Minister Roderic O’Gorman ‘accepts’ that the housing situation for many Ukrainians is far from ideal.
Close to 60,000 Ukrainians have been found accommodation by the State since the invasion of their country and an additional 20,000 people from other countries have been helped as well.
Speaking to The Anton Savage Show, the Minister for Integration said the arrival of so many refugees and asylum seekers had “put pressure on the system” and admitted there was a shortage of accommodation.
“I accept that,” he said.
“But again, it’s a wartime situation and I’d also recognise the very significant number of people [who] are in good quality accommodation.
“There is still some reliance on tented accommodation - that’s not a preference undoubtedly - but it is a recognition that we are responding to this huge humanitarian crisis at a time when we already had huge pressures on accommodation in our country.”
When the Ukrainians first arrived, the aim was to house them in cities and towns close to schools and jobs.
As the more continued to arrive and accommodation options dwindled, more were placed in rural areas and the Government responded by putting on new bus routes to connect them with nearby towns.
“As the war in Ukraine continues, as Ireland and other countries need to provide additional accommodation for those who continue to flee the conflict, obviously some of the accommodation becomes of a more congregated nature,” Minister O’Gorman said.
“Again, if we weren’t responding to a crisis situation that wouldn’t be our preference but we are responding to a crisis situation and we will continue to make sure that people have access to the labour market, have access to schools, have access to those support services.”
This week, the Cabinet approved €20 million in funding for refugee accommodation and it is expected that 400 beds will become available as a result.
“We are undertaking a modular scheme at the moment,” Minister O’Gorman said.
“It’s really high quality; the units will last for around 60 years. We’re also looking at potentially modular accommodation that would last for a shorter period of time - maybe around 10 years.”
After the Russian invasion, the EU issued a temporary protection directive to all Ukrainian citizens that enabled them to flee and reside legally across the bloc.
Main image: Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration Roderic O'Gorman arriving for Cabinet at Dublin Castle in August 2020. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie