Saturday, March 25, 2023

Survey reveals Ukrainian refugees’ challenges with life in Ireland so far

Issues surrounding the banking and taxation system, language barriers, public transport and shared housing have been articulated by Ukrainians who fled to Ireland after the Russian invasion.

Overwhelmingly, Ukrainians also expressed great gratitude to the Irish people and the government in a survey conducted by the Ukrainian Action Group.

It is estimated that around 36,000 Ukrainian refugees now live here after feeling compelled to leave their homes following the February 24 invasion.

An online survey has now shown areas of both satisfaction and concern, and it gives hope that the information can be used to help tackle the issues of greatest difficulty.

The survey was completed by about 2,200 adults, but when their children are counted it numbers over 4,400 people, or 13 percent of the total population of Ukrainians in Ireland.

Ninety-nine percent of respondents wrote messages of support when asked; “What do you say to the Irish government”.

Those messages include ‘My house is ruined, my baby and I are so grateful’, ‘I stopped crying when I got here, I thought my life was over’, ‘I offered this level of support’ Never expected ‘, ‘We live because of you’, and ‘Thank you to every Irish person I’ve met here’.

On the impact of the war, 44PC stated that war action such as bombing took place or is still taking place in their cities. 17 PCs said they had nowhere to return as their homes were damaged or ruined. The survey found that the Russian military captured the cities of 15 percent of the respondents.

Despite the trauma of the war, it appears that Ukrainians are confident in their mental health. Half of the respondents said they did not need psychological support. Looking for a doctor just over 15 pcs.

But moving to a new country has its challenges, and the survey highlighted areas where people were having difficulties.

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The issue of privacy was raised in shared housing where strangers are sharing rooms, and several respondents said that they had brought their home currency, the hryvnia, with them as they fled, not being able to convert it en route. , and they found they can’t convert it to Euro here.

This was also a hardship for many, due to a lack of understanding of Ireland’s taxation system, and the inability to confidently calculate net pay from gross pay.

Obtaining bank cards has also been problematic, often due to lack or loss of documentation, change of addresses and language barriers. As a result 70 percent of the respondents did not get the bank card.

Nearly three quarters of Ukrainians here are willing to actively contribute to the economy. Half of them are actively looking for jobs, but about 80 percent of job seekers do not have a bank account or bank card.

Some may not work because they are single parents of young children. Almost half of the respondents are single mothers here with their children. Two thirds of them are married but single mothers here as their husbands are fighting the Russians at home.

Language barriers and childcare, as well as medical card issues, are proving to be barriers to employment as well as access to public transport in remote areas. Road safety in remote areas was also mentioned as a problem, with respondents saying they are not safe to walk, especially with children.

There were also some complaints that the translators hired by the social services had a ‘rude attitude’.

Many Ukrainians also want to know what will happen in a year’s time when the temporary protection given to them here ends.

But despite the challenges, the respondents did not want to appear ungrateful. “All the challenges seem irrelevant compared to the first days of the war,” the survey found.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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