Around 800 Ukrainian refugees will be housed in 200 modular homes by Easter, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman has said.
The first such homes for refugees will be built in Cavan Town, Mahon in Co Cork, Thurles, Co Tipperary, Sligo and Claremorris, Co Mayo. Construction works are currently under way.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has been tasked to deliver 700 modular homes this year.
Minister O’Gorman said the first 200 homes will be built by Easter and the OPW has now confirmed 800 refugees will be accommodated in these homes.
It comes as the Government is facing a “very real risk” asylum seekers arriving into the State over the next month may have to sleep on the streets.
New modular homes for Ukrainian arrivals will first be opened around Easter at five different sites, with the first phase opening 200 units.
A second phase of 200 units and a third phase of 300 units will also come on-stream later this year.
Works on most of the homes have been contracted out by the Government to John Sisk & Son Holdings, a leading builder and contractor company.
“The main contractor has now been in a position to order a further 200 rapid-build homes from manufacturers for delivery on a phased basis in 2023 (bringing the total number of units ordered to 700), with the units being delivered for installation according to the timelines for site enabling works to be completed,” an OPW spokesperson said.
“A further tranche of sites for the installation of the balance is being finalised.”
The Department of Housing is still scouting further public land which could be used for modular homes.
Once sites have been chosen, the OPW said the Department of Equality and Integration engages with local politicians.
The OPW also provides input “on the technical aspects of the programme and on how the sites are to be developed”.
Senior Government figures initially intended for refugees to be accommodated in modular housing by Christmas.
However, the State is now coming under increased pressure to source new accommodation or renew existing housing as thousands of contracted hotel beds are due to be returned to hotels in the coming months.
Ministers have also vowed to use vacant state buildings to house refugees.
Even though Minister O’Gorman vowed last year that tents would never be used again to accommodate refugees, 88 asylum-seekers are currently living in tented accommodation in Co Clare.
The Citywest transit hub for refugees in Dublin is likely to have to close for a third time as it is almost at full capacity.
Efforts will be made to prioritise families with children and if housing cannot be offered, the State will provide them with food vouchers and contact them when housing becomes available.
More than 70,000 refugees have fled war-torn Ukraine since last February. More than 6,000 have been accommodated in pledged accommodation, over 50,000 have been housed by the State.