Ukraine Crisis – 2 Year Anniversary

A message from the Secretary General

Following the significant escalation of the armed conflict in February 2022, Irish Red Cross has been responding to the unfolding crisis which has affected Ukrainian people. Our response has involved providing humanitarian assistance both in Ireland and, internationally, in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.  

In Ireland, Red Cross volunteers were on hand to provide emergency assistance to Ukrainians as they arrived by the thousands. Short-term accommodation was organised, there were significant donations of food and other items, and Red Cross volunteers worked tirelessly to assist and accompany people devastated by conflict in their home country.   

As the months progressed, the Red Cross significantly expanded our Pledged Accommodation programme. Thousands of homes around Ireland have generously opened their homes and provided a warm welcome and safe home to Ukrainians. This generosity has been invaluable and has shown Ireland at its best. 

Internationally, the Irish Red Cross has worked with the wider Red Cross Movement to provide humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and surrounding countries that have hosted the majority of those fleeing conflict in Ukraine.  Assistance provided in the region has include accommodation, medical services, and supporting those traumatised by the devasting conflict.  This support by the Irish Red Cross and our colleagues in the wider Red Cross Movement continues and the needs now are as much as ever. Displaced people from Ukraine still require safety, assistance, and critical protection to lead dignified lives. Many of the millions who fled are unable to return home, and those who remain face dire conditions, with limited access to water, heat, health care and other essential services.  The Irish Red Cross continue to work with our colleagues in Ukraine to provide accommodation, medical supports and responding to trauma.  In providing this support, it is important that parties to the conflict uphold International Humanitarian Law (IHL), ensuring the protection of civilians, healthcare facilities and personnel, along with aid workers.   

In Ireland, our Pledged Accommodation continues to receive offers of accommodation from around the country and continues to place Ukrainians with these hosts. To date, we have facilitated 4,555 hosts to provide accommodation and placed 10,424 Ukrainians. Our volunteers and staff have provided invaluable support to Ukrainians, providing basic information as they settle and find their way. 

We have developed and provided a programme of mental health supports responding to the PTSD needs of Ukrainians here; provided relief and school supplies, including hygiene and welcome kits; and we have supported the Ukraine Community Centre in Rathmines providing a range of valuable supports, including English classes, employment support, intercultural activities and fostering community connections. 

The conflict in Ukraine continues. It has dramatically changed the lives of millions of people and has had a devastating impact on individual lives that we can never measure.  Ireland has recognised this suffering and continues to respond generously.   

Thank you for your support. 

Secretary General of the Irish Red Cross 

Deirdre Garvey 


Total amount donated (to end 2023) and available for Ukraine-related expenditure (after costs and charges deducted): €40 million*

Expenditure to end 2023: €26.4 million, all on Ukrainian-focused supports (€24.2 million on international programmes and €2.2 million on domestic programmes).

Planned expenditure over the remainder of the programme:  

  • 2024 – €6.7 million. This comprises €5.5 million to International programme, focusing on community-level supports, medical supports, and responding to mental health needs. And €1.2 million on domestic programmes focused on Ukraine community supports including trauma and PTSD services as well as intense English lessons.
  • 2025 – €6.9 million. This comprises €5.5 million allocated internationally to continue the 2024 programme priorities of community level supports, medical supports, and responding to mental health needs. And €1.4 million allocated domestically on community and mental health supports, also continuing the 224 programmes.

Additional funding received from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (primarily for the Pledge Accommodation work in Ireland in 2022 and 2023): €3,795,810

The deducted charges comprise: a) Direct costs of raising and receiving the donations (e.g. online bank donation charges, TV/Radio advertising slots at start) totalled €700k. b) A 7% charge (totalling €2.9m) was applied as per sector norms for the development, implementation and accountability of good oversight as well as management and governance systems to ensure and maximise effectiveness and efficiencies across all projects and work. This sum was transparently shown and recorded in our 2022 audited accounts as allocated to an ‘Investment, Growth & Sustainability’ Fund by the board with its own expenditure plan from 2023 – 2027.

Description of the Work


Stories of Volunteers

Bernie Morley

Bernie is a longtime volunteer and the winner of the national Irish Red Cross Community Support Volunteer of the Year Award. In 2022 she was co-lead on the Maynooth project and was a tireless humanitarian, working long hours to ensure no one got left behind. Her quote: 

Stepping outside of my personal safe space for a short period into the daily life of a foreign displaced person meant I saw and remember, I heard and won’t forget, I did and now understand.

Catherine Brannick 

Catherine is a long-time Irish Red Cross volunteer and Secretary of her local Branch in Drumcondra. Catherine volunteered both at the Maynooth Project and since then with Local Links assisting with property viewings, welfare checks and more Her quote: 

‘It was a very good experience for me. I felt privileged to be at the airport greeting the Ukrainians and making them feel welcome. Also working in Maynooth distributing aid in the form of vouchers was very fulfilling. I helped with housing for the refugees, checking housing offer suitability and how families were adjusting to their new lives in Ireland.  It was heartwarming to see the generosity of my fellow Irish and the appreciation felt by the Ukrainians. I received more than I gave for sure.’ 

Courtney Dunne

Courtney is a dedicated Red Cross volunteer who balanced her studies with being a central member of the team providing a supportive welcoming environment to people at their most vulnerable time.  

“It was a hard experience I will never forget, but ensuring people felt safe and validated in times of uncertainty made everything worthwhile” 

Ukrainian Guests in Ireland


Volodymyr and his wife Tamara are pensioners on disability coming from Kyiv. They left their hometown with their cat Pushok (Fluffy in Ukrainian) and made the 8-day trip to Ireland. Now the family stays with their Irish host family. Volodymyr shares: 

“We are happy, we know that there are many decent people around us! Now we continue to study English, this is the main problem. But we only hope for the best. Thanks again to Ireland, Irish Red Cross and our caseworker Hanna for her help and support.” 

Hanna and Oleksiy

Hanna, 30, and her son Oleksiy, 9, are from Mariupol. They arrived in Ireland in June 2022. Hanna shares that she could not have imagined that she would meet that many kind people. Oleksiy attends school in Ireland and everyone tries very hard to make him comfortable, taking into account his peculiarities and treating him with love. 

“It turned out that everything you need in life can be packed in a backpack, even in a pocket, even in the palm of your hand. You take the hand of the one you love and run. It turns out that all you need is life itself.” 

The Kikvidze Family 

The Kikvidze family from Kharkiv found themselves in Ireland and had to start anew. Ireland and its residents welcomed the family with hospitality and provided them with everything they needed. Now, Dmytro and Anastassia Kikvidze have their small business, a translation agency and continue to workon integrating into Irish society.  

“Thanks to the Irish Red Cross and Youssef in particular, who is an extremely considerate and thoughtful person, we’ve got an opportunity to move from a very rural area to a wonderful town with infrastructure and transportation. This allowed us to actively pursue our development and integration into society.” 


Richard and Deirdre

Richard Barnwall and Deirdre McCafferty are very happy hosting Ukrainian families in a number of properties they are responsible for and have found accommodating these guests to be a very worthwhile, stress-free and rewarding experience. 

 “We have found accommodating these guests to be a very worthwhile, stress-free and rewarding experience.  It has been especially useful for a family home in probate, not leaving the house empty, unheated and unprotected. The six month rolling contract with the Irish Red Cross is very secure and uncomplicated. The guests have been so cooperative and pleasant to deal with.  It has been very straightforward to organise monthly payment through The Red Cross provides very good liaison officers who help introduce the host family to the guests. We think this is a great initiative where both parties benefit” 


Simon describes his hosting experience as firm bonds being formed and lifelong friendships made. What started as hosting has become more like having an extended family for him.  

“It is great to learn about our respective cultures and traditions. And although hosting may be a small thing to do, it feels good to be able to help.” 

Ukraine Community Centre Rathmines

Oksana, Volunteer 

Oksana is a Ukrainian volunteer who conducts classes with children between the ages of 3 and 6 aiming to develop their creative thinking. Her other classes in Art Therapy are for children from 7 to 14 years old. She also leads art therapy group classes for adults and thematic creative workshops: weaving wreaths from live and artificial flowers, fabrics, and stained glass painting. 

“I am inspired by the sparkles in the eyes of children and adults who come to my classes… their total trust in me and our magical co-creation.” 

Ihor and Olena Khinich, Volunteers, Ukrainian Choir Conductors 

Ihor and his wife Olena have been in Ireland since March 2022. They joined the Ukraine Community Centre as soon as they found out about the opportunity to volunteer and to continue with their favourite occupation – teaching singing to kids and adults. With the help of their continuous efforts the Ukrainian Community Centre Rathmines now hosts its own Ukrainian choir called “Ukrainian Soul”. 

“Volunteering is an extremely useful and spiritual virtue. Thank you for the opportunity to all those who are providing it to Ukrainians! Listen and hear, sing and believe in our victory!”

The Voloshyk family, Visitors  

The Voloshyk family came to Ireland from Odesa, Ukraine in May 2022. They did not have any friends or relatives here. The Ukraine Community Centre Rathmines became their second home as they’ve started visiting the centre regularly for activities and fellowship.  

“Here in Ireland, there is a phrase: ‘The strength is in unity!’ And it became significant for us. We will survive if we work together.” 

The Good Bike Project

The Good Bike Project with the Irish Red Cross supports and funds the refurbishment of bikes and supplies them to those most in need. The bikes provide refugees with the independence to travel to school, work, etc. Throughout these two years, 2600 bikes were given to the Ukrainian people in Ireland.  


Julia, Host in Slovakia 

“We have to help each other, that’s the spirit of humanity” says Julia who is hosting Verona in her home in Slovakia. For Julia, hosting people who have fled Ukraine is not just an important source of income, but it is also making a positive impact on her live. For Julia the support provided by the Red Cross Cash for Shelter programme has enabled her to feel safe and welcome  

“I am not alone anymore, we have become a family, a sister, we laugh, we even dance together.” 

Valentina, Displaced Ukrainian  

Valentina Kosheleva had to leave her home from Donetsk Oblast in April 2022. The journey was long, and it was dark on the train because they couldn’t turn on the lights at night due to the danger of bombings. Volunteers from the Red Cross helped Valentina take the bus and train to Ternopil, a city in western Ukraine where she now lives in a home that is supported by the Red Cross.  

“I cried the whole way. I looked out the window and couldn’t believe it. I wondered why all these horrors were taking place, and who had given them the right to sacrifice so many young people” 

Oleksandr, Displaced Ukrainian  

Oleksandr, 72, who fled from Luhansk is visiting a Red Cross Health Centre in Uzhorod, Ukraine which offers consultation, treatment, and medication free of charge for people in need. 

“The only thing I can say is thank you – I am grateful to everyone who cares for us” 

Prof. Gerard Bury UCD UTP Coordinator  

In partnership with UCD the Irish Red Cross supported the Ukraine Trauma Project which provides training in advanced life-saving interventions to medical/paramedical personnel with a focus on the management of life-threatening haemorrhage. The training was provided to 105 participants, in addition 100 emergency medical kits were supplied.   

“We wish to acknowledge the vitally important support given by the Irish Red Cross.  As we approach the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion, that support is needed more than ever” 

The residents of the town of Kupiansk near the front line endure constant shelling, often damaging critical infrastructure and consequently face shortages of water, electricity, and heating. Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers deliver a heating stove to a local woman pictured in Kupiansk.  

With adequate preparation and funding many lives can be saved, particularly those vulnerable, displaced, and war affected, during months of freezing temperatures. 

IRC provided 60K to the IFRC Livelihoods Programme which provides psychosocial support, training of Protection, Gender & Inclusion staff/volunteers, and prescribed medications for displaced Ukrainians and vulnerable people. Poland Red Cross Livelihoods class receiving psychosocial support in Krakow September 2023.  

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, reaching 265 people, comprised various activities, including awareness-raising sessions and workshops to educate participants about GBV its various forms, and how and where to seek help.  

In addition, self-defense classes were organized for women and social media campaign materials were translated into Ukrainian and Polish sign language to ensure equal access. 

Pictured are women and girls who attended the WenDo self-defense and assertiveness workshop.  

Two years on, amidst the profound humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, volunteers and staff of Ukrainian Red Cross have been doing their best to help others.