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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland Tepees in the boutique camping section of Electric Picnic

Electric Picnic tents to house Ukrainian refugees after festival ends

Due to an accommodation shortage tents will be the ‘primary source of accommodation’ for new Ukrainian refugees, the department said.

THE DEPARTMENT OF Integration has said that tented accommodation will be the primary source of accommodation for new arrivals from Ukraine after it announced that tents from Electric Picnic would be used to house refugees.

The department signed a contract yesterday that would see up to 750 people housed at the festival site in Stradbally, Co Laois for six weeks.

The decision comes as accommodation options for those fleeing the war have reached capacity and student accommodation places that had been used by refugees over the summer are no longer available.

Stradbally will become available to the department on Tuesday, following the end of the festival on Sunday.

The department aims to have the tents at full capacity by Thursday.

A spokesperson for the department said:

“The accommodation at the site is for very short term use and efforts will be made to secure short term accommodation (from the existing departmental portfolio) for those who will be placed there.”

“A small number of new arrivals have already been placed in tents, and this will increase as new locations for tented facilities come on stream. Vulnerable arrivals will be prioritised for any non-tented accommodation available.”

Ukrainian refugees had previously been housed in tents at Gormanston military camp in Co Meath from July to October of last year, but the camp was stood down because it was not suitable for the winter.

The department has stated that 69,518 people have fled to Ireland from Ukraine since the war began last February.

The Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr Paschal McEvoy told Laois Live that he questioned the suitability of putting Ukrainian refugees in tents during the autumn.

“I would have the gravest reservations about putting people into tents in Stradbally,” McEvoy said.

The Department of Integration has stated that there has been an increase in arrivals from Ukraine during the summer, with 10,000 people arriving here since 1 May.

This is an average of around 650 people per week and the department has estimated that up to 500 people could continue to arrive over the next weeks from Ukraine.

A spokesperson stated:

“The government continues to seek new accommodation sources such as repurposed buildings and rapid build and prefabricated accommodation.”

“Offers of commercial accommodation to the department continue to reduce month on month. We have negotiated with and contracted as many longer-term providers as is possible.  Not all are suitable and must meet agreed standards.

“The use of student accommodation throughout the summer months offered initial contingency but has also served to create a build-up of demand in light of decreasing supply. Other sources of accommodation which require refurbishment or have building requirements take significantly longer to come on stream.

“Due to this significant shortfall, it is expected that, from next week, tented accommodation will be the primary source of accommodation for new arrivals from Ukraine.”