There are good and reasonable reasons why the Government would decide that anybody who offers to host Ukrainian refugees in their homes might be subject to an Irish government inspection, and background check.
After all, people being people, it is not hard to imagine some sad case somewhere salivating about the thought of playing host to an attractive young Ukrainian mother. That’s just the world we live in. Filtering such people out, tiny minority though they might be, is important. And so:
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Minister Roderic O’Gorman said that his department is currently developing a policy to make sure that vulnerable refugees are housed in suitable accommodation.
However, he would not be drawn on whether or not background checks or garda vetting of prospective homeowners would be done.
“There’ll be checks undertaken of all accommodation offers to ensure that the accommodation is habitable and also of course in terms of particularly where accommodation is shared, I think it is important that there are checks,” O’Gorman said.
The problem, of course, is that those checks, while important and vital, have two major drawbacks. The first is that they will discourage people, and not only the kinds of people who should be discouraged. There are not vast numbers of Irish people who, having pledged to do a good deed, will welcome the prospect of Government inspectors coming into their home to see how clean their bathrooms are, and whether the dog is allowed to sleep on the couch or goes into a kennel at night. It’s probably more convenient just to donate money or clothes, and have done your bit.
The second problem is that even if people persevere, these inspections take time. Because this is a Government programme, there will be a LOT of paperwork. Will it shock us, in two or three weeks time, to hear stories of people who offered to host refugees, but were never contacted by Government? If it does shock us, then, we know nothing about how our own Government works.
But there’s more to it than just the matter of who sleeps where. The fact is that once again, the Irish Government has made a fairly big and emotional commitment to people without considering, even for a moment, the practicality of their plan. The usual hysteria has taken over: We’ll take 100,000 refugees, they say. Well, fine – but how many are France taking? If we are taking 100,000, then logically they should be taking up to 1.7million.