The coalition Government has been brought to the brink this week by escalating rows over the state’s migration policy. Having been described as the “the most divisive, heated discussions” since the formation of the Government, this Tuesday Minister Roderic O’Gorman suggested that Ukrainian refugees be accommodated for only 90 days by the state before transitioning to the private sector.
This move was met with resistance as it would shift responsibility to the already overburdened Department of Housing, potentially leading to issues with homelessness and schooling for the affected children.
Additionally, concerns were raised about the use of social welfare benefits potentially attracting refugees to Ireland. This comes after it was announced that expenditure on aid for Ukranian migrants is projected to increase to an approximate €2.5 billion next year, up from roughly €2 billion, as indicated in an expenditure report released in conjunction with the budget. Yesterday, the Tánaiste acknowledged that it was ‘possible’ Ukrainian refugees were coming to Ireland from other EU countries because the benefits were far more generous than that of European counterparts.
Recently, Government ministers were also cautioned about escalating integration challenges resulting from the refugee crisis, as revealed in internal documents. This comes as Europe braces for another refugee influx from the Isreali-palestinian conflict that is predicted to be on a similar scale to the 2015 European migrant crisis.
This crisis is putting acute pressure on the coalition in a particularly difficult time, as cracks appear regarding the coalition’s confidence in Minister McEntee, when Government TD’s and Senators failed to back the Minister with regards to the establishment of a public inquiry into the death of Shane O’Farrell.