‘Significant number’ of centres housing Ukrainians will close under 90-day policy

Recent changes to provision for Temporary Protection beneficiaries prompt plan to ‘rationalise’

A “significant number” of centres providing accommodation for those fleeing the war in Ukraine will close in the coming months, the Department of Integration has confirmed.

The change has come about because the new policy of providing only 90 days’ accommodation to Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTP) has contributed to an increase in vacancies.

The department said people were also exiting its accommodation “everyday” to make their own independent arrangements. As a result it was now trying to “consolidate and rationalise the BOTP accommodation portfolio”.

“The 90-day policy means that BOTPs who have arrived since March 14th will not be provided with longer term accommodation, and people also exit our accommodation everyday making their own independent arrangements,” said a department spokesman.

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Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine come to Ireland under Temporary Protection rules agreed after Russia’s invasion in 2022, and receive different provision from those from other countries applying for International Protection.

The confirmation comes as about 170 residents at the Lough Allen Hotel in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim were given just two weeks to leave the premises which is due to close next Friday.

While concern has been expressed about the implications for the mainly women and children living at the hotel, many of whom work and go to school locally, the department said it hoped to schedule other moves for the summer months “to minimise disruption to the school year if possible”.

In a statement about the situation in Drumshanbo, the department said all accommodation contracted by it was “temporary in nature, as contracts with private contractors come to an end”. It said those who requested emergency accommodation from the department were informed that it was temporary “and that moves may happen”.

While not identifying any other centres expected to close over the summer months, a department spokesman said that because of the new 90-day rule and the numbers leaving its accommodation, vacancies had been created “and the consolidation will result in a more sustainable portfolio”.

“It is expected that a significant number of contracts will end over the next months, and the department will try to schedule moves for the summer months to minimise disruption to the school year if possible,” he added.

The department said BOTPs were encouraged to make their own independent arrangements for accommodation using the available options such as pledged or Offer a Home properties, or to rent privately using supports such as rent supplements, if eligible.

The Government agreed plans last December under which Ukrainians fleeing the war would be given a bed for 90 days and receive a reduced weekly allowance of €38.80 per adult and €29.80 per child. Ukrainians previously received €220 per week in jobseekers’ allowance.

The numbers of Ukrainian refugees arriving daily has dropped sharply in recent months. In February, 25 were arriving everyday, down from 70 daily arrivals in December 2023.

The number leaving State accommodation was 37 a day last February.

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