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sign off Cabinet gives green light to €400 per month reward for those housing Ukrainian refugees

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

People who have volunteered to accommodate Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country are to be rewarded under a new Government payment scheme.

A specially convened Cabinet sub-committee on accommodation and supports for Ukrainian refugees discussed how to recognise the altruistic gestures of people living in Ireland yesterday.

The Government is to sign off on the introduction of a new €400 monthly payment for people who take Ukrainian refugees into their homes or properties.

The sub-committee also agreed to introduce the recognition payment to incentivise more people to accommodate people fleeing the war in Ukraine sparked by the Russian invasion.

The Government is budgeting between €20m and €50m a year for the scheme. How much of this will be spent will depend on how many people offer homes for refugees.

As of Wednesday, 29,433 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland.

New legislation will have to be drafted to underpin the introduction of recognition payment and how it will be administered.

The conditions around the payment are also to be discussed.

The Government wants the payment to go only to people who are giving their homes or properties to refugees on a charitable basis.

There is concern some property owners might charge Ukrainians rent while also availing of the payment – and ministers are eager to ensure this does not happen.

Those who are applying to the scheme will have to be tax compliant and will be expected to produce a tax clearance certificate before they draw the state funding.

A dedicated website may be created where people can add their details when applying for the payment.

The payment will not be conditional on the size of a person’s home or property but will be a flat rate paid to anyone who takes in a refugee who has fled Ukraine.

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The €400 will also be linked to the property rather than the number of refugees a person takes in to their property.

This means a person who takes in one refugee will be paid the same amount as a household that takes in more.

It is expected the Revenue Commissioners will be tasked with administering the payment, which mirrors a similar payment in the UK, but the exact mechanism for how the money will be paid is still to be determined .

It is expected to take at least a number of weeks or even months for the scheme to start.

The Taoiseach and a group of his senior ministers are meeting to discuss the on-going Ukrainian humanitarian crisis, and central to the debate will be the signing off on the new scheme.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath and Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman are involved in drafting the plan for the recognition payment.

The proposal will have to go to a full Cabinet meeting before legislation is introduced in the Dáil.

The payment is being introduced after about half the accommodation offers made through the Red Cross materialised.

The Government initially said it would rely solely on the generosity of the public to provide accommodation for refugees.

However, the significant drop off in people signing up to help resulted in the Government drafting legislation to provide for the €400 monthly payment.

The meeting will also hear an update from Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien on the measures his department is taking to accommodate refugees.

Local authorities have been asked to identify publicly owned buildings which could be refurbished to accommodate arriving Ukrainians.

Government sources said good progress has been made on identifying state owned properties that could be used.

Mr O’Brien also updated a separate Cabinet sub-committee meeting on housing about measures to address the long-running housing crisis.

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