Over 90 per cent of Limerick’s Ukrainian refugee hosts ‘very happy’ with visitors

Stock photo: Ukrainian flag.

MORE than nine out of 10 people hosting over 600 displaced Ukrainian refugees in Limerick in their own homes have said they are very happy with the experience.

That’s according to research carried out by the Irish Red Cross and the Helping the Hosts organisation presented to the Dáil.

Figures show there are 603 guests living in 214 host homes across Limerick. This represents 20 per cent of the total number of Ukrainians who have arrived in Limerick since the invasion of Ukraine.

Nationally, 25 per cent of all arrivals from Ukraine are currently living in host homes or pledged accommodation.

One Limerick host, Kathleen McKiernan, said that “being a host has been one of the best things our family has done”.

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“When all this started, we felt that we needed to do something and we had a spare bedroom so we contacted Helping Irish Hosts and the process was straightforward after that.

“Sharing our home doesn’t come without challenges but being able to give our guest a sense of security and base from which to start her journey here in Ireland has been truly rewarding.”

The survey shows that 92 per cent of people hosting Ukrainians have had a positive experience and 76 per cent would recommend hosting to someone else.

The research was presented by Helping Irish Hosts and the Irish Red Cross to Oireachtas members at a briefing in Leinster House on Wednesday January 31.

Angie Gough, CEO and co-founder of Helping Irish Hosts, said that the research “reaffirms everything we’ve seen over the past 22 months. Hosting is having an incredible impact – for the hosts, their guests, and also their communities.”

The organisations responsible for activating pledged accommodation is still receiving around 300 accommodation pledges a month.

The briefing to Oireachtas members also heard that the savings to the taxpayer brought on by those hosting are in the region of €386million annually when compared to state accommodation.

At the briefing this week, the group presented recommendations to government and offered resources to support constituents and communities that are hosting.

Key asks included extending the proposed 90-day policy for new arrivals to reduce the risk of harm to already vulnerable groups and widening the Accommodation Recognition Payment (ARP) to include ‘programme refugees’ who have been granted status in Ireland.

“From our conversations with hosts, it’s clear that there is a strong will in this community to extend the welcome currently being shown to Ukrainians, to all refugees. Alongside our Consortium partners, we are ready to draw on the current frameworks in place to pilot this approach,” Ms Gough concluded.

The Consortium is a partnership funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth and led by the Irish Red Cross, comprising Helping Irish Hosts, Peter McVerry Trust, and the International Organisation for Migration.