War in Ukraine: 32 unaccompanied refugee children have arrived into State

Month of war has displaced more than half Ukraine’s child population, Unicef says

Some 32 unaccompanied children who arrived into the State from Ukraine were referred to the child and family agency, the Tusla chief exective has said.

Bernard Gloster has explained the measures being taken by the State agency to assist unaccompanied minors from Ukraine arriving into Ireland.

It comes as Unicef said a month of war has displaced 4.3 million children, more than half the country’s child population. The United Nations agency says 1.8 million children have crossed into neighbouring countries as refugees while another 2.5 million have moved within Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

To date there were 32 referrals from the Garda Immigration Bureau, not all of whom required Tusla’s assistance as some connected with relations or friends, Mr Gloster told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.


The unaccompanied minors were predominantly in their late teens, but a child aged 12 had arrived on Wednesday, he said.

Most had travelled with groups and it was not until they arrived at the airport or ferry port that it became clear they were minors and on their own, he said. Up to 85 percent of the displaced people arriving into Ireland came into the country at Dublin Airport which was where Tusla now has a full time presence, explained Mr Gloster.

Half of the 18 children now in Tusla’s care were in residential care and the others were in specialised foster carers who had been specifically recruited. The older minors (17) were in supervised lodging.

The Red Cross was processing offers from the public to provide accommodation, any family offering to host children would have to be garda vetted and that process was now being “stepped up” by the Department of Children and the Gardaí, he said.

The Garda Immigration Bureau staff and Tusla staff at the airport were paying particular attention to children not travelling with their parents to ensure there was not an issue with trafficking. They were looking out for any signs of distress. Tusla would follow up in all cases to ensure the greatest level of protection.

There were always risks with large numbers of people arriving which meant there were dangers and challenges, he said.