Another 33,600 Ukrainian refugees could arrive in Ireland before the end of the year, ministers have been told.
The figure was revealed as refugees were taken to 16-man tents in Gormanston, Co. Meath yesterday after the state ran out of shelters.
There are already 43,000 Ukrainian refugees here, with 1,400 arriving every week.
Cabinet ministers have been told the influx could continue for the rest of the year.
That Irish Independent can also show that the government tried to suspend visa-free entry for refugees arriving here after hearing about migrants abusing the common travel area.
Ministers have been privately told that 60 per cent of all people who have come to Ireland seeking international protection since the beginning of the year have come from five countries.
It was announced on Monday that the government had agreed to temporarily suspend Ireland’s participation in the Council of Europe agreement for a period of 12 months.
Although Ukrainians can still travel to Ireland without a visa, those who have been granted refugee status in 20 other ‘safe’ European countries now require a visa before traveling here.
Announcing the move, Attorney General Helen McEntee said there was “evidence that the system could be abused,” adding that the visa waiver was “exploited” by those who had already sought international protection in other countries .
However, ministers have been privately warned that “continued abuses” of the system pose a “threat” to “public order concerns”, including shared travel area with the UK.
With the exception of Ukraine, most asylum seekers came from Georgia this year, with 1,181 entering the state.
In addition, 938 Somalis, 572 Zimbabweans and 492 Nigerian asylum seekers had arrived by the end of last month.
The suspension of visa-free travel is necessary to maintain “public confidence” in the integrity of the international protection system, ministers were told.
France and the UK previously suspended their participation in the Council of Europe agreement.
Last week, the ban on deporting asylum seekers who were denied sanctuary was lifted after Ukrainian refugees were forced to sleep in an old terminal building at Dublin Airport because the state ran out of accommodation.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin told reporters in Japan yesterday that the decision to suspend the visa waiver was “a wise move” given a “flight” of refugees who recently arrived in the state.
“In recent months there has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking international protection,” Martin said.
“There were concerns in the Department of Justice about this system, so we suspended it for 12 months. We’ll check it out, but it’s related to a recent wave of people applying for international protection.
“I mean, we have – maybe we will this year – four to five times as many people seeking international protection compared to pre-pandemic times. Also, we have a very significant situation regarding 40,000 people fleeing the war in Ukraine.”
Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said “everything must be done to accommodate a maximum number”. Sinn Féin does not oppose the move.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/additional-33000-ukrainian-refugees-due-by-end-of-year-amid-lack-of-beds-41853889.html Another 33,000 Ukrainian refugees due by the end of the year due to lack of beds