By Cate McCurry, PA
The Government is to investigate claims that some Ukrainian refugees have raised concerns about being placed in centres with people of Russian ethnicity.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that while the claims will be examined, he does not have a major concern that pro-Putin agents are arriving in Ireland and staying in refugee centres.
Some Ukrainian refugees stay at temporary accommodation centres before moving on to long-term accommodation in different parts of the country.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) said that where issues arise in accommodation centres, managers deal with those involved on site.
It said that when a resolution cannot be reached, the department will “endeavour” to provide alternative accommodation.
Mr Varadkar said the concerns raised by Ukrainian refugees will be looked into.
“I think it’s important to appreciate that there are a lot of people who are Ukrainian who have Russian family and vice versa,” Mr Varadkar added.
“The countries are not dissimilar to England and Ireland in many ways. So you do have people that have dual citizenship, and you have people who are Ukrainian but have Russian family members and vice versa.
“I think as Irish people you can kind of understand that sort of relationship that can exist between two neighbouring countries, often friends, sometimes enemies.
“We will look into this, but I don’t have a major concern that there are pro-Putin or pro-Kremlin Russian agents getting into the country under the guise of being Ukrainian.
“But we do have to bear in mind that that’s not impossible, and that’s why we will look into it.”
A department spokeswoman said it provides short-term accommodation to those who are deemed by the Department of Justice to be eligible for protection under the Temporary Protection Directive.
“The department does not discriminate based on race or nationality,” the spokeswoman added.
“When a person has received Beneficiary of Temporary Protection (BOTP) status from the Department of Justice, DCEDIY then provides temporary accommodation according to their particular needs.
“Some BOTPs may be of Russian ethnicity and have been resident in Ukraine prior to the invasion.
“Where issues arise in any of the procured DCEDIY accommodation centres, managers deal with BOTPs onsite and only when a resolution cannot be reached will the department endeavour to provide alternative accommodation.
“The department does not comment on individual cases.”