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North inner-city Dublin has by far the most Ukrainian refugees, unlike Killiney or Templeogue

There are a number of interesting things which jump out from the figures issued by the Central Statistics Office on refugees coming to Ireland from Ukraine. The starkest perhaps is that the local election area covering the north inner city of Dublin had, up to May 22, become the place of residence for 1,156 Ukrainian arrivals.

 

Presumably a lot of that has to do with the location of the supposedly emergency short-term accommodation that has to be provided, given that the pledges made by individuals to take people in have mostly amounted to a bottle of smoke. Very few Ukrainians are going to be staying for any length of time in Irish households.

That idea was, in any event, a completely impractical measure fuelled on the one hand by a well-meaning desire to help people in need; and on the other by a state – fulsomely cheered by most of the media – which made all sorts of unrealistic promises with regard to how the 200,000 people initially supposed to come to Ireland might actually be looked after.

The fact that so many Ukrainians are now resident in the north inner city of Dublin demonstrates that, as with so many other issues, the government seems to think the easier option is to place people in an area that already has some of the worst social problems in the entire country. Unemployment, crime, poor housing, drug abuse, and other indicators of social anomie and malaise are all way higher in this part of Dublin than in almost every other part of Ireland.

Many of those problems are endemic. There are families who have been social welfare dependent for generations, just as there are families who have been involved in crime, petty and otherwise, over long periods. It is a vicious circle and one that is difficult to break, and that is not helped by the further collapse of family and community. It does not help matters in areas like the north inner city in Dublin that a high proportion of the immigrants who live there are mostly dependent on state provisions. It hardly takes a genius then to come to the conclusion that adding to all of that is unlikely to have a good outcome.

There may well be logistical reasons why the relatively affluent Local Election District of Clontarf which largely adjoins the north inner city had taken in just 129 Ukrainian refugees; or why the corresponding numbers for Killiney and Rathfarnham and Templeogue are even less at 25 and 42, but the impression is that well-organised and politically well-represented parts of Dublin are quite efficient at not bringing any inconvenience upon themselves

Which is of course their prerogative. Then again, the Dublin middle-class enthusiasm for diversity and multiculturalism seldom extends to having their own schools, housing lists and Garda stations having to deal with the downside of it all. The same applies of course to towns and cities around the country where existing problems similar to those of parts of Dublin like the north inner city are only going to be exacerbated by another imbalanced policy.

We have been given no indication of how many more Ukrainians are expected to come to Ireland. The original estimate was 200,000 and there have been references to a further 150,000 but of course nobody actually knows. Nor is there any strategy, it would seem, to take into account the simultaneous marked increase in the number of other people coming from other countries to claim asylum here. As we have pointed out, most of those applicants, according to the statistics, are from countries not considered to be unsafe.

Indeed, just two weeks ago, Ukrainian refugees had to be moved out of the Address hotel in the north inner city to make room for some of those claiming asylum.

The official number released by the CSO for Ukrainians who were refugees here on May 22 was based on the issuing of 33,151 new PPS numbers by the Department of Social Protection to those from Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. That provides some indication of the scale of the numbers, as the total of new PPSNs issues in 2021 was 174,525.

That means that if the projected numbers do arrive here that more PPS numbers will be issued to Ukrainians alone this year than the total number of PPS numbers in one year since 2008. That is a huge added cost demand on public provisions. It is further put into perspective by the fact that there were just 70,822 new PPS numbers issued to people of Irish nationality born in Ireland in 2021.

In just one year in the past ten years (2012) has the number of PPSNs issued to Irish people being greater than the number issued to non-nationals. We do of course live in a world where we cannot live in splendid isolation. However, it is perhaps time to take a long cold look at where all of this is going, especially given that balancing all of the demands is not going to be possible even in the short term.

 

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