Cash aid for people to take in Ukrainian refugees “is on the horizon”

Michael Martin has said the government will seek to offer financial support to heads of households in return for housing refugees Ukraine.

The Taoiseach said the immediate focus is on processing more than 20,000 pledges of shelter made to the Irish Red Cross. But financial help for households with increased living costs, such as additional costs, cannot be ruled out because more people live in their household.

The Irish Refugee Council last week urged the government to give holiday home owners €300 to €400 a month to allow their properties to be used by refugees amid fears the state could soon run out of beds in hotels.

Ministers were told on Tuesday that with an average of 580 refugees a day by Easter, the coming weekend, around 5,000 extra beds will be needed to meet the demand. Housing shortages are expected within days.

Mr. Martin told that Sunday independent how supporting households would be taken into account.

“Well, nothing has been ruled out in that regard. I think first and foremost I would like to see the existing commitments that have been made reviewed. I think we need to put more resources into this exercise and then move on,” he said on a visit to Helsinki on Friday.

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“Certainly we will look at all the options in the area, particularly in terms of freeing up existing capacity within the existing housing stock.”

The British government is offering British households £350 (€420) a month to take in refugees. Cabinet was told last week that 20,719 offers of accommodation had been made to the Red Cross but up to 60 per cent of them may be unsuitable.

Across the coalition, there are growing concerns that space in government-funded or provided shelters will run out in a matter of days as the number of daily arrivals of refugees fleeing the war surpassed 600 twice last week. The number of arrivals on Friday had dropped to 432, according to the Justice Department.

The cabinet was surreptitiously warned last week that the state’s capacity to house Ukrainian refugees is near exhaustion and by the end of the month up to 10,000 people could be left without shelter at all. This will be in addition to those already identified in hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, government facilities and by those who have pledged vacant homes and rooms.

Asked about the UK system of paying households £350 a month, Mr Martin said: “We need to make full use of the impact of such an initiative as there are potential dangers on that front too.

“We have taken advice from the Children’s Department in particular and despite the uniqueness of the sheer volume of refugees coming into the country, we have to be very careful that everything we do is to protect all the refugees coming in.”

Mr Martin was called by Louth Independent TD Peter Fitzpatrick on the Dáil to support households.

Mr Fitzpatrick said he had been approached by families, some of whom had driven to the airport to offer accommodation, who now felt isolated without support.

The homeowners who took in refugees would do so again at any time, he said. “But they have very little or no contact with the relevant government agencies and no support,” the TD said.

On Friday, Mr. Martin confirmed this point.

“Initially this was not a monetary issue but I understand it is a fair point that Deputy Fitzpatrick raised in the Dáil in relation to the people who are being exposed to increasing costs as a result; Because of the protection measures, the directive of the European Union, we provide social support and income to refugees,” he said.

“Nevertheless, we will be reviewing all of these questions, but in the short term the focus will be on delivering on all of these commitments and then providing an assessment of what is and isn’t available.” Cash aid for people to take in Ukrainian refugees “is on the horizon”

Fry Electronics Team

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