Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Departmental Funding

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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632. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if funding will now be provided by his Department towards accommodation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32056/22]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine on February 24, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) continues to work as part of the whole-of-Government response with a focus on meeting the immediate, temporary accommodation needs of those fleeing the conflict.

DCEDIY is focused on the immediate, short-term accommodation needs of those who have fled here. To date, more than 35,000 people have arrived in Ireland and just in excess of 25,000 of those have been referred to this Department seeking accommodation from the State.

While DCEDIY remains focused on the provision of immediate temporary accommodation, other Departments and Agencies are also involved in the whole of government response to this crisis. The Government is committed to supporting those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The cross-Government response is being supported by the Community Response Forum, a Local-Authority led programme providing assistance to Ukrainian refugees.

The team procuring accommodation for beneficiaries of temporary protection have contracts in place with a wide range of accommodation providers across the country.

These contracts are negotiated directly with the provider according to specific terms, rates and conditions, and for an agreed length of time.

In some cases, the local authorities procure accommodation for the Department according to an agreement that we have with them and under the same terms.

Accommodation procured outside these arrangements, or booked directly by beneficiaries of temporary protection or on their behalf are not funded by the Department. This is to ensure that only suitable accommodation is procured in line with public spending rules.

The Candle of Grace Charity brought a large number of people from Ukraine to Ireland, including over 100 minors, without any contact in advance with my Department.

There was no agreement in place between my Department and Mayo County Council in relation to the procurement of accommodation for this group.

The accommodation arrangements that were made by the charity directly, or with the local County Council is not covered by the Department’s accommodation procurement rules, and the County Council was informed that these costs would not be covered.

It has now been decided that my Department will cover the accommodation cost, subject to Mayo County Council providing assurances that any unaccompanied minor is being accommodated appropriately, and that Tusla is happy with the arrangement.

My Department will not cover costs retrospectively.

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