The Youghal Hotel will become a “care center” for the refugees; locals rally to support Ironman plans
A popular hotel in Youghal is being turned into a “care centre” for Ukrainian refugees, but the center’s operations manager said the new owners understand its importance as a tourist center for the region.
It is understood the transfer of ownership of Youghal Quality Hotel was completed yesterday and staff have been briefed on plans to move ‘to a model of care’.
There are no details yet on how many people will be staying there or when they will arrive.
The new centre’s chief operating officer, Paul Walsh, told the Irish Examiner that the hotel will still play a role in tourism for the city and the wider region.
The hotel is no longer taking bookings and it is understood that pre-booked accommodation and functions have been cancelled. Hotel workers would have been assured of job security.
The Youghal community is stepping up to provide accommodation for Ironman athletes preparing to compete in the big race, to be held in August.
Youghal Business Alliance chairman Ger Flanagan said locals have rallied together to ensure anyone in need of accommodation is housed, either with host families or holiday homes .
“There has been huge demand, lots of people coming forward, mostly private homes with spare rooms, and many are hosting them at no cost,” he said.
He said he did not see a shortage of accommodation for anyone who needed it over the Ironman weekend August 13-14, was the response from the local community.
The Ironman brand has committed to a second three-year contract for the event to take place in Youghal. The first event in 2019 was marred by bad weather which saw the swim cancelled.
The next two years have been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the 2022 edition hopes to go ahead with a half ironman on August 13 and a full ironman on August 14. An ironkids event is also planned.
A spokesperson for the organizers said they were aware of the situation, saying: “We are reviewing the situation in Youghal and looking for alternatives for those whose accommodation has been impacted.”
In recent days, the Taoiseach has said that while Ireland has been very helpful in responding to the plight of Ukrainian refugees, there is still much more to do.
During a visit to the new Millstreet refugee centre, Micheál Martin detailed some of his conversations with mothers of children he said had spent weeks living in basements in silence and with the lights turned off. for fear of being found by Russian soldiers.
“A woman actually told me that when she heard planes fly overhead, she would shake and get nervous,” he said.
Asked about Ireland’s ability to accommodate the 25,000 Ukrainian refugees already there, Mr Martin cited the new Millstreet centre, describing it as an example of Ireland’s “innovative” approach to the crisis in refugee housing.
Mr Martin said the management of the response to the refugee crisis must be “multi-departmental” within government.
“In two months, a lot of things have been accomplished, it is also a fairly unprecedented exit from the covid situation.
About 100 Ukrainian families are housed in the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet.