Thursday, July 14, 2022

Kenneth Fox

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has called on the Government to ensure that refugees arriving from Ukraine and people seeking international protection are provided with adequate accommodation,

It comes as the Citywest transit hub has reached capacity and that the State is not able to accommodate those arriving overnight.

The Taoiseach also confirmed on Thursday that Gormanstown Army Camp in Co Meath will open on Monday to house Ukrainian refugees and deal with the backlog arriving into the country.

“The Government is to be commended for its efforts to date in providing accommodation to the tens of thousands who have arrived in Ireland this year fleeing war and persecution.

“However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current approach of contracting accommodation from the private sector has reached its limits.

“Significant investment is now required by the Government to ensure that it has the capacity to meet the immediate need for shelter of new arrivals and to provide safeguards for the protection of children and other categories of vulnerable people”, said Enda O’Neill, head of office with UNHCR Ireland.

They are urging the provision of adequate reception in a much more sustainable manner, including fast-tracking the building of six new reception centres as planned for in the Government’s White Paper on ending Direct Provision.

Whereas Ukraine’s neighboring countries have received the largest numbers of refugees so far, more and more people continue their journey seeking a safe haven in countries such as Ireland.

Since February, Ireland has granted temporary protection to 43,400 Ukrainian and other long-term residents fleeing the war there.

This represents 1.18 per cent of the total number of refugees from Ukraine (3,654,271) who have been registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes across Europe.

Separately, Ireland has received approximately 6,480 new applications for international protection during the first 6 months of this year.

This represents 1.67 per cent of the total number of new applications in the EU+ area during this period as the rate of new applications increased significantly in comparison to the same period in 2021.

UNHCR is calling on the Department of Justice to urgently deploy additional staff and resources to the International Protection Office to ensure it has the capacity to respond to the increased numbers of international protection applications.

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