While the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Ireland pales into insignificance compared with the terrors being visited on that country, the toll on the exchequer and wider society should not be underestimated. This is not for the short term, it is not cheap, and it will not be easy.
Yesterday, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath updated a cabinet committee on the costs for Ireland associated with hosting tens of thousands of refugees – and they are mind-boggling, reaching up to €2.8 billion next year and €1.7 billion this year. When you add in the €800 million allocated to offset the impact of inflation on households, the impact this year could be up to €2.5 billion. To put that in context, the total taxation and spending package for Budget 2022 was worth about €4.7 billion. Much of that was pre-allocated, so the discretionary measures last budget day were actually less than what is likely to be spent on the crisis.