We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

The Port of Cork, which is in the early stages of discussions to host floatels Alamy Stock Photo
Asylum Seekers

Minister says ‘floatels’ are being looked at to house refugees

The Department of Integration had ruled out using cruise liners but a smaller ‘floatel’ concept could work, Roderic O’Gorman said.

MINISTER FOR INTEGRATION Roderic O’Gorman has said that his department is considering using accommodation aboard barges or moored ships, also known as “floatels”, to house people seeking international protection.

O’Gorman’s department ruled out the idea of housing Ukrainians in a luxury cruise ship at Dublin Port last summer, due to concerns that this would take up too much space at the port.

However, speaking to reporters today, the minister said that a smaller ‘floatel’ concept was much more workable.

“I wasn’t hugely knowledgeable about this nine months ago, but there’s a distinct difference between cruise liners and floatels,” O’Gorman admitted.

“Particularly because floatels have a shallower draft and are more flexible than cruise liners which can only be accommodated on a small number of places around Ireland, whereas floatels can be accommodated much more flexibly.”

“Our department is looking at floatels, in the context of the numbers we’re accommodating: 22,000 people across international protection (IP), 84,000 across IP in Ukraine. We do have to look at all options and floatels can offer safe accommodation for international protection,” he said.

One potential location for floatels is the Port of Cork, which has confirmed that it is engaged with talks with the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS).

A statement from the Port of Cork Company read:

“Horgan’s Quay and Penrose Quay have been identified as possible locations, however these discussions are at a very early stage and any decisions as to the locations of any such facilities will be made by IPAS, in consultation with Cork City Council and the Port of Cork.”

The minister also added that his department was making significant progress on increasing the amount of accommodation but that demand was still high.

“We of course have people arriving as well. So that element is outside of our control. I think for now I would just say I hope to see significant further decreases over the next number of days.”