No cap on Ukrainian refugees entering State, says Taoiseach

No Cap On Ukrainian Refugees Entering State, Says Taoiseach
Micheál Martin said accepting refugees from Ukraine would undoubtedly pose a challenge for Ireland. Photo: PA
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Olivia Kelleher

The State will not put a cap on the number of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland, Micheál Martin has said.

The Taoiseach said accepting refugees from Ukraine would undoubtedly pose a challenge for Ireland.


He noted the 25,000 people that Ireland has accepted since war broke out early in March compares with the 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers who have come to Ireland since 1999.

Mr Martin's comments came after a tour of Green Glens Arena in Millstreet, Co Cork, where he met with families from Ukraine who are living onsite.

He said he was moved by the feedback he received from the refugees but conceded that the crisis was proving challenging for the Government to handle.

"I am not contemplating caps [on refugees] – I am not talking about that. There will be challenges but we are part of a European-wide response."


"First and foremost, we are not a military power – the thing we can do best is humanitarian [aid]."

Mr Martin said Ireland should be very proud of its response since war broke in Ukraine.

"I have been very moved to meet with so many of the Ukrainian residents here, so many families who have fled the war in Ukraine and one cannot but be struck by their sense of gratitude," Mr Martin said.

"Basic, simple gratitude articulated so eloquently and sincerely by them. The sense of peace and safety and security they have here now [in Ireland] for their children."


He said every effort will be made to accommodate refugees in the coming months, but he refused to comment whether a single agency is now needed to deal with the crisis.

"Everybody has to work on this in terms of the best interest of the Ukrainians who are here with us now and also in terms of Ireland’s response of integration," he said.

"Doing this as best we can under very exceptional circumstances, and coming hot on the heels of Covid-19 pandemic."

Mr Martin said Ireland should not lose sight of the fact it was offering safety to people fleeing Ukraine for the sake of their children.

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"The State has provided roughly, I think, 14,000 or 15,000 accommodations. Others have found accommodation themselves either with existing families that were here."

"That's how it happened in the space of two months, which is unprecedented in terms of the country's response."

He warned the focus should be on Russian president Vladimir Putin and ending the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

"I want an end to the war. We have to keep the pressure on Putin not on ourselves. And that's the fundamental approach of the European Union. It will be on a range of fronts – the war should end. There is no moral justification for it.”

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