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harris accused of pandering to thugs with cuts to ukrainian welfare payments
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Harris accused of pandering to 'thugs' with cuts to Ukrainian welfare payments

These centres include hotels which provide meals to Ukrainian refugees. The change will not apply to Ukrainians in either ‘pledged accommodation’ or within unserviced State accommodation like converted buildings. A senior government source estimated around 27,000 Ukrainian refugees would be affected by the changes with a three-month lead in time to give time to either find a job or leave the country. A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said the 27,000 figure is just an estimate and the Department of Justice would now carry out a thorough examination to determine the numbers in fully supported accommodation. Emma Lane-Spollen, national coordinator of the Ukraine Civil Society Forum, of which more than 24 NGOs and community organisations are part, claimed the only outcome would be to drive people out of Ireland, which she said is the aim of anti-migrant groups who have been accused of inciting fires and escalating protests at the homes of politicians. “If I want to be heard, do I need to start burning buildings or picketing the Taoiseach’s home?” she asked. “It’s a radical, thuggish edge which is driving policy. This is not where the majority of people are.” Mr Harris said it is about “consistency of approach” and ensuring the system is “financially sustainable”. “It doesn’t seem sensible to me that you could have two children from Ukraine at the same school today in a very different system of treatment for one person’s family versus the other,” he said adding many Ukrainians are working and contributing to businesses across Ireland. “We have to make sure the systems we have in place are grounded in common sense, that they are fair and in line with what is best practice across the EU.” Ms Lane-Spollen said school principals and community organisations will have to pick up the pieces arising from this policy. Meanwhile, the Government is now exploring how it might buy its way out of a lease agreement on Thornton Hall to use it as a location for tented migrant accommodation. The site in north Dublin was purchased in the mid-2000s for a large-scale prison to replace Mountjoy. However, the project stalled and it has since been leased out by the State and is being used as agricultural land. Ministers yesterday discussed options around breaking the lease in order to free up the site for international protection accommodation. According to data released by the Department of Justice, there are currently 21,577 international protection applicants awaiting a first decision on their asylum application. Justice Minister Helen McEntee has set a target of 14,000 applications processed by the end of 2024. This would require 270 applications to be processed weekly, but according to statistics from the International Protection Office, an average of 210 decisions were delivered each week as of April 30. The backlog is likely to increase due to the number of international protection applicants arriving each week, on average 416 per week since the start of the year.

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