Homeowners urged to offer unoccupied properties to Ukrainian refugees

Integration Minister Roderic O'Gorman has agreed to meet the residents of the area, where protests broke out after the housing of 80 single male refugees in a former office building
Homeowners urged to offer unoccupied properties to Ukrainian refugees

Garda presence on along Dublin's East Wall, as locals and others, gathered to protest against refugees moving into an old ESB building on East Wall Road. Picture: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The Government has to "move quickly" to ensure refugees are not left homeless, the Integration Minister will tell the residents of East Wall.

Roderic O'Gorman has agreed to meet the residents of the area, where protests broke out after the housing of 80 single male refugees in a former office building. Protests were called off after Mr O'Gorman agreed to meet locals.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland on Thursday, Mr O'Gorman said he would be emphasising the emergency nature of the refugee crisis.

"I'll be speaking to residents first of all about the context in which my department is operating. And we're accommodating 64,000 people now across the country. It's the biggest humanitarian response our country has ever mobilised and my department is leading that mobilisation. 

"And in that context, we sometimes need to move very quickly. And the sole reason we do that is to avoid people becoming homeless. We have a moral and we have a legal obligation to provide shelter for people."

Mr O'Gorman and Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien will on Thursday launch an appeal for unused homes and buildings across the country to be led by local authorities as the country expects another 9,000 Ukrainians before the end of the year.

However, Mr O'Gorman reiterated the comments of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that no community can "veto" arrivals.

Asked why some hoteliers are awaiting payment for taking in refugees, Mr O'Gorman said it had been a resource issue. He said staff had been moved to the payments section of his department and a backlog was being cleared.

Roderic O'Gorman and Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien will on Thursday launch an appeal for unused homes and buildings across the country to be led by local authorities as the country expects another 9,000 Ukrainians before the end of the year.
Roderic O'Gorman and Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien will on Thursday launch an appeal for unused homes and buildings across the country to be led by local authorities as the country expects another 9,000 Ukrainians before the end of the year.

Responding to the report of the expert group on direct provision, Mr O'Gorman said his department would examine the use of emergency powers to build refugee reception centres.

He said a change of legislation was "something we need to consider" and said he believed a singular agency to handle migration is something the country needs to examine.

Mr O'Gorman said his department was interviewing people who come to Ireland to survey their reasons for arriving here. He said the international protection system "must be protected" for those fleeing war and conflict.

Appeal for accommodation

Meanwhile, Mr O'Gorman issued another appeal to the public to offer accommodation for Ukrainians, adding the Government had learned from mistakes made after the first appeal.

Citizens had been asked earlier this year to pledge unused houses apartments or holiday homes to house arriving Ukrainian refugees, but this was stalled as people reported delays with the system.

There are currently 5,500 people housed in pledged accommodation in Ireland.

Mr O’Gorman said the offer would be for six months, and emphasised those who pledge this accommodation would get the €800 a month recognition payment.

“We’ve learned from the initial pledged appeal process, this one is going to be done directly through local authorities.

“So rather than going through one centralised national portal, people will pledge to their own local authority.”

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