It has been a long journey from Ukraine, but there was a sense of relief among the refugees who were forced to remain in the old Dublin Airport terminal building while accommodation was arranged for them.
he stench of jet fuel and the constant din of planes taking off and landing permeated the air in the building where Ukrainian refugee Sasha Akulov today sat patiently on a milk crate, waiting for a bus to take him to Citywest.
The 38-year-old fled his home in Kherson and spent seven days on a bus before arriving at Dublin Airport on Wednesday night.
But instead of sleeping in a bed after his arduous journey, on Thursday night he and other Ukrainian refugees slept on the floor in the terminal building, which has become a makeshift reception center while the state scrambles to find shelter.
Still, he didn’t complain and said in broken English that he was just relieved to come here.
Fellow refugee Ievgeniiya Proskznina (43) from Kharkiv agrees. She said sleeping on the floor in the terminal on Thursday night was “no problem.”
While she admitted she is “scared and not sure what’s going to happen,” she is relieved to have escaped the constant Russian bombardment of her city and to be in a safe country.
“We’re tired but relieved,” she said.
They’ve been sitting outside the terminal building intermittently since 6 a.m. Friday to catch the bus to Citywest. And while they were still waiting at 3 p.m., they took it in stride.
Ukrainian teenager Ruslan Tashyrov, 18, also waited for the government-provided bus after arriving at the airport at noon. But he considers himself lucky.
His 16-year-old brother Timur and their mother met him at the airport after arriving in Ireland two weeks ago. They now live in an apartment and will return to their new home in Ireland once his paperwork is sorted at the Citywest centre.
And like his compatriots, they said they were simply relieved to have escaped the hell that has become their home.
“Ireland, it’s a good country. It’s beautiful, it’s so green,” he said.
Tea, coffee, mineral water, yoghurt and a croissant were offered in the Airport Center.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar earlier this morning described the plight of Ukrainian refugees sleeping at Dublin airport as “unacceptable” but said there were no plans to limit the number.
Mr Varadkar said the government had already identified a second reception center similar to Citywest, which is now full, but contracts have not yet been signed.
“Ireland is facing an unprecedented situation fueling the emergency shelter crisis.
“Nobody wants people to have to sleep at the airport.”
“This is not an acceptable situation, but we should not be blind to what is happening in the world at the moment. We have a war in Europe for the first time in 40 years,” he stressed.
To date, over 40,000 people have come to Ireland from Ukraine. The Citywest Transit Hub was set up to manage Ukrainian arrivals and support streamlined processing. In addition to arrivals from Ukraine, the number of people seeking international protection (IP) here has also risen sharply.
In recent weeks the number of IP arrivals has resulted in these applicants being sent to the Citywest hub pending accommodation being sourced for them. This causes the hub to overfill.
The Government said in a statement that it felt it necessary to delay the transfer of newcomers to the hub and this decision resulted in newcomers spending some time in Dublin Airport’s old terminal building.
However, this time should be reduced to a minimum. Over 160 people were taken out of the airport on Thursday.
It added that it was committed to ensuring the effective operation of the Citywest transit hub for new arrivals from Ukraine.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/refugees-forced-to-sleep-on-floor-at-makeshift-reception-centre-at-airport-41843849.html Refugees have to sleep on the floor in a makeshift reception center at the airport