MINISTER FOR Integration Roderic O'Gorman has announced details of a register which allows people living in Ireland to pledge accommodation and other supports and services for Ukrainian refugees in Ireland.
The website went live last night and we briefly taken down due to the high surge in its use.
However, the site was back up and running this morning.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Minister O'Gorman said that 1,300 pledges came in last night.
"We had a huge surge of demand from the Irish people last night, people looking to register their support for Ukrainian refugees," he said.
"On behalf of the Irish government and the Red Cross I want to acknowledge that strong sense of solidarity that Irish people are showing."
The site was taken down to increase the bandwidth and capacity of the website.
"We're asking people to register an support they feel they can give to refugees and the team that has been established will be able to find out more about the particular offer, and in the days or weeks ahead we will come back to people and where the offer is appropriate we will use it," he explained.
He said the government is currently looking at sourcing hotel accommodation and, but that he recognises hotel accommodation is only a short-term solution.
"We have had about 2,200 Ukrainians arrive in Ireland since 26 February. Of those, about two-thirds are being housed with family here.
"We have provided 640 hotel rooms for individuals to allow them to stay here in the short term."
"Hotel accommodation is the short term response, so right now we are looking at the range of long term accommodation options that are available to us. Nothing is off the table."
O'Gorman said there would be checks of all accommodation offers to ensure the accommodation is habitable, particularly where accommodation is shared.
"We are aware that some of the people coming over will be vulnerable and will want to ensure the accommodation we provide for them will be suitable," he said.
He explained that the Department of Justice and Department of Social Protection are working to provide refugees with PPS numbers and the appropriate documentation to enable them to access the labour marker as stated under the EU temporary protection directive.
"The response has to be across all government departments, and that work is ongoing at the moment."
A report in the Telegraph in the UK today also expresses concern from a government source about Ireland's policy of admitting refugees due to the Common Travel Area with Britain.
The newspaper quoted a British government source saying “Ireland has basically opened the door to everyone in Ukraine, which creates a problem due to the Common Travel Area".
"We’ve seen before with migrants from Albania that they have come through Dublin, into Belfast and across to the mainland to Liverpool. That’s created a drug cartel route,” the source is reported to have told The Telegraph.
Responding to the article, Minister O'Gorman said Minister Helen McEntee was in regular contact with British Home Secretary Priti Patel, but that "Ireland's response is a generous response."
"It recognises the magnitude of humanitarian crisis we are seeing on the borders of the EU. Everyone who looks at the pictures knows we need an immediate response," he finished.
Further details about the online register can be found at https://registerofpledges.redcross.ie/#/