Gardaí investigate after car of Ukrainian refugees broken into and items stolen

Anass and Olena have been in Ireland for almost two weeks after fleeing Kyiv

Gardaí are investigating after items were stolen from a car belonging to a couple who fled Ukraine and arrived in Ireland just under two weeks ago.

Ukrainian refugees are currently being accommodated in hotels across the country, including in the Travelodge in Ballymun in north Dublin, where this couple were staying and their car was parked.

The couple, who only want to be identified using their first names, said they discovered on Thursday morning that their car had been broken into overnight. A laptop, tablet, guitar, clothes and shoes were stolen, and the rear window was smashed. A GoFundMe page established to receive donations for the couple quickly exceeded its €3,000 target and had raised €7,500 by Friday morning.

Anass and his wife, Olena, fled the bombing and destruction of Kyiv as soon as the war started.


“We were living near the Boryspil airport in Kyiv, so we were first to hear the bombing. We just gathered whatever we could gather, and started driving and didn’t stop,” said Anass. They left Ukraine and drove through Slovakia, Czechia, Germany and Belgium before arriving in France. From there, they got the ferry from Cherbourg to Dublin Port.

“We were supposed to go to Cork on Thursday morning, apparently there was an order from the immigration office; they are moving all Ukrainians from this hotel to another hotel near Cork Airport,” he said.

“We packed up the car last night so we were ready to go, so we could drive behind the bus that was taking everyone to Cork. Before this, we had everything in the room.”


Anass said gardaí told the couple it could take some time to catch the culprit, and they would have to contact their insurance company for compensation.

“Our insurance company was impossible to reach but we had a personal number for a lady who helped us with our insurance back in Ukraine. Unfortunately, they are not working and can’t help. Even if they could, they could only help with fixing the window, not the belongings.”

Anass says they left in a hurry and have lost their jobs, their home and all their other belongings. “We only took what we could carry. They could see the Ukrainian [license] plates. Why would they steal from people who fled war?”

However, their experience in Ireland has been extremely positive and everyone has been very welcoming, according to Anass. “The moment we arrived we could finally breathe. I will never forget the two garda who were with us in customs in Dublin Port. They were so kind, they even escorted us to the Travelodge as we didn’t have mobile data.”

Anass is originally from Morocco but his wife Olena is from Ukraine and the couple were living in Kyiv for the past four years. “We travelled before we settled in Ukraine, we have never met people as kind as those in Ireland.”

Olena’s parents are still in the eastern part of the country and have not been heard from in over two weeks. “There is no signal or internet where they are right now,” said Anass.

The couple have set up a GoFundMe page to try and cover the cost of repairs and replacing the stolen items, although they were initially hesitant. “We don’t want to ask for too much,” said Anass.

In a statement, gardaí said they were investigating theft from a car which occurred on March 24th at 4am. “A window of the car was smashed and a number of items were taken,” they said.

No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing, the statement concluded.

The couple's GoFundMe page is listed here: