Large halls where refugees can sleep on mattresses and sleeping bags are being sought by Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman.
Mr O’Gorman wrote to his government colleagues last night pleading to help find additional capacity across the country stating the ongoing migration crisis is entering an “extremely difficult” phase with no apartments accommodation at scale for international protection (IP) applicants available in the short to medium term.
He said the government is facing significant challenges in meeting accommodation needs to shelter Ukrainians and those seeking international protection here.
“What is needed are large halls where camp beds, mattresses, sleeping bags could be set out for people in local authority rest centre configurations,” Mr O’Gorman wrote.
He said the sort of facilities that are envisaged include sports centres which have access to showers, conference facilities, arts centres, student leisure centres and any other large buildings that are deemed safe for use by local authorities.
In the letter, Mr O’Gorman said he is asking for his government colleagues’ assistance to fund properties for their immediate use.
“In order to minimise the possibility that those in need will be left without accommodation in the short to medium term, I am asking for your urgent assistance in sourcing, from your sector or stakeholders, any large building (capacity of 50-100 or greater) that can be utilised by my department immediately to shelter new arrivals in the immediate term,” he wrote.
He said Ireland is now accommodating over 74,000 refugees in State-funded accommodation compared to 7,500 at this time last year.
As of February 1, this figure includes 53,700 Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection fleeing Ukraine and almost 20,000 IP applicants.