The Government should ignore local opposition and get on with building modular homes for Ukrainians, the leader of Seanad Éireann has said.
Amid the worst housing crisis in the history of the state, the Government is struggling to source accommodation and Minister Roderic O’Gorman has said pausing the right of Ukrainians to come to Ireland “cannot be discounted”.
However, it is a suggestion that the leader of Seanad Éireann, Fine Gael’s Regina Doherty, said was both unnecessary and immoral.
“It isn’t acceptable that we can say - as some people would like to say - that ‘Ireland is full up’ because we absolutely are not,” she told The Hard Shoulder.
Earlier this month, the number of Ukrainians refugees in Ireland hit 54,000.
However, Ireland has far fewer per capita than other countries - with Eastern European nations such as Poland, Romania and Moldova in the lead.
“The Moldovans, their economy and society are so poor,” Senator Doherty said.
“Some of the families live in houses that are not even finished yet. They have mud on the outside of their houses.
“Those people give up their sheds for refugees and here we are trying to say that you really have to have access to a car or be on a bus route.
“If it’s in an emergency, well then we need to accept that it’s an emergency, open our hearts and our towns and our villages and bring people in and the state needs to do everything possible.”
The Government is considering building modular homes for Ukrainians but in the Kildare town of Newbridge locals have reacted with fury - complaining that the community is already “overpopulated”.
It is not a sentiment that the Senator has much time for.
“We haven’t even started exploring the whole modular housing thing because we think it’d be rejected in villages and towns around the country by NIMBYism,” she said.
Adding, “This is a crisis, this is an emergency and so in a crisis, like we have with COVID, emergency rules apply.
“If we want to put modular houses down on a temporary basis for five years and then worry about what happens thereafter, let’s bring in the emergency legislation, get the people building.”
Main image: Regina Doherty.