Urgent action needed on accommodation and welfare supports for Ukrainian refugees
05 July 2022
Today, Tuesday, 5th July, Labour Leader Ivana Bacik TD hosted a briefing for TDs and Senators with the Ukraine Civil Society Forum (UCSF). During the briefing, the UCSF, which comprises 65 civil society organisations involved in the emergency response to the war in Ukraine, called for a National Refugee Response Lead to coordinate efforts to house and settle refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Deputy Bacik said:
“At the outset of the brutal and illegal war in Ukraine, I called on the Government to adopt a generous approach to the ensuing humanitarian crisis. As expected, communities across Ireland immediately rallied together in solidarity, rolling out a warm welcome and offering sanctuary to those fleeing Ukraine.
“However, there is a growing accommodation crisis here in Ireland which must now be addressed. The unprecedented arrival of 40,000 refugees requires a ramping up of Ireland’s national response. The situation is deteriorating and I echo the UCSF’s calls for the introduction of a National Refugee Response Lead to manage our medium-term national response.
“At the briefing today, members of the UCSF spoke of the upset experienced by families whose accommodation arrangements are being significantly changed at very short notice. Indeed, I have heard from numerous teachers and community workers who have spoken of the disruption and distress caused to Ukrainian children who, having settled into a new school in Ireland, were uprooted and moved across the country. These children and families are traumatised by the horrors of war. Upon arrival in Ireland, the Government must do everything possible to provide them with stability.
“The gaps in the provision of short-term accommodation reflect the general challenges of the housing crisis, as highlighted by Labour’s Housing spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan. We in Labour will continue to work with civil society organisations and the Government to ensure that our humanitarian response sufficiently addresses the housing, education and mental health needs of Ukrainian refugees.”