A Ukrainian refugee, who has been living in Ireland for six months with her daughter, says the Irish Government is too generous.
Khrystyna Vynnyk and her daughter came to Ireland from Irpin, which is near Kyiv, back in March. They lived in Carlingford, Co Louth for six months, before recently moving to Poland.
She says she tried to find a house or apartment, which she was prepared to pay for, but she said she could not find anything.
"There was little accommodation available," she told The Hard Shoulder.
"While what was available was very expensive”.
Khrystyna, who works as an English teacher, says she lived in a house in Carlingford that someone allowed her and her daughter to stay in for free for five months. However, after the five months there, she moved to Poland.
“It was impossible to find a house or an apartment anywhere in Ireland, never mind in Carlingford," she said.
"So, I made the decision to move to Wroclaw in Poland. It was much easier to find accommodation here”.
She also says she had no idea about the accommodation crisis before arriving in Ireland in March, “I had no idea about the housing crisis before arriving in Ireland. I came here because my brother lives in Ireland.
“All I cared about before coming here was finding safety; I knew nothing about the housing crisis or the money refugees would receive from the Government”.
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Despite the housing crisis, Khrystyna says she will never forget the generosity of the Irish people - “They are doing their best in Ireland, in fact I think maybe they’ve been too generous to refugees”.
Khrystyna says she could not believe the amount of money refugees receive in Ireland :
“I was getting €208 per week, plus Child Benefit,” she said. “So it worked out almost €250 a week.”
“When I first arrived, I thought it was €250 a month. This is big money.”
And she says the social welfare payments for refugees are actually too generous:
“I think Ireland is too generous; too much is done for the refugees," she said.
"The money is too much for refugees”.
Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Ireland are entitled to social welfare payments of €208 per week, while they are also entitled to Child Benefit.
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth today confirmed to me that €6.5m has been spent on social welfare for Ukrainian refugees here to date
“I felt like I was taking someone else’s money," said Khrystyna. "Maybe this money could be better spent on the Irish population. Maybe it could be spent on building houses”.
Khrystyna also says that Ireland is very generous when compared to other European countries.
"In Poland, refugees receive some money; they provide some help, but it is a little amount”.
Main image: Khrystyna Vynnyk. Picture by: Khrystyna Vynnyk