Student accommodation to be opened for Ukrainian refugees

Colleges around the country will make student beds available to refugees when they fall vacant at the end of the term
Student accommodation to be opened for Ukrainian refugees

Dominic McGrath, PA

Student accommodation will be made available for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland, Minister for Further Education Simon Harris has said.

Mr Harris said on Monday that colleges and universities will make student beds available to refugees when they fall vacant at the end of the term.

Mr Harris, speaking alongside Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe at Technological University (TU) Dublin, said 1,000 student beds have already been offered.

“We have been working with our colleges and we’re continuing to work with them to make sure that student accommodation, which will be vacant when colleges are closed, can be made available in the short-term for Ukrainian students,” he said, as he helped turn the sod at a new academic hub and library at the Grangegorman campus.

“That might help in terms of some of the sequencing, to allow time for other options to be put in place in terms of accommodation.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
The Samuel Beckett Bridge in displays the colours of the Ukrainian flag (Brian Lawless/PA)

“More than 1,000 student beds have already been offered up by colleges and universities right across our country.”

Mr Harris also confirmed he and his family have registered to provide a room for any Ukrainians who need it.

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

The Government has already confirmed that students coming from Ukraine will be able to continue their studies in Ireland.

Mr Harris said: “The policy objective here is to make sure in the middle of the biggest humanitarian crisis we’ve ever lived through that there aren’t vacant beds when college is done.

“I really want to thank our universities for the leadership they’ve shown.”

Asked whether private student accommodation companies – which provide hundreds of beds in Dublin alone – will make rooms available, Mr Harris said the Government was working with local authorities to “identify in every town and every county, what sort of accommodation may be available”.

“I’m sure private student accommodation will come into the mix in that regard,” he said.

Mr Donohoe told reporters 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.

“But it does mean there’s a need for Government then to be open and honest about the fact that we will not be able to meet every other need that we want to respond back to because the need to respond back to humanitarian needs that we are going to face will be so important.”

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