Ireland seeks to limit Ukrainian benefits as 30% of recent new arrivals come from other EU member states

Calls to make Ireland’s welfare system less attractive for safe Ukrainian nationals living elsewhere in Europe have sparked a split among coalition government members

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke

Ukrainian nationals living in other European countries are migrating to Ireland in order to receive increased social welfare benefits, a member of Ireland’s Ukrainian Network has admitted.

Viktoria Tymoshchuk, who works as an activities facilitator for the Ukrainian Network in Ireland, revealed that people who may have left Ukraine years before the Russian invasion in February last year are relocating to the island nation after being told by existing refugees in the country they may be better off financially by doing so.

“It is true that Ukrainians share the information about living in Ireland, and we said that Ireland looks after us well,” Ms. Tymoshchuk said during an interview with the Newstalk radio station.

“So, that is true that people are coming from EU countries to have allowances here and accommodation,” she admitted.

Other Ukrainian nationals, living in areas of the country not affected by the conflict with Russia, are also trying their luck and taking the opportunity to migrate unconditionally to Western nations, including Ireland.

“They’re fishing for opportunities,” Ms. Tymoshchuk explained. “We cannot blame them because it is war and all the people are fishing for opportunities.”

This, she revealed, is causing friction within the refugee community in Ireland, some of whom believe that those coming from safe regions should “basically go home and just leave space for those” in need.

Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Ireland are entitled to social welfare payments of €208 per week, in addition to child benefits when applicable. Other entitlements include state-provided accommodation and free travel on public transport.

The matter of social welfare for Ukrainian nationals was raised in the Irish cabinet this week after Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman submitted proposals to impose a time limit on state-funded accommodation of 90 days.

The plans put forward by the Irish Green Party politician were contested by ministers from his coalition partner Fianna Fáil, who expressed concerns that restricting benefits to a limited time period would increase pressure on the Department of Housing, led by Fianna Fáil’s minister, Darragh O’Brien.

Some within the Irish government want to bring benefits in line with those on offer in other EU member states to prevent a further influx of migration with weekly arrivals now averaging around 800 people.

One senior source, as cited in the Irish Independent newspaper, claimed that as many as 30 percent of new arrivals were Ukrainian nationals relocating from other EU member states.

Deputy Prime Minister Micheál Martin acknowledged the problem recently, admitting that “there is some evidence that perhaps there are some secondary transfers now from across Europe, as opposed to directly from Ukraine, and that’s the issue that has been examined now in terms of any new arrivals into the future.”

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