Words: Eva O’Beirne
Efforts to find emergency accommodation by the Government are ongoing, but the current solution to Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland is army-built camping sites and dormitories.
The Defence Forces are currently constructing tented accommodation at Gormanston camp in Meath and preparing dormitory-style accommodation in the Millstreet Arena, Cork which will have capacity for more than 400 people.
Briefings to the Cabinet by Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath suggested the number of refugees expected to arrive in the coming weeks could exceed existing availability in emergency accommodation in hotels, bed and breakfasts, and private houses.
Ministers were told Ireland could have 21,000 arrivals by Easter and 30,000 by the end of April, but officials stressed the unpredictability of the numbers that will arrive.
14,611 refugees had arrived on Tuesday, with about 600 new arrivals every day. Approximately three-quarters of these arrivals require accommodation.
22,657 pledges of accommodation have been offered through the national pledge being organised by the Irish Red Cross but there are many concerns that not all will prove suitable, and some may be withdrawn. The backlog of Garda vetting for these households has also contributed to the need to build tents for refugees.
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