Update on the provision of accommodation for people fleeing Ukraine and seeking international protection

Published by the Government Press Office

Ireland is resolute in its solidarity and support for Ukraine and we honor our commitment to help those displaced by this horrific war.

We work with our European and international partners to help the Ukrainian people.

The government, officials and civil servants, as well as volunteers across the country, are working hard to manage this humanitarian crisis by providing the necessary support to those seeking shelter and other services.

Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) has worked to meet the immediate housing needs of people fleeing the conflict.

A combination of hotels and bed and breakfasts, accommodation provided by the general public and emergency rest centers was used.

To date, over 40,000 people have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine, 30,600 of whom have been welcomed by the state and through the generosity and compassion of the Irish people.

Along with arrivals from Ukraine, we have seen a very significant increase in the number of people applying for international protection (IP) here. 7,080 IP applicants arrived in Ireland this year up to 13e July. This compares to 2,648 IP arrivals for the whole of 2021. These applicants are also in need of accommodation. 13,917 IP applicants are currently welcomed by the State (compared to 7,000 at the same time last year). There is now a severe shortage of available housing.

The Citywest Transit Hub was created to handle Ukrainian arrivals and support streamlined processing. Over the past few weeks, the number of IP arrivals has resulted in IP applicants being sent to the Citywest Transit Center while waiting for accommodation to be found for them. This causes overcrowding in the Citywest Transit Hub.

The Taoiseach today met with relevant ministers to discuss the overall situation and review current policies and processes.

At the end of this meeting, it should be noted that:

Finding additional hospitality and accommodation facilities

  • Ensuring the safety, health and safety of people fleeing Ukraine has been and remains a top priority for the government since the Russian attack began in February. This effort involved, among others, all relevant government departments and offices, local authorities, defense forces and state agencies such as Tusla and the HSE. In keeping with this priority, the government has found it necessary to delay the transfer of newcomers to the Citywest Transit Hub.
  • The move has led to new arrivals spending time in Dublin Airport’s old terminal building, but the intention is that this time will be kept to a minimum and the most vulnerable transferred first. More than 160 people were transferred out of Dublin Airport during the day.
  • Additional accommodation options for the immediate term have been identified and will go live over the next few days.
  • The government is committed to ensuring the efficient operation of the Citywest transit center for newcomers from Ukraine. This includes the creation of a second transit center to cope with the unprecedented volume of arrivals.
  • The government plans to operationalize the Gormanston camp in County Meath in the coming days. Initially, Gormanston will be used to house Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTP) fleeing the war in Ukraine.
  • DCEDIY, in collaboration with local authorities and other implementing partners, will continue to encourage Ukrainian arrivals to access appropriate pledged accommodation that is available.
  • The government continues to advance work on medium and long-term housing options such as modular housing and the renovation of existing buildings.
  • The government will continue to monitor the situation.

Immigration Policy and Operations

  • The Department of Justice is reviewing factors that may have contributed to the significant increase in IP requests and will continue to take all necessary steps to manage the IP process effectively and efficiently, as part of the broader whole-of-government response. .
  • This includes resuming normal pre-pandemic immigration arrangements, such as enforcing deportation orders for unsuccessful IP applications, following due process, and allowing all avenues of remedies available.
  • Additionally, the Department of Justice is implementing an expedited decision-making process for intellectual property applicants from safe countries of origin.

EU and international contacts and answers

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered a major international humanitarian emergency. Many of our European partners face similar challenges in terms of the humanitarian response to the crisis.
  • As of July 8, the United Nations (UN) estimated that around 15.7 million Ukrainians, almost half of the population, were in need of humanitarian assistance. The UN provided humanitarian assistance to 10.3 million people. 5.5 million Ukrainians have been received in European countries and 6.3 million people are internally displaced in Ukraine.
  • Ireland was among the first to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, announcing a major Irish aid package on the first day of the invasion, which has since increased to 20 million euros. This comprehensive program funds the United Nations Appeal (OCHA Humanitarian Fund for Ukraine, UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA) and the Red Cross movement (ICRC and IFRC). One million euros has been allocated for UNHCR’s response in Poland and Moldova respectively. €2 million is supporting the response of Ireland-based NGOs in partnership with local civil society.
  • Ireland is also contributing to the crisis in Ukraine through its core and flexible funding to key humanitarian partners and joint mechanisms such as WHO, UNICEF, ICRC, IFRC, WFP and Central Fund United Nations Emergency Response Unit (CERF). To date, CERF has allocated €55 million to Ukraine and neighboring countries. Ireland is CERF’s 9th largest donor this year.
  • Ireland has provided in-kind medical assistance and supplies to Ukraine, including ambulances, worth over €4.3 million, through a partnership between government departments, the HSE and d other agencies, in collaboration with private sector and civil society partners.
  • Finally, Ireland has activated its Rapid Response Corps with rapid responders now deployed with UN agencies in the region to respond to the crisis. Irish experts are also working on the ground with the EU civilian CSDP mission in Ukraine.

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About Michael B. Billingsley

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