Ireland is reaching its capacity of the number of refugees it can accommodate, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has admitted…
Speaking in the Dáil, the lower house of the Irish parliament, on Wednesday, Varadkar revealed that his administration would struggle to handle another influx of migration next year if the number of new arrivals remained as high as it is currently.
It’s important to note that the Irish government has the ability and is primarily responsible for setting the number of refugees arriving in the country.
Local governments would not be in a position to provide accommodation to another 50,000 people “if that number arrived over the course of the next year,” Varadkar said, warning that such a figure was realistic based on current trends.
“Based on current numbers, it wouldn’t be far off that, and we just don’t know if we’re able to provide that level of accommodation,” he added.
The Irish prime minister told lawmakers that there is a “limit” to the number of refugees a country can provide for, and claimed that Ireland is “very much” at that limit currently.
The liberal leader’s realization of the pressures facing Ireland’s communities as a result of his administration’s asylum and immigration policy has been gradual.
Michael Leahy, the chairman of the Irish Freedom Party, told this site earlier this week that “Ireland has received a higher proportion of Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other EU country with the exception of Poland, despite being the country farthest from the war zone.”
At the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Varadkar issued a staunch commitment to mass migration and accepting as many refugees as possible.
By November last year, despite beginning to express some concerns about the number of new arrivals amid murmurs of discontent among local communities, the Irish leader said, “We’ll do everything we can to provide them with shelter, and that will range from accommodation in people’s homes to retrofitting old warehouses, office blocks, using hotels, using modular housing and rapid build.”
However, by May 2023, Varadkar began to accept the realities of the pressures on public services as a result of his government’s asylum policy.