Irish encouraged to pawn spare bedroom as Ukraine crisis appeal continues

As the war in Ukraine continues to rage, the Irish are eager to offer help in any way they can.

From donating money and supplies to promising a safe place for refugees arriving in Ireland, the outpouring of support from the Irish people has been enormous.

The Irish Red Cross has received over €6m this week for its crisis appeal – with around €4.7m disbursed in just three days.

The Red Cross also revealed that 180 people had – uninvited – promised spare rooms and vacant properties for Ukrainian refugees.

According to the UN refugee agency, more than 1.2 million people have left Ukraine since Russia went to war nine days ago.

More than 165,000 people left the country on Thursday, down slightly from Wednesday’s tally and well below the nearly 200,000 on Tuesday, marking the peak one-day outflow of people since the start of the conflict , according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The UNHCR spokesperson said the majority of those who fled are women, children and the elderly.

The Irish Red Cross is working with the Irish Refugee Protection Program to arrange accommodation for Ukrainian refugees who are expected to arrive in Ireland in the days and weeks ahead.

The organization has been helping to host refugees for over 50 years and has helped people from countries such as Vietnam, Hungary, Syria and Afghanistan.

A family runs on the tracks trying to board a train bound for Lviv, Kiev, Ukraine. Photo: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Those who consider themselves able to help in the form of accommodation for people arriving from Ukraine can register using the Red Cross pledge register.

“Usually with this humanitarian work, Irish Red Cross social workers connect refugees with host families and stay in contact to ensure their education or work plans are developing properly,” said said Liam O’Dwyer, secretary general of the Irish Red Cross.

“At the end of the pledge, the social workers helped the refugee to access either private rental accommodation or social housing.

“Our program is currently working with and hosting refugees from Afghanistan and is currently preparing for refugees who are due to arrive from Lebanon.”

The Red Cross has also worked with the Department for Children, Equality, Integration, Disability and Youth to develop Community Sponsorship Ireland.

The programs allow communities to come together and sponsor a family.

To participate in the program, communities must have a strong committee, complete a training program, provide funding, and have access to property.

A family with their dog sits in the Kyiv metro, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine.  Photo: AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky
A family with their dog sits in the Kyiv metro, using it as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

Once all these conditions have been met, the community is ready to welcome the refugee family.

Mr O’Dwyer said the program was working very well with five groups operating with families from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan.

If you would like to contribute to the Irish Red Cross response to the war in Ukraine, you can pledge accommodation through the Pledge Register website.

Or you can donate to Ukraine Crisis Appeal here. Donations can also be made via PayPal or Revolut.

Donations are also accepted at any of the country’s 920 post offices.

Tonight’s Late Late Show will feature a fundraising appeal for the Irish Red Cross.

Host Ryan Tubridy will also speak with Ukrainians living in Ireland about their concerns, as well as their concerns for families and loved ones who are still in Ukraine.