Modular homes to be built to house refugees, with sites across four counties selected

Locations in west Dublin, Cork, Kildare and Cavan identified for initial tranche as system for housing refugees comes under pressure

Locations in Dublin, Cork, Kildare and Cavan have been selected for the initial tranche of modular homes for housing refugees later this year.

The Government has been scrambling to find accommodation for people fleeing the war in Ukraine as well as a growing number of people from other countries seeking international protection in Ireland.

Many of the almost 43,000 arrivals from Ukraine have been housed in hotels or emergency facilities identified by local authorities, and a priority now is to deliver longer-term solutions such as modular homes.

The Irish Times understands the first modular homes are to be built at sites in Mulhuddart, west Dublin; Cork City; Rathangan and Newbridge in Co Kildare; and in Cavan town.


Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman and officials from his department and the Office of Public Works (OPW) have briefed politicians representing these areas and there will be ongoing consultations with TDs and local authorities.

Ireland’s system for housing refugees has come under significant pressure between the refugee crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and about 7,000 people seeking asylum from other countries, up significantly from the approximately 2,500 who did so last year.

It is anticipated that there will be as many as 50,000 refugees from Ukraine in Ireland by the end of August.

At present some 6,000 people from Ukraine are in employment and there are more than 7,000 children enrolled in schools.

Over the last two weeks the old terminal building at Dublin Airport accommodated 1,800 people for less than a day each as the transit facility at Citywest Hotel and conference centre reached capacity.

The use of Dublin Airport has ceased as of Thursday as the pressure eased at Citywest, though it is a priority for Government to finalise plans for a second transit centre.

Some 100 people have been sleeping in the Aviva Stadium since last week, though that arrangement is due to end on Friday.

With 5,000 beds in student accommodation due to be returned when third level institutions need them back in the autumn, efforts are being made to ramp up the use of vacant and shared accommodation pledged by the public.

Some 2,700 people are currently living in 900 pledged properties.

There were 25,000 properties originally offered by the public, though many were withdrawn, or the owners were uncontactable, leaving some 10,000 potentially available for use.

The OPW has been tasked with delivering at least 500 modular homes across 20 locations, with the first due to be rolled out in November. Work is still being carried out on finalising the location of 15 of the sites.

It is intended that the modular homes will be high-quality, insulated homes that comply with building standards, and the sites are to include landscaping and children’s playgrounds.

The OPW has said it will shortly be engaging a contractor to deliver the programme of works necessary to ensure that the installation of modular units can start before the end of the year.

The contractor is to seek expressions of interest in August from manufacturers for the supply of modular units.

Under existing plans it is envisaged that up to 200 units will be delivered over November and December this year, with 300 more by the end of February 2023.

Concern has been raised about the numbers of refugees being sent to some parts of the country.

The mayor of Kerry, Cllr John Francis Flynn, said his county has done its share and he has called on other counties to “step up”.

“The people of the county will continue to do all we can for the Ukrainians and will support them in every way we can, but I do think for the good of the Ukrainians and the local people and local economy there should be a cap. Kerry has done enough,” the Fianna Fáil councillor said.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times