Last-minute scramble to find space for incoming Ukrainian refugees as Citywest reaches capacity

Officials direct women and children towards Citywest to be ‘triaged’ while single men are directed towards NGOs to find emergency accommodation

A last-minute scramble was under way on Thursday night to find space for incoming refugees after a major reception facility in Dublin reached capacity.

The Department of Children and Equality announced on Thursday that arrivals to Citywest would be paused and that refugees were facing a night in the airport. However, sources at Dublin Airport distanced themselves from this.

A source said arrivals overnight on Thursday would continue to go to Citywest and that any use of the airport to accommodate refugees wouldn’t commence this week. However, a Government source countered this late on Thursday night and said that talks were under way to source a building in the environs of Dublin Airport and that people would be “accommodated” in this building shortly.

On Thursday night officials were directing women and children towards Citywest to be “triaged” while single men were directed towards NGOs to find emergency accommodation.


It comes as the Government predicts a shortfall of 15,000 places for refugees by December amid continuing pressure on the accommodation system.

The department is now accommodating more than 58,000 people – 42,000 Ukrainians and 16,000 international protection applicants (IPs). This figure compares with 7,250 at this time last year.

In a statement, the department confirmed that entry to Citywest was paused for both international protection applicants and Ukrainians.

The department said it was “working urgently across Government and with agencies, NGOs and local authorities to bring new accommodation on board so that the State’s humanitarian responsibilities can be met to both IPs and those from Ukraine”.

Officials from the department also briefed the Ukrainian Embassy on Thursday.

At present, access to suitable accommodation is severely constrained.

To date, the department has contracted about 25 per cent of hotel beds in Ireland, alongside hostels, guesthouses, pledged accommodation, sports stadiums, scout facilities, tented accommodation and modular units. “It continues to work to explore all suitable offers as it has done since March 2022.”

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times