More than 93% of housing offers pledged for Ukrainians coming to Ireland have not yet materialised, RTÉ News has reported.
In March of this year, more than 20,000 pledges were made to provide accommodation – either through the government’s pledge portal or to NGOs like the Red Cross – to people coming to Ireland as a result of the war in Ukraine.
The pledges included spare rooms and vacant second homes, and the high number of pledges caused one media outlet to dumb the perceived welcome as ‘fiche míle fáilte’.
However, as has happened previously in similar situations, it now seems that many of these housing offers have not held up.
Just over 1,300 people from Ukraine are living in pledged accommodation in Ireland, despite initial offers of housing exceeding 20,000. This means just 6.5% of those promised lodgings now host refugees fleeing the war, the RTÉ News report found.
The Irish government has offered to take up to 200,000 refugees, with almost 35,000 Ukrainians already in the country. By the end of April, hotel accommodation was already reportedly reaching its limit.
There has also been a surge in applications for asylum from other countries, to the point where the government departments are under ‘severe pressure’ to source accommodation.
The Business post reported last month that hundreds of Ukrainian refugees were to “moved out of a Dublin hotel to make room for asylum seekers from other countries as the state’s supply of emergency accommodation comes under increased strain.”
As previously noted on this platform, just 44 of 667 housing offers pledged to the Red Cross in 2015 during the Syrian crisis eventually came through on their offer. Some 93% of those pledges also failed to materialise.
The information gathered by the Red Cross at that time showed that:
Some 667 rooms were pledged to the Red Cross, but a third or 227 pledges were “soon withdrawn”, while “168 pledgers were uncontactable”.
That meant over half of the rooms pledged – 395 of the pledges – were almost immediately unavailable.
A further 113 of those who pledged said the offer was only temporary, and the Red Cross thought another 92 pledges were “unsuitable or too short term”.
Then 24 pledges didn’t want to take a single male refugee – which the Red Cross said were “the majority of cases”. That left just 44 who were willing to take them.
The government is still hopeful that further pledges for housing for Ukrainians will come good, and seeking to place 6,000 people in pledged accommodation.
The return of students at the end of the summer will add further strain to the system.