Coveney says housing of Ukrainian refugees will put Irish society under pressure

Simon Coveney said we need to respond as we are seeing "the tragedy of history" unfolding before our eyes.
Coveney says housing of Ukrainian refugees will put Irish society under pressure

James Cox

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has said the housing of Ukrainian refugees is going to put Irish society under pressure.

Around 18,000 refugees have arrived here and the process of moving people into accommodation pledged by Irish people is underway.

However, concern has been expressed about how Ireland will be able to accommodate those fleeing Ukraine, while in the grips of a domestic housing crisis.

Simon Coveney said we need to respond as we are seeing "the tragedy of history" unfolding before our eyes.

"This is going to put Irish society under pressure, but it is something that we need to respond to. Unfortunately we are seeing the tragedy of history unfolding before our eyes, and Ireland needs to be part of showing generosity and a humanitarian response to a country that is being devastated at the moment."

Mr Coveney added: "They are Europeans just like we are, and we need to play our part, as indeed other European countries are doing."

Localised forums to coordinate responses to the Ukrainian refugee crisis are being established throughout Ireland.

The Government announced that each local authority in the country will establish a community response forum to help organise efforts to accommodate and support the thousands of Ukrainians arriving.

The model is similar to that which was used at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic to help coordinate the work of community and voluntary groups.

Ukrainian authorities have accused departing Russian forces of committing war crimes and leaving behind a “scene from a horror movie”.

Bodies with bound hands, close-range gunshot wounds and signs of torture lay scattered across a city on the outskirts of Kyiv after Russian soldiers withdrew from the area.

War crimes

As images of the bodies — of people whom residents said were killed indiscriminately — began to emerge from Bucha, a slew of European leaders condemned the atrocities and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow.

Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman said the scenes coming out of liberated territories are horrifying.

He added that international investigators must be allowed into these areas to gather evidence for war crime trials.

"I think they confirm our worst fears about what we felt might be happening in territory occupied by the Russian army, and I think it's absolutely essential that the International Criminal Court is rapidly given access to these sites, to these towns, where bodies are lying in the streets, where mass graves are present, and they're given that opportunity to gather evidence."

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