Coveney says: ‘We will not be found as desirable’ – Ireland can hold up to 20,000 Ukrainian refugees

Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney said Ireland has the capacity to hold up to 20,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Coveney said that the EU is not asking countries to take in refugees but he believes the number will “certainly be in the thousands”.

“If you estimate up to a million people going to the EU and Ireland, that percentage in terms of population, which is usually the allocation key when it comes to financial allocation or whatever, it would be 2pc and that’s 20,000 those to start with. ”

“I don’t think we should give actual numbers because we don’t know yet,” he said.

“We will not find the desire for generosity here.”

However, it is understood that the initial number of refugees will be 6,000 according to a briefing Cabinet ministers received today.

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Taoiseach Michael Martin has said that the Government has not put a limit on the number of people who can enter the country because the visa requirement has been waived.

Minister Coveney said that if large numbers of refugees wanted to be accommodated, they would have to stay in family homes.

“If we can meet the numbers expected to come here, we will have to go beyond State-provided accommodation, it will likely have to involve families, people ready to open homes to Ukrainian families for a temporary period of time,” he said.

About 250 Ukrainian nationals have come to Ireland through the visa exemption.

Minister Coveney also warned of a “huge spike” in heating costs and did not rule out another cost-of-living package to help households with heating bills.

He thinks that sanctions and reduced access to Russian aircraft will have an impact on fuel prices and energy prices.

“Inside view [European] The Commission considers these to be unusual times and we need to ensure there are special flexibility available to Member States to ensure the health of their own citizens,” he said.

“We haven’t seen such a spike in energy costs yet but we’ll have to wait and see how it develops in the coming days.”

Although the Government has launched a package of more than half a billion dong to support the increasing cost of living, he does not rule out further measures that can be taken to deal with the war.

Taoiseach has previously said that Budget time will be the next time the Government moves to put in place measures to help with the cost of living.

“The reaction cannot be a normal response. This is a war in the heart of Europe where thousands of people are being slaughtered or killed,” Minister Coveney said.

He says there are still between 70 and 80 Irish in Ukraine and that it is necessary to keep a “diplomatic line of communication” with Moscow but some staff in the Russian Embassy may be asked to leave.

“That is not to say we will not consider the possibility of asking some diplomats or staff in the Russian embassy to leave, we are consulting our EU partners on that. .” Coveney says: ‘We will not be found as desirable’ – Ireland can hold up to 20,000 Ukrainian refugees

Fry Electronics Team

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