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05th Nov 2023

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wants to “slow down” the number of Ukrainian refugees

Ryan Grace

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“We need to take action that will slow the numbers coming in.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the Irish Government needs to act to ‘slow the numbers coming in’ from Ukraine.

Varadkar claim it is “naïve” of fellow politicians to think one can simply press pause on migration, but added that the Irish public can expect changes to both the welfare and accommodation rules for refugees coming into Ireland before the end of the year.

The number of Ukrainian refugees in Ireland currently stands at around 100,000. Up to 50,000 more arrivals are expected in the coming months.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Berlin. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Leo Varadkar: Number of refugees entering the country “significant.”

Leo Varadkar was speaking after the Government revealed it is preparing to cut social welfare payments to Ukrainian refugees.

The Taoiseach says the number of Ukrainians entering the country each week, which stands between 500 and 800, is ‘significant’. He hastened to add that Ukrainians will “still be welcome here”, adding:

‘Any Ukrainian coming to Ireland is not going to be turned away. That’s not going to happen. We need to take action that will slow the numbers coming in so we’ve got more time to catch up on accommodation and other issues.’

Leo Varadkar Ukraine President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi in Kyiv, July 2023 (Photo by Vitalii Nosach/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

“We don’t want to be accommodating people in tents and people in heated cabins.”

Leo Varadkar was asked what kind of policies the Government are looking to amend or introduce when it comes to refugees:

“It makes sense to look at what other European countries are providing for Ukrainian refugees. Other countries don’t offer, for example, unlimited State-provided accommodation at no cost.

“We’re in the situation now where we’re accommodating people in tents and people in heated cabins. That’s not a situation we want to be in, but if we can slow down the numbers entering now, we have a chance of getting on top of that.’

He added, “I am really proud of what we achieved as a country, welcoming 100,000 Ukrainians to Ireland. I think we will look back on this period and will be proud of the fact that we did that as a country.”

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