War refugees and vulnerable priority as accommodation fills up - Taoiseach

Citywest facility in Dublin runs out of space for new Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Government will prioritise people fleeing war and vulnerable people in the international protection system after the State ran out of space for Ukrainian refugees.

Speaking outside Government Buildings on Thursday morning, Mr Martin also said that tented accommodation in Gormanstown will open on Monday.

He said Ministers will meet later today to formulate contingency plans after the Citywest facility in Dublin ran out of space for new Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers.

The Department of Children told a briefing of Irish NGOs supporting Ukrainians on Wednesday that it has had to pause the intake of new arrivals into existing State accommodation because it had run out of available beds and space at Citywest and has no immediate contingency plan in place.


The shortage of accommodation means that any Ukrainians or asylum seekers arriving into the State over the next 48 hours may be stranded in an airport without a bed.

Mr Martin also described the UK’s so-called Rwanda policy as “shocking” and said it has had an impact on incoming numbers. The UK government announced earlier this year that it would send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Mr Martin also revealed that 70 per cent of those in Citywest are international protection.

“Overall, about 8 million Ukrainians left Ukraine as a result of the war, and there has been 48 million internally displaced within Ukraine. That is, without question, the worst humanitarian crisis on the continent of Europe since World War Two, it is quite extraordinary.”

“But 41,000 Ukrainians have arrived to Ireland, and 30,000 of those that have been offered accommodation. We as a country have a legal and moral obligation to provide for Ukrainians who are fleeing war and turn into destruction.”

“I have witnessed entire residential blocks being destroyed by Russia. And the vast majority coming to Ireland are mothers and children.”

“There has been a surge in international protection application numbers.

“Annually, one could have been anticipating maybe 3,500. This year, that could be four or five times that figure, maybe more by the end of the year. So much so that City West, which was designed as a reception center for Ukrainian refugees fleeing war, some 70 per cent are international protection applicants.”

He said the Government will have to look at “anomalies” in the protection system and make new policy decisions.

This he said, from a policy perspective, would involve “prioritising those who are fleeing war or very vulnerable situations. That would have to be our prioritisation.”

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times