Certain Ukrainians in Ireland are “fishing for opportunities” rather than fleeing the war, a member of Ireland’s Ukrainian Network has claimed.
Since the invasion of their country in 2022, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have moved to Ireland and Viktoria Tymoshchuk is one of them.
After her arrival, she became involved with the Ukrainian Network and serves as its Activities Facilitator, organising events for her fellow refugees.
Yesterday, the Tánaiste said it is “possible” some Ukrainians arriving in Ireland are coming from other EU states where supports and social welfare are not as generous as that on offer in Ireland.
Speaking at the Global Ireland Summit, Micheál Martin said officials are examining the issue of “secondary transfers” where people arrive from EU countries rather than directly from Ukraine.
In an interview with Newstalk Breakfast, Ms Tymoshchuk said although the cost of living is higher, many of her compatriots are indeed drawn to Ireland because there is more help on offer.
“It is true that Ukrainians share the information about living in Ireland and we said that Ireland [looks after us] well,” she said.
“So, that is true that people are coming from EU countries to have allowances here and accommodation.”
The Department has been allocated €1.5bn for the Ukraine response in 2024 to continue to provide short term emergency accommodation for people fleeing Ukraine 🇺🇦 #Budget2024 pic.twitter.com/UPfAfsQTyB
— Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, Youth (@dcediy) October 10, 2023
Ms Tymoshchuk said the idea of people leaving relatively safe areas of Ukraine to come to Ireland is causing serious division among the Ukrainian community in Ireland.
She described her home in the south as “hell” at the moment but said much of the west of the country remains relatively untouched by the conflict.
“People from safe territories, they basically can go home and just leave space for those [from more dangerous parts of Ukraine],” she said.
“They’re fishing for opportunities.
“We cannot blame them because it is war and all the people are fishing for opportunities.”
Yesterday, the Cabinet considered a proposal to introduce a three month time limit on the provision of State accommodation for Ukrainians - bringing Ireland in line with other EU countries such as Poland and Czechia.
The proposal has the support of Minister for Integration Roderic O'Gorman but Fianna Fáil Ministers raised concern it would cause problems for the Department of Housing instead.
Irish Times reporter Jack Horgan Jones said it had been “among the most heated” of Cabinet meetings since the formation of the coalition.
“Minister Roderic O’Gorman is firmly of the view that there needs to be reforms put in place to basically lessen the flow - to make the Irish offering less attractive,” he told Newtsalk Breakfast.
Last month, the European Council agreed to extend Ukrainians’ right to live in the EU from March 4th 2024 to March 4th 2025.
'Our ability to house people is clearly under strain.' Ciara and Shane discuss the fact that Ireland is among the only countries in Europe not to have changed its accommodation offering to refugees from Ukraine.@NTBreakfast pic.twitter.com/SpwdrNZhPd
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) October 25, 2023
Main image: Split of Viktoria Tymoshchuk and refugee accommodation.