A survey shows the challenges Ukrainian refugees have faced with life in Ireland

Problems surrounding the banking and tax systems, language barriers, public transport and communal housing have all been raised by Ukrainians who fled to Ireland after the Russian invasion.

However, the poll conducted by the Ukraine Action Group also showed that Ukrainians expressed overwhelming gratitude to the Irish people and government.

An estimated 36,000 Ukrainian refugees are living here after feeling forced to flee their homes following the February 24 invasion.

An online survey has now identified areas of both satisfaction and concern, and it is hoped the information can be used to address the biggest issues.

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The survey was filled out by nearly 2,200 adults, but when their children are counted, that makes more than 4,400 people, or 13 percent of the total population of Ukrainians in Ireland.

Ninety percent of respondents wrote messages of support when asked; “What are you telling the Irish Government?”

These messages included: “My house is ruined, me and my baby are so grateful”, “I stopped crying when I got here, I thought my life was over”, “I never expected this support” , ‘We live because of you’ and ‘Thank you for every Irishman I’ve met here’.

Regarding the effects of the war, 44pc said that acts of war such as bombings have taken place or are still taking place in their cities. 17pc said they had nowhere to return to because their homes were damaged or destroyed. The Russian army has occupied the towns of 15 percent of respondents, the survey found.

Despite the trauma of war, Ukrainians seem confident in their mental health. Half of the respondents stated that they did not need any psychological support. Just over 15 percent are looking for a therapist.

But moving to a new country has its challenges, and the survey highlighted the areas where people were struggling.

The issue of privacy in shared flats has been raised where strangers share a room, and many respondents said they brought their home currency, the hryvnia, with them when they fled and couldn’t exchange it en route, and they found you can find it here do not convert to euros.

A lack of understanding of the Irish tax system and an inability to calculate net pay from gross pay was also a difficulty for many.

Obtaining a bank card was also problematic, often due to missing or lost documentation, changing addresses and language barriers. As a result, 70% of respondents did not have a bank card.

Almost three quarters of Ukrainians here are ready to actively contribute to the economy. Half of them are actively looking for a job, but almost 80 percent of those looking for a job do not have a bank account or card.

Some cannot work because they are single parents with small children. Almost half of the respondents here are mothers alone with their children. Two thirds of them are married, but they are single mothers here because their husbands are fighting the Russians at home.

Language barriers and childcare and health card issues are also proving to be barriers to employment and access to public transport in remote areas. Road safety in remote areas was also cited as an issue, with respondents saying they are not safe to navigate, especially with children.

There were also some complaints that translators employed by social services had an “unfriendly attitude”.

Many Ukrainians also want to know what will happen in a year when the temporary protection they are granted here expires.

But despite the challenges, respondents did not want to appear ungrateful. “All the challenges seem irrelevant compared to the first days of the war,” according to the survey.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/survey-reveals-ukrainian-refugees-challenges-with-life-in-ireland-so-far-41763619.html A survey shows the challenges Ukrainian refugees have faced with life in Ireland

Fry Electronics Team

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