IRELAND’s efforts to house Ukrainian refugees will become difficult in the coming weeks as the offer is now “stretched”, Taoiseach Micheal Martin has warned.
More than 20,000 Ukrainians have come to Ireland in recent weeks to escape the Russian invasion of their country.
The government expects the number of Ukrainian refugees in Ireland to rise to 32,000 by Easter weekend and continue to rise as the war continues.
Thousands of Ukrainians are currently staying in hotels, guesthouses and hostels across the country as the government scrambles to secure more accommodation.
More than 20,000 Irish people have volunteered to open their homes to Ukrainian families, but that stock is also running low.
Contingency plans have been put in place to temporarily house Ukrainians in pop-up facilities built in major centers such as the Millstreet Arena in Cork and the military barracks in Gormanstown.
However, the Taoiseach has warned that the coming weeks will become difficult as Ireland tries to cope with an influx of refugees and a critical housing shortage.
He said: “We have never seen such a rapid influx of refugees fleeing war before and I want to pay tribute to the public service for their response on many different levels.
“On the hosting front, it’s tense, but there are a lot of new initiatives coming.
“It will be difficult in the weeks to come, there is no doubt about that.
“We are bringing in more staff, especially on the pledge side to go through that list quicker and free houses quicker for refugees coming into the country.”
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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar confessed today that Ukrainian refugees are likely to have to be accommodated in places like community sports halls while the government tries to find better solutions.
Earlier this week, reports claimed the government was planning to build temporary accommodation in warehouses across the country.