Government to pay €1.5m to EU over lack of space for asylum seekers

Michael Bolton

The Government is set to make a financial contribution of €1.5 million to the European Union as the State has been unable to provide accommodation to an additional 350 asylum seekers.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman will receive Cabinet approval for the memo voluntary solidarity mechanism. The scheme requires member states to accommodate refugees or pay a financial contribution if they cannot.

According to the Irish Times, the two Ministers will tell the Cabinet that due to the large unforeseen increase in the number of people fleeing Ukraine and international protection applicants, the State’s capacity to provide accommodation is under “severe pressure”.

Part of the solidarity agreement was that the State previously agreed to accept an extra 350 international protection applicants.

However, due to an unforeseen amount of refugees and asylum seekers already in the country, with Ireland currently accommodating over 80,000 people, the Government is going to offer to pay €1.5 million instead.

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath says the State's capacity to provide accommodation is under severe pressure.

"The pressure that we are under is well known. We are now accommodating around 85,000 people, about 65,000 people are from Ukraine, and about 20,000 international protection applicants.

"People are very much aware of the pressures that are there, particularly around accomodation across the country."