Older buildings being repurposed for Ukrainian refugees will not be used as long-term solutions to the housing crisis.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said the repurposing of older buildings is an emergency response to the war in Ukraine.
He said there are no plans to use them to address the ongoing housing crisis.
“Let’s remember why we’re doing this,” he said.
“It’s an emergency response to a war in Europe, where we have seen the single biggest movement of people since World War II.
“We have over 30,000 Ukrainians here and we have accommodated all of them. Those who need accommodation, we have been able to do that.
“The repurposing of older buildings is not for permanent accommodation. It will be more temporary and semi-permanent, in the sense that it is looking for older buildings we can repurpose.
“For many Ukrainians, when the time is right for them and hopefully the situation improves and the war ends, they do want to return home so these are measures in the meantime so we can have more semi-permanent accommodation as opposed to hotels and that.”
Minister O’Brien said there are several other projects underway that are seeing buildings repurposed for long-term use.
“I was in Waterford recently and at St Joseph’s in the centre of Waterford City, 72 apartments are being put into what was an old convent building,” he said.
“An old convent school being fully repurposed with magnificent apartments within it. We’re doing the same in Limerick and the same in Dublin.
“But this is in addition to what we are doing, as a humanitarian response to people who are seeking refuge and safe harbour here in Ireland.
“To be fair, the vast, vast bulk of Irish people absolutely support the measures we are taking to look after our friends in Ukraine who are fleeing a brutal war that is being brought upon them by Russia and we are going to do everything we can to help in that space.”
Yesterday, Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe urged the Government to stop “funnelling refugees through Irish beauty spots” and house them closer to jobs and public transport.
That came after new figures showed that, after Dublin, schools in Cork, Kerry and Clare have taken in the most Ukrainian children.
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