Two hotel groups have signed contracts worth up to €12.5m each for accommodating Ukrainians fleeing war.
A breakdown of the contracts awarded by the State reveals deals worth €337m with 270 hotels and B&Bs across the country between April and September this year.
A spokesman for the Department of Integration said the actual figure is far higher because of deals awarded in the last quarter of 2022 but said those details will not be released until January 2023.
Some of the biggest deals signed so far include:
- €12.5m - Quality Hotel Youghal, Co Cork;
- €12.5m - Windward Management Limited, with payments to a number of hotels it owns, including €8.5m to Tallaght Cross hotel, €1.2m to Anner hotel in Tipperary, €955,500 to Park Inn hotel, Co Clare;
- €10.8m - Citywest hotel and convention centre, Dublin;
- €8.5m - Eviston hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry;
- €5.7m - Radisson Blu Hotel, Limerick;
- €5m - Trabolgan Holiday Centre, Co Cork;
- €4.4m - Bunratty Castle Hotel, Co Clare;
- €4.2m - Ashbourne Court Hotel, Co Meath;
- €3.8m - McGettigan Hotel, Letterkenny, Co Donegal;
- €3.7m - Ballybunion Golf Hotel, Co Kerry.
Tourism hotspots such as Kerry, Donegal, Clare, Cork, and Galway have a significant number of hotels and B&Bs in use by the State with contracts ranging from €20,000 to €12.5m.
Concern is growing over the shortage of suitable accommodation as the State prepares for the arrival of over 11,000 Ukrainians between now and the end of the year with the total figure expected to be 72,000.
More than €617m has been spent so far supporting Ukrainians and others seeking international protection here — €337m on accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, holiday homes, student accommodation, and apartments across the country for Ukrainians.
The remaining €280m has been spent on services and accommodation for asylum seekers but the department said no obligation exists to publish these contract details, despite almost 17,000 people seeking international protection arriving here so far this year.
Records obtained show between April and June this year, 92 contracts were awarded to hotels totaling almost €100m. Between July and September, an additional 172 contracts were signed with hotels, apartment blocks, student accommodation, and B&Bs totalling almost €90m.
According to the department, there are around 35,200 Ukrainians being accommodated in hotels and B&Bs.
The values of the hotel contracts provided are estimates and the actual amount paid to each provider depends on occupancy and usage, according to a department spokesman. The contracts include catering services, cleaning, laundry facilities, food and water, and security services.
The spokesman said the department cannot comment on award criteria due to matters of commercial sensitivity but added that contracts are awarded as quickly as possible, usually within a couple of weeks.
Just this week, the Government admitted that some providers are still waiting for payments due to a backlog but said additional staff had been allocated to process payments to hotels as soon as possible.
The list of contracts lays bare the pressure on tourist hotspots across the country to provide accommodation for those fleeing the war.
It is understood contracts for 360 of the 500 hotels in contracts with the State are up for renewal next month and the department is expecting the majority to extend their deals.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he is concerned about the availability of accommodation in the weeks ahead.
In Ukraine, much of the country is still without electricity, heat, and water two days after a devastating series of Russian missile attacks against the country’s civilian infrastructure.
The UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, said Russian strikes on critical infrastructure had killed at least 77 people since October.
“Millions are being plunged into extreme hardship and appalling conditions of life by these strikes,” said Mr Türk in a statement.
“Taken as a whole, this raises serious problems under international humanitarian law, which requires a concrete and direct military advantage for each object attacked.”
Meanwhile, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said he does not believe there is a major risk of violence erupting at the protests taking place in Dublin's East Wall.
Protests in East Wall have been ongoing in recent days over the housing of asylum seekers at an old ESB building in the area.