More than 80,000 Ukrainian refugees could arrive in Ireland, minister says

Preparations are under way to accommodate the significant number of people due to arrive in the country in the coming days and weeks.

David Young
Sunday 06 March 2022 15:46
People protest against the Russian war in Ukraine in Dublin city centre (Niall Carson/PA)
People protest against the Russian war in Ukraine in Dublin city centre (Niall Carson/PA)

The number of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland could exceed 80,000, a government minister has confirmed.

James Browne, minister of state in the Department of Justice, said the exodus of people from Ukraine was on a scale not witnessed in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

His comments came as the UN announced that more than 1.5 million people have now fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

A weekend protest against the war in Dublin city centre (Niall Carson/PA)

The updated estimate on the number of refugees expected in Ireland comes amid government efforts to bolster domestic grain production in response to the anticipated significant disruption of supply lines from Ukraine and Russia.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue is to meet with farmers’ representatives on Tuesday to develop a plan that could potentially see all Irish farmers sow crops in the forthcoming growing season.

Hundreds of Ukrainians are already arriving in Ireland every day as they flee the conflict in their homeland.

Around 1,400 have entered the country thus far, though many of those are staying with relatives who already lived in Ireland.

Government ministers are examining a variety of options to accommodate the unprecedented number of further arrivals.

We are now potentially looking at 80,000-plus, there is not going to be any cap on those numbers coming into this country

Minister of state James Browne

The use of modular homes on state land is being explored and members of the public will also be asked to volunteer to host refugees.

“The last time we’ve seen a kind of movement like this, to this degree in Europe, was at the end of World War Two when we saw a huge movement of German people who became refugees at the end of that war,” Mr Browne told RTE’s The Week in Politics programme.

“We haven’t seen anything like this since then.

“Now we have learned a lot over recent years in terms of dealing with the pandemic that we do know we have that capacity and that generosity and capability within a country to mobilise when we need to in the face of a very, very serious situation.

“But we are now potentially looking at 80,000-plus, there is not going to be any cap on those numbers coming into this country.”

Anti-war protests continued in Ireland over the weekend.

On Sunday, crowds again gathered outside the Russian embassy in Dublin to denounce the invasion and call for the expulsion of Russia’s Ambassador to Ireland Yuri Filatov.

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