Number of holiday homes offered to Ukrainian refugees way below target

The Government had hoped 20,000 holiday houses and unoccupied homes would be pledged under the Offer a Home scheme - but fewer than 1,300 owners have put their properties forward

A Government scheme to encourage people to offer their holiday homes to Ukrainian refugees has fallen well short of its target.

It had set a target of 20,000 holiday homes, or otherwise unoccupied houses and apartments, being pledged by individuals.

The scheme was launched in November 2022 by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and Minister for Children and Integration Roderic O’Gorman, and backed up by an extensive media campaign. It is being administered by local authorities under the dedicated website.

However, the uptake of the scheme in the first seven months has been low in comparison with the projections set out by officials in the Department of Housing.


The Department said that as of the beginning of this week, 1,263 properties had been allocated, providing accommodation for almost 4,000 Ukrainians who are beneficiaries of temporary protection in Ireland.

In the run-up to the launch of the scheme an internal briefing document said there were more than 65,000 holiday homes in Ireland but most were being run commercially.

The document said a realistic target was the 20,000 or so holiday homes owned by individuals. “We would hope the owners would consider putting them forward,” it stated.

The scheme was launched in response to acute pressures on Mr O’Gorman’s Department to accommodate the large number of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland.

By November, a total of 62,000 refugees had arrived in Ireland since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24th, 2022. By the end of December the number had climbed to 70,000. The numbers have continued to rise with an additional 20,000 refugees arriving into Ireland in the first six months of 2023. The overall number of Ukrainians who are beneficiaries of temporary protection is now almost 89,000.

The scheme announced last November replaced an earlier scheme that was run by non-governmental agencies whereby individuals pledged rooms, or entire properties, to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. There were reports of delays in responding to properties being pledged.

The rationale behind the scheme was that local authorities were in a better position to administer the scheme and would have the resources and personnel to take over properties quickly.

At the time Mr O’Gorman said that a rethink had been needed on a situation where a voluntary organisation was being asked to run a “very large national scheme” involving thousands of properties.

“If we were doing it again, we would do it differently,” Mr O’Gorman said in November when referring to the original drive run by a voluntary body. “We have learned from that process. And this is why we’ve brought in the local authorities from day one in this scheme.”

The disappointing uptake of offers from owners of holiday homes was despite an extensive media campaign. A spokeswoman for the Department of Housing said consideration was being given to a further advertising campaign this Autumn.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times