Almost 300 Ukrainian refugees could be housed in barracks

The government is considering housing almost 300 refugees from Ukraine at Columb Barracks.

That's according to a report by the Irish Times that says that the state is looking at providing accommodation for 280 Ukrainian people in Columb Barracks.

Earlier this week, it emerged that the barracks is on a list of sites where the government is considering installing modular homes for Ukrainian refugees.

In a statement released yesterday, the Columb Barracks Restoration and Regeneration Committee (CBRRC) questioned the need for modular homes saying that there is “more than sufficient accommodation” in the existing buildings in Columb Barracks.

The CBRRC said that at one time around 300 soldiers were based in the accommodation blocks at the barracks and “these spaces can be adequately heated and provided with other basic facilities for living”.

Retired RSM Noel O'Callagan believes that Columb Barracks is not a suitable location for modular homes.

"The use of portacabins in Columb Barracks Mullingar, or 'modular units', is in fact hiding victims of a military war behind the high walls of a military barracks, and will create a ghetto, segregated from society instead of integrated," he said in a statement released today.

When contacted by the Westmeath Examiner, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said:

"The department is working tirelessly to contract temporary accommodation across the country in order to accommodate people fleeing the war in Ukraine and those seeking International Protection. At present, it is not possible to provide the information you require as the lists of accommodation being used and being considered are subject to constant change, being dependent on the rate of arrivals into the country on a daily basis."