Hotels, B&Bs, apartments, and holiday homes in tourist hotspots are accommodating the majority of Ukrainians, with 34 hotels in Kerry alone awarded contracts by the State.
Deals agreed with B&Bs and hotels range from €20,000 up to €12.5m as the Government struggles to deal with the tens of thousands of Ukrainians who have fled the war.
Old convents and student accommodation in Cork and Dublin are also the subject of contracts with the Government.
Thehas obtained data showing the deals the State made with hotels between April and September this year, at a time when millions of Ukrainians were fleeing the war in their country.
Deals made in the final quarter of 2022 will be released in January.
The figures show that in the third quarter there was a significant increase in the number of family-run B&Bs that offered their premises to support Ukrainians.
The housing crisis which existed prior to the war is a contributing factor to the challenge of housing Ukrainians. There is also a disparity in numbers being accommodated in various areas across the country.
Coastal areas such as Kerry, Donegal, Clare, Cork, and Galway have a significant number of hotels and B&Bs in use by the State as concerns grow for the availability of rooms for refugees ahead of the tourism season next year.
- In Kerry, Dannymann Company Ltd received a contract worth €5.7m for the Eviston Hotel in Killarney;
- Crimmins Hotels & Leisure Limited agreed a payment for the Innisfallen Hotel worth €2.4m. It was also paid €1,250,640 for the Three Lakes Hotel;
- The Earl of Desmond Hotel outside Tralee agreed payment of €2.1m and Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1.7m;
- Banna Holiday Villas Ltd signed a contract worth €1.4m for holiday homes at Banna Beach Resort;
- TD Michael Healy Rae is offering accommodation to Ukrainians at Rosemount Bed and Breakfast in Kerry and the cost agreed with the State is €21,840;
- In Co Clare, Bunratty Shopping Village Ltd is in receipt of a deal worth €4.2m for Bunratty Castle Hotel;
- Sunset Breeze Limited, which owns Ballybunion Golf Hotel, was awarded €3.5m and Wild Way Hotels Limited, which owns the Burren Atlantic Hotel and Homes, received €1.7m;
- Three hotels in Clare received deals worth €1.5m;
- The second-biggest deal in Cork, after the €12.5m contract for the Quality Hotel in Youghal, was worth €4.4m for Trabolgan holiday centre;
- TV presenter and wedding organiser Peter ‘Franc’ Kelly who in 2020 purchased an old convent, also has a contract to accommodate Ukrainians in the building in Rosscarbery. Documents show the contract for Weddings by Franc Limited at €622,440;
- A nursing home in Co Galway, Brampton Care, signed a deal worth €1.7m to house Ukrainians, the largest contract awarded in the county;
- In Donegal, the largest contracts have been awarded to McGettigan Hotel in
Letterkenny at an estimated price of €3.7m;
- Grand Central Hotel in Bundoran received €2.4m and Nesbitt Arms Hotel received €1.1m from the State.
The Government has relaunched a campaign asking the public to offer up vacant homes and buildings for use by refugees.
However, TDs have expressed concern about the phasing-in of a bed-only policy, questioning where those stuck in hotels will be able to cook meals if they cannot find alternative accommodation.
Speaking to the Eamon Ryan said the Government is “testing every option and looking for every eventuality” to secure more space.in Paris yesterday, Environment Minister
He said given that there is no sign of the war ending soon, the Government has to consider the immediate emergency response and look to see how that can be changed to make it more sustainable.
- The figures provided are for deals agreed between the State and providers for the period April to September 2022. The documentation does not state the length of the contracts.
Details of deals signed off in the final quarter of 2022 will be published next January.
The Department of Integration is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU derogation that permits the department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.
The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage.
Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so, again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.
The services which are subject to these contracts are accommodation and ancillary services for refugees arriving in Ireland as a result of the Ukrainian conflict and include catering services, cleaning, laundry facilities, certain consumables, and security services.
Around 17,000 asylum seekers have also arrived in Ireland this year but the department said no similar obligation exists to publish the same information for international protection accommodation.
Along with his wife Tetiana and his large Cane Corso dog Nora, Roman has been stuck in State accommodation since arriving here in July.
Jumping from place to place throughout their time here, they have been unable to settle with an Irish family or rent their own home.
“I could not leave the dog in Ukraine,” he said. “This is our friend and she never left us, and we can’t leave her either.”
Despite trying, no family wanted to bring such a large dog into their home, and now the three remain at a hostel in Co Wicklow — for now.
Many Ukrainians have been moved around multiple times since arriving in Ireland, making it difficult to hold down jobs, make friends at school, and integrate into the community.
At the hostel in Wicklow, Roman fears for his wife’s health in the old and cold building. The shower and toilets are shared and only accessible by going outside.
Roman works as a van courier, saving up for a place of their own they may never get. But even if the housing crisis doesn’t price them out, their money isn’t enough.
“When I tell them I have a dog, they say: ‘Oh no, we don’t want you here’,” he said of his dealings with prospective landlords.
“We do not want to sit on the neck of the State. We would agree to any property and make repairs if necessary.”
Roman will be one of more than 70,000 Ukrainians in Ireland by the end of the year if Government projections come true. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has voiced concern over the high numbers, but Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman has said he is confident his department can cope.
Ireland’s accommodation system has been stretched and strained since Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine prompted a wave of people seeking temporary protection, and amid a burgeoning housing crisis, how are the tens of thousands stuck in hotel accommodation coping?
Oksana Zatsarynska, who lives in a small hotel in Cork City, wants nothing more than a place of her own. Oksana arrived last August from the Russian-occupied Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine with her husband and three young children, including a two-year-old toddler.
“We get free meals and accommodation, for which we are very grateful,” she said, and commended the polite staff who keep the place very clean.
But she lamented the lack of space and said she hopes to secure larger accommodation to reunite with the rest of her family, who plan to move to Ireland soon.
“The hotel has no classroom and no playroom,” she said. “It’s not possible to cook for children, especially for a small baby.” She said her children aren’t eating well, with food ordered to the hotel, and her youngest has been sick often amid digestive system issues.
“It is important for us to stay in Cork since our son is studying at MTU [to become a musician] and his abilities give us hope,” she said.
Oksana does not speak English, but is making efforts to integrate into the community by building friendships, attending English classes, and singing with Cork’s first Ukrainian choir.
While Ukrainians unanimously exude a great level of appreciation for Ireland and its people for taking them in, not all Irish have been so welcoming. This week, a series of protests erupted in Dublin’s East Wall in the north inner city over the housing of refugees at an old ESB building in the area.
Locals were frustrated at the lack of consultation before a decision to use the building. Up to 380 men, women, and children who arrived in Ireland seeking international protection are being housed in the building.
For Roman, he understood the frustration of protesters and that it was a normal reaction amid a housing crisis. However, he stressed they must know Ukrainians did not come here of their own free will.
“We are very grateful to the Irish for their hospitality, you have a wonderful country, [but] we came because of the war,” he said.
Hanna is “concerned” about the protests and said although she is “forever grateful” to Irish people, she stressed that those from other countries also need protection and support.
“I read about the anti-refugee protest in Dublin,” she said.
"I understand the feelings of the locals and their anxiety. I agree that it is very difficult to accept so many visitors in their motherland.
"I sincerely and tirelessly thank you for that. We are safe and have the opportunity to live with dignity.”