Wednesday, October 26, 2022

By Keith Bourke

Castlebar councillors have criticised the housing of Ukrainian refugees in a business park in the town.

An office unit in the N5 Business Park on the outskirts of the town has been repurposed to accommodate 25 people who have fled the conflict in Ukraine.

During the course of a special meeting organised to discuss the plans to build modular homes for Ukrainian refugees in Claremorris, a number of Castlebar-based councillors expressed their displeasure with the decision to house people in the Castlebar business park.

“Families are now being housed in a business park on the N5,” said Fine Gael councillor Donna Sheridan, who claimed the facilities are completely unsuitable. She also raised health and safety concerns.

Her party colleague, Cllr Ger Deere, said workers in the N5 unit had no idea that the Ukrainians were going to be housed in an upstairs unit until a bus pulled up outside.

Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne said Mayo County Council had previously spent thousands on legal fees and injunctions to remove people who had set up camp in the same business park, yet now it is deemed a suitable location for Ukrainian families.

He accused the Government and Civil Service of letting people down.

“The Civil Service in this country does what it wants. There are people in this town sleeping in cars with their children because we have failed them,“ said Cllr Kilcoyne.

The refugee accommodation crisis continues to deepen with local authorities like Mayo Co Council scrambling to source facilities.

A total of 33 Ukrainian refugees were told there was no accommodation for them after arriving in Ireland last week

The 33 single men were first processed and given temporary protection status at the Citywest transit hub in Dublin but were told there was no accommodation available for them and that they would be contacted when beds became available.

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