The Government has said it hopes to accommodate 2,000 Ukrainian refugees in 500 modular homes by the end of the year.
Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman announced on Wednesday that the Government has approved a modular housing scheme which will help to ease growing pressures in accommodating both Ukrainian refugees and non-Ukrainian people seeking international protection.
There are an estimated 25,000 Ukrainians currently staying in accommodation provided by the State. In addition, there were 11,873 people residing in international protection accommodation as of last month. This compares to 7,000 at the end of 2021 and 7,000 at the end of 2020. The figures are the highest for at least 15 years.
Mr O’Gorman said the modular units, which will be factory built and then installed on site, will be spread around the country but will be close to, or in, urban areas. He said there would be at least 20 sites, giving an average of 25 units per site. Each unit will house four people.
The Minister said that the Office of Public Work plans that the first of the units would be on site in early November 2022 with the programme being completed in 2023. He said it was an ambitious but achievable time frame and that local authorities would be given “appropriate planning exemptions” to ensure speedy delivery.
He also did not rule out that the modular units would be put to other uses once the Ukrainian crisis comes to an end, including possible use for those seeking international protection. He accepted that the substantial increase in the numbers of non-Ukrainian people arriving into Ireland seeking international protection had put additional pressure on the authorities to accommodate everybody.
“We are very aware that there is going to be pressure over the summer. We saw pressure in the Red Cow [Hotel] a number of weeks ago,” he said referring to people sleeping on the floor of conference rooms.
“We’ve been able to act to address that. When you see a significant number of people are [still] arriving, I’m not in a position to guarantee that situations like that can’t happen again,” he said.