Households could be paid up to €400 a month to house Ukrainian refugees if government proposals are considered, The Irish Independent is able to reveal.
The Department of Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners have been asked to draw up plans for paying households hosting refugees, but officials are still working out the exact details of how much they will be paid and which households will be eligible.
A formal government decision is expected within the next two weeks and possibly as early as next week. The amount could be as much as €400 a month, senior government officials said.
The Department for Children and Equality will determine who is entitled to the payment and how much will be paid, while the Department for Social Protection administers the payments, a senior person said last night.
The proposal would aim to cover the additional costs, such as increased electricity bills, that households incur by taking in refugees, but a senior source said it would also give households an incentive to take in people fleeing the war.
Under the plan, households that have already agreed to host refugees could apply for the payment.
However, government officials said last night the payment would also aim to encourage more people to offer shelter.
It comes after the Irish Red Cross confirmed that more than half of the pledges to house Ukrainian refugees have failed.
This was announced by Attorney General Helen McEntee Irish Independent yesterday that she is considering offering a room in her house to a Ukrainian refugee.
Ms McEntee, who has one child under the age of one, said she was concerned a refugee at her rural home in Co Meath – where she had previously offered a room – would be left there all day with no transport. She added that it was “miles from anywhere.”
Between 150 and 200 people who have come to Ireland from Ukraine since the start of the war have already been accommodated in promised accommodation, the cabinet said this week.
However, new arrivals are being forced into temporary accommodation in community centres, sports halls and other venues such as the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet, Co Cork, as hotel accommodation reaches capacity.
More than 1,200 are now being housed in “dormitory-style accommodation” and by the end of next month there could be no accommodation at all for up to 8,300 refugees, according to an analysis prepared for the cabinet this week.
Last night, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he had asked Treasury Secretary Paschal Donohoe and Social Protection Secretary Heather Humphreys to explore ways to pay those who provide housing for refugees.
“It’s not a question of money [for people] now, but that is being considered by key departments,” Mr Martin said:
“What needs to happen first and foremost are those who have pledged [accommodation]we may have to get through this process faster – that takes more time for everyone involved.”
Asked if the government would consider capping the number of arrivals, Mr Martin said it was not being looked at “at the moment” but was “very challenging”.
“We don’t consider that at all, we deal with taking care of people when they come into the country,” he said.
“But we are consistently working on expanding our capacities and not only looking at short-term but also medium-term perspectives and capacities.”
The government is examining what can be built to accommodate refugees in the medium term and which buildings can be redesigned for refugees.
This issue was investigated by a group of former local authority public servants who worked under the aegis of Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/households-that-take-in-refugees-will-be-paid-up-to-400-a-month-41575970.html Households that take in refugees from Ukraine “receive up to 400 euros a month”