One year on and Government has no grip on housing for refugees

Ivana Bacik TD
21 February 2023

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has slammed government for its failure to properly resource Ireland’s response to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Marking the first anniversary of Putin’s illegal invasion, Deputy Bacik said that the Government must deal with the information vacuum that is being exploited by a small number of bad faith actors in local communities.

Deputy Bacik said:

“I and all in the Labour Party want to express solidarity with the people of Ukraine and those fleeing the brutal war currently being waged by Putin. Almost a year has passed since the invasion began, and yet the Government has failed to create a coherent and co-ordinated strategy to house refugees in communities.

“Labour is reiterating our call for the appointment of a Special Minister of State with Responsibility for Housing Refugees and those seeking international protection.

“We envision that such a Minister of State would be appointed with the sole purpose of creating and co-ordinating a robust strategy to house refugees in communities. Such an appointment would enable a more co-ordinated approach to getting information and supports out to local communities in a timely way when new accommodation is being opened.

“In the same way that we did during Covid, this Minister must be tasked with developing a fact sheet – a public information leaflet – that would be delivered to each and every household across the country to provide clear information and to debunk the myths that some bad faith actors are seeking to spread.

“Across Ireland, we have seen communities offering a great welcome to those who have come here seeking refuge from war and persecution. There must be a more coordinated provision of supports for communities in offering necessary services around schooling and vital support for families. The current hands-off approach is failing refugees, communities and all of those trying to extend the Cead Míle Fáilte.

“A year on, and yet no one in Government appears to be in a position to explain what the actual plan is for housing refugees.

“Labour is calling for a dedicated Junior Minister to be appointed, tasked solely with coordinating the accommodation of refugees and people seeking asylum. Contracts for up to 19,000 hotel beds currently in use by refugees will expire before the end of March and it is time for a designated point person to take responsibility for ensuring a Covid-style cross-government response is put in place urgently.”

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