‘Over 65,000 Ukrainian refugees in Ireland’

The latest figures from the Department of Justice say that 65,088 Ukrainians fleeing the war in their country arrived in Ireland this year and were issued with Temporary Protection permits.

Separately, 12,166 people have applied for international protection this year.

These latest figures, which ran to the 23rd of November, were provided by the Department of Justice to RTÉ News.

Based on the current arrival figures, the Government estimates that 72,000 Ukrainians will arrive by the end of the year.

State accommodation is currently being offered to more than 47,420 Ukrainians, according to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

There are 17,500 people currently living in accommodation provided by the international protection accommodation service, which is up from the 7,250 people who were living in direct provision accommodation this time last year.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian refugees should be moving into the first modular homes, which are being built as part of a pilot project, by next February.

Five sites have been identified to deliver half of the Government’s target of 500 modular homes to house 2,000 Ukrainians seeking refuge here by the end of 2023.

Work has begun on a site owned by Cork City Council in Mahon in Co Cork. It is planned that it will have 64 units, which will accommodate up to four people each.

The homes are expected to be ready for residents to move into by February of next year.

A site in Co Cavan owned by the Office of Public Works is due to be finished by next Easter.

Two more developments on OPW owned sites, in Thurles in Tipperary and Claremorris in Mayo, and one on a site owned by Sligo County Council, are due to begin on the 1st of December this year and should take between 12 and 16 weeks to complete.

Work is ongoing to secure other sites, however, it is understood that only a third of those that have been offered were deemed suitable.

The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman said that if this “pilot” project proves successful and is “seen as being a positive”, such modular homes could “potentially” become part “of the State’s response to the housing crisis” more broadly.

It is understood that the modular homes themselves will have a 60-year life span and will be insulated to a BER A2 standard, and that they can be removed from a site should they need to be developed at a later date.

Permanent infrastructure, including roads, paths, electricity, plumbing and street lighting, are also being built on each of the sites.

There are currently 4,625 people living in Direct Provision Accommodation who have either been granted asylum, statutory protection or leave to remain in Ireland.

Over the coming months, it is understood that the Department of Children, Equality, Integration, Disability and Youth wants to see as many as possible of this group move out, to make space for new arrivals amid the current accommodation shortage.

As there is also a housing crisis, it is understood that officials will “support” those eligible for social housing supports, such as the Housing Assistance Payment, to apply for them.

According to this week’s Daft Rental Price Report, across the country, there were just 1,087 homes available to rent on the platform on the 1st of November.

It is also understood that people “with status” who live in self-catering Direct Provision accommodation, and who benefit from a food points allowance system that allows them to buy food on site, will see this allowance removed if that person is availing of full social welfare payments.

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