A top Donegal hotel has cancelled bookings for the next three months in order to free up space for refugees from Ukraine.
Donegal Daily can exclusively reveal that McGettigan’s Hotel in the centre of Letterkenny will close to the public from Monday.
Customers trying to book rooms online from next week onwards have been unable to do so.
Those trying to book over the phone have been told by staff the hotel is currently ‘closed to the public’ as they have a contract to take-in refugees fleeing the war-torn country.
One potential customer, who did not wish to be named, commended the hotel for their actions.
“While being disappointed at not being able to return to McGettigan’s Hotel for our trip, it is heartening to see that they have decided to take in refugees fleeing war,” they said.
The 82-room hotel in he heart of the town could accommodate up to 200 people.
More than 7,250 people have arrived in Ireland from Ukraine in the last two-and-a-half weeks, according to latest figures.
Hotel and other emergency accommodation are the first avenues explored by the government to provide the refugees with safe, secure and comfortable living.
The government and aid agencies, such as the Red Cross, also match refugees with accommodation offered by the general public.
As revealed by Donegal Daily last week, Donegal people have so far made 228 pledges to the Irish Red Cross to accommodate refugees from Ukraine.
One government source told the Irish Independent there was an immediate concern about running out of emergency hotel accommodation next week.
This would force the government to activate contingency plans involving the use of sports halls and other large venues, which, it is feared, could create conditions much worse than Direct Provision accommodation.
More than 19,000 pledges for accommodation for Ukrainian refugees have now been made to the Red Cross portal.
The charity has asked that Irish families be patient while the vetting and matching process takes place.
“Some families have already been linked up with refugees, but the general way things work is that when the refugees arrive at a port or airport they are met by immigration officials who process them, issue them with documents and then supply them with accommodation in a hotel for a period of around two weeks,” said a Red Cross spokesman.