Northern Ireland

Irish government support for Ukrainians to be cut from €220 a week to €38.80

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking to the media in Leitrim (Niall Carson/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture by Niall Carson/PA

The Irish government has cut support for Ukrainians refugees fleeing to the Republic from €220 a week to €38.80.

A limit of 90 days for state accommodation for new arrivals from Ukraine was also agreed on Tuesday.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that support for those fleeing the war in Ukraine will change from the end of January.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dail, Mr Varadkar said that the new arrangements would mean anyone arriving from Ukraine seeking international protection would only be guaranteed State accommodation for 90 days.

During that 90-day period, those arrivals will be paid a €38.80 subsistence allowance and an additional €29.80 per child per week “in recognition of the fact that accommodation has been provided”.

Arrivals in these circumstances are currently entitled to a jobseeker’s allowance of €220 per week.

Mr Varadkar said the government would work with arrivals and NGOs to find other accommodation during that 90-day period.

“Many different possibilities arise, taking up employment where possible - which many Ukrainians have done and do provide their own accommodation, pledged accommodation and staying with people they know and networks,” he said.

He added that if people move out of State accommodation after or before the 90-day window, they will be assessed for social welfare like any Irish citizen, including eligibility for the rent allowance, but not social housing or the housing assistance payment.

He said the move, which would see legislation enacted by the end of January, was to bring the Irish offering “into line” with other western European countries, some of which, he said, had not welcomed as many Ukrainians as Ireland on a proportionate basis.

Ukrainian refugees at a Dundalk hotel were given 48 hours notice that they would be moved to a different part of the country unless they secure local accommodation.
Ukrainian refugees will receive reduced welfare rates

It comes as figures recently revealed that the Republic takes in a higher proportion of Ukrainian refugees than many other European countries including the UK, France and Germany.

According to figures by the OECD, a global policy think thank with 38 member countries, Ireland is seventh out of 34 countries with 17 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants.

It also showed that Ireland, on proportion, takes in five times more Ukrainians than the UK which welcomed 3.5 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants.

Mr Varadkar had previously said on Monday: “We managed to welcome about 100,000 people from Ukraine to Ireland and I’m proud of the country that we managed to do that.

“Irish people have to travel all over the world for all sorts of reasons and received a welcome in the countries that we went to, and I’m glad that we were able to do this, on this occasion, for the people of Ukraine.”