The Minister for Integration has said the Government is launching "a new call" for unoccupied homes to accommodate those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Roderic O'Gorman said: "These are unoccupied houses, apartments or holiday homes. We are asking people to consider to pledge them for an initial period of six months."

The new initiative will be led by local authorities who will appeal for unoccupied properties.

They will liaise with owners to assess the suitability of the property and coordinate the arrangements.

Of the total number of people fleeing the war in Ukraine who arrived in Ireland, 46,000 have been housed by the State and by citizens, according to recent figures from the Central Statistics Office.

Property owners can offer homes at or by contacting the local authority in which their property is located.

Mr O'Gorman said anyone who offers a home will benefit from the recognition payment of €800 a month tax-free.

"We hope that we can continue to build on the strong support across the country for Ukrainian refugees."

Mr O'Gorman said over 5,500 people are in pledged accommodation already which is a very significant support and they are looking to build on that.

Mr O'Gorman said Ireland is now accommodating 64,000 Ukrainians fleeing war and international protection applicants as he spoke about the obligation to ensure no one is left homeless.

He said: "We have a moral and legal obligation to provide shelter to people feeling persecution."

Mr O'Gorman reflected on the situation a month ago when they were not able to accommodate everyone and some were left homeless for a number of nights and said "we want to avoid that".

Addressing recent protests in East Wall in Dublin, Mr O'Gorman said when he meets people who have addressed concerns, he hopes they can extend a welcome to people.

He said he will giving residents information about the numbers using properties there and the timeframe.

Mr O'Gorman said: "I will be speaking to residents first of all about the context in which my department is operating."

Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council Michael Walsh said the unoccupied homes are not being sought on a permanent basis.

Speaking to RTÉ's Drivetime, he said: "We're seeking it for a temporary period, minimum of six months, and we'll consider longer."

He added: "The message is very simple here. If you've an unoccupied dwelling, the appeal is very clear 'please make it available on a temporary basis'."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said Ireland had provided a "very warm welcome" to Ukrainians arriving in Ireland, but he warned that "one should be always careful of exploitation of situations".

He said that over 60,000 had arrived in Ireland this year and the numbers are far higher than the Government would have anticipated.

Additional reporting Mícheál Lehane, Tommy Meskill