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Holiday home owners will be offered cash incentive to help ease refugee housing crisis

Owners of second homes likely to be offered in excess of €400 per month currently offered to households

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A girl holds a doll as people wait to board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, in Pokrovsk, Ukraine, August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinid

A girl holds a doll as people wait to board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, in Pokrovsk, Ukraine, August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinid

People in Pokrovsk wait to board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine. Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

People in Pokrovsk wait to board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine. Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Anna Kravtsova with husband Sasha and daughter Maria (9)

Anna Kravtsova with husband Sasha and daughter Maria (9)

Anna Kravtsova (35) with her daughter Maria (9) and 10-month-old twins Kolya and Olya

Anna Kravtsova (35) with her daughter Maria (9) and 10-month-old twins Kolya and Olya

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A girl holds a doll as people wait to board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort from war-affected areas of eastern Ukraine, in Pokrovsk, Ukraine, August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinid

The Government has urged holiday home owners to lend their properties to the State to help ease the Ukrainian refugee crisis .

People who own second homes, mostly in rural locations, will be offered cash to help alleviate the accommodation problem caused by the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) estimates there are 66,135 holidays homes in the country that could be used in the coming months to house refugees.

It is expected that homeowners will be given a monthly cash payment, potentially in excess of the €400 currently being offered to households offering to take in Ukrainian refugees.

Growing concerns in Government over impact of moving so many families in the coming weeks when children should be starting school

A senior group of officials met this week to discuss the continuing fallout from the war and decided the Government will launch a ­“second-home pledge” campaign aimed at encouraging homeowners to make their holiday homes available.

So far, 1,500 householders have applied for the €400 payments for housing refugees.

A government source said there would be a campaign for property owners to play their part in the wartime crisis.

The move is aimed at addressing the serious shortage of accommodation posed by more than 4,000 refugees living in college campus accommodation while students are preparing to return to classes.

There are also fears within the Government over social cohesion as the refugee crisis is also putting increasing pressure on private student accommodation ahead of the new college year.

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Tents were erected at Gormanston, Co Meath, earlier this summer to provide accommodation for Ukrainian refugees. Photo: Department of the Taoiseach

Tents were erected at Gormanston, Co Meath, earlier this summer to provide accommodation for Ukrainian refugees. Photo: Department of the Taoiseach

Tents were erected at Gormanston, Co Meath, earlier this summer to provide accommodation for Ukrainian refugees. Photo: Department of the Taoiseach

While campus accommodation will revert to students for the forthcoming term, large-scale privately built student accommodation will probably still be used to house refugees for months to come.

This will mean less accommodation for students seeking to move to cities.

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There are also growing concerns in the Government over the impact of moving so many families in the coming weeks when children should be starting school.

Many have sought to enrol their children in schools close to where they have been living since arriving in Ireland, but they now face the prospect of being asked to move them to other parts of the country.

CSO estimates there are 66,135 holidays homes that could be used to house refugees

The constant movement and upheaval of refugees could result in significant issues for the education system in the coming weeks as classes return next month.

Schools preparing for pupils resuming their studies are in the dark as to how many Ukrainian students they might have to accommodate and are unclear about what resources will be needed to facilitate them.

Anna Kravtsova (35) arrived in Ireland from Kharkiv in April with her mother Ludmila, her husband Sasha and her three children, Maria (9) and 10-month-old twins Kolya and Olya.

Ms Kravtsova said her family is very happy to be living in Ireland but that living in a hotel is difficult for the family.

“I think all the people that I have met over the last four months, I’ve met only kind and generous Irish people,” she said.

“I’m really happy that I chose to live in Ireland. It was very difficult with small children and a lot of people just ask what they can do for our family and how can they help.

“They bring a lot of toys and clothes and help me in different ways, my children are very happy they have everything, they don’t need anything.”

Ms Kravtsova is currently staying in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Limerick and said it is hard for six people, but it is a “very nice place”. She hopes to find more suitable accommodation soon.

“I hope but I know a lot of Ukrainian people moved to Ireland so there is a lot of people, and I don’t know what the situation with accommodation is, with apartments in Ireland,” she said.

“We’re ready and we of course hope to have our own apartment in Ireland, honestly when we arrived to Ireland in April, we hoped that we would come back home in July but now the situation is worse in Ukraine.

“We want to go first home to Ukraine but with the situation of course we will try to stay here and find the best place for our children.”

The GAA’s community and health manager, Colin Regan, has said the Government’s call for sporting organisations to provide accommodation to refugees comes at a difficult time for the organisation as the clubs championship is set to resume.

“It means that the likelihood of any suitable accommodation becoming available in this period is extremely limited,” he told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland.

The Government is also planning to spend €5m on renovating and maintaining buildings handed over free of charge by religious orders to be turned into accommodation for refugees.

Up to last Thursday, 43,972 Ukrainian refugees had arrived in Ireland after fleeing the Russian invasion of their country.


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