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25th Apr 2022

Minister considers emergency powers to make homes available for Ukrainian refugees

Ellen Fitzpatrick

25,000 refugees have arrived in Ireland.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is planning to use vacant social homes to house Ukrainian refugees.

According to the Irish Examiner, O’Brien is planning on bringing a memo to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining medium and longer-term housing options for Ukrainians seeking refuge in Ireland.

There have been more than 25,000 Ukrainian refugees arriving into Ireland since the war began and the Government is now struggling to find suitable accommodation.

The plan includes expansion of the voids programme whereby vacant social homes will be brought back into use.

Local authorities will also now have greater flexibilities to acquire certain homes.

O’Brien has been given emergency power under existing legislation to allow for certain planning and procurement requirements to be exempt when it comes to emergency situations.

Around 529 properties could be utilised and have been identified but the majority of them will need to be refurbished.

It is expected that around 100 of the properties could be in used within the coming weeks, while 80 of them will be available within three to six months.

The Government is also planning to restructure departments as a way to speed up housing allocations by private citizens after there was a number of complaints made that people were contacted and said they would house refugees but the promise was not fulfilled.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that the Government will not be putting a cap on the number of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland.

Pic: Rolling News/Sasko Lazarov