Modular homes for refugees ‘within weeks’, Micheál Martin tells Dáil

Tánaiste responding to Labour leader Ivana Bacik who wants ‘more co-ordinated approach’

Modular homes for refugees will come on stream within weeks, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said.

Mr Martin said the Government wants to develop and accelerate the pace of rapid-builds for both refugees and social housing.

The Tánaiste was responding to Labour leader Ivana Bacik during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Thursday, who called for a more co-ordinated approach by the Government to the housing of refugees and those seeking international protection.

Ms Bacik said the housing and provision of resources of those fleeing war was being done “ad hoc” by the Government.


The Dublin Bay South TD said there was insufficient communication for Opposition parties, local representatives and communities offering solidarity to those fleeing war.

She said a centralised approach was needed by the Government in getting out information to local communities in a timely way when new accommodation was being opened.

Ms Bacik said it was undeniable there were “sinister actors” trying to further a far-right agenda, seeking to exploit an information vacuum in order to “sow fear and distrust in local communities”.

She said there have been awful reports of intimidation of families and children by protesters, adding that one of Labour’s own public representatives was threatened during a public meeting.

In response, Mr Martin said there was a cross departmental approach by the Government and a Cabinet sub committee chaired by the Taoiseach.

He said it had to be acknowledged that “by any distance” this was the largest humanitarian operation ever undertaken by the State.

Mr Martin said there had never been such a large number of refugees fleeing war and coming to Ireland. He said the Russian attack on Ukraine had been vicious and “deliberately designed to create a migration crisis”.

The Tánaiste said 73,000 people have been accommodated between Ukrainian refugees and international protection applicants. He said the greatest pressure was on accommodating international protection applicants.

Mr Martin also said there was an acknowledgement that there could be better communication in respect of some aspects of the State’s response. He said the €50 million community fund was very important for communities that have welcomed large numbers of refugees.

Mr Martin also noted that teachers had also gone to exceptional levels to work with Ukrainian children. He said the first batch of modular homes for refugees would be coming on stream within weeks and that the State wanted to develop and accelerate the pace of building for refugees and social housing.

Mr Martin also insisted that the Department of Children was being supported by other departments in respect of facilitating and housing refugees.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times