Columb Barracks in Mullingar.

Tents and prefab buildings to be installed at barracks

Fifteen tents will be installed at Columb Barracks in Mullingar to accommodate 120 single male asylum seekers seeking International Protection, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth have confirmed.

The department are working, in co-operation with the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces, on a plan for the use of Columb Barracks for temporary refugee accommodation purposes, a statement today has made clear.

The intention is that no person should have to stay at Columb Barracks for more than three weeks before being moved on to more suitable accommodation, according to the details from the department.

They intend using the site for a maximum of 12 months.

This will initially involves the installation of 15 tents for a limited period to accommodate 120 single male IPs (asylum seekers seeking International Protection).

It is intended that these tents will only be used for a period of eight weeks.

While the tents are in use, the department will procure and install prefabricated buildings for more medium term use. The prefabs will accommodate both BOTP (Beneficiary of Temporary Protection) and IP families. They will not be used for single males.

As people are moved on to more suitable accommodation, the empty space may be filled with other new arrivals or people needing immediate accommodation.

The department has requested the assistance of the Defence Forces for the immediate installation of the tents.

They have advised that could take up to four weeks for all associated works to be completed.

The department therefore envisage using the tents towards the end of February for an eight-week period – till the of end April 2023.

It could take around 12 weeks to procure and install prefabricated buildings – the department therefore envisage Ukrainian and International Protection families on-site around early May 2023.

The initial set-up using tents will involve up to 120 single IP males.

The prefabricated buildings will be used to accommodate circa 200 BOTP (usually Ukrainian) and IP family members.

IPs are from a number of nationalities that arrive to Ireland seeking asylum or refugee status. They will all have registered with the International Protection Office under the auspices of the Department of Justice.

BOTPs are generally of Ukrainian nationality and will have registered with the Department of Justice under the European Temporary Protection Directive.

In the information released, the department state that they are aware of a number of community, sporting and other groups currently using the site, and say there is no reason that should change.

The accommodation area will be fenced off and a professional facility management company will operate the site on behalf of the department.

The department will liaise with the HSE, TUSLA, An Garda Síochána, Westmeath County Council and other state organisations as required. NGO supports will be provided as required.