Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine complained this year of dire conditions in their accommodation in Ireland with mice infestations, damp causing their children to fall ill, black mould, and heating only being turned on for a couple of hours each day.
A log of issues from the Department of Integration reveals how some people were being housed in what appeared to be an “old maintenance room” with a constant foul smell.
Residents there said they could not even open the door to air it out because the exit led directly out onto a street.
There were two complaints about an infestation of mice while another wrote about how their accommodation was very damp with heating being “hit and miss”.
A summary of the person’s letter said: “Construction work has been happening daily on the premises. The management attitude towards residents is not nice or welcoming. Hygiene standards are low.”
Another explained how they were being served “rotten” food but that they were still being forced to pay for it.
When residents said they were not willing to continue paying, the management “threatens to evict them”.
Multiple Ukrainian refugees said their children were becoming ill due to the quality of food they were getting with “stomach aches” and other issues.
Another wrote about unacceptable conditions with residents in tiny rooms that were only separated by plywood.
One entry in the log said: “Bad living conditions with constant humidity and black mould everywhere. This is causing some residents to become sick. Request to move.”
Damp was a problem for another resident who said once the weather became cold, the floors were soaked with condensation that had got into wardrobes.
“The conditions are not safe for children who often become sick,” said the complaints log.
In another centre, heating was set to come on for just two hours out of nine leaving some older residents and children struggling with the cold.
“Discussions with the management have not been successful,” said the department records.
One refugee said there was a lot of “mould and dampness” in their accommodation with twelve people sharing a single toilet at the end of a corridor.
In another centre, residents always had to queue to use a toilet because there were not enough to cater for all the residents there.
A note of their complaint said: “Many people in one room which is not ventilated and some are sick. There is no appointments in the local GP and the premises is cold.”
The department records also detail a complaint about how hot water was only available at certain times of the day, and even when it was, it was “too hot to be used”.
“The lift is broken for three months now,” it also said.
The Department of Children and Equality said they could not release the original complaint records nor the location of the accommodation to which they referred.
They said they were releasing a summary to “ensure transparency while preserving the complainant’s right to make complaints to this department in confidence”.
A spokesperson added: “The Department considers all complaints received in relation to the provision of temporary accommodation and takes the appropriate action.”