Hoteliers are urging the government to consider other options for housing refugees, believing hotels are not suitable for long-term accommodation.
Around 22,400 beds in hotels, B&Bs and hostels are currently occupied by people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
According to Failte Ireland, there are around 232,000 beds in tourist accommodation across the country, meaning only 10 per cent is currently occupied by refugees.
The government has appealed to hotels and guesthouses to take in more refugees as it struggles with the influx of incoming asylum seekers.
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has warned that hotels have other commitments around concerts, sporting events and weddings and that accommodating more refugees “will prove a challenge”.
Chief Executive Tim Fenn said about 15 per cent of Dublin’s room stock has already been let to the government, compared with 8 per cent nationally.
However, it is expected that the capacity will increase after the end of the tourism season.
“Hotels were not designed or built to provide long-term accommodation for individuals or families and current emergency arrangements are only suitable for the short term,” the IHF said in a statement.
So far, more than 40,000 refugees have arrived from Ukraine, with an average of 1,400 arriving every week.
Hoteliers, meanwhile, say they face huge renovation costs because hotels weren’t built as residences.
Lorraine Sweeney, owner of the Wilton Hotel in Bray, County Wicklow, said a third of the hotel’s 105 rooms are used to house refugees from Ukraine.
But the situation was not without problems. Some people have had to be removed from the hotel, and the strain of having so many sharing a room is taking its toll.
“Five people in a room creates problems,” she said.
“I think Ireland as a country needs to step up and not let people live in tents these days, but we need a different route than hotels. This is not good for the industry. Some hotels are exclusively dedicated to refugees. I know someone who has 300 guests and that can’t be good for him.”
she said The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk that she has agreed a new six-month contract through the end of the year, after initially committing to three months when war broke out.
“The rooms need renovation as people live in them like a home. The long-term solution is no hotels,” she added.
The owner of a B&B in Ennistymon, Co. Clare, where Ukrainian refugees now make up more than 7 percent of the population, said he doesn’t accept asylum seekers because he “doesn’t want to disappoint regular guests”.
Data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics show that the Ennistymon constituency has one of the highest refugee numbers per capita.
However, concerns have been raised about the long-term impact on the tourism sector.
“People will not come to a district if there is no accommodation in that district,” said the B&B owner, who asked to remain anonymous. “The government didn’t think of the big picture.”
The Irish Red Cross (IRC) said it is continuing to work with the public and government, and is locating refugees in vacant and shared homes across the country.
Around €38 million has so far been donated to the Red Cross by the Irish public and major businesses, with €15.2 million going to the organisation’s International Committee.
IRC said it has allocated an initial budget of €3 million to support refugees arriving here over the next 12 months.
So far, 400,000 euros have been spent on clothing, transport, food, vouchers and other support.
It is also estimated that the IRC has received half a million euros in in-kind contributions from the Irish public and big business.
The remaining 19.8 million euros will go to Ukraine’s reconstruction, including medical facilities, livelihood programs, restoration of vital infrastructure and financial assistance to Ukrainians.
IRC Secretary General Liam O’Dwyer said: “The devastating reality is that the needs of the people of Ukraine and those affected by the conflict are ongoing and constant.
“The Irish Red Cross has been busy providing resources to meet the needs of displaced people in Ukraine as well as in neighboring countries and other affected countries such as Ireland and we will continue to do so.
“The Irish public’s response to the Ukraine crisis has been so generous and there has been an incredible amount of support so far where they have simply wanted to do as much as humanly possible to help the people of Ukraine and those affected by this conflict”.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/22400-beds-in-hotels-and-hostels-currently-occupied-by-ukrainian-refugees-41861411.html 22,400 beds in hotels and hostels currently occupied by Ukrainian refugees