Ireland is set to pay a €1.5 million fine to the EU because it failed to house 350 refugees under a voluntary contribution scheme.
Ireland signed up to the EUs voluntary solidarity mechanism (VSM) last year after attempts to introduce an EU-wide immigration pact failed.
Under the scheme member states must house refugees or pay a voluntary contribution if they cannot.
The Government agreed to house 350 refugees under the scheme but has been unable to do so.
A memo on the situation will be brought before Cabinet by Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman and returning Justice Minister Helen McEntee this morning.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Finance Minister Michael McGrath said Government has not yet decided to pay the contribution.
“This isn’t a decision that Government has yet made,” he said.
“Minister O’Gorman and Minister McEntee will introduce that issue at Cabinet later on this morning and I look forward to hearing the detail of that and discussing it at Cabinet level.”
He said the pressure Ireland is under when it comes to housing refugees is “well known”.
“We are now accommodating about 85,000 people,” he said.
“About 65,000 of them are from Ukraine and there are about 20,000 international protection applicants, so people are very much aware of the pressures that are there – particularly around accommodation all over the country.
“I think we have done well to respond in the way we have.”
He said paying the contribution will not ease the pressure on the housing system.
“This won’t prevent people presenting in Ireland – people who are seeking international protection,” he said.
“This is an option open to Ireland and, as I say, my colleagues will present the facts to Cabinet later on this morning, where we will have a discussion and then make a decision based on that.
Main image shows tents outside the International Protection Office on Mount Street in Dublin, 27-05-2023. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews