The Irish government owes €41m in unpaid bills to hotels, hostels, and B&Bs for providing accommodation to Ukrainian refugees, according to figures obtained by RTÉ’s News At One programme. The bill includes 176 individual invoices and one unpaid bill of €2.4m to a single hotel chain. The Department of Integration has spent €564m on accommodation as part of its Ukrainian Accommodation and Related Services plan since the conflict in Ukraine began almost a year ago, resulting in 78,000 people arriving in Ireland seeking shelter.
Despite the vast expenditure, a number of hotels have raised concerns over delayed payments, and it is reported that some have been waiting for over a year. The department has declined to answer questions over how many hotels are affected and how long they have been waiting. The Irish government has also declined to provide a breakdown of the €41m figure in terms of overdue payments and overdue payments due to invoice mistakes. While the department has cited incomplete documentation from some hotels as a reason for payment delays, it has said that an invoice is only overdue if it is correct for payment but not paid within the agreed timeframe.
The issue has been attributed to backlogs, and the department has more than doubled the number of officials working to address payment delays. A spokesperson has said the department regrets the delays and that resolving the issue is a “very high priority”.