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Housing Ukrainian refugees becoming difficult - Gilligan


'EXTREMELY FLUID SITUATION' Tom Gilligan, Mayo County Council.

Oisín McGovern

A SENIOR official in Mayo County Council has said that housing Ukrainian refugees is becoming ‘more difficult’ for the local authority.
Speaking at yesterday’s (Monday) monthly meeting of the local authority, Director of Services for Housing Tom Gilligan described the situation as ‘extremely difficult’.
He said that Mayo County Council has been asked to source 75 emergency beds for refugees last week, plus another 75 this week.
Mr Gilligan had told the Sunday Business Post that over 500 people were currently being accommodated in hotels in Mayo. He said that refugees that were arriving were ‘absolutely traumatised’ by the effects of the war.
“This is an extremely fluid situation. The numbers coming in, although perhaps slightly less over the last number of days, are still coming in in significant numbers,” he said in response to a query from Cllr Donna Sheridan.
“Our policy up to now has been on utilising hotel accommodation and hotel providers and I want to thank them for that, but the reality is that we are now coming into the tourism season … a lot hotel providers are booked out and it is becoming more and more difficult.
“The task is that we would identify a number of community hall settings and that we set up a number of contingency beds within those settings.”
Mr Gilligan said that the council was working with other groups to provide other services to refugees living in emergency accommodation.
Holiday homes
He added that the council was continuing to look at vacant homes and holiday homes which could be used as accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.
Fears have been expressed in government that the number of available beds for refugees is nearing exhaustion.
Over 21,000 refugees have now arrived into Ireland from Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion. Of those, about 13,000 are being put up in State-provided accommodation.
Mr Gilligan previously said Mayo may need to accommodate up to 5,000 Ukrainian refugees in the coming months.
“There’s no doubt about it, this is an extremely difficult situation. We have a housing crisis, the number of properties to rent on Daft.ie is extremely low,” Mr Gilligan said.
“There is a lot of concern and anxiety about there about where are we going to house all the Ukrainians, but we have to show solidarity, and we have to do it. We have a moral obligation to do this.
“We don’t know how long this situation is going to last for, but it is going to be with us for some considerable time,” he added.