There has been a strongly negative reaction online to proposals of spending “up to €3 billion” on housing refugees coming to Ireland, even as the country struggles with its own housing and homelessness crisis.
“Provision has been made for costs of up to €3bn to house people arriving from Ukraine as Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has said ‘the system is now under real strain'” RTE reported today.
Provision has been made for costs of up to €3bn to house people arriving from Ukraine as Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath has said 'the system is now under real strain' | Read more: https://t.co/FW6jYYmtdJ pic.twitter.com/MJ8xEjpZNd
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 26, 2022
Growing upset and dissatisfaction has been building across social media with what is seen as a series of extraordinary and costly commitments being made to house and support refugees from the Ukraine, when a similar effort was not perceived to be made to address housing issues for Irish people.
The reaction to Minister McGrath’s interview posted on Twitter was almost entirely negative .
“Their 1st duty is to the people who gave them their jobs, however those people are not a priority at the moment because they aren’t making noise so, while helping others is worthwhile and good, it isn’t supposed to be at the expense of the host country,” said one post.
“It’s amazing to me that these provisions were not used on Irish people looking to be housed,” said one reply to the RTÉ post that was echoed widley.
It's amazing to me that these provisons were not used on Irish people looking to be house.
— Fergie (@Fergie__HQ) April 26, 2022
“The ability of our Gov to now throw money at the Ukrainian crisis that they never used to tackle homelessness or housing shows the true priority they gave to the housing crisis,” wrote <https://twitter.com/immdaly/status/1518989715785101315> one man.
Stories of family members in difficulty with housing were shared.
“And what about our own people, who in God’s name are these people working for ?” asked one woman. “My own two sons will never be able to get a home unless they either waste tens of thousands paying rent to vulture funds or buy an overpriced house in this country. This makes me so mad,” she said.
“As it stands my brother who is 36 years of age and also my sister who is 34 years of age are still living at home with my mother because they cannot afford to rent. This is so, so wrong,” she said.
“I know these people are being forced out of their homes but seriously we need to cap the amount we are taking in and look after our own people. I feel so sorry for young people starting out as they don’t stand a chance in this country.”
And what about our own people, who is God’s name are these people working for ?…… my own two sons will never be able to get a home unless they either waste tens of thousands paying rent to vulture funds or buy an over price house in this country. This makes me so mad 😡
— Denise (@prendergastden1) April 26, 2022
Others pointed to the effect of pouring money into building if it meant increased competition for Irish people already desperate to get on the housing ladder.
“All builders are flat out and have been for the last 4 yrs. More money will not mean more houses but more expensive housing. Private buys will lose out big time and there will be larger numbers on housing lists.” one comment asserted.
Many comments raised the issue of government borrowings, pointing to Ireland’s already highly indebted state, and asking if the €3 billion would come from a “magic money tree”.
Photos of homeless people living in Ireland in tents were used to illustrate opposition to the proposed spend.
So these don't matter pic.twitter.com/LJPybzB7iy
— John Byrne (@JohnHyn91213483) April 26, 2022
Others pointed to the five-year plan to rehouse people from Ukraine. “He [McGrath] expects Ireland will have to build an additional 33,000-35,000 homes, over a five-year period, to deal with the demand for housing posed by the need to help people from Ukraine” How long is this war going to last?” asked one man.
And one woman said: “I am originally Ukrainian, 20 years paying tax in Ireland, and I would like to know what this government is doing for MY housing. because the rent I’m paying now is nearly all my salary?”.