Government in ‘advanced’ talks with Airbnb as more than 15,000 Ukrainians come to Ireland

Over 14,000 PPS numbers have already been issued to Ukrainians who have arrived here since the Russian invasion.

Welfare Minister Heather Humphreys told the Dáil authorities are responding in a “sensitive and caring” way to the tens of thousands of people fleeing their country and expected to seek refuge here in the days and weeks to come.

Ms Humphreys said: “To give an idea of ​​the scale of the problem, I will share some basic figures with the House. To date, PPS numbers have been issued to over 14,000 Ukrainian citizens, just under 10,000 are women and girls, and 4,000 are men and boys.

“Additional social allowance is already paid for more than 9,000 people, while child benefit is also paid for almost 4,000 children.”

Calling on Vladimir Putin to withdraw from Ukraine immediately and unconditionally, Taoiseach Micheál Martin called Russia’s actions “illegal, barbaric and immoral”. Mr Martin said the cost of accommodating Ukrainian refugees will be “very significant” but it is a cost “that we have to bear”.

Highlighting some of the steps the government has taken in an effort to reduce the costs that have risen as a result of the Russian attack, Mr Martin said: “We have to be realistic that it will not be possible to respond to every adverse price movement in world markets”.

“History teaches us that chasing inflationary pressures with ever-increasing government spending would actually be counterproductive.

“The country’s economy was recovering strongly as we weathered the worst of the Covid-19 crisis with strong growth and reduced unemployment. Our response to the crisis in Ukraine will affect economic growth and we need to be careful in the how we respond to the challenges ahead of us.”

To date, 15,294 Ukrainians have arrived here, mostly via Dublin Airport, the Dáil has learned.

Accommodation

Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman added that more than half of them are now in state care and described the situation as “perhaps the biggest humanitarian crisis that Ireland has ever had. never known”.

He said “all options are on the table” regarding accommodation for those fleeing Ukraine and that his department is involved in advanced discussions with Airbnb.

Mr O’Gorman added: “Given that this is a crisis situation, I have to be honest with the public and with those fleeing here.

“This response will become more difficult in the weeks and months to come. The housing available through local authorities, religious organizations, public bodies and pledged housing is unlikely to meet the level of need if the number estimated higher number of people arriving will occur in the coming weeks.

“Current modeling suggests that it is inevitable to move into an emergency shelter phase when promised reserves and other services are exhausted. The only question is how quickly this phase is reached.”

He detailed contingency plans to use the Gormanstown camp which “would not have its own door and could mean cots in shared spaces”.

“It is not our first preference, however, it may be a necessary contingency if we are to ensure the safety of those fleeing war,” the minister said.

Social well-being

Ms Humphreys said her department is responsible for issuing PPS numbers, providing immediate income assistance; and facilitate access to family allowances.

“All income support applications are processed quickly and all resources are made available to ensure that PPS numbers and payments are issued as quickly as possible.

“Immediate income support is provided in the form of a supplementary allowance, which is payable at rates of up to €206 per week, with increases for dependent adults and children.

“As well as the facilities at Dublin Airport, we have also established a number of additional dedicated reception centers on Cork Street in Dublin, as well as in Cork and Limerick City,” she said. declared.

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