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'Nikolaj' sleeping on the floor at Dublin Airport as he waits for accommodation.
refugee crisis

Ukrainian refugees set to be accommodated in five army barracks

Modular housing is set to be built on defence force sites, it is understood.

LAST UPDATE | 25 Oct 2022

FIVE BARRACKS ARE are set to be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees arriving into Ireland. 

Buildings on Defence Force sites are set to be repurposed to house refugees in what is described as ‘dormitory style’ accommodation. 

Lands on the five sites have also been offered to the Office of Public Works (OPW) for modular builds.

One facility has been identified that can be used to accommodate around 100 people almost immediately, The Journal understands.

The Government yesterday said that the number of people seeking temporary protection in Ireland was “unprecedented in the history of the State”.

The Cabinet sub-committee met yesterday to deal with the crisis after it emerged  refugees had been sleeping at Dublin Airport having been told there was no room for them in other emergency accommodation.

Over the course of the weekend, 53 people refugees could not be accommodated – 44 Ukrainian, and 9 international protection applicants.

As of 1pm today, all Ukrainian refugees who were not accommodated over the weekend had been contacted and offered accommodation, it is understood. 

The Dublin Airport facility for those arriving between the hours of 6pm and 3.30am can stay until they are transported to Citywest the next morning.

A total of 49 people stayed at the airport facility last night.

Army barracks

These are appropriate sites with services and access, and it will not affect the normal operation of barracks or activities of the defence forces who operate on the sites. 

The measures agreed by the subcommittee last night are due to be signed off in a full Cabinet meeting either next week or perhaps at the end of this week in an incorporeal meeting. 

This includes the doubling the €‎400 payment to people hosting Ukrainian families in a bid to entice more people to sign up to the scheme. 

Further utilising army barracks for dormitory style accommodation as well as curtailing hotel contracts to not include free meals will also be approved, it is expected. 

The Department of Housing will also take charge of a renewed call for households pledges to take in refugees. It is understood 5,000 refugees are now living in pledged accommodation. 

Earlier today, Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman met with the Ukrainian ambassador, Larysa Gerasko, to update her on the shortage of accommodation available to refugees.

In a statement, the Department said that O’Gorman and Gerasko discussed the capacity of both the Citywest facility and other emergency accommodation centres.

“They also discussed developing communications for Ukrainian people, both in Ireland and those who may travel to Ireland,” the statement read.

Gerasko also expressed gratitude for support provided to people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The State is now accommodating over 58,000 people (42,000 Ukrainian, 16,000 International Protection). This figure compares with 7,250 at this time last year.

Increasing numbers 

The Government statement issued late last night reads: “Ireland has never seen so many people arrive in such a short timeframe and tens of thousands are receiving assistance.

“More than 54,000 have arrived to Ireland from Ukraine seeking protection as a consequence of the war. This equates to almost 1.2% of our population, comparing very favourably with other European countries and demonstrating our solidarity with the Ukraine and the rest of Europe in dealing with the crisis.

“Given the extraordinary increase in numbers over the past fortnight in particular the situation is particularly acute regarding the provision of accommodation for those seeking protection.”

The Government said it is very conscious of its international obligations but that due to the large increase in those seeking shelter here, “we must be open about the current challenges with those who may be planning to travel to Ireland over the coming months”.

In a bid to accelerate the number of places available to refugees the Government said it is going to launch a new call for vacant properties and holiday homes.

  • Increase the recognition payment for those offering accommodation in their homes;
  • Provide additional resources at local level in recognition of those communities/local communities at the forefront of the response;
  • Ensure clear pathways out of Direct Provision accommodation for those granted status.

The Government said more specific details on the plans will be released in the coming days. 

Justice Minister McEntee said today that the ongoing accommodation shortage earlier today, saying that “Irish people had been hugely welcoming”.

“The vast majority of people that I speak to want us to continue to provide that support. But obviously, we have to be clear in saying we are under pressure,” McEntee said.

The Government has to find new ways to support the numbers, whether it is through the development of rapid builds or faster accommodation, “not just for Ukrainians”, but also for others seeking international protection.

“I don’t think we should be separating out and distinguishing between people who need accommodation,” she said, adding that ramping up availability of housing would be a challenge.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue was asked about a statement made by the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, who called for a suspension of refugees entering into the county.

McConalogue said people across the country have been very welcoming, particularly in Donegal.

He said the Cathaoirleach was pointing out the importance of assessing capacity and resources in an area.

Additional reporting by Tadgh McNally, Christina Finn and Press Association

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