Ireland, struggling to shelter Ukrainians, halts visa-free travel for other refugees

 Ireland has suspended visa-free travel for refugees coming from much of Europe in a bid to make more space for Ukrainians.

That’s according to Politico.

Already hosting more than 43,000 Ukrainians, Ireland ran out of beds earmarked for new Ukrainian arrivals because they were being taken by refugees from other nations.

As a result, hundreds of Ukrainians, mostly women and children, who have landed in Ireland since Thursday have ended up sleeping on the floor of a disused Dublin Airport building and, starting Tuesday, will be temporarily sheltered at an Irish army-erected tent village north of the capital.

Dublin has blamed these problems on an unexpectedly strong flow of non-Ukrainian refugees arriving from the rest of Europe, with current volumes currently double pre-pandemic norms.

Ireland will stop visa-free travel for refugees coming from 20 countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney stressed that the change “will assist in the protection of Ukrainians, and those of other nationalities, who are fleeing conflict, as it will lessen the incidence of abuse of this system.”

Some 6.7 million Ukrainians have fled the war, travling to the EU, while 3 million returned to the country. Some 3.7 million applied for temporary protection in the European Union.