An independent adviser is calling on the government to heed the country’s current housing shortage and take meaningful action to help students struggling to find rental properties and those who are homeless.
This week the government issued an urgent appeal for hotels and guesthouses to welcome Ukrainian refugees and offer payments of €135 per night for single adults, according to the Irish Times.
Independent adviser Michael McClafferty says there could be serious repercussions if the government does not take swift action to bring the situation to a head quickly.
The Dunfanaghy-based representative says he appreciates the situation in Ukraine and the fact that Ukrainians need to be housed in the country, but feels it is equally important to find housing for the homeless in Ireland and to s to ensure that students can find accommodation this coming academic year.
He said: “I think we have already done enough for those who have come and it is long past time to stop and look to our own people for a change that is now spreading to various streets and towns across across the country.”
He added that students looking to go or return to university now find it almost impossible to find houses to rent for this academic year.
More than 40,000 refugees have arrived from Ukraine so far, with an average of 1,400 arriving each week, according to the Irish Times report.
Mr Mc Clafferty further added that tourism was being affected due to the shortage of accommodation and there could be echoed action from businesses.
“Late last night I was speaking to a father whose son is halfway through his journey and is unable to find accommodation and may in fact be forced to give up for accommodation. This is modern Ireland now, it seems,” he said.
“I try to be fair here, I think we can help others but we also have to help our own. What I’m saying is we need a balance and right now , that balance does not exist. We can help as much as we can, and we still do, but if we run into economic difficulties, which we have done before and still could, we will not be able to help others nor ourselves. We need to fix this for everyone involved,” he said.
A response from the Department of Childhood, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth states: “There is a continuing need to find immediate and short-term accommodation for Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTP) due to daily arrivals on our shores. existing contracts reach capacity and/or expire, the Department continues to proactively seek and engage with the market to provide additional capacity. »
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