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Support Taoiseach says 'no limit' to number of Ukrainian refugees who can come to Ireland

It comes as Cabinet will this morning sign off on €10m in aid for Ukraine and call on the UN to find "peaceful agreement"

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin met people attending a demonstration outside Leinster House in Dublin earlier this week (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin met people attending a demonstration outside Leinster House in Dublin earlier this week (Brian Lawless/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin met people attending a demonstration outside Leinster House in Dublin earlier this week (Brian Lawless/PA)

There is no limit on the number of Ukrainian refugees who can come to Ireland, according to the Government.

When asked about the numbers, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government has not "set limits" and "will provide whatever supports we can".

"I've already had offers from people in the medical world and elsewhere to say 'look, we might be able to help you in certain areas'," he said.

"Many Ukrainian families are here and I think many families would take families in Ireland, so there will be a structured refugee programme."

It comes as Cabinet will this morning sign off on €10m in aid for Ukraine and call on the UN to find "peaceful agreement" between Ukraine and Russia.

European Affairs Minister Thomas Byrne told RTÉ Radio One's Drivetime that, since visa waivers have been put in place for Ukrainian citizens, the number of refugees who can seek shelter here is limitless.

"We can't control numbers on that, if someone wants to claim asylum because they're being oppressed or because of a war, we have to consider each and every application," he said.

Ireland will continue to take in Ukrainian refugees after a scheme is finalised at European level later this week.

One Government source said "small numbers" of Ukrainians have been arriving into Ireland since the visa requirement was waived.

Meanwhile, a Government cross-party motion condemning Russia's aggression will go to the Dáil and Seanad this week.

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In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin placing Russia's nuclear deterrent forces on "high alert", the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has a 24-hour permanent radiation monitoring network, has assisted other bodies on a national and European level.

A spokesperson for the Department of the Environment said: "There are no plans at the moment to activate the provisions of the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear and Radiological Emergency Exposures or to convene the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG) on this matter. The department will continue to closely monitor the situation."

The Russian Ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov, will stay in the country for the coming days despite calls from dozens of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs to expel him.

However, Mr Martin yesterday said this was the "last resort".

"I understand the anger of people, of our public representatives, towards Russia and towards Russian representatives in Ireland and that is personified in the person of the ambassador, whose public representations have not been good," he said.

He said that "in times of conflict" channels should be "kept open" to allow for "fresh insights".

Mr Martin also warned that Russia's war with Ukraine is going to affect energy and food prices in Ireland.

The EU will establish a landmark €500m fund to help arm Ukraine, to which Ireland will contribute €9m.

Ireland's funds will contribute towards non-lethal supplies, such as fuel and medicine. Despite Ireland's position of neutrality, Mr Martin said the country "is not politically neutral".

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