77 unaccompanied children have arrived in Ireland since Ukraine war broke out 2 months ago

77 unaccompanied children have arrived in Ireland since Ukraine war broke out

It comes amid growing concerns over accommodation.

Roughly 77 unaccompanied minors have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February, says chief executive of the Children's Rights Alliance Tanya Ward.

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Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Ward said that many parents have been forced make the "horrendous, very difficult decision" to send their children overseas alone to safety.

"I spoke to Tusla today and they're saying that at the moment that 77 have been referred to them since the beginning of the war," she said.

"28 are now currently in their care, at this moment in time, because some of those children have been reunified with family members that happened to be here.

"We wouldn't have expected a lot of unaccompanied minors to come to Ireland to be honest, because it's more appropriate for them to be cared for by people who speak the same language, closer to home really, so they can be reunified with their family members where possible."

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She explained that Ireland is likely to see higher numbers of refugees arriving in the coming weeks and months,  some of whom could be lone children.

"I think making sure that Tusla is able to locate those children, they're able to find accommodation options for them, and hopefully more foster care situations because that's the most successful way to look after an unaccompanied minor once they arrive in the country."

It comes amid growing concerns about a shortage of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

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Taoiseach Michael Martin said on Wednesday night that 20,000 people from Ukraine had arrived in Ireland since 25 February.

The government now believes that there could be up to 30,000 Ukrainians here by Easter.

It is also understood that a number of people who had pledged to accommodate refugees in their homes have now changed their minds.

The Irish Refugee Council has called on the Government to prioritise existing, unused accommodation for Ukrainians.

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