The government expects to match Ukrainian refugees with Irish host families within weeks

The government is expected to start placing Ukrainian refugees with Irish host families next month, but vacant properties will be primarily used.

It comes as the government this weekend began moving Ukrainian refugees into properties pawned by members of the public via the Red Cross website.

Housing Minister Roderic O’Gorman said 9,000 Ukrainians had arrived in Ireland as of Friday and the government was providing housing for around half of them “mainly in hotels”.

He said it was not yet known how many people were expected to arrive here, but preparations were being made for “tens of thousands” who would be moving to Ireland in the coming weeks.

“We continue to try to book hotel accommodation to meet short-term accommodation needs,” he told RTÉ This week Program.

“As of this weekend we have started redeeming pledges of shelter from the Irish. Over 20,000 offers have been received from Irish people across the country.”

Mr O’Gorman described the Irish public’s reaction as a “generous show of generosity” and confirmed that the Government was keen to fill the vacant lots initially mortgaged.

He also confirmed it was considering “long-term block bookings” of hotels and said it was “necessary” to ensure rooms were available for Ukrainians arriving in Ireland.

He admitted bookings were “squeaky” during the busy St Patrick’s weekend but added they expect the pressure to ease in the coming weeks.

“It was clear to us that this is a short-term solution for people arriving in the country and that the government will propose a range of medium- and longer-term solutions over the next few weeks.”

He said the “most immediate” of those longer-term solutions is to use mortgaged housing.

However, Mr O’Gorman said if there is a “surge” in the number of refugees arriving here at once then the government may need to use larger centres.

He said facilities like Dublin’s National Show Center could be used for “very short-term stays”.

“Where we could take people away from Dublin Airport, where we could give them food, give them a short-term place to rest while we find hotel accommodation for them.”

He said the government has been scouting for hotel rooms across the country and a Defense Forces team is assisting the government and the Red Cross in housing people and making sure the accommodations are suitable.

According to Minister O’Gorman, of the more than 20,000 commitments so far, 2,000 are vacant properties.

“A small number were claimed this weekend and over the next week we hope to significantly increase the claim on those free units and after that we hope to claim those Offers from shared flats in people’s homes.”

Secretary O’Gorman added he expects the drawing for shared accommodation bids to begin in the next “two to three weeks”. The government expects to match Ukrainian refugees with Irish host families within weeks

Fry Electronics Team

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