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The Cost of Hosting Ukrainian Refugees in Ireland

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, Ireland has opened its doors to over 40,000 Ukrainian refugees. This influx of people has significantly strained the country’s resources, and the government has estimated that the total cost of hosting these refugees could reach €1.5 billion by the end of 2023.

Key Costs

The cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees in Ireland can be divided into several key categories:

  • Accommodation: The Irish government has provided accommodation for most Ukrainian refugees in emergency shelters, hotels, and vacant properties. The cost of this accommodation has been estimated at €300 million.

  • Social Welfare: Ukrainian refugees are eligible for a range of social welfare benefits, including the Living Alone Allowance, the Rent Allowance, and the Childcare Subsidy. The cost of these benefits is estimated at €400 million.

  • Healthcare: Ukrainian refugees are entitled to access the Irish public healthcare system, the Health Service Executive (HSE). The cost of this healthcare is estimated at €250 million.

  • Education: Ukrainian children are entitled to attend Irish schools, and the cost of providing this education is estimated at €200 million.

  • Integration Support: Ukrainian refugees need additional support to integrate into Irish society, such as language training and employment assistance. The cost of this support is estimated at €50 million.

Total Cost Estimate

The total cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees in Ireland is estimated at €1.5 billion by the end of 2023. This estimate is based on current projections of the number of refugees arriving in Ireland and the cost of providing the necessary support.

Financing the Costs

The Irish government has committed to funding the cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees from a variety of sources, including:

  • European Union Solidarity Fund: The EU has allocated €1 billion to member states to support the reception and integration of Ukrainian refugees. Ireland is expected to receive €100 million from this fund.

  • Budgetary Resources: The Irish government has also allocated additional funding to the HSE and other government departments to support Ukrainian refugees.

  • Charitable Contributions: Charities and other non-governmental organizations are also providing financial support to Ukrainian refugees.

Challenges and Opportunities

Hosting Ukrainian refugees has created several challenges for Ireland, including:

  • Increased Pressure on Housing Supply: The influx of refugees has put pressure on the already tight housing market in Ireland.

  • Increased Demand for Social Welfare Benefits: The number of people claiming social welfare benefits has increased, putting a strain on the system.

  • Limited Language Skills: Many Ukrainian refugees do not speak English, which can make it difficult for them to integrate into Irish society.

Despite these challenges, hosting Ukrainian refugees has also presented several opportunities for Ireland:

  • Economic Boost: The influx of refugees has created new jobs and businesses in the hospitality, retail, and education sectors.

  • Cultural Exchange: Ukrainian refugees have enriched Ireland’s cultural diversity.

  • Strengthened International Relations: Ireland’s response to the refugee crisis has strengthened its relationship with Ukraine and other European countries.

Estimating the Financial Burden

The precise cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees in Ireland is difficult to determine, as it is influenced by several factors, including the number of refugees arriving, their duration of stay, and the level of support provided. However, various estimates have been put forward, providing insights into the potential financial implications.

In May 2022, the Irish Department of Social Protection estimated that the initial cost of accommodating one Ukrainian refugee for a year would be approximately €10,000. This figure included the provision of accommodation, food, and essential supports such as healthcare and education.

A more recent estimate, published by the Irish Examiner in July 2022, suggested that the overall cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees in Ireland could reach €1 billion in 2023. This figure was based on the assumption that Ireland would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, with each refugee staying for an average of six months.

Factors Influencing the Cost

Several factors can contribute to the varying estimates of the cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees in Ireland. These include:

  • Number of Refugees: The larger the number of refugees, the higher the overall cost.

  • Length of Stay: The longer refugees stay in Ireland, the greater the financial burden.

  • Type of Accommodation: The cost of accommodation can vary significantly, depending on the type of housing provided, such as privately rented accommodation, state-provided facilities, or host family arrangements.

  • Level of Support: The provision of additional support, such as language training, job assistance, and childcare services, can further increase the cost.

Government Support and Resources

The Irish government has implemented several measures to support Ukrainian refugees and to manage the financial implications of their arrival. These measures include:

  • Temporary Protection Directive: The Irish government has activated the Temporary Protection Directive, which provides immediate legal status and access to essential services for Ukrainian refugees.

  • Accommodation Recognition Payment: The government offers a monthly payment of €800 to individuals or families providing accommodation to Ukrainian refugees.

  • Financial Supports: Ukrainian refugees are eligible for social welfare payments, including child benefit, income support, and medical cards.

  • Integration Initiatives: The government is investing in integration initiatives, such as language training, job placement services, and cultural events, to support the long-term settlement of Ukrainian refugees in Ireland.

Financial Considerations and Long-Term Implications

While the financial cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees is significant, it is important to recognize the broader societal and economic benefits that these new arrivals can bring. Ukrainian refugees bring with them skills, talents, and a willingness to work, which can contribute to the Irish economy and society. Additionally, their presence can help to address labour shortages in certain sectors, such as healthcare, education, and hospitality.

The long-term implications of the cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees in Ireland are yet to be fully determined. However, the government and taxpayers will face ongoing financial pressures. As the war in Ukraine continues, more refugees may seek asylum in Ireland, further straining the available resources.


Hosting Ukrainian refugees is a significant undertaking for Ireland, but it is also an opportunity to demonstrate compassion and solidarity with those who have been displaced by war. The government is committed to providing the necessary support to Ukrainian refugees, and the Irish people have shown a great deal of generosity and support.