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WATCH: Just 7% of offers to house refugees held up in last emergency

As the Irish government predicts that 100,000 people fleeing Ukraine will need to be housed in the country in a very short period of time, much attention is being drawn to the large numbers of Irish people pledging rooms for refugees. 

A report from RTÉ on the actual outcome of the last ‘rooms for refugees’ pledges made during the war on Syria also deserves some attention.

Reporter Laura Fletcher discovered that only 44 of 667 rooms pledged to the Red Cross for Syrian refugees were actually eventually willing to take those fleeing the conflict.

As the report showed, the Red Cross requested spare rooms to house 4,000 Syrian refugees the government wanted to relocate in Ireland, to an “outpouring of support on social media.”

Some 667 rooms were pledged to the Red Cross, but a third or 227 pledges were “soon withdrawn”, while “168 pledgers were uncontactable”.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,” RTÉ concluded.

 

 

That means that 93% of the pledges for rooms for refugees during the 2018 Syrian crisis effectively fell through.

If that happens in the case of the 20,000 rooms pledged for Ukranians, that would be very bad news for a system already creaking at the seams, with 10,000 Irish people already homeless and ten times that number on housing lists amidst rocking house prices.

 

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