More than 500 Ukrainians arriving in Ireland each week

Changes to welfare payments for refugees set to come into effect at end of January

Between November 1st and December 20th, 3,740 Ukrainians arrived in Ireland seeking refuge. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni

The number of Ukrainians seeking temporary protection in Ireland is still averaging more than 500 a week, according to the latest figures from the Department of Justice.

Between November 1st and December 20th, 3,740 Ukrainians arrived in Ireland seeking refuge. The numbers ranged from 484 in the week ending December 6th to 702 for the eight days between December 13th and 20th.

After the initial surge following the Russian invasion in February 2022, the numbers arriving in Ireland remained steady last year at between 2,000 and 4,000 every month.

Department of Justice figures show 102,339 Ukrainians have sought temporary protection in Ireland.


Ukrainian Action in Ireland co-founder Anatoliy Prymakov said the true figure for the number of Ukrainians who have stayed in Ireland since the start of the war is about 85,000 as many will have returned to their own country or gone elsewhere.

Last month, the Government announced that the special status accorded to Ukrainian refugees would end and that those in State accommodation would see their benefits cut from €220 to €38.80 a week; though once they leave State accommodation they will be entitled to apply for social welfare.

The Government also decided that from the end of January, State accommodation would be provided for only up to 90 days for newcomers from the country.

Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman said the changes would 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.

These changes are due to come into effect from January 29th, but will not affect Ukrainians already here.

Mr Prymakov said it was not a surprise that Ukrainian people were continuing to arrive in Ireland seeking temporary protection. The announced changes were made only on December 15th.

“Look at the news from Ukraine. Nothing has changed. Things are getting worse. Why would we expect things to change?” he said.

“The war is still going on and people have been affected by it in different ways. You may have had a job 18 months ago and decided not to leave but, by now, your job is gone or your accommodation is damaged and your savings are gone.”

He cautioned that it was too early to say if the welfare and accommodation changes would deter other Ukrainians from coming to Ireland.

“One thing for certain: it will not solve the problems for the people who are already here in hotel accommodation and how we get them to integrate better,” he said.

“There is the reality of what can and cannot be done in certain geographical areas of Ireland. Ideally we will have a functioning rental market where people can get accommodation and also a full-time or part-time job for Irish and everybody else, but we don’t have that. So here we are.”

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Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times