Ukraine flags fly in Laois
Today a group of Ukraine families are being forced to leave their temporary Laois homes, to live in another county.
In all, eight families who came to Ireland to escape the war by Russia, were requested to pack up and move to other temporary accommodation in Kilkenny.
They were only given less than two days notice by the Department of Children, a move that "shocked and horrified" Laois Integration Network. Read more below.
The families are vacating Laois houses that had been bought and furnished for another group of non-nationals seeking refuge in Ireland, Direct Provision residents.
The Dídean chairman is Mountrath based businessman Ed Dunne.
He formed Dídean housing body in 2019 to offer an alternative to Direct Provision centres which house people seeking refugee status in Ireland.
After a long wait, some of those residents are now being moved in, spelling the long planned closure of the controversial centres.
In Laois they include the Montague Hotel in Emo and Hibernian Hotel in Abbeyleix.
Mr Dunne confirmed the detail to the Leinster Express/Laois Live.
"The purpose of the project is being fulfilled. Families are coming from the direct provision system in general – hotels / reception centres etc."
He said that a figure of 15 Ukraine families leaving the houses, reported in national media, is not correct.
"We currently have a total of 20 homes around Laois, only 8 had been vacated contrary to media reports. A number of other families had been supported on to long term accommodation while they were with Dídean," he said.
The houses had been sitting ready and idle for over a year and a half waiting for the Government to close down direct provision centres. When the Ukraine war began, Dídean offered them as temporary accommodation.
Mr Dunne said he cannot comment on the situation of the Ukraine families forced to leave his houses so suddenly, including children leaving schools and parents leaving jobs. They are offered shared accommodation in Kilkenny as an only option.
"Unfortunately we are not in a position to comment on the move of residents to Kilkenny given our contractual obligations, specifically clauses re confidentiality.
"Dídean has no control over the moving on of residents other than the provision of social care supports aimed at helping them seek independent accommodation," the chairman said.
The founder of Nua Healthcare, philantropist businessman Mr Dunne is also the CEO of Síol Foundation which funded the creation of Mountrath's digital and community hub BloomHQ.
Meanwhile the Department of Children has stated that it is obliged by law to accommodate not just people fleeing war, but anyone arriving to Ireland seeking international protection, which includes those living in Direct Provision.
"Under EU and International Law, Ireland is obliged to examine the claim of any person who arrives into the country and claims International Protection. While that claim is being examined by the Department of Justice, the International Protection Accommodation Service offers accommodation and related services to International Protection applicants who wish to accept the offer of accommodation from the Irish State.
"Under the EU Temporary Protection Directive, people fleeing war in Ukraine and seeking protection in Ireland, are entitled to Government-provided accommodation. Accommodation is made available by the Department’s Ukrainian Crisis Temporary Accommodation Team (UCTAT)."
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