UK’s slow response to refugee crisis starkly contrasted by Ireland – as Patel ‘squirms’ under cabinet questioning
The UK’s undoubtedly slow response to taking in Ukrainian refugees was contrasted with what Ireland is doing.
The Home Office said over the weekend that ‘around 50’ family member visas had been granted – a number which Priti Patel later described as ‘incorrect’ on Monday and has now risen to 770 .
Overnight, political correspondent Joe Pike heard from a Cabinet source that the Home Secretary struggled to convince colleagues she was aware of the matter yesterday in Cabinet. She was said to have ‘went around in circles’ and ‘squirmed and hated’ it when colleagues including Grant Shapps pored over the details.
But while the UK application system has maintained requirements and apparently is plagued with logistical problems, in Ireland they dropped visa requirements as soon as the invasion began.
Sky News Irish correspondent Stephen Murphy reports that the country has now taken in a total of 2,123 Ukrainian refugees. The actual figure may be higher as the Irish Department of Justice only keeps data from Dublin Airport and does not count any Ukrainians arriving through other entry points.
Hanna Kozlovska is one of the 2,123. She fled Kyiv with her three children Ivan (9), Ehor (7) and Liza (4). Heading west, she says they lived in their car for four days, before crossing the Polish border.
From there they flew to Ireland, where an old friend Pavlo Iarovyi lived with his wife for years, working in Ireland’s booming software industry.
“We came to Ireland only because we have close friends here who provided us with their home,” Hanna told Sky News from Pavlo’s home in Dublin’s west suburb of Adamstown.
Fighting back tears, she said: “When the shooting started we didn’t know what to do. We immediately packed our bags and drove to ‘nowhere’.”
Ireland, along with other EU member states, has offered temporary protection measures allowing Ukrainians to enter visa-free and stay for up to three years.
Up to 2.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine so far – the majority arriving in Poland, but significant numbers heading to other neighboring countries.