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Ukrainian refugees ‘very upset’ at being moved to a different town in Co Clare

Move will see some of the 75 refugees lose jobs and children will have to change schools

Ukrainian refugees in Shannon have been told they are being relocated to Lisdoonvarna from June 23rd.

Some 75 Ukrainian refugees have been given two weeks’ notice that they are being moved from their accommodation at Phoenix House in Shannon and sent to Lisdoonvarna in Co Clare.

Those affected have said the move will see people lose jobs they have taken up in Shannon, while children already traumatised by the Russian attacks on their hometowns will find the move upsetting and unsettling.

Mariana Vashcheniuk is site supervisor at Phoenix House and a resident also.

“We have children who have PTSD, they have gone to therapy in Shannon, everyone is living and working here, the children are used to this place, but now we get this letter to go to Lisdoonvarna. We’re told there aren’t places in schools for children there,” she said.


“Everybody will lose their jobs, children will lose their school places and friends, it’ll be new stress for all of us,” she added.

Ms Vashcheniuk said they have not been able to get much information about the Lisdoonvarna accommodation.

“We don’t know the rooms where we will be living. People who are there have told us it will be sharing rooms. There are some mums with children and we’re told they will have to share with other people.”

Tetyana Jaleel lives at Phoenix House. She is from the Kharkiv region, which is close to the Russian border and has been a focus of a renewed attack by the invaders in recent weeks. Her son is a third-year student at St Patrick’s Comprehensive and she says he is devastated at having to move again.

“It is our third time relocating, for three months before coming here we were in Limerick. He was going to St Patrick’s Comprehensive [a Shannon secondary school], he was happy there, but now we have to go. I have no words to say it, he is just very upset.”

Misha Bohadytsia, a teenager now attending St Patrick’s Comprehensive, remembers Mariupol as the invasion began.

“It was a very difficult time, the destruction, it was scary.”

Coming to Shannon was not easy, because he regularly heard the sounds of planes that were landing at Shannon Airport and that brought back difficult memories of Russian attacks.

However, he and his family settled and he is disappointed that they have to go once again.

“It’s not good. We have friends here, we have been learning English here, now we have to go to this village. I don’t know what will happen with school.”

Kevin Toomey is principal of St John’s National School in Shannon, which has taken in a large number of Ukrainian children since the Russian invasion. He criticised the decision to move them to North Clare, away from the area where they have built up ties.

“It’s the children who lose again. Regardless of where you stand politically, this is fundamentally wrong.”

In a statement to Clare TD Cathal Crowe, Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman defended the move, saying the contract with Phoenix House in Shannon was ended “due to concerns raised following a site visit” by the Ukraine Compliance team, along with QTS, an independent inspection company hired by the Department, and the Department of Social Protection.

“The Department is consolidating the Beneficiaries Of Temporary Protection (BOTP) accommodation portfolio, with a focus on ending contracts with non-compliant providers, and in this context a decision was taken to terminate this property,” he said.

“Every effort has been made to keep BOTPs as local as possible, but there are very few vacancies in the area due to a significant number of moves. BOTPs are free to make their own arrangements for accommodation, or to reach out to the Red Cross or the local authority to avail of pledged or offer of home properties,” the Minister added.