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Houses lying empty while Ukrainian refugees are forced to sleep in tents

Taoiseach Micheál Martin insists people fleeing war will be prioritised as Government scrambles to provide shelter to asylum seekers

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Taoiseach Micheál MartinMicheál Martin insisted those fleeing war will be prioritised

Taoiseach Micheál MartinMicheál Martin insisted those fleeing war will be prioritised

Taoiseach Micheál MartinMicheál Martin insisted those fleeing war will be prioritised

HOMES originally intended to house Ukrainians are lying empty while refugees are sleeping in tents.

Hundreds of properties, pledged to help those fleeing the war are caught in a logjam of red tape, have been withdrawn or deemed unsuitable. It is now expected that only one in five properties promised to help house refugees from Ukraine will actually be used for that purpose.

Some homes were removed from the list following inspection.

Others have not been allocated as they are in rural areas and access to a car is required, while some have yet to be reviewed by council inspectors.

Some county councils also said shared accommodation has yet to be filled as they are waiting for the garda vetting process to be completed.

The shortage of accommodation has resulted in Ukrainian refugees being stranded at Dublin Airport, and the Government is now scrambling to provide shelter to asylum seekers arriving into the State.

Refugees will be sent to the large tented village constructed on military land at Gormanston Camp in Co Meath, which has capacity for several hundred people.

The Department of Justice will examine the factors that may have led to a significant increase in applications for International Protection (IP).

Deportations are also set to resume for the first time since the pandemic.

More than 40,000 people have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine after fleeing the war.

Alongside these, there has been a significant rise in the numbers seeking International Protection.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the UK government’s Rwanda scheme may have resulted in an increase in IP applicants in Ireland.

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‘Ireland is resolute in its solidarity and support for Ukraine’

He made the comments after it emerged the country now had a “severe shortage” of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

There will be a resumption of normal pre-pandemic immigration arrangements, such as the enforcement of deportation orders for unsuccessful IP applications.

A government statement said this would follow fair procedure and allow for all available avenues for appeal. In addition, the Department of Justice is establishing an accelerated decision-making process for IP applicants from safe countries of origin.

The statement added: “Ireland is resolute in its solidarity and support for Ukraine and we are honouring our commitment to help people who have been displaced by this horrendous war.”

The Taoiseach insisted people fleeing wars will be prioritised in the asylum system after he revealed only 30pc of people in the Citywest refugee centre in Dublin are Ukrainian.

There are fears the situation will get worse, with refugees housed in student accommodation.

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Rows of tents at Gormanstown camp to temporarily house Ukranian refugees. Photo: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

Rows of tents at Gormanstown camp to temporarily house Ukranian refugees. Photo: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

Rows of tents at Gormanstown camp to temporarily house Ukranian refugees. Photo: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

A spokesperson for the Department of Children said Irish Red Cross records show there are 2,838 assumed vacant properties around the country that could be used to house refugees.

However, they added: “It is anticipated that just 21pc of pledges will materialise as a high number have been withdrawn, are uncontactable or deemed unsuitable.”.

There are 6,550 assumed shared properties available, but the number of pledges for shared housing that are withdrawn and uncountable is projected to be around 74pc.

The Department of Children allocated the vacant properties and shared pledges to local authorities and NGOs such as Peter McVerry, the International Organisation of Migration and the Irish Red Cross.

To date, more than 2,181 people have been matched to over 786 pledged properties. A spokesperson for the department said this is expected to increase.

“Implementing partners are working through a number of operational responses to activate pledges. This includes operations in Citywest, Millstreet Cork, Ballyogan and other rest centres and hotels across the country,” the department said.


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