Housing Secretary Darragh O’Brien said the government’s cost of assisting Ukrainian refugees arriving in the state could rise to as much as €2.5 billion.
said Secretary O’Brien as there is no end date for the war in Ukrainethe government is making provisions for a percentage of Ukrainian refugees who could stay here permanently.
The first response to the crisis in Ukraine was managed by the Department of Children and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), including the Red Cross.
Minister O’Brien said his department is now focusing on providing shelter for Ukrainian refugees in the medium and long term.
Under the government’s Housing For All plan, 33,000 homes are added to the country’s housing stock each year.
Secretary O’Brien confirmed the government now plans to secure a further 35,000 new and refurbished homes for Ukrainian refugees over a period of “five or six” years.
On Monday, 15,000 Ukrainians were looking for refugees in Ireland and Minister O’Brien said Dublin Airport has since taken in hundreds more.
He said the government is working with local authorities to find suitable vacant buildings that can be converted into “permanent or semi-permanent” housing.
Secretary O’Brian said 500 buildings, including churches and commercial premises, had been identified so far and were being “worked through”.
“I would see us doing a lot, maybe taking old commercial stock, old state stock and converting that into apartments or houses,” he told RTÉ Today with Claire Byrne Program.
“Never before have we received an influx of people in such a short time.
“We have to think about how we can convert existing properties. New build takes time… If you had a clean site and all services on site and if you expedited construction off site you could expect nine to 12 months.
“Reality is what you do in the meantime.”
The inspection of empty properties that have been promised to refugees by the public will be accelerated.
1,100 people were contacted from over 22,000 accommodation promises.
Of the housing pledges made through the government’s Red Cross portal, fewer than 5,000 were for vacant homes.
However, some refugees are expected to have been accommodated in tents, while dormitory-style accommodation at Millstreet Arena in Cork will be ready by mid-April.
Secretary O’Brien said that “nothing is off the table”, including the use of modular homes, but he argued the right locations need to be secured so users are not isolated and have access to the services they need.
He said he thinks modular units will be needed as a temporary intervention.
“I asked too [local authorities] to identify managed, undeveloped sites across the country that we are all familiar with, whether zoned or unzoned,” he said.
“We have to make a decision on this because if we are going to provide these additional homes, we need land for them.
“They could be anywhere in the country, but we will have certain criteria for site selection. Of course they have to be supplied with water, sewage and electricity, they have to have good road connections; They don’t want people to be isolated.”
He added that he expects sites to be secured across the country, including in Dublin.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/some-ukraine-refugees-may-stay-in-ireland-permanently-as-there-is-no-end-date-for-russias-war-housing-minister-says-41503077.html Some refugees from Ukraine may remain in Ireland permanently as there is no end date for Russia’s war, housing minister says