Thursday, 2 June 2022
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
23. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the engagement her Department has had with relevant stakeholders in relation to the refugees arriving here from Ukraine and the co-ordination of services, supports and resources which are presently being delivered in an ad-hoc manner by volunteers attempting to meet the needs of those fleeing the Russian invasion. [28492/22]
My Department is focused on providing short term accommodation to people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. In excess of 23,000 people have been referred to my Department for accommodation to date.
Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine on 24 February, and the invoking of the temporary protection Directive by the European Union shortly afterwards, my Department has worked intensively as part of the cross-governmental response to the Ukraine crisis. Providing accommodation and supports to displaced persons from Ukraine would not be possible without the whole of society response including the contributions from stakeholders, volunteers and the Irish public in general.
My Department is in regular contact with all the relevant stakeholders to facilitate the provision of supports and services to Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection. This includes the Local Authorities who have stood up the Community Response Forum which brings together organisations, statutory bodies such as Tusla and the HSE, and volunteers at a local level to link services to those that need them.
Furthermore, my Department has regular engagement with NGOs working in this sector. They have been extremely supportive and my Department is committed to continued cooperation and collaboration.
I have had the privilege in recent weeks to travel around the country to speak with representatives of community groups, family resource centres and youth services as well as those who are on the front line of this engagement. In particular, I thank the community groups around the country that have done so much, individually and collectively, to welcome those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to our country.
27. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his views on the development of 569 units by two organisations (details supplied) at the Ninch, Laytown, County Meath to provide temporary accommodation for Ukrainian refugees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28366/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 24 and 27 together.
My Department has been approached about many potential projects which aim to provide suitable accommodation to those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Engagement does take place between parties and the Department where suitable accommodation is potentially available to address the short term needs. However, it is not presently engaging in the particular project referenced which I understand has submitted a planning application.
Following the Government Decision dated 26 April 2022, the Government recently established a dedicated Cabinet Committee, chaired by An Taoiseach, to oversee and coordinate the Ukraine humanitarian response, including accommodation and supports for persons arriving in Ireland from the conflict in Ukraine.
My Department is leading the initial humanitarian response which involves the provision of temporary emergency accommodation and related supports. My Department has no role under the Planning and Development Act 2000 and any related applications are a matter for the relevant planning authority.
The Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage is focusing on solutions to the longer-term accommodation challenges, and is leading cross-government efforts through a Housing Taskforce established by the Government for this purpose. The Taskforce is examining options under three headings: rapid delivery volumetric accommodation; use of vacant public and private buildings as multi-occupancy accommodation; and measures to stimulate and accelerate construction of new permanent build homes.
The Office of Public Works is leading on the modular or volumetric accommodation solutions.