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Immigrant Council of Ireland welcomes move to waive visa requirements for those fleeing Ukraine

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced the news today

People walk in a subway to get a train as they leave Kyiv, Ukraine (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Clodagh Meaney

The Immigrant Council of Ireland has welcomed the announcement that all visa requirements between Ireland and Ukraine will be lifted with immediate effect.

Commenting today, Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said: “Like everyone, the Immigrant Council of Ireland has watched the unfolding of events in Ukraine with dismay and concern for the humanitarian impact.”

“We welcome the announcement by the Department of Justice today, that all visa requirements between Ireland and Ukraine will be waived, effective immediately,” he continued.

“It is positive to see that this will apply to all Ukrainian nationals who may wish to travel to Ireland – including those with family members residing here.

“We must play our part as a country in helping Ukrainians in their time of need and providing a safe and legal route for them to join family until such time as Ukraine is safe again or, if needed, to seek protection in Ireland on a more long-term basis.”

Mr Killoran said that the Immigrant Council have already received calls from concerned Ukrainian nationals living in Ireland, worried about their loved ones back at home.

“In the coming days and weeks, it is vital that Ireland continues to use its influence to ensure that the humanitarian support of the Ukrainian people is to the forefront of international discussions, and that sanctuary is offered across Europe to those fleeing violence and aggression,” he said.

“We commend the Irish Government for their response to this crisis as it has unfolded.”

It comes as Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced today that visa requirements would be lifted with immediate effect.

"I am appalled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the unjustified and unprovoked attack against a democratic sovereign state in Europe,” she said in a statement.

“We stand in solidarity with Ukraine and its people and will, working with our partners in the European Union, play our part in assisting them in their time of need.

“That is why I am immediately lifting visa requirements between Ukraine and Ireland.”

Justice Minister Helen McEntee (Niall Carson/PA)

"This will apply to all Ukrainians who want to travel to Ireland. It will assist Irish citizens and their families in Ukraine, as well as the families of members of the Ukrainian community here in Ireland who may want to leave Ukraine,” she continued.

“This measure will be kept under review and the Government will also work with colleagues on any further EU-wide measures that might assist those fleeing Ukraine.”

On Thursday, an Irish man living in Kyiv criticised the Irish government for not working faster to scrap visa requirements in line with other EU countries.

Businessman Brendan Murphy is hoping to flee the country with his wife Marina, her daughter, and her family.

He said his family would have left the country days ago but were unable to do so without valid visas.

“The window of opportunity is now very narrow because obviously there are no flights. Obviously it is an active war zone.

“Traffic will be potentially problematic depending on what happens next. Some roads are impassable but others are free so people are not, kind of, fleeing… but they will begin to obviously.”

“[On Wednesday], we tried to get the documents but my mother-in-law, who is 80, became stressed and unwell and she couldn’t walk and she fell so we needed to bring her back,” he explained.

“They had offered to send someone to do the documents at her home but that is not going to happen now so the first thing we need to do is to relocate out of the city centre where the missiles will strike whenever Putin decides to bomb Kyiv and then we’ll see what we are advised to do.”

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