Up to 250 Ukrainian refugees are to be housed in 64 modular homes which are to be rolled out in the coming weeks the Government has confirmed.
The site off St Michael’s Drive in Mahon, Cork, will have community facilities, including green spaces and a play area, and will accommodate primarily women and children displaced by the war in Ukraine.
Near Mahon Point Shopping Centre, it is one of three initial sites announced by the Department of Children, Equality, Integration, Disability and Youth. A further 60 are planned for Thurles and 30 in Cavan town.
The department has said that the homes will be developed in an “environmentally sustainable way to ensure that the site will enhance the local area”.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show some 54,000 Ukrainians have sought refuge in Ireland since Russia’s invasion of the country in February.
The Government has since been scrambling to find accommodation for arrivals, resorting at times to the likes of the old Dublin Airport hangar, the Aviva Stadium, and Páirc Uí Chaoimh to temporarily house refugees.
In a statement, the department said that, to date, it has used “various types” of temporary accommodation to house almost 40,190 people displaced by the war.
“However as the crisis continues and more displaced persons arrive in Ireland, modular units will provide a means to increase the accommodation capacity available,” it said.
It has worked with the Department of Housing, the Office of Public Works, and local authorities to find vacant sites “in or close to urban areas” for modular housing.
The first phase will begin rolling out this month with 200 units to be delivered before the end of the year. A further 300 units will be rolled out in areas across the country in January and February, it said.
The Department said it provided “full information” to local authorities about the plans, including plans for extra school places and additional health service requirements. It follows protests last week against modular housing from some locals in Newbridge and Rathangan in Kildare.
“Use of modular units to temporarily house people fleeing Ukraine allows the Government to pilot this type of accommodation,” it said. “It will be possible then to see if the units are suitable for social housing, student accommodation, or for other uses.”