Planning rules around modular homes may be changed to fast-track refugee accommodation

At present planning rules only allow modular homes to be fast-tracked for Ukrainians but this may be expanded

Planning rules around modular builds may be changed to give the State the ability to build a greater level of rapid builds for international protection applicants as well as Ukrainian refugees, Government sources have said.

At present, regulations allow the Government to fast-track the development of modular units for Ukrainian refugees. Two Government sources said that this may be extended to include units for international protection applicants and, eventually, students.

Ministers discussed in-depth future plans for accommodation for both refugees and asylum seekers on Thursday at the Cabinet Committee on Migration where the changes were discussed. The Government is keen to move to a longer term plan for use of modular accommodation given a recent drop in the number of Ukrainian refugees seeking support in Ireland.

Ministers also discussed the EU Migration Pact with Tánaiste Micheál Martin telling the meeting of the need for an efficient system where processing times are faster.


Minister for Justice Helen McEntee told the meeting that fast processing times for safe countries has reduced the numbers of people coming to Ireland from those countries by 50 per cent.

An accelerated process has been in place for eight countries since November 2022. Applications from these counties have halved.

She said Georgia was added to the safe countries list when it had the highest number of applicants, pointing out that it is now not in the top ten.

The meeting also heard an update on legislation the Cabinet approved to close the legal loophole following the High Court ruling that the UK could not be considered a safe country. Ministers were told that the new laws would be passed through the Houses of the Oireachtas by June. McEntee said the current situation means a Nigerian who comes to Ireland through the UK will be returned to Nigeria if their application for asylum is unsuccessful.

The Government wants to send a “clear signal” that people coming across the border need to be aware they will be sent back to Nigeria if a negative decision is given.

The committee also heard that there were 513 deportation orders issued up to the end of April.

Of these, 186 were removed from the State, including 136 voluntary repatriations.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times