Reversal of decision to move Ukrainian refugees from Co Kerry welcomed

Reversal Of Decision To Move Ukrainian Refugees From Co Kerry Welcomed Reversal Of Decision To Move Ukrainian Refugees From Co Kerry Welcomed
Russian invasion of Ukraine, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

The revised decision by the Government not to move 135 Ukrainian refugees from Kerry to Mayo has been welcomed by a group representing migrants.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the planned move of Ukrainians from Killarney to Westport would now not proceed, after much local opposition.

In a statement, it said that the Department “worked intensively overnight” to source alternative accommodation for the Ukrainians affected.

The Ukraine Crisis Temporary Accommodation Team (UCTAT) is due to get in touch with the affected families to inform them about their new accommodation.

Migrant rights group Doras welcomed the U-turn, saying that such a sudden move could be traumatising for refugees.

This is a particular concern this week, as news of missile strikes launched at Ukrainian cities made the headlines and prompted international condemnation.


“This sort of thing can be devastating and retraumatising for people who have established some normality in their lives after escaping from a war zone,” Doras CEO John Lannon said.

“For children in particular it’s particularly problematic. It disrupts their education, and we know from numerous studies that education provides structure, not only for the children, but for the entire family unit.

“Also, adults are already working in some cases, they’re learning English, and they’ve made friends. That’s all gone when they are moved.”

Mr Lannon, while acknowledging that the Department is under pressure, said that settings such as hotels and tents are not suitable long-term accommodation for refugees.

He also said there have been other examples of one group of refugees displacing another in recent weeks.

“This is not the first time that one group of people have been moved to make way for others,” Mr Lannon said.

“In Laois last month, 15 Ukrainian families were also given less than two days’ notice to vacate the homes they made there over the previous six months.

“The situation that has arisen is a symptom of an over-reliance on temporary and emergency accommodation for people arriving from Ukraine, as well as asylum seekers.


“It’s chaotic and points to an urgent need for reform and leadership, including the establishment of a new Refugee Agency.”

He continued: “We should continue to welcome people who need protection here, but Ireland needs to meet its commitments to beneficiaries of temporary protection, and to international protection applicants. And they all need to be treated with dignity and respect.

“The suddenness of the proposed Killarney move was very concerning, with people given 48 hours to pack up and move to another location. Lessons were clearly not learnt from what happened in Laois.”

The Department said that finding accommodation “remains extremely challenging”.

It added: “The transit centre at Citywest is nearing capacity and the possibility of a pause on entry to new arrivals to Citywest due to a nationwide shortage of accommodation cannot be discounted.

“Ireland is now accommodating 55,000 people between those fleeing Ukraine and International Protection applicants, compared to 7,500 last year.

“The Department is mindful of the impact that all such moves have on those affected, and will continue to deliver a humanitarian response to the needs of Ukrainian displaced persons and those seeking International Protection.”

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