Nearly €1.9bn outlay expected on housing Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers, TDs told

Sum estimated to fund supports for Ukrainian refugees, €1.49bn, down €30m on 2023 spend, according to Minister

Almost €1.9 billion is expected to be spent by the Department of Integration on accommodation and other supports for Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers from other countries in 2024, TDs have been told.

Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman said the amount estimated to be needed to fund supports for Ukrainian refugees, €1.49 billion, is down €30 million on the sum spent in 2023.

He said the €409 million estimated for costs related to asylum seekers is also down on the sum spent in 2023. Still, he warned of the possibility that expenditure in this area could be “significantly higher” than allocated.

The Department of Children and Integration received a bailout of €1 billion last year to meet the cost of housing Ukrainian refugees and other asylum seekers.


Mr O’Gorman told the Committee on Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth that overall his department expects €7.293 billion of current expenditure and €135 million on capital expenditure this year.

His department also funds disability services, child and family agency Tusla and childcare services.

The sums allocated for Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers is about 26 per cent of the expected expenditure in 2024.

Mr O’Gorman said that the €1.49 billion expected to be spent on accommodation and other supports for Ukrainian refugees is a “slight reduction” — €30 million less — than was spent in 2023.

He said this is due to spending on the modular homes project reducing in 2024 as the originally planned project is completed and changes to the rules for new arrivals from Ukraine which will mean a 90-day limit placed on State-provided accommodation.

Mr O’Gorman said the €409 million in estimated spending on accommodation for asylum seekers is also a reduction on last year’s spend.

Some 26,000 asylum seekers were being accommodated by the State at the end of 2023, up from 7,244 at the end of 2021.

Mr O’Gorman said the funding allocation recognises the need for a “whole-of-Government” approach to application processing, housing international protection seekers while their application is being progressed, and supporting those granted status to remain in the State in moving on from refugee accommodation.

He said this is important in the context of potentially between 12,000 and 15,000 more people seeking international protection (IP) here in 2024.

Mr O’Gorman also warned: “If supply constraints within the residential property market hamper movement out of IP accommodation, and if processing times and volumes in respect of finalisation of cases for international protection applicants do not keep pace with application numbers, the expenditure in 2024 could be significantly higher than that allocated.”

Separately, some €225 million is being allocated to the Mother and Baby Institution Payment Scheme in 2024 which is to offer redress to some 34,000 survivors and former residents of the homes.

Overall the Government has said the scheme will end up being funded to the tune of €800 million.

Mr O’Gorman said this year’s allocation will meet the initial costs of opening the scheme and commencement of payments along with providing medical cards for survivors and former residents during 2024.

About 19,000 people who survived mother and baby homes will be entitled to an enhanced medical card.

Mr O’Gorman said he expects the scheme to be up and running in the first quarter of this year.

He said staff have been put in place to oversee it and there is trauma-informed training for them.

There will be an online application process but also one that is entirely paper-based and Mr O’Gorman promised a big public information campaign run in Ireland and internationally as well.

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times