The rate of increase in the number of Ukrainians arriving in Ireland over the past 12 months was 10 times higher than the average increase in the number of Ukrainians fleeing Ukraine to the EU over the same period.
Official statistics released by the European Commission show that in the 12 months to the end of September 2023, the number of Ukrainians seeking international protection in the Republic increased by 72.1 percent following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
At the same time, the number of Ukrainian citizens seeking refuge in the EU increased by only 7.2 percent.
The figures were released shortly after the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said the Government needed to take action to “slow down” the number of Ukrainians coming to Ireland.
This is the second highest rate of increase among the 27 EU member states over the past year, after Romania, where the number of Ukrainian refugees effectively doubled to around 140,000.
During the same period, the number of Ukrainian refugees declined in six countries, including Poland, where they fell by more than 30 percent, with more than 400,000 receiving temporary protection.
The other EU member states were the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, France, Sweden and Austria.
However, the number of people fleeing the war in Ukraine is up by 20 percent or more in all other EU member states except Estonia.
Figures show that the number of Ukrainians granted temporary protection in Ireland stood at 53,830 in September 2022.
However, this figure increased by almost 40,000 in the space of 12 months to reach 93,050.
If we include citizens of other third countries who fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this figure rises to 94,085.
According to the latest monthly figures, Ireland recorded the third highest net increase in new arrivals of people seeking international protection from the war in Ukraine in absolute terms within the EU in September.
Official statistics show there was a net increase of 2,875 people from Ukraine granted temporary protection status in the Republic in September.
This represents an increase of 3.2 percent compared to the previous month.
It is also the largest monthly percentage increase recorded across all EU member states, where overall figures increased by 0.8 percent on average.
Only Germany and the Netherlands recorded larger net increases in the number of new temporary asylum seekers from Ukraine in absolute net terms, with 19,205 and 3,685 respectively in September.
In the same month, five EU member states – the Czech Republic, France, Poland, Slovenia and Luxembourg – recorded a decrease in the total number of people from Ukraine benefiting from temporary protection.
Latest figures show that almost 4.2 million people fleeing Ukraine are granted temporary protection status in one of the 27 EU member states, with Germany accounting for more than 28 percent of the total with almost 1.2 million, followed by Poland with almost 959,000 and the Czech Republic with around 358,000.
The sharp increase in the number of applicants for temporary protection in Ireland is said to be one of the reasons why the government is considering reducing the level of accommodation and welfare for Ukrainian refugees.
A row broke out among ministers at a Cabinet meeting in recent weeks over the current level of support.
Among the changes proposed by Absorption Minister Roderic O’Gorman is a 90-day limit on state-provided accommodation due to pressure to find accommodation for all new arrivals from Ukraine .
However, Tánaiste Micheál Martin opposed the move, saying it would simply create problems for Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.
Several government ministers, including Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys, acknowledged that any changes to support were a “complex” issue.
A decision on possible changes to support is not expected until next month at the earliest.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said an EU directive imposed specific obligations on Ireland and all member states to provide the supports and benefits to which beneficiaries should be entitled.
The spokesperson said Ireland had so far hosted a higher number of Ukrainian beneficiaries than the EU average.
Ireland has the 9th highest rate of refugees fleeing the Russian invasion per capita.
The ratio of people from Ukraine receiving temporary protection in the EU is 9.3 per 1,000 inhabitants, with the Czech Republic having the highest rate at 33.1 per 1,000 inhabitants.
Several other countries have ratios above 25 per 1,000 inhabitants, including Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
Ireland currently has 18.1 Ukrainian refugees per 1,000 people.
Ukrainian citizens represent 98 percent of beneficiaries of temporary protection across the EU.
Adult women make up 46.5 percent of those granted temporary protection, with children making up 33.7 percent of the total and adult men just under 20 percent.
In September, the European Council decided to extend temporary protection for people fleeing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine for another 12 months, until March 4, 2025.