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ukrainian refugees

170 Ukrainians living in Leitrim hotel 'shocked' at being told they've to move by end of month

Locals are in “shock” at the treatment of the Ukrainians, including tens of children attending local schools.

ROUGHLY 170 UKRAINIANS are being moved from the hotel they’ve lived in for over two years in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim by the end of the month, but they don’t know yet where to. 

Locals have told The Journal that tens of children attending local schools are living in the hotel, and that it is mainly Ukrainian women, kids, and older people who are residents there. 

The Ukrainians got letters last Thursday from the Department of Integration telling them that they are being moved from their current “short-term” accommodation following “negotiations” with the provider. 

The management of the Lough Allen hotel, however, also provided Ukrainians with a letter that said they were not consulted on this decision, and that they were “shocked” by the department’s decision. 

The department told the Ukrainians that they will be moved to new accommodation “on or before 31/05/2024″, and that will get roughly 48 hours notice of where they are being moved to. If they do not accept the offer, they will not be offered State accommodation again. 

The letter said accommodation arrangements are being “finalised”, but it did not say where.

“We cannot respond to requests for accommodation of a certain type or location,” the Ukrainians were told, “sometimes we have to move people into shared accommodation”, the letter added.

They were also informed that their pets could no longer be accommodated, and that they should make “appropriate arrangements” for any animals they own. 

A local man who is involved in trying to help Ukrainian women with young children find accommodation in the area said that they are “shocked” and there has been “a lot of tears in the last few days”. 

“We cannot believe they are being treated this way. From all the conversations I have had, no one in Drumshanbo wants them to go. 

“Many of the women work locally or are studying courses at the local college, their children are friends with the local children and this has been their home for two years, and so much effort has gone in to help them integrate, and the town has been thriving since they arrived,” he said. 

The local said that many of the women are from the Eastern region of Ukraine, including Kharkiv – an area which has been pummelled by Russian forces in recent weeks – and that returning to their home country simply isn’t an option.

The Ukrainians were informed that if they need help finding a new school placement in their new locations, regional education authorities will assist them. 

In a letter to their residents of the last two years, the management of the Lough Allen hotel said: “We want you all to know we have done everything within our power to ask the Government to allow you to stay here with us in the hotel.”

“Unfortunately, the department has come to this decision without any consultation with the management of the hotel. 

“We are very shocked and saddened at this sudden decision but it is now beyond our control,” they further said. 

In conclusion, the hotel management team said: “We wish you all the best of health and happiness in your new location”. 

The Department of Integration told The Journal that temporary accommodation for those fleeing the war in Ukraine was provided at the hotel, and this arrangement is due to come to an end. 

 ”All accommodation contracted by the Department is temporary in nature, moves happen frequently when contracts end.

 ”Alternative offers of accommodation will be provided to the residents, and every effort will be made to ensure that the alternate accommodation will be in the general area.

“Beneficiaries of temporary protection are also entitled to make their own private arrangements,” they added. 

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