By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said his department has gone “above and beyond” in its efforts to house Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers.
Approximately 480 asylum seekers have been left without accommodation due to a severe lack of housing supply in Ireland, resulting in some people sleeping in tents.
Reports have emerged of tensions within Cabinet over whether Minister Roderic O’Gorman, charged with housing the Ukrainian refugees and other asylum seekers arriving in Ireland, is receiving enough support from his ministerial colleagues.
Mr O’Gorman told reporters during the week that he did have enough support, but that more needed to be done by government as long as hundreds of people continued to sleep on Ireland’s streets.
“To be honest, our department have gone above and beyond, and we’re working every single day, right the way through weekends and the whole lot, as a government, as a collective,” Mr O'Brien said.
“It’s not just about Roderic’s department or mine, and they do work really closely together.
“I know Roderic a long time, we get on very well. We work very well together and we’re pulling out every stop.”
When asked about reports of tensions within Cabinet, he said: “Genuinely there’s not, we meet on a regular basis, I read with interest some of the commentary around that.
“I work very closely with Roderic.
“We, as a government together have worked… on the Ukraine response, and if someone looked back 14 months ago and thought that we will be accommodating over 80,000 additional people from Ukraine and be able to do it, not without its challenges, mind you, and not everything done perfectly, we acknowledge that too.
“I think, by any fair assessment that has been done well.
“I’m responsible for the refurbishment programme, for working with local authorities as well, and local authorities right across the country have done incredible work, additional work on that, particularly around the offer a home scheme, the identifying of sites for new builds. I want to move on with the pod-type accommodation, which is quicker accommodation.
“And I’ve appointed Con Murray, the former chief executive of Limerick city and county council, he has been working with us for a number of weeks now to pull all that together too.
“And that’s about scaling up accommodation for our friends from Ukraine, for international protection, which does fall under the Department of Children and Roderic, but we support them in that space.”