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Payments to families for taking in Ukrainian refugees not yet agreed

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Work has not yet been done on a program to provide financial support to Irish families taking in refugees from war zones Ukraine a week after the Taoiseach revealed the government was investigating the issue.

The first draft proposal is expected next month at the earliest Sunday independent understands.

Minister of Public Expenditure Michael McGrath told a news conference last Thursday that “the government will match the generosity of the Irish people in taking in Ukrainian refugees”.

When contacted this weekend, however, he admitted discussions had yet to begin on how such a plan would be designed, let alone the details of how much money would be involved.

However, the state is severely overwhelmed with existing obligations, not least in finding shelter and providing social protection payments to tens of thousands of newcomers from Ukraine.

Experts say there is “absolutely no way” to match UK payment to hosts from £350 a month. The pound sterling is particularly strong at the moment, which at yesterday’s exchange rate means the equivalent of €422.76 or around €100 a week.

While Merrion Street is silent on the issue, sources believe a more realistic sum in an Irish context could be €225 a month or a stipend of €2,700 a year.

Such a program could cost the government 30 million euros a year, but the state does not want to be seen as paying for the housing of refugees, while it also believes that most hosts do not want their generosity to be seen by an indecent debate about money is tarnished, which risks making the process look dingy.

The Tánaiste has confirmed that financial support “is something that is currently being considered”, although Ukrainian refugees receive social assistance.

“There are costs when someone stays at your home. And we want to encourage people to invite people into their homes,” Mr Varadkar said.

The details are “discussed between gender equality ministers [Roderic] O’Gorman and Secretary McGrath,” he claimed, but it has now emerged that such talks have not yet taken place and the Dáil and political arena are on an Easter break next week.

The Tánaiste said his own offer of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees with his partner Dr. Matt Barrett is in progress but not straightforward.

“I think a lot of people have made bids and understandably a lot of people are frustrated that their bids aren’t moving forward for various reasons,” he said, citing duty of care issues.

Meanwhile, Mr McGrath announced that €3 billion will be set aside to cover the cost of Ukraine’s influx next year – the equivalent of €600 for every Irish citizen.

Underlying this is the assumption that an average of 100,000 Ukrainian exiles could live here in 2023, with politicians agreeing that the costs of defending freedom and democratic norms must be borne willingly and cheerfully.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/payments-to-families-for-hosting-ukrainian-refugees-not-yet-agreed-41560431.html Payments to families for taking in Ukrainian refugees not yet agreed

Fry Electronics Team

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