The recent revelations that Ukrainian nationals are relocating to Ireland from other EU member states in order to claim more attractive benefits come as no surprise to me and are just another example of the abuse of our asylum process I have been informed of from local communities all across the country.
Some months ago, I highlighted that Ireland had at that stage a higher proportion of “Ukrainian” refugees per head of population than any other EU country with the exception of Poland, which is on the border of Ukraine.
Our proportion was approximately two and a half times the EU average despite the fact that we are the country furthest from the war zone.
The comments from Ms. Tymoshchuck, an activities facilitator for the Ukrainian Network in Ireland who revealed to Newstalk that people who may have left Ukraine years before the Russian invasion in February last year are now coming to Ireland for handsome handouts, confirm what every Irish person knows but what the government refuses to acknowledge.
Ukraine is a vast country with large areas unaffected by the war, and these parts of the country should be the first location to accommodate persons fleeing conflict. Instead, tourist accommodations are still widely available in Western Ukraine (while it is not in Ireland), and in much of the country, life goes on as normal.
Ireland seeks to limit Ukrainian benefits as 30% of recent new arrivals come from other EU member states
Calls to make Ireland’s welfare system less attractive for safe Ukrainian nationals living elsewhere in Europe have sparked a split among coalition government members
Those who are legitimate refugees and who have a good reason for Ireland to be their first port of call should be accommodated here, but it appears to me that the government is using this crisis to push its agenda of dramatically increasing Ireland’s population as expressed in its “Ireland 2040” program, without any regard to the impact on the present housing crisis or indeed on long-term social stability.
Furthermore, a number of volunteers involved in the refugee centers in Clare have confirmed to me privately that many of the new arrivals are not remotely connected with Ukraine, and this highlights the complete shambles that our asylum policy has become.
Undocumented persons are coming to Ireland and claiming Ukrainian origin without any proof, and indeed often without even the ability to speak Ukrainian. We have all also heard many stories of such “refugees” returning to Ukraine to receive medical care or dental treatment because the waiting times here are too long.
Ireland’s support systems are much too generous, and our virtue-signalling government seems intent on placing the interests of refugees, whether bogus or legitimate, ahead of the needs of the Irish people. Until the level of support is drastically reduced we will inevitably be subject to “refugee tourism”.
This whole sorry process has not just undermined the provision of services and the housing market in this country, it has the potential to seriously undermine social stability in the near future, if it is not doing so already.
It is clear that many of the refugees have no intention of ever returning to their home countries, and the enormous citizen awarding ceremonies, held now nearly every month in this country, are a clear sign that this is not a policy of short-term humanitarian aid, but a long term policy of population adjustment.
Michael Leahy is the chairman of the Irish Freedom Party and a candidate for the Ireland South constituency in the forthcoming European Parliament elections