Thousands of unvetted shared home pledges for Ukrainians sent to councils

Lists of shared accommodation issued day after war refugees had to sleep in Dublin Airport

Thousands of shared accommodation pledges for Ukrainian refugees – many of them yet to be Garda vetted – were issued to local authorities by the Department of Children last month, the day after arrivals had to sleep in Dublin Airport, it has emerged.

Although they had been offered months previously, the Irish Red Cross had not yet completed vetting on most of the homes ahead of their distribution to councils by the Department of Children on July 14th.

Local authorities were left frustrated and overwhelmed as they worked their way through hundreds of pledges to discover many were either unsuitable or no longer available.

The department emailed councils the details the day after it said it had to pause the intake of new arrivals into existing State accommodation because it had run out of beds and space at Citywest.


In early May, the first 2,000 offers of shared accommodation, where refugees would be living with householders, were sent to the International Organisation for Migration for allocation to “adult Ukrainian refugees only” the department said.

Garda vetting

A further 4,600 shared home offers remained with the Red Cross, which was co-ordinating the process of Garda vetting required for households hosting children.

Of the 6,600 offers of shared homes, more than 1,000 have completed Garda vetting, the department said. “As Garda-vetted shared pledges are received by the department from the Irish Red Cross, they are sent to the local authorities and implementing partners to commence allocation to Ukrainian beneficiaries.”

However, it is understood in the region of 4,000 offers of accommodation were issued to local authorities on July 14th, most of which had not been vetted.

Lists of pledged vacant properties, where entire homes were made available to refugees, were sent to local authorities between April 7th and May 13th. Fingal County Council, which has contended with the largest influx of refugees of the four Dublin local authorities, was notified of 106 vacant properties in its area in the initial allocations, of which 36 were “available and suitable”.

Families and children

On July 14th, a further 379 properties were sent to the council, including 311 shared properties classified by the department as “viable and available”. However, just 28 households had completed the Garda vetting process.

“We can’t put families and children into properties where people are already living without the Garda vetting being done,” said Robert Burns, head of housing with the council. “It doesn’t mean the property isn’t useful, we can put an adult in – you don’t need the Garda vetting for that – but about 80 per cent coming through are women and children.”

Mr Burns said he appreciated the complexity of the situation but said: “It has been a frustration for us that the data on the shared properties has only now been made available to us.”

Irish Red Cross secretary general Liam O’Dwyer said the Garda vetting process had been a “very complex business” and had only been completed on about 1,100-1,200 households by the time the emails listing several thousand properties were sent to local authorities. “I suspect that the department are so keen to get people into accommodation, given the nature of the crisis at the moment, that they are hoping that the local authorities for many of these places can locate single people,” he said. “

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times