Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has said the UK government’s Rwanda program may have led to an increase in the number of applicants for international protection in the republic.
The Taoiseach made the comments after it emerged on Wednesday night that Ireland was suffering from a “serious shortage” of public accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.
Speaking from government buildings on Thursday, Mr Martin said that of those at the Citywest reception center for Ukrainians in Dublin, 70 per cent are now applicants for international protection.
“We will analyze this, but something has happened in the last two or three months in terms of the increase in the number of applicants for international protection, something has clearly happened,” the Taoiseach said.
“Anecdotally or intuitively, one can see, and perhaps feel, that this political announcement, which I thought was a bad political announcement from the UK, some sort of shocking move in my view, to make a deal with the Rwanda, clearly was able to motivate people using the Common Travel Area to enter the Republic – yes, I think that’s one of many factors.
The Taoiseach made the comments as he and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien announced an update on the progress of the Housing For All plan.
Mr O’Brien said “real progress” had been made, “despite significant headwinds”.
“Housing starts are up, permits are up, completions are up, and thankfully people are now taking out more mortgages than they have in over a decade. First-time buyers are at their highest level since 2007.” Speaking after the announcement of a €50 million Croi Conaithe (Cities) Fund, which aims to bring vacant and underutilized buildings back into use in towns and villages, Mr. O’Brien said of the Croi Conaithe (Towns) scheme:
“It’s targeted support that goes to landlords by reducing the purchase price of an apartment. It will directly build more than 5,000 new apartments for owner-occupiers.
“I am very pleased to say, as the Taoiseach alluded to, that this program has generated substantial interest from the sector and has the potential to bring new life to our cities over the next few years. years.”