Updated 1 hour ago
EIGHT SITES HAVE been identified that could be used to accommodate 500 modular homes that will be used to house Ukrainian refugees.
The Cabinet subcommittee on Ukraine met today to discuss the housing situation for refugees as accommodation is expected to hit crisis point in the coming months.
Ministers discussed plans to build hundreds of modular homes on the sites identified which are understood to already be serviced and are currently being assessed by the Office of Public Works (OPW).
Government will purchase the modular homes from Irish suppliers with plans to get them constructed within 16 weeks.
It is understood that units as the units are “very good quality” and are meant to last for around 60 years, the houses could be used for housing purposes into the future.
Ministers discussed a plan to get 6,000 people placed in homes pledged by the public by the end of summer as well as a plan to house 3,000 people in refurbished local authority buildings.
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan told reporters earlier that thousand of student beds will no longer be available for refugees as students return to college after the summer.
Thousands of beds were secured in May from both third-level institutions and private student accommodation providers, but this was on a temporary basis for the summer months only.
Speaking to reporters today in Dublin, Ryan said 1,400 people are seeking refugee status every month, on top of the 35,000 people coming from Ukraine.
“There’s a massive strain in the system, any country, any government, in those circumstances is going to have difficulty and particularly towards the later end of the summer, particularly as we start to see student accommodation go back to students,” he said.
“There is a real challenge, it is very, very difficult,” he added.
At the start of the war in Ukraine, the Government and the Irish people agreed “to keep our door open, unlike our neighbours who haven’t taken the same approach”, said Ryan.
“Unlike our neighbours, we don’t agree with the sort of approach where you might send a refugee back to another country as a solution to what is a really challenging problem,” said the minister.
He said Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and Government is working to “make sure we do provide accommodation. But it is not an easy task. There’s a huge challenge just given the numbers,” he said.
Ryan expressed his frustration at the slow pace of getting homes that were pledged by Irish people on stream.
“There’s a lot of frustration, I think within government, that the system seems to be very slow in terms of verifying and approving. There’s all sorts of complexities around that,” he said.
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“We will have to review that and make sure that it is speeded up, it’s much more flexible, it’s much quicker,” he added.
However, he said even if all those offers of home come into fruition, it will still leave the country with a “really challenging situation” given the sheer scale of the numbers of refugees that must be housed.
“That’s the reality we have to be honest about,” he added.
The minister was also asked if tented accommodation will have to be used at Gormanstown in Meath at the end of this summer. The minister said “every avenue” will have to be considered by Government.
Ryan was speaking at an event today to announce the National Transport Authority’s purchase of 120 battery-electric buses, the first part of a five-year framework to purchase 800 zero-emissions buses.
The 120 double decker buses were bought for €80 million and manufactured by Wrightbus, operating from Ballymena, Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the unveiling of a double decker electric bus from Merrion Street today, Ryan said that 100 of the buses would be used by Dublin Bus and the other 20 operated by Bus Éireann in the Limerick metropolitan area.
With reporting by Jamie McCarron