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Minister of State Josepha Madigan
refugee crisis

Holiday home owners could be paid for housing refugees, junior minister suggests

Over 25,000 refugees have arrived in the country as of this week.

A JUNIOR MINISTER has voiced their favour for holiday homes being drafted in as emergency accommodation for refugees fleeing Ukraine, but has noted that it is not currently part of the government’s plans.

Dublin Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan said “every lever” must be pulled to ensure accommodation can be provided for people arriving into Ireland from the war-torn country, which could include an incentivisation scheme for owners of holiday homes.

The measure has been proposed by some housing experts as an immediate and temporary measure for the crisis.

“I’m not sure if it’s being considered but I think it is a good proposition. There are a number of amenable holiday homes throughout the country that I think people would be very amenable to helping with,” the minister of state for special education and inclusion told RTÉ’s Saturday programme.

“It would be good if they could get a financial recompense for doing that,” she said.

“Some of the holiday homes may not be asuitable and maybe not for permanent accommodation but we need to make sure that we pull every lever that we can,” she added, adding that the government is providing accommodation via a number of measures at present.

These include over 500 vacant buildings have been identified by local authorities, such as community halls, former religious and education properties, former hotels and former hospitals. Up to 5,000 people will be housed in 89 of these buildings.

There has been a significant reduction in the number of Ukrainian refugees arriving to Ireland in the last two weeks, with 130 arriving yesterday.

Over 25,000 refugees have arrived in the country as of this week.

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin told broadcaster Katie Hannon on the same programme that holiday homes should be persued rather than newly built modular homes, which he claimed were set to be of a “low quality”.

“That is not where we want to go,” he said.

Ó Broin added that Madigan’s party colleague Senator John Cummins has also called for an incentivisation scheme for owners of holidays homes to open up their properties to refugees, according to Fine Gael Housing Spokesman Senator John Cummins.

Senator Cummins, who is Fine Gael’s housing spokesman in the Seanad, was speaking after the upper house of the Oireacthas passed a wider motion on the response to the Ukraine crisis.

This included a call for the provision of an incentive scheme for owners of vacant and holiday homes.

Ó Broin also revealed that Department of Housing officials told an Oireachtas committee in a private sitting this week that they’re not considering using holiday homes as a temporary measure for housing refugees.

They are instead letting it to the Department of Children to consider, the TD said. 

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