drafting of new legislation providing for maternity leave for female advisers.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly will brief ministers on plans to further reduce Covid-19 testing, while Education Minister Norma Foley will deliver a note confirming the free school transport initiative for eligible students, which was announced earlier this month.
It is understood Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Chief Whip Jack Chambers will bring a memo to limit pre-legislative scrutiny of bills to eight weeks, which they say is to avoid delays and bottlenecks. strangulation in the legislation.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will bring a note on his plans to grant a limited amount of state aid to certain companies to help them meet the additional costs resulting from the war in Ukraine. Two distinct plans are offered. The first is a subsidy program which has already been submitted to the European Commission for approval. The second is a new loans scheme which will require legislation, which will also be sent to the commission shortly.
The new schemes will allow the state to help companies whose businesses are severely affected by significant increases in natural gas and electricity costs, as well as other costs due to the Russian invasion. Both are expected to be limited and targeted programs aimed at large energy users in manufacturing and/or traded services. Any business receiving the aid will be required to put in place a sustainability plan including details of how it intends to become more energy efficient.