Holiday home owners should be offered up to €400 to open their doors to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, according to the Irish Refugee Council.
In a new policy paper to Government, the IRC praises the Irish response to the war, but warns that, as more and more people arrive, focus must now shift to longer-term solutions.
It urges the Government to prioritise holiday homes for Ukrainian refugees before considering pledges of shared accommodation - noting that holiday homes are the most suitable, followed by unoccupied build-to-rent accommodation and then vacant housing.
Around 20,000 households have offered to house Ukrainians arriving in Ireland, but the Government expects less than half the accommodation to be suitable.
Meanwhile, Cabinet was this week warned that Ireland will will run out of accommodation for Ukrainian refugees by the end of this month.
A memo to ministers warned that the country will face a serious shortage of beds by the end of this week.
IRC Chief Executive Nick Henderson told Newstalk that a voluntary pledge scheme is needed to encourage holiday home owners to open their doors.
“We are recommending a voluntary holiday home pledge scheme,” he said.
“If you own a holiday home and it is vacant, you could pledge it to be used by refugees for say a minimum of six months and in return you would receive a monthly allowance, not at market rental rate.
“This, we believe, would significantly assist in the accommodation of refugees.”
Last night, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin told his parliamentary party more than 20,000 Ukrainian refugees have now arrived in Ireland, with 12,000 more expected by Easter weekend.
Nick Henderson said the compensation could significantly increase the amount of accommodation available.
“I think the paper recommends approximately €300 to €400 per month and that would be a sizable amount of money over six months,” he said.
“It wouldn’t be the rental rate still though it would be an amount of money the owner could use for their own means.
“Crucially, it might encourage people to do a good thing and bring on more and a greater supply of accommodation to meet this challenge.”
The IRC paper also calls on the Government to support refugees throughout the housing process and urges it to honour its commitment to end Direct Provision.
It notes that some of the emergency solutions uncovered in response to the Ukraine war could serve as longer-term alternatives to Direct Provision.