A BUS of Ukrainian refugees were mistakenly brought from Dublin to Clonakilty this week where it was believed that accommodation had been booked for them.
The 53 people had been brought to the town on Tuesday by International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) who understood they were to be put up at The Clonakilty Hotel on Wolfe Tone Street.
However, the hotel had not been informed of this. After using toilet facilities there, and spending some time in the lobby, they were taken to Killarney. Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan said the situation was a ‘miscommunication between International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) and immigration service providers.’ He is now calling on government to make extra resources available to ensure refugees will be accommodated in the region.
Clonakilty Community Hall has been identified as a possible emergency accommodation centre, and is being assessed by the County Council. Arrangements are underway to equip the facility so that it would be on standby should a need arise. The building will be known to many as the venue for election counts. ‘There’s a huge effort going on in every West Cork town to ensure the area can accommodate as many refugees as possible. However, volunteers are really up against it,’ Deputy O’Sullivan said.
‘The West Cork Development Partnership are doing their very best with limited resources, along with many other volunteers including West Cork Appeal, who are based out of the old Cork County Council library in Bandon.
‘They’re doing everything possible but missed communications between IPAS and accommodation providers on the ground are causing issues.’
Deputy O’Sullivan said it was important refugees are given assurances as to whether they would be staying long term in the towns where they are being accommodated.
‘I know many refugees are seeking to enter the workforce straight away. But not knowing how long they will be accommodated in a particular town is causing them uncertainty,’ he said. Meanwhile, a Clonakilty woman spoke on national radio this week highlighting how she had registered to accommodate refugees, but had not yet been contacted by the Red Cross at national level.