Ireland appears to be living through its very own Merkel 2015 moment with preparations for potentially 200,000 Ukrainian refugees already hitting the skids.
Since hostilities began approximately 12,000 Ukrainian evacuees have arrived into the state, with that number expected to balloon to north of 50,000 within the next month.
Lacking any major military or diplomatic resources it is becoming clear that the Irish State has pledged itself to be a dumping ground from the conflict in lieu of contributing anything useful to the Western alliance.
While our screens have been filled with beaming smiles from arriving Ukranians, behind the media-engineered smokescreen there are plenty of hiccups going under the radar.
From an effective breakdown in communication between various Government departments, to the allegorically obvious fact that the asylum process is already being hijacked by an awful lot of non-Ukranians seeing a chink in the armour to enter the EU, and by extension the UK with the Common Travel Area, the sheer scale of Ireland’s humanitarian commitment is surprising to many, even on the open borders Left.
To put these numbers into perspective, the Irish State could scarcely grapple with the 5,000 or so largely bogus asylum seekers arriving annually pre-covid, hence the purgatory of Direct Provision. The chances of over 100,000 in a single year is a recipe for social anarchy, enough to cripple normal state functioning, or at the least result in some very messy optics.
The breaking point will be reached far short of the potential 200,000 arrivals, but the naked hypocrisy of our elite could have very well have vaporised the surplus housing stock of the entire nation at a time it is needed most.
The plan of action to the crisis was outlined in the initial weeks, with robust moves to seconde various parts of the country’s hotel infrastructure as well as vacant public spaces to cope with the new arrivals. As of the time of writing, it has been reported that under-the-table negotiations are occurring with various hoteliers and property management companies nationwide.
Ukranians arriving into Dublin Airport are asked initially to report to the notoriously understaffed Immigration Control, with a special reception point already erected on site. After this, arrivals are granted a year’s residency from the Department of Justice, with the Department of Children managing accommodation needs for those in need.
Due to EU provisions it is not necessary for Ukranians to apply for international protection formally, with the new arrangement allowing immediate access to the welfare state and labour market.
Engendering certain cynicism from both sides of the ideological aisle due to the relative inertia to the decades-long housing crisis, the reaction has already hit a few snags regarding the sourcing of accommodation. The State is already seeking the fast-tracking of construction for purpose-built housing alongside the retrofitting of such sites as Defence Force’s land at Gormanstown and Citywest.
The thorny issue of asylum has been left in the hands of O’Gorman’s Department of Children, with some legacy functions being handled by the Department of Justice. Sources have reported that amidst the influx there has been some harsh words between various government officials, with each not wanting to be left holding the can on asylum as numbers keep climbing.
The Department of Social Protection has given up the usual validation process of checking for the correct criteria, and have seemingly begun to hand out PPSNs without any checks. Although they retained their trademarked incompetence, with reports of Ukrainian families having to travel back and forth to Dublin Airport due to improper registration procedures.
The International Protection Accommodation Service, which manages the sourcing of housing, had also apparently ceased replying to queries, following on from hoteliers driving a hard bargain (somewhere in the region of €200 per night, to accept refugees). The State will pack millions into hoteliers’ pockets while expecting Irish households to feed, clothe, house and provide utility bills for the newest wave of planters at their own cost. One wonders just how many houses will actually become available, when the Ukrainians get stronger rights than tenants with no cost attached.
The general trend is an overemphasis on PR than actual problem solving, with (at best) poor communication and obfuscation between Departments.
As shown in a now infamous viral video on the matter, there does seem to be a worrying trend of South Asians (sometimes students based in Kiev, other-times pure cynics) and Nigerians making up a high proportion of the numbers on the ground — a much greater proportion than their numbers in Ukraine would suggest.
Ireland’s place within the UK Common Travel Area, as well as the EU, makes it a prime target for asylum tourists, with the process in years gone by being notoriously clogged up by Albanians, Nigerians and Georgians seeking easy entry.
An outlier even by European standards, you know it’s bad when even the Brits are aghast at how far the Irish State has left the door ajar in its Ukrainian response.
My prediction is that this spring of welcomes will segue into a summer of chaos, followed by some harsh words from London and Brussels at the extent to which the Irish State has dropped the ball with its generosity.
One consolation of an increasingly federal union and a Common Travel Area is that an increasingly possible ‘Fortress Europe’ type scenario may force the otherwise feckless Irish State to move with the current on migration.
For Irish voters we are witnessing in real time the real priorities of our State, more content with placating foreign capitals and humanitarian interests abroad than providing for its own citizens at home.
Our sons and daughters are packing bags for Vancouver and Sydney while ministers are pulling late nighters sourcing accommodation for Pakistani students arriving from Lviv. The energy of the State is being channelled into building refugee camps in army bases, instead of affordable housing for struggling Irish families.
The real world impact of having such a captured State with a willfully blind attitude towards migration will become glaringly clear no matter how much our regime tries to hide it beneath media fanfare.
Those ready and willing to make a killing from the asylum industry are primed to do so, while the rest of us are forced to contemplate emigration, not to mention those trying to wake up a society from heading down the social and economic tubes.