Hotels providing accommodation to Ukrainian refugees are threatening not to renew their contracts because of late payments from the State, with some owed up to €400,000.
It is also understood the Government may consider putting time limits on the financial support and accommodation offered to Ukrainians, following a report that looked at how other EU countries were dealing with refugees.
As the Irish Examiner reports, Government and opposition TDs are being inundated with complaints by private accommodation providers, who are furious with the State over a backlog of payments.
Fewer than 20 staff in the Department of Integration are processing invoices to 700 providers, with a source confirming that, before Christmas, just four staff were dealing with payments to hotels, B&Bs, and nursing homes.
A spokesperson for the department would not specify the total sum of money owed to private providers and how many were due payments.
They said there is an “extraordinary volume” of payments to be made and the department “sincerely regrets” the backlog.
There are no outstanding payments to providers offering accommodation to international protection applicants.
Marian Harkin, Independent TD for Sligo-Leitrim, said that one hotel has been awaiting payment of €400,000 since last October, despite sending in multiple invoices.
Michael Ring, Fine Gael TD for Mayo, said he is aware of one hotel owed €250,000 and a second provider owed €180,000.
“It’s disgraceful,” Mr Ring said.
Substantial amounts of money are owed to a number of providers and they are complaining to local TDs that they are not getting paid and they’re demanding to know where their money is.
“What sort of message does that send out to hotels, and other providers, who the Government is trying to get to accommodate Ukrainians and asylum seekers”
The Cabinet sub-committee on Ukraine will meet tomorrow, when Roderic O’Gorman, the integration minister, will again plead for additional staff to deal with the payments backlog.
A report requested by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, into how Ireland compares across Europe in supporting Ukrainians, has found that the State is an outlier in the use of hotel accommodation for those fleeing from war.