Civil Defence volunteers come together to prepare Cork convent for Ukrainian refugees

In the region of 55 people are currently staying at the newly prepared accommodation. 
Civil Defence volunteers come together to prepare Cork convent for Ukrainian refugees

Members of Cork North Civil Defence assisted in preparing a former convent in Buttevant as a rest centre for arriving Ukrainians.

MEMBERS of Cork North Civil Defence have been busy preparing accommodation for arriving Ukrainians escaping war.

Volunteers came together when the call was put out for assistance in preparing a former convent in Buttevant as a rest centre for those arriving into the country over the weekend.

Assistant Civil Defence Officer, Gerard Sheehan said it had been a “busy” couple of days and a great community effort.

Members of Cork North Civil Defence assisted in preparing a former convent in Buttevant as a rest centre for arriving Ukrainians.
Members of Cork North Civil Defence assisted in preparing a former convent in Buttevant as a rest centre for arriving Ukrainians.

He said that the building needed some TLC to get it ready as it had been unoccupied for five years, with members of the community rallying around to provide beds, couches, clothes, and bedclothes and to cut the grass, powerwash the driveway, sweep the floors, and wash the walls.

Those with any trade, including plumbers and electricians, were also involved in getting the heating and water supply to the building.

Donations were gathered and cleaned, items were organised and beds were made on time to welcome the tired arrivals at 2.15am on Saturday.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Sheehan said there are about 55 people currently staying at the rest centre.

“Over 40 people arrived on the first night and about 15 the second night. There are about 55 there now.

“In terms of age group, there are people between the ages of one and 60 there at the moment, about 10 children and four men as well who got out before they were asked to stay in Ukraine,” he said.

Mr Sheehan said there were 19 Civil Defence volunteers assisting on Friday between the hours of 8pm and 2.30am and 17 volunteering on Saturday, with a Civil Defence presence at the centre until about 1am.

On Sunday, there were about 10 volunteers helping out from 9am to about 7pm.

“There was a lot of manpower and hours put in by Civil Defence,” he said.

He said that it is expected that they would be involved in the setting up of more accommodation going forward, as more Ukrainians requiring a place to stay enter the country.

He thanked the volunteers who he said “went over and above” the call of duty and welcomed the new guests into the country.

In recent days the Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman suggested during an RTÉ Radio One interview that the Green Glens Arena in Cork could be a suitable location for large-scale short-term accommodation.

The Higher Education Minister, Simon Harris said that student accommodation will be made available for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland.

The Minister said Irish colleges and universities will make student beds available to refugees when they fall vacant at the end of the term.

Nearly 10,000 Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in Ireland, which has waived all visa requirements for those fleeing the Russian invasion.

Donations were gathered and cleaned, items were organised and beds were made on time to welcome the tired arrivals at 2.15am on Saturday.
Donations were gathered and cleaned, items were organised and beds were made on time to welcome the tired arrivals at 2.15am on Saturday.

Speaking on Monday, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said that he did not want to see financial constraints on how many refugees from Ukraine the country could take.

“Overall, there are always constraints that the Government faces in relation to national finances, in relation to how much we can borrow.

“But we are going to do all we can to make sure that is not the constraints that guides how our country responds back to this huge humanitarian need. We’re going to mobilise all the resources that are available to us to do it.”

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