Limerick migrant rights organisation hits out at new 90-day housing policy for those fleeing war

Doras chief executive John Lannon

A LIMERICK migrant and refugee support organisation has expressed urgent concern about government plans to limit humanitarian accommodation for people fleeing war in their home to just 90 days after arriving in Ireland, warning that there is “nowhere for them to go” after that.

CEO of Doras, John Lannon told the Limerick Post that the migrant rights organisation is “concerned that the 90 day limit on accommodation for people escaping the war in Ukraine could result in homelessness for families, including children”.

“We know there is no affordable accommodation available in the rental market, and already there are 6,000 people with refugee status trying to leave Direct Provision but can’t because there is nowhere for them to go”.

The humanitarian organisation is also concerned at the level of financial support being offered, with Mr Lannon hitting out that the proposed €38.80 to be given to new arrivals is inadequate.

“People trying to survive on this amount in Direct Provision are living in poverty and face daily problems trying to provide for their children,” he said.

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The CEO stated that the new proposals “deflect from the real issue, which is the failure of the government to deliver medium and long-term accommodation for beneficiaries of temporary protection, international protection, and other homeless people in Ireland”.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth has done tremendous work finding temporary accommodation for those that have arrived from Ukraine. But it is now well past time for the Department of Housing to step up and to put in place solutions to the accommodation crisis.

“It’s been more than a year and a half since people started to arrive from Ukraine, and in that time only 5,800 beds have been commissioned between refurbishment projects and rapid build units,” he said.

Mr Lannon went on to say that the housing crisis is something the government should be working on addressing for everyone, rather than trying to deter people from coming to Ireland.

“There is still a war ongoing in Ukraine, people’s livelihoods and homes have been destroyed and they have little option but to seek protection elsewhere,” he said.

Speaking about the new provisions earlier this month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that one scenario that must be considered is the inevitability of Ukrainians not being able to find a place to live after the 90-day period.

Using the example of direct provision, the Taoiseach said there are around 5,000 people who have been granted international protection and the right to stay in Ireland, however they’re still in direct provision because there isn’t accommodation for them.

“We’re not going to throw people out of their accommodation if they’ve nowhere to go. So we have to bear that in mind. If we do bring in a 90-day rule in relation to Ukrainians coming to Ireland, it’s never just as simple as that.

“What happens if if they can’t find somewhere after 90 days? That’s the kind of contingency planning that we have to make,” he said.

The Taoiseach said that he would like to “make sure that what we offer people coming here is in line with what’s being done in other European countries like France, like the Netherlands, for example. And I think that makes sense, given the pressures that we’re under in terms of accommodation.”