Deputy Robert Troy at Columb Barracks.

Barracks buildings should be used to accommodate refugees, says Troy

Refugees and asylum seekers should be housed in the buildings at Columb Barracks instead of in tents and modular homes, according to Deputy Robert Troy, who says the upgraded buildings could later be used to accommodate students at the EV centre of excellence.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner after Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris told him in the Dáil that he was “very committed” to delivering the EV centre of excellence, Deputy Troy said he believes the state should be using taxpayers’ money to upgrade the current buildings at the barracks for accommodation.

“What I think should be happening is that instead of continually going to private industry for tents and hotels et cetera, why are we not going to private industry to offer them a licence to come in and do them up. After a period of time, when people move back home, we will have an asset going forward.

“With the likes of Columb Barracks, where we are going to put in an EV training centre, it makes perfect sense for them to utilise the buildings now for asylum seekers and in two or three years’ time, when they go back, it could be used for housing student accommodation for those going to the centre of excellence.

“Modular homes are going to be put on a site at the barracks. If that money was invested in the upgrade of the current buildings, which are protected structures and will have to be retained into the future, then why, in the name of God, not put in the investment now and ensure that they will become an asset to the state?”

Deputy Troy believe there is an “aversion by some decision makers” to explore the possibility of upgrading existing buildings.

“We would be able to use them for other accommodation, such as for students, into the future. That’s what we should be looking at.”