Sports bodies asked to help accommodate Ukrainian refugees

The Irish government has recently approached the country’s main sporting bodies for further help to accommodate the influx of refugees into Ireland.

About 100 Ukrainian refugees were temporarily housed at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium last week, as the state struggles to find enough emergency beds for those fleeing the war.

The refugees are believed to have been kept on camp beds in the stadium for a week.

The Department of Inspection for Sport has now confirmed that all of Ireland’s main organizations have been contacted about similar short-term accommodation options.

The old Central Terminal building at Dublin Airport where a new processing facility for Ukrainian refugees was set up (Brian Lawless/PA)

(PA Wire)

A spokesman for the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltouch, Sport and Media said: “The Department has contacted the FAI, GAA, IRFU and Sport Ireland to seek their assistance on behalf of the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), in providing emergency short-term housing for people seeking humanitarian asylum in Ireland.

“Organizations responded positively to the request and any accommodation proposals that arose were subject to DCEDIY’s direct engagement with sports organizations.”

There are currently no plans to expand the arrangement to Aviva, but it is believed that similar arena-style sports facilities will be considered for emergency shelter use in the coming months.

Earlier this month it emerged that Ireland had run out of out-of-state housing for Ukrainian refugees arriving – resulting in Ukrainians being temporarily housed in tents at the Gormanston military camp in Ko Meath.

Sixty refugees were held in the army camp last week.

The old Dublin airport terminal was also being used for emergency accommodation, but it closed last Thursday.

To date, Ireland has taken in more than 40,000 refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine – most of them women and children.

A coach of Ukrainian refugees arrives at the Gormanston military camp in Co Meath (Niall Carson/PA)

(PA Wire)

It is currently accommodating around 32,000 people, most of them in serviced accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses.

About 130 more Ukrainian refugees arrive in the country every day.

In the summer, the government used 5,000 student housing beds to house some of the refugees.

But the number of these beds will reduce in the coming weeks as students return to use them for the coming academic year.

Religious buildings, modular homes and vacant properties are some of the other housing options the government is considering.

Some vacant buildings are being rebuilt for long-term use as homes for refugees, but it is understood that this is proving to be a slow process.

Another issue that is proving problematic is that of running the facilities to the people and providing all necessary support – such as catering, maintenance, security and welfare provision for long-term residents.

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