Minister Roderick O’Gorman has said that “just in excess” of 25,000 Ukrainians have sought accommodation from the Irish State; a situation which he described as “immensely challenging.” According to the Minister more than 35,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Ireland since the outbreak of the war.
Responding to a PQ by Carol Nolan TD the Minister said that “our country has never experienced an influx of displaced persons like the one that we have seen over the past months.” Given the large numbers, and the short timeframe involved, “a broad range of accommodation types have been contracted, including emergency accommodation.” The Minister concedes that this was not ideal but said “the priority is to place people fleeing the conflict in safe and secure accommodation.”
The Minister stated that the situation is being made worse by an overall increase in the numbers seeking asylum in Ireland. The Irish Mirror recently reported that the number of people seeking asylum in Ireland was up 700% on last year. Sources indicated to the Mirror that the British government’s policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was likely one of the drivers of the increase.
Deputy Nolan had asked if the Minister would give a commitment “that no student accommodation will still be used to house refugees once the college term resumes in view of the shortage of student accommodation in recent years.” Minister O’Gorman did not make such a commitment, stating that “due to the scarcity of accommodation available, all options remain under consideration.”