Ukrainian children in Limerick could be living on the streets before the end of summer

Doras chief executive John Lannon

THERE could be children living on the street in Limerick in the near future as a result of the 90-day deadline imposed on the provision of accommodation for Ukrainian people, a provider of support and advocacy services for refugees has warned.

John Lannon, CEO of Limerick-based migrant and refugee support agency Doras, told the Limerick Post “we will see families and children on the streets because these people have no access to homeless or local authority accommodation once their 90 days is up. Literally homeless children will be a reality.”

The CEO was speaking as a wave of Ukrainian refugees who fled the war in their home country are due to be removed from the accommodation provided for them on arrival as their 90 days is up.

Families being accommodated at a refugee accommodation centre in Fernbank in Limerick City will shortly have to face being told to move out.

“These families have packed up their things and run from the bombing to find safety. They get here and stop to draw breath. They had an allowance of just €38.80, many of them don’t speak English, they have had no time to make the kind of connections that would help them to get a job,” Mr Lannon said.

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“They don’t have any entitlement to HAP supports, local authority housing, or even homeless hostels. They will be on the streets.”

So far, those families being accommodated in Fernbank who arrived after March 14 regulations came into force and who are facing being told to move this week, have been provided with temporary accommodation by the Red Cross and Limerick City and County Council. However this accommodation is in limited supply and can not be provided on a permanent basis.

“The Red Cross and the local authority (in Limerick) have been fantastic and hugely supportive finding places, but these places are not permanent, they are offers of temporary accommodation and we don’t have enough temporary accommodation. It’s not whether people will be made homeless – it’s a matter of when,” the Doras CEO told the Limerick Post.

Currently, at a national level, those whose 90 days has expired have been told they and their belongings will be removed to a different location, which Mr Lanon believes will be the City West reception centre in Dublin.

Asked whether those people will be provided with a bed and food once at the Dublin facility, the Doras CEO said that, as far as he and his organisation have been informed, “they will get nothing. The only service they are being offered is use of a computer and internet to find accommodation.”

Mr Lannon feels that the horrific facts of the situation which the Ukrainian people find themselves in having fled a war, often with family members and children who are deeply traumatised, is being lost sight of.

“These new policies are focusing on deterring people from coming here instead of ensuring they are safe and well. That policy needs to change”.