Saturday, March 2, 2024

‘Significant decrease’ in Ukrainian arrivals to Ireland as payments set to be cut

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The weekly rate would be reduced to €38.80 from €220, and new arrivals would also have a 90-day limit on the time they could remain housed by the state.

The Green minister said he expected the trend to continue when social welfare payments were reduced to new arrivals using state accommodation.

The weekly rate would be reduced to €38.80 from €220, and new arrivals would also have a 90-day limit on the time they could remain housed by the state.

More than 100,000 Ukrainians have arrived in to Ireland since February 2022.

Mr O’Gorman said that the changes had already had an impact on the number of new arrivals.

“We are already seeing a significant decrease in the number of people seeking temporary protection from Ukraine,” he told RTÉ’s Today With Claire Byrne show.

“Arrivals from Ukraine are down and I think when we bring in the new system later on this month, I think we will see that trend continuing.

The scene of a suspected arson attack at a vacant house in Co Kildare which was wrongly rumoured to be planned accommodation for asylum seekers (Niall Carson/PA)

“In terms of international protection, we know that the system of processing applications and the system of accommodating people wasn’t fit for purpose even before the current crisis.

“So myself and Minister (for Justice Helen) McEntee are working on twin tracks. First of all, to speed up the processing of people’s application when they come here so they can more quickly get a determination. Do they get refugee status, do they not?

“And on my side, better accommodation and state-owned accommodation because we are almost entirely reliant on the private sector in terms of the provision of accommodation, and that’s why I brought forward proposals that we would have a core of state-owned accommodation for people while their application is being processed.”

Ireland has seen a sharp rise in the number of people seeking international protection.

There was a 415pc increase in the number of applications in 2022 compared to 2021, and a 186pc increase from 2019.

In 2022, there were 13,000 applications for international protection, while 2023 saw 12,000 applications.

He said that around 40pc of applications for asylum were successful, while 60pc of people did not meet the criteria set out for international protection.

Meanwhile, Mr O’Gorman said that gardaí should be given the space to investigate arson attacks against properties linked to housing asylum seekers.

Ireland has seen a spike in the number of arson attacks on buildings rumoured or earmarked to provide accommodation for people seeking international protection.

“The magnitude, the seriousness of these crimes cannot be overstated and as I said last week, it is a miracle that no-one has been injured or no-one has been killed in terms of what’s happened so far,” he added.

“That’s why I think it is so important that we give An Garda Síochána the space to undertake detailed investigations, which will allow them to bring forward successful prosecutions so we can very clearly see people put in prison for these criminal acts.”

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