We cannot guarantee housing for everyone coming to Ireland, Leo Varadkar tells the Dáil

The country cannot guarantee housing for “anyone who comes into the country unannounced,” the Taoiseach told the Dáil.

eo Varadkar has insisted Ireland will not turn anyone away but said accommodation is not necessarily available.

He highlighted a refugee crisis across Europe “the likes of which we have never seen in Ireland”. That meant the government had to prioritize, “and we will prioritize people from Ukraine.”

“We certainly won’t turn anyone away, but we will tell people that if they’re thinking of coming to Ireland and if they’re in a safe country, if they’re in a safe place and if they have to, they have to do it they have accommodation Note that Ireland doesn’t necessarily have accommodation,” he said.

Last year Ireland welcomed nearly 100,000 people from Ukraine and other parts of the world to Ireland, he said.

“We provided them with shelter, food, warmth, light, education for their children, medical care and, in many cases, employment. I think we can be proud as a society of what we have accomplished over the past year,” the Taoiseach said.

“However, we cannot guarantee housing for everyone who comes into the country unannounced.”

Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in a Dáil speech last month, praised Ireland’s great welcome to those seeking refuge.

But it was announced that no accommodation would be provided for people coming here to seek international protection.

“People have the right to seek asylum,” Mr Gannon said. “It’s not fair for the state to say it won’t be able to accommodate these people.

“It means that refugees are being taken onto the streets at a time of incredible tension and, I would say, unprecedented aggression. The state has to get better.”


A Ukrainian refugee and his daughter are waiting to enter Poland. Photo: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

Mr Gannon said he understands that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “using refugees as tools in his war” but the state cannot neglect its responsibility.

“We can’t tell the communities that are already under massive pressure and pressure that they can handle it themselves,” the TD said.

Mr Varadkar said there was no lack of compassion on the part of the government or the Irish people “but there was a lack of capacity”.

“We are currently doing everything we can to get more accommodation. In the meantime, we have to prioritize and we will prioritize people,” he said.

People who come here have all sorts of different statuses, the Taoiseach said.

“We issue 40,000 work permits every year to people of all colour, race and religion who come here legally. You can and you are very welcome. We need them to power our economy and run our public services. It doesn’t matter what race, religion or skin color you belong to.

“People coming here from Ukraine enjoy temporary protection under EU law – which takes precedence over national law – and have a special status. Program refugees, including those from Syria, have a special status. Those seeking international protection also have a special status, but it is a different status.”

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy said the government is complicit in discrimination against refugees.

“Why is a person from Ukraine more entitled to housing than a person from Yemen or Syria when both are fleeing similar conditions?” he asked.

“It is a government policy decision to give them such status. Why treat them differently? Because you are European? Because you’re white?

“These policies against certain refugees scapegoat the most vulnerable in our society in an attempt to cover up the fact that the government’s housing policy is a complete failure.”

Those arriving on the last day were given a €20 voucher from Dunnes and told they would be emailed as soon as accommodation became available, he said.

“It’s scandalous when there are over 160,000 vacant homes in the state that the government isn’t doing anything about. Everyone has the right to come here and ask for asylum,” Murphy said.

He warned that the policy “will see hundreds of additional men and women restless in the coming weeks” which would exacerbate the homelessness crisis.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/we-cannot-guarantee-accommodation-for-everyone-coming-into-ireland-leo-varadkar-tells-the-dail-42312870.html We cannot guarantee housing for everyone coming to Ireland, Leo Varadkar tells the Dáil

Fry Electronics Team

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