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Ukraine refugee crisis may sink plans to scrap Direct Provision by end of 2024

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Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman said it would now be 'difficult' to meet the deadline. Picture by Steve Humphreys

Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman said it would now be 'difficult' to meet the deadline. Picture by Steve Humphreys

Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman said it would now be 'difficult' to meet the deadline. Picture by Steve Humphreys

The Government may be forced to scrap its commitment to abolish Direct Provision by the end of 2024 due to the pressures caused by the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

Children and Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman said it would now be “difficult” to meet the deadline set out in a government white paper published last year to transition to a new model for accommodation of asylum seekers.

This would have seen the closure of all existing Direct Provision centres by the end of 2024.

“The Ukraine crisis has had a real impact on our delivery of the white paper. This time last year, my department was accommodating 7,000 international protection seekers and now between international protection and Ukraine, we are accommodating 42,000 people,” he said.

“So the work in terms of sourcing that accommodation, sustaining that accommodation and engaging with the international protection seekers and the Ukrainian displaced persons has had a big impact.”

He added: “We are reviewing the timelines for the white paper right now. We’d hope to have that completed by September/October and we’ll be in a better position to talk about the timelines within the white paper.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that fewer than 800 of the thousands of properties that were pledged by the public are being used to accommodate refugees from Ukraine.

With the State running out of accommodation last week, the Department of Children and Equality confirmed that to date more than 2,245 people have been matched to 792 properties pledged to the Irish Red Cross.

A spokesperson insisted this would increase in the coming weeks. “The department is working with implementing partners activating pledges on the ground. These include local authorities, NGOs such as Peter McVerry, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Irish Red Cross,” they said. “Partnership approaches have been deployed to increase outputs of BOTP [beneficiaries of temporary protection] moving into pledges.

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“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/hotels across the country.

“Pledges are also being offered to BOTP who are due to move out of university accommodation over the summer.” 

Meanwhile, the Government is expected to open up a scheme to pay households €400 a month for accommodating refugees for Ukraine this week.

The payment will be backdated to March 4 of this year and will be paid to those households that give a six-month commitment to host refugees. 


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