Housing Ukrainian refugees ‘difficult’ over Easter, says council

Planning at advanced stage for regional centre to billet arrivals from eastern Europe

Accommodating Ukrainian refugees over the Easter period is going to be “particularly difficult” due to the demand for community buildings, according to the head of a Dublin local authority.

Chief executive of Fingal County Council Ann Marie Farrelly commended the operators of community centres for stepping up to allow facilities be used as "resting centres".

The Liam Rodgers Community Centre in Kinsealy, Swords, is being used as emergency accommodation. And Donabate Portrane community centre was also deployed for this purpose, but has since been stood down.

Speaking at the monthly council meeting, Ms Farrelly said: “We are implementing a regional approach, an eastern region approach, and we would hope not to inconvenience a community centre for too long. It is a temporary use . . . of a period of three weeks; it’s really a work in progress.”

She added: “The Easter period is going to be difficult because a lot of the types of accommodation that has been in use is now required for other reasons . . . it is very fast evolving.”

Ms Farrelly said there is “advanced planning” for a regional centre to accommodate these people.

Robert Burns, director of housing and community development at the council, said vacant properties and buildings are being identified that could be repurposed.

What about social housing list?

Asked if the influx of refugees will have impact on the social housing list, Mr Burns replied that the direction from Government is that Ukrainian refugees will be housed in hotels, centres and other accommodation types.

“Social housing is not one of those options as far as we’re aware,” he added.

State capacity to accommodate the increasing number of refugees arriving in the Republic is under pressure.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said the Government is likely to have reached the limit of hotel and B&B accommodation it could provide for this purpose, while Taoiseach Micheál Martin echoed this belief.

It is not envisaged that large halls with tents and camp beds will be required before Easter, but it is expected they may become necessary soon after.