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11 Apr, 2024 09:16

EU country’s huge bill for Ukrainian refugees’ pets revealed – media

The Irish government spent up to €1 million a month to house pets owned by refugees, the Irish Mirror has revealed
EU country’s huge bill for Ukrainian refugees’ pets revealed – media

Irish taxpayers footed the bill for accommodating nearly 2,000 pets owned by Ukrainian refugees, including some they acquired after arriving in the country, according to local media.

The money was allocated by the Department of Integration mostly in 2022, with peak spending recorded in November that year, the Irish Mirror reported on Wednesday, based on its own investigation. At that time, 1,806 pets were staying in hotels and other properties at the state’s expense, including 933 dogs, 819 cats, and 54 other animals.

It cost Ireland up to €20 ($21.50) per night for each of the animals owned by Ukrainian Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTPs), records reviewed by the news outlet revealed.

The exact sum spent specifically on non-human guests could not be established because the department “did not categorize between BOTPs and pets,” a spokesperson told the newspaper.

The Irish Mirror estimated that accommodation for the animals was costing taxpayers just over €1 million ($1.07mn) per month.

The expenditure was “incredible” and “ridiculous,” independent lawmaker Michael McNamara told the newspaper, accusing the government of wastefulness. Referring to department officials, he asked: “What planet do these people live on?”

“I presume the people arriving here with pets were prepared to pay for them in the same way as everyone else does or as they would have in Ukraine,” the politician added. “But if you find a department stupid enough to pay, then, of course, I wouldn’t blame people for allowing the department to pay for it.”

The department said it stopped providing accommodation for Ukrainian pets from November 9, 2022.

The latest report is a follow-up on a story that the Irish Mirror published in February, revealing that the Irish Department of Agriculture had spent €808,132 (about $869,000) on transport, kennelling and veterinary services for Ukrainian pets.