Ireland will open doors to refugees from Ukraine, pledges Taoiseach 5 months ago

Ireland will open doors to refugees from Ukraine, pledges Taoiseach

"We will not be found wanting on the humanitarian side."

Ireland will provide a safe haven for Ukrainian refugees, should the need for such a scenario transpire in the wake of significant escalation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Advertisement

Russian president Vladimir Putin formally announced a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday, warning that the western world will face "consequences never encountered in your history" should leaders attempt to intervene.

Following initial reports of airstrikes and explosions across cities such as Kyiv, Podilsk, Kharkiv, Mariupol and more, it has since been confirmed that nearly all major parts of Ukraine have been subject to Russian attacks.

Speaking on News at One on RTÉ Radio 1 ahead of a crunch meeting of the EU Council, Taoiseach Micheál Martin – who previously quickly moved to condemn Putin's actions – said that Ireland will welcome Ukrainian refugees if necessary.

"I'm conscious of the Ukrainian leadership's necessity to maintain calm in their country and to work through this, but we will have to prepare for all scenarios, and yes we should, and we are preparing for supporting Ukrainian families and people with humanitarian assistance and funding," the Taoiseach began.

Advertisement

"But also, in any other way. We will not be found wanting on the humanitarian side. That's something we can do and must do – and we must step up to the plate in relation to that as a country."

Asked by Bryan Dobson if plans are currently being made to receive Ukrainian refugees should they seek entry to Ireland, the Taoiseach responded:

"Yes, plans are being worked on that if that turns out to be the case.

"War can, as we know, create real pressures in terms of migratory flows and so on. We hope, again, that it doesn't come to that.

Advertisement

"I'm always very conscious, as people talk about geo-politics and strategies of leaders and so on – this affects people, families, children, young people who are the first to die in war," Martin continued.

"We have to be very conscious there and I think we have to do everything we possibly can in the situation to reach out to our Ukrainian friends. We will be there for them."

Bringing up the subject of over 60 Irish citizens who are currently in Ukraine and how a decision has been made to waive visa requirements to Irish people who may have Ukrainian family members, Dobson asked if this move was perhaps enacted too late into proceedings.

"Well, it may not be too late, I hope," the Taoiseach replied.

Advertisement

"Certainly, that will be done today... the Minister for Justice is working on that and has been in discussions with the Minister for Foreign Affairs in relation to that.

"Everything we can do to facilitate Ukrainians caught up in this situation, we will do."

Featured Image of Taoiseach Micheál Martin via Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie