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Update on provision of accommodation for those fleeing Ukraine and applying for International Protection

Ireland is resolute in its solidarity and support for Ukraine and we are honouring our commitment to help people who have been displaced by this horrendous war.

We are working with our European and international partners to help the Ukrainian people.

Government, civil and public servants, as well as volunteers across the country, are working hard to manage this humanitarian crisis by providing the necessary supports for those who are seeking shelter and other services.

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) has worked to meet the immediate accommodation needs of those fleeing the conflict.

A combination of hotel and guest house accommodation, accommodation provided by the general public, and emergency rest centres have been used.

To date, over 40,000 people have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine, 30,600 of whom have been accommodated by the State and through the generosity and compassion of the people of Ireland.

Alongside the arrivals from Ukraine, we have seen a very significant rise in the number of people seeking International Protection (IP) here.  7,080 IP applicants have arrived in Ireland this year up to 13th July. This compares with 2,648 IP arrivals for the whole of 2021. These applicants also require accommodation.  13,917 IP applicants are currently being accommodated by the State (compared to 7,000 at this time last year). There is now a severe shortage of available accommodation. 

The Citywest Transit Hub was established to manage Ukrainian arrivals and support streamlined processing. In recent weeks, the number IP arrivals has necessitated IP applicants being sent to Citywest Transit Hub pending accommodation being sourced for them. This is causing overcrowding in the Citywest Transit Hub. 

The Taoiseach met with relevant Ministers today to discuss the overall situation and review the current policies and processes.

Following that meeting, it should be noted that:

Sourcing additional Reception & Accommodation Facilities

  • Ensuring the security, health and safety of people who are fleeing Ukraine has been, and remains, a top priority for the Government since the Russian attack began in February.  This effort has involved, inter alia, all relevant Government Departments and offices, local authorities, the Defence Forces, and State agencies such as Tusla and the HSE. In keeping with this priority, the Government deemed it necessary to delay the transfer of new arrivals to the Citywest Transit Hub.
  • This decision has resulted in new arrivals spending some time in the Old Terminal Building at Dublin Airport, but the intention is that this time would be kept to a minimum and that the most vulnerable are prioritised for transfer. Over 160 people have been transferred out of Dublin Airport over the course of today.
  • Additional accommodation options for the immediate term have been identified and these will be brought into operation over the coming days. 
  • The Government is committed to ensuring the effective operation of the Citywest Transit Hub to new arrivals from Ukraine.  This includes the establishment of a second transit hub to deal with the unprecedented volume of arrivals.
  • The Government plans to operationalise the Gormanston Camp in Co. Meath in the coming days. In the first instance, Gormanston will be used to accommodate Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTPs) fleeing the war in Ukraine.
  • DCEDIY, working with Local Authorities and other implementing partners, will continue to encourage Ukrainian arrivals to access the suitable pledged accommodation which is available.
  • The Government continues to progress work on medium- to long-term accommodation options such as modular housing and the refurbishment of existing buildings.
  • The Government will continue to monitor the situation.

Immigration Policy and Operations

  • The Department of Justice is examining the factors which may have contributed to the significant increase in IP applications and will continue to take all necessary steps to manage the IP process efficiently and effectively, as part of the broader whole-of-Government response.
  • This includes resuming normal pre-pandemic immigration arrangements, such as the enforcement of deportation orders for unsuccessful IP applications, following fair procedure and allowing for all available avenues for appeal.
  • In addition, the Department of Justice is establishing an accelerated decision-making process for IP applicants from Safe Countries of Origin.

EU & International Contacts and Responses

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a major international humanitarian emergency. Many of our European partners are experiencing similar challenges in terms of their humanitarian response to the crisis.
  • As of 8 July, the United Nations (UN) estimate that approximately 15.7 million Ukrainians - nearly half of the population - are in need of humanitarian assistance. The UN has provided humanitarian assistance to 10.3 million people. 5.5 million Ukrainian people have been welcomed in European countries and 6.3 million people are internally displaced in Ukraine.
  • Ireland was among the first to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, announcing a significant Irish Aid package on the first day of the invasion that has since increased to €20 million. This comprehensive package is funding the UN Appeal (OCHA’s Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA) and the Red Cross movement (ICRC and IFRC). €1 million has been earmarked for UNHCR’s response in Poland and Moldova respectively. €2 million is supporting the response of Irish-based NGOs in partnership with local civil society.
  • Ireland also contributes to the crisis in Ukraine through our core and flexible funding to key humanitarian partners and joint mechanisms such as WHO, UNICEF, ICRC, IFRC, WFP and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). To date, the CERF has allocated €55 million to Ukraine and neighbouring countries. Ireland is the 9th largest donor to the CERF this year.
  • Ireland has provided in-kind medical assistance and supplies to Ukraine, including ambulances, valued at over €4.3m, through partnership between government departments, HSE and other agencies, working with private sector and civil society partners.
  • Finally, Ireland has activated its Rapid Response Corps with rapid responders now deployed with UN agencies in the region to respond to the crisis. Irish experts are also working on the ground with the EU’s civilian CSDP mission in Ukraine.