No one has a right of veto over who lives next door to them

No one has a veto over who can or cannot live in their neighborhood in Ireland, emphasizes Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman.

In response to reports of a growing number of local protests against the reception of asylum seekers and refugees from Ukraine in their neighbourhoods, Mr. O’Gorman that it was important to share lodging information with communities, but argued that the emergency of the situation didn’t always allow that to happen.

In his strongest defense of his department’s response to find emergency shelters for nearly 60,000 people by 2022 – between Ukrainian refugees and people from other countries seeking international protection – Mr O’Gorman said the government has a fundamental responsibility to act in this issue to act urgently.

“There is a need to provide information when we open additional accommodation,” he said. “I think it’s important to say that we have a moral and legal obligation to provide shelter for those fleeing a war situation.

“The alternative is to leave people without homes. We have to act quickly because of this crisis, because of this war situation.”

He said his department would be working to improve its capacity to share information with communities, but added: “I think it’s also important to say that in Ireland no one has a veto over who is in their neighborhood or within their community.”

Mr O’Gorman, along with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, was speaking at the unveiling of a new plan to encourage people with vacant properties – particularly holiday homes – to offer these six months to Ukrainian refugees.

The new scheme is state-led and separate from that of the Irish Red Cross. A new dedicated website, offerahome.ie, has been set up and the state’s monthly contribution will be increased from €400 per month to €800 per month.

The scheme will be administered by local authorities – Mr O’Brien said they were best placed to do this as they had “experience in the field”.

When asked if other repurposed office buildings would be used to house refugees, as happened at East Wall, Mr. O’Gorman: “In a situation where we house 60,000 people, we will make more use of office buildings across the country. The use of these buildings will be an important part of the response.”

Mr O’Gorman said a new department had been set up within his department specifically to deal with the Ukrainian refugee crisis and now employs 150 staff. He said another 50 personnel would soon be sent to that division.

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