Since the war in Ukraine began, the people of Ireland have opened their doors and have helped refugees in a number of ways.
So far, there are at least 22,000 Ukrainian refugees in Ireland, with around 500 arriving every day. Before the crisis, there were just 7000 Ukrainians in Ireland. The government has indicated that around 200,000 could arrive throughout the course of the conflict.
How has the government helped Ukrainian refugees in Ireland?
Like other European countries, Ireland has waived visa requirements for Ukrainians. They are granted ‘temporary protection’ for a year and do not need to claim asylum.
Refugees are able to access accommodation, welfare, healthcare and education on arrival. Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said that mass accommodation centres may be needed to house Ukrainians if more continue to arrive.
He also said, “Our position is informed by the principles that drive our foreign policy – support for international human rights, for humanitarian law and for a rules-based international order. We are not neutral when Russia disregards all of these principles. We are with Ukraine.”
The Irish people provide a warm welcome
The people of Ireland have gone above and beyond to help Ukrainian refugees. More than 20,000 people have now pledged either their homes or vacant properties to Ukrainian refugees through the Irish Red Cross.
As well as opening their homes, funds have been raised in a variety of ways. Catholic churchgoers have raised €3.25 million for the people of Ukraine since the war began. Irish media companies have come together on both a local and national level to raise funds, which will be distributed to several charities.
Ukrainian pets travel to Ireland
Over 600 pets have been brought to Ireland since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, the majority being cats and dogs. The government have promised to continue to welcome refugees and their pets.
Figures reveal that 333 dogs and 285 cats have made it to Ireland so far, with all receiving a veterinary assessment on arrival. A period of quarantine is also required for all animals arriving in Ireland.
President Zelensky thanks Ireland
Addressing the Irish parliament at the beginning of April, President Zelensky thanked Ireland for supporting Ukraine from the very beginning of the crisis. He said, “Thank you for the humanitarian and financial support extended to our country and thank you for your caring about Ukrainian people who found shelter on your land.”
He also urged Ireland’s parliament to convince other European nations to toughen their sanctions on Russia.