Further cut to benefits for Ukrainian refugees under discussion

Ministers to reflect on Coalition communication plan after asylum seeker tented encampment on Mount Street removed

Ministers are set to consider a further cut in payments to Ukrainian refugees and will meet today to discuss the Government’s communication plan after a tented encampment for asylum seekers in Mount Street was removed on Wednesday.

The first meeting of the reconstituted Cabinet Committee on Migration will be held this afternoon with Ministers due to discuss the Government’s communication strategy on immigration and receive updates on deportations so far this year.

Officials have, in recent weeks, been further considering the level of financial support offered to Ukrainian refugees.

Three Government sources said the topic will most likely be broached in the next meeting of the Cabinet committee, but that it was a live discussion within the Coalition.


The issue could create tensions within Government as Green Party sources have expressed reservations about any plan to further cut supports to Ukrainian refugees. The Green Party is understood to be sceptical about further cuts to benefits given the increasing number of Ukrainians who are leaving Ireland to return home.

In addition to seeing their accommodation time-limited to 90 days, new arrivals from Ukraine are entitled to a reduced weekly allowance of €38.80 per adult and €29.80 per child for daily expenses while resident in designated accommodation centres.

A source said further cuts could be discussed as early as today or, more likely, within a matter of weeks.

Another source confirmed that the level of supports offered to Ukrainian refugees will form part of a wider conversation.

It comes after asylum seekers were moved from an encampment on Mount Street to Citywest and tented accommodation at Crooksling in southwest Dublin yesterday.

Some 285 single men were offered accommodation; 186 applicants at Citywest and a further 99 at Crooksling.

However, at least 30 men who previously slept in tents pitched outside the International Protection Office were without accommodation last night.

Those without accommodation were told they would be contacted by email.

A statement from the Government last night said that on Wednesday, State agencies “engaged with all those who were present on Mount Street and offered them accommodation. Just under, 290 people have now been accommodated.”

“Following this, it is understood that a number of IPAs who are believed to have been staying at other locations sought accommodation at Citywest, which is now at capacity. Their details have been taken and they will be offered accommodation as it becomes available.”

It comes amid continuing tension between the British and Irish governments around the issue of returning asylum seekers who arrive into Ireland over the land border. Sources last night said that there will be attempts in the coming days to take the political heat out of the ongoing row.

On Wednesday, British prime minister Rishi Sunak said ministers were seeking “urgent clarification that there will be no disruption or police checkpoints at or near the border” and that there must not be “cherry-picking of important international agreements”.

Taoiseach Simon Harris reiterated that no gardaí will be sent to Border areas, saying: “Of course there won’t be.”

Earlier in the Dáil, Mr Harris said he was proud to lead a country “that honours its international agreements and I expect our nearest neighbours to do the same”.

He also said he had no interest in Ireland being used “as a pawn in British politics”, as he defended the actions of Minister for Justice Helen McEntee in addressing the immigration crisis.

He said that work had been done to introduce faster processing times.

“I have no doubt that over the next number of months that we’ll see significant progress, freeing up 100 gardaí who were doing desk jobs in terms of immigration and being able to put them on the front line in terms of working with the PSNI.”

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times