Republic's support for Ukrainians ‘could cost three billion euro in 2023', Taoiseach says
The Taoiseach has said his Government will do “everything we possibly can” to provide for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the Republic of Ireland.
It came as Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said the Government is preparing to spend around three billion euro (£2.5 billion) in 2023 on welcoming and supporting those arriving from the war-torn country.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, speaking on his way to a Cabinet meeting set to be dominated by the war in Ukraine, said he had met refugees over the weekend.
“Their gratitude to the kindness of the people of Ireland was heartfelt,” he said.
“This is a horrific war that is having a terrible toll on families and, in a shared humanity, we must do everything we possibly can within our energies and with our resources to do what we can.
“We want this war to end; it should end, because too much life has been lost.”
Around 25,000 Ukrainian refugees have now arrived in the Republic of Ireland, putting pressure on the Government to find housing and accommodation.
Mass and emergency accommodation centres have already started to be used.
Mr McGrath said the “primary focus” of Cabinet discussions today will be accommodation for refugees.
He said ministers will be “looking at all of the options that are available to Government to find accommodation as quickly as possible”.
“The system is now under real strain and we are at the point of offering accommodation that is not at the standard we would like but is necessary because ultimately these refugees are fleeing war and our first duty is to provide safety and security for them and to meet their basic needs,” he said.