Refugees leave Gormanston as hotel body warns of ‘challenges’ of finding extra rooms – The Irish Times
The 65 Ukrainians who have been housed in tents at the Gormanston military camp in Co Meath for three days this week were transferred to the state transit center in Citywest on Friday.
A spokeswoman for the Absorption Ministry said the camp would remain empty until the next batch of Ukrainians, who are expected to be transferred to Gormanston next week.
The Defense Forces Training Camp accommodation tents were put into use after existing state accommodation reached capacity following an increase in Ukrainian arrivals.
The department said the 65 people who arrived in Gormanstown on Tuesday, the first to be sent to the camp, were to stay there for 72 hours and would be “assigned to longer-term housing as soon as it becomes available,” it said. the department spokesperson. .
The Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) has estimated that around 15% of hotel rooms in Dublin and 8% of hotel rooms outside the capital are used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees and other asylum seekers .
The government is under pressure to find additional accommodation for those fleeing the war, as the availability of places reaches capacity.
It has issued an urgent appeal to hotels and guesthouses to welcome Ukrainian refugees and is offering payments of €135 per night for single adults.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, some 43,329 people had arrived in the state from Ukraine on Thursday, including 1,075 in the previous seven days.
That was down slightly from the previous seven days when there were 1,278 arrivals, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Justice.
The IHF said hotels and other accommodation providers had worked with the government to help Ukrainian refugees since the war began in February.
“While hotels and other accommodation providers continue to play their part in supporting the government on this issue, there may be difficulties in finding additional capacity given that there are substantial commitments to other customers” , said the IHF.
“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.”
Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, chief executive of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC), said it made “very good sense” for hotels and guesthouses to play a role in hosting refugees.
“What we would say now is that hotels need to be part of the solution rather than the only solution. Ukrainian refugees in hotels, or any asylum seekers in hotels, should be a short-term solution. The government needs to be much more creative in terms of vacation homes, vacant homes or unused buildings,” he said.
“The larger the hotel stock occupied by refugees, the more unintended consequences there are for the wider tourism industry. We would like a master plan for the government to indicate where they will be housed.
Mr O’Mara Walsh said that while a contract between hotels and the government benefits hotels, it has a wider impact on the tourism industry.
“For every euro spent by a tourist on accommodation, €2.50 is spent on ancillary tourist services such as attractions, restaurants or bars. None of that €2.50 ends up in the economy,” he said.