In Ireland, 750 refugees from Ukraine are placed in nursing homes
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After the closure of the Citywest Refugee Center in Dublin, many had to return to the airport. According to the authorities, a large number of places where Ukrainian refugees could stay are located in rural areas. People are reluctant to go there because of the difficulties with transport, but still “there are opportunities”.
About 750 refugees from Ukraine are being housed in former nursing homes or in unused blocks of such institutions in several cities in Ireland. This was reported by representatives of the Department for Children and Equality, reports the Irish Times.
According to journalists, the government is facing increasing pressure and is trying to find housing for Ukrainians fleeing the war. According to official statistics, since February 24, 42,000 refugees from Ukraine have moved into the country. According to unofficial data, there are almost 60,000 Ukrainian refugees who have moved to Ireland.
Recently, it was reported that the Citywest Refugee Reception Center in Dublin would be closed, as there were no more vacancies.
Last Friday, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Inclusion and Youth Roderick O'Gorman, whose department is responsible for housing refugees from Ukraine, confirmed that he could not guarantee that new arrivals would not have to sleep on the streets.
As of today, the department has booked about 25% of all available places, Ukrainians in Ireland are settled in places such as:
- guest houses;
- mortgaged housing;
- sports stadiums;
- sports camps;
- tent facilities;
- modular units.
According to a spokesman for the Department of Children's Affairs, about 750 Ukrainians who have been granted temporary international protection (BOTP) are housed in former nursing homes or in unused blocks of existing nursing homes throughout country.
At the same time, according to the authorities, there are no negotiations with any existing nursing home and Ukrainian citizens are accommodated only in unused buildings.
In April, the Quality and Health Information Administration (Hiqa) compiled a list of nursing homes rented from registration since 2019, where Ukrainian refugees could potentially be accommodated.
However, local politicians fear that nursing home administrations may have to accommodate Ukrainians in existing aged care facilities, and they do not want to allow Ukrainians to take the places of Irish citizens.
After the closure of the center for Citywest refugees in Dublin over the weekend, 42 refugees from Ukraine were told there was no room for them. Ukrainians were helped by representatives of a charitable organization. Many of those left homeless had to return to Dublin Airport, where they had already begun to build a room to receive Ukrainians.
“What happened this weekend is unacceptable,” said Simon Coveney, head of the Foreign Office, who said a meeting would be held on the subject. He also welcomed the decision of the local authorities, which in a short time accepted nearly 60,000 refugees.
According to him, the number of refugees accommodated is comparable to the population of the city of Waterford, and the country “has never before faced such a migratory challenge.”
Ambassador of Ukraine to Ireland Larisa Gerasko said that, to the best of her knowledge, the government is already developing a plan, and people who bought tickets and came to Ireland should have been notified in advance that there are no seats.
Representative Red Cross Liam O'Dwyer said authorities need another refugee hub like Citywest. According to him, the local authorities have the capacity to resettle 2,000 refugees. He acknowledged that a large number of places are located in rural areas, where people are reluctant to travel due to difficulties with transport, but said that “there are opportunities.”
Meanwhile, the percentage of people who have the right to legally reside in Ireland, but who are forced to stay in detention centers for refugees and illegal migrants due to difficulties with affordable housing, has risen to 56%.
As of October 17 , there were 4,491 people, including 1,250 children, in the centers where asylum seekers are held before their applications are processed. All these people could legally leave the institution at any time.
As of the end of June, there were 3676, and at the end of April – 2873.
Irish Refugee Benefits
Asylum seekers are eligible for Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) in Ireland as soon as they are granted refugee status or leave to remain.
In response to the criticism, government officials have spoken out in support of the government's work on accepting refugees, with 24,600 new homes planned to be built by the end of the year, and making affordable homes a top priority for the government.