Simon Coveney has said as many as 20,000 Ukrainians could come to Ireland in search of refuge.
The people of Ireland have been asked to “open up their homes” in order to house incoming refugees as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its sixth day.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has confirmed that Ukrainians travelling to Ireland will receive special refugee status and will be entitled to live and work in Ireland as EU citizens.
Coveney’s assertion follows news that the European Parliament has accepted Ukraine’s request to join the European Union, with proceedings currently underway to cement the country’s admission.
In terms of the influx of Ukrainian citizens expected to arrive in Ireland seeking shelter, Coveney noted that there may not be enough State-sanctioned housing to go around and has asked the Irish public to do its part.
“In truth, if we’re going to be able to accommodate the numbers that I expect to come here – we’re going to have to go beyond providing State-provided accommodation,” Coveney told RTÉ News.
“It’ll probably have to involve families, as well, who are willing to open up their homes to Ukrainian families for a temporary period of time.”
Coveney said he anticipates as many as 20,000 Ukrainian refugees could arrive in Ireland, though he added that it’s too early to place a definitive number on the matter.
The Minister also noted that 74 Irish citizens remain in Ukraine, with diplomats in “close contact” to offer advice.
Also on Tuesday, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky gave an emotional address to the European Parliament calling for support from Europe.
Zelensky said that while it was a good day for Ukraine to speak at parliament, he recognised that times continued to be dangerous for citizens in the country.
“For some people this day is not good. For some people this is their last day.”
Zelensky thanked citizens who were “paying the ultimate price for freedom”.
“Today we are giving away our best people, our strongest, our most valuable,” he said.
“Ukrainians are incredible. We will overcome, I know it.”
Featured Image of Simon Coveney via Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie