Credit: Unsplash (CC0)

Cabinet agrees €20 million funding for refugee accommodation

The Cabinet has today agreed to €20 million of funding for 400 beds on two sites to provide accommodation to refugees from Ukraine and those from other countries seeking international protection in Ireland.

The go ahead has been given for the tens of millions of euros in funding to work on new refugee accommodation projects. While the Government has not yet agreed on where there sites will be, those under consideration include the site for the ‘super prison’ project at Thornton Hall. Other sites given the go-ahead for consideration include Collumb Barracks in Mullingar, and the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, along with Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman and Minister of Housing Darragh O’Brien received Cabinet approval today for the funding which will pay for new developments to proceed across different counties. 

The €20 million, provided for the Department of Integration, is set to deliver more than 400 beds and will also see the government undertake feasibility training regarding two of the sites. Reports have indicated that modular accommodation will be built, however it may not be entirely modular homes, and the huge bill could cover development and refurbishment as well. 

On Thursday night, sources told The Irish Times that the government funding is to consider commercial as well as other properties and sites for development, refurbishment or purchase. The decision is part of a policy shift designed to give a new formed unit in the Department of the Taoiseach the remit and money to go ahead with developing refugee accommodation, particularly refurbishments. 

On Thursday night, prior to the official agreement from cabinet, Ministers were told that the estimated cost of the refurbishment programme is anticipated to reach €50 million this year. Additional funding may be needed later on in the year to fund refurbishment of properties, and an estimate will be given later in the year for the cost in 2024, Ministers were told.

A Government source told RTE that once the accommodation is finished, the builds which are refurbished will be used across the “short, medium and long term”.

Today’s development comes amid growing discontent with the government’s handling of the refugee crisis, and increased scrutiny with regards to the State’s system for receiving refugees. 

This week saw the number of protests nationwide against the government’s handling of the immigration crisis continue to grow, as towns and communities organise against what they see as the unsustainable and unsafe imposition of migrant centres predominantly in less affluent areas or country towns.

The sharp rise in the number of undocumented migrants has given rise to particular concern in communities, as has the decision by the Minister to press ahead with placing hundreds of arrivals into communities without consultation.

In Listowel, a second march took place this week in protest against the proposed use of the old Presentation Convent in the town into a centre for migrants and asylum seekers, citing concerns over safety, lack of services, and an existing homelessness crisis.

While In Cootehill, Co Cavan, protesters told Northern Sound radio that the ‘Cavan Says No’ group recently sent an open letter to Cavan County Council saying that residents were “concerned about the influx of illegal immigration into this country and how it is currently being handled”.

When quizzed  about the potential use of Thornton Hall in Dublin on Thursday, a Department of Integration spokesman had said:

“The Ukrainian Accommodation Unit of the Department carried out a preliminary assessment of the site accompanied by colleagues from the Irish Prison Service and the Department of Justice.

No decisions have yet been made with regard to its utilisation.”

Additionally, the Department of Housing is providing €50 million to refurbish a range of sites across the country for use by refugees from Ukraine this year.

The Athlone Accommodation Centre is another site under consideration for new accommodation, along with the Knockalisheen Accommodation Centre in Co Clare, Columb Barracks in Mullingar and the Central Mental Hospital in Co Dublin.

Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are closed

Was the Dail right to vote confidence in the Government and avoid a General Election?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...