Ireland spent more than €900m last year helping Ukrainian refugees

Irish Aid annual report discloses €880m was spent in services for Ukrainian refugees in Ireland last year while additional €53m was provided in bilateral assistance

Ireland spent more than €900 million last year assisting Ukrainian refugees and in direct donations to that country, according to the Irish Aid annual report for 2022. It will be launched on Wednesday by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin.

Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures indicate that 67,448 people had arrived in Ireland from Ukraine by the week ending December 11th, 2022, a number which had risen to 93,810 by September 10th last.

The Irish Aid annual report discloses that €880 million was spent in services for Ukrainian refugees in Ireland last year while an additional €53 million was provided in bilateral assistance, including a significant volume of medical equipment, directly to Ukraine itself.

“Ireland was among the first to provide humanitarian support to those fleeing the war in Ukraine, with a significant aid package announced on the first day of the invasion, and subsequently increased to €20 million,” the report says.


This country also worked closely with its partner EU countries, providing “in kind assistance worth €527 million through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism [UCPM], and €485 million in humanitarian assistance”. This was the “largest ever operation under the UCPM”, it said.

The report recalls how the outbreak of the war in Ukraine occurred in the middle of Ireland’s term on the UN Security Council.

“In this capacity, Ireland spearheaded a number of resolutions condemning aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and recognising the need to establish international mechanisms for inquest and accountability. Ireland recognises that EU membership has been transformative for us. Against this background, we played a vital role in championing Ukraine’s application for EU Candidate Country status, which was granted in June 2022,” it said.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) set up a Ukraine donations co-ordination group that delivered 16 x 40ft containers and 19 HSE ambulances to Ukraine by the end of 2022. The containers were filled with hospital instruments, medical supplies and consumables, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment (PPE) valued at €5.46 million.

In terms of general spending, the report for 2022 shows record levels of investment in Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme. Excluding costs associated with hosting Ukrainian refugees, Ireland’s ODA in 2022 was €1.4 billion, up by about 40 per cent on the 2021 figures (€976 million).

If the roughly €880 million spent on assisting Ukrainian refugees in Ireland is included, the report shows the State’s ODA in 2022 was €2.3 billion, or 0.63 per cent of gross national income (GNI).

The five countries which received the highest amounts of bilateral ODA support from Ireland in 2022 were: Ukraine (€53 million), Ethiopia (€41 million), Mozambique (€27 million), Tanzania (€25 million) and Uganda (€24 million).

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times