22,400 beds in hotels and hostels currently occupied by Ukrainian refugees

Hoteliers are urging the government to consider other options for housing refugees as they believe hotels are not suitable as long-term accommodation.

around 22,400 beds in hotels, guesthouses and hostels are currently occupied by people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

There are around 232,000 beds in tourist accommodation across the country according to Failte Ireland, meaning only 10% are currently filled with refugees.

The government has appealed to hotels and guesthouses to take in more refugees as it struggles to cope with the influx of asylum seekers arriving.

The Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) has warned that hotels have other commitments around concerts, sporting events and weddings, and accommodating more refugees “will be difficult”.

Chief executive Tim Fenn said around 15% of room stock in Dublin is already under government contract, compared to 8% of rooms nationally.

However, capacity is expected to increase once the tourist season is over.

“Hotels were not designed or built to provide long-term accommodation for individuals or families, and current emergency arrangements are only suitable for the short term,” the IHF said in a statement.

More than 40,000 refugees have arrived from Ukraine so far, with an average of 1,400 arriving each week.

Hoteliers, meanwhile, say they face huge renovation costs because hotels weren’t built to be homes.

Lorraine Sweeney, owner of the Wilton Hotel in Bray, Co Wicklow, said a third of the hotel’s 105 rooms are being used to house refugees from Ukraine.

But the situation was not without problems. Some people had to be kicked out of the hotel, with the pressure of so many people sharing a room taking its toll.

“Five people in a room cause trouble,” she said.

“I think Ireland as a country needs to stand up and not have people living in tents these days, but we need an alternative route to hotels. That’s not good for Ireland. industry. Some hotels are dedicated entirely to refugees. I know of one that has 300 guests and can’t be good for that.”

She said The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk that she agreed to a new six-month contract until the end of the year, having originally signed up for three months when war first broke out.

“The rooms will need to be renovated because people live there like a house. The solution is not longer-term hospitality,” she added.

The owner of a B&B in Ennistymon, Co Clare, where more than 7% of the population are now made up of Ukrainian refugees, said he was not welcoming asylum seekers as he did not want to ‘let down the accustomed”.

Data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics shows that the Ennistymon constituency has one of the highest numbers of refugees per capita.

However, concerns have been raised about the long-term impact on the tourism sector.

“People are not going to come to a county if there is no accommodation in that county,” said the B&B owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. “The government hasn’t thought about the big picture.”

The Irish Red Cross (IRC) said it was continuing to work with the general public and the government, finding accommodation for refugees in vacant and shared homes across the country.

Around €38 million has so far been donated by the Irish public and big business to the Red Cross, of which €15.2 million will go to the organisation’s international committee.

The IRC said it has allocated an initial budget of €3 million to provide support for refugees arriving here over the next 12 months.

To date €400,000 has been spent on clothing, transport, food, vouchers and other aid.

It is also estimated that the IRC has received half a million euros in in-kind goods from the Irish public and large corporations.

The remaining €19.8 million will go towards rebuilding Ukraine, including medical facilities, livelihood programs, restoration of vital infrastructure and cash assistance for Ukrainians.

IRC Secretary General Liam O’Dwyer said: “The devastating reality is that the needs of people in Ukraine and those affected by the conflict are continuous and constant.

“The Irish Red Cross has been working to channel resources to the needs of displaced people in Ukraine, as well as neighboring countries and other affected countries such as Ireland, and we will continue to do so.

“The response from the Irish public to the Ukraine crisis has been very generous and there has been incredible support so far where they just want to do whatever is humanly possible to help the Ukrainian people and those affected by this conflict. “.