A total of 27 refugees have been accommodated at a premises at Lower Main Street in Letterkenny, the Department of Equality has confirmed.
A spokesperson told Donegal Daily that the premises, known as Josie’s Bar, has capacity for 30 people applicants who are seeking international protection.
The department did not specify the country of origin or the nationality of those who have been sheltered at the premises.
The premises has undergone a major renovation in recent weeks.
The spokesperson added “The property referred to in Letterkenny has been contracted by the Department to accommodate families who are international protection applicants since earlier this week.
“The Department can confirm that there are 27 people accommodated in the apartments and the total capacity there is for 30 people.”
Various other hotels and hostels across Donegal are also being sued to house hundreds of other displaced people many of whom originate from war-torn Ukraine.
By December there had been almost 5,000 people who had been displaced from Ukraine were living in Donegal.
Since the beginning of 2022, Ireland and many other European countries are experiencing a significant increase of new arrivals seeking international protection (IP).
Last year, over 15,000 people arrived in Ireland seeking accommodation while their applications for international protection is processed by the International Protection Office. Over the period 2017-2019 an average of 3,500 people applied for protection each year.
The spokesperson added that the State has a legal and moral obligation to assess the claims of those who seek refuge, and in that time to provide accommodation and supports.
Combined with the simultaneous arrival of over 70,000 people displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine – the largest displacement of people in Europe since the Second World War – the pressures on the State to respond to the challenge are immense. 55,000 of those are in State-provided accommodation.
Intensive efforts are undertaken daily by staff in DCEDIY and the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) to source emergency accommodation. However, procuring enough bed space to keep pace with incoming arrivals remains extremely challenging, leading to very significant shortages.
The spokesperson added “The urgency of the situation also requires the Department to move at a much greater speed than would ordinarily be the case, which makes the provision of information to communities sometimes quite difficult.
“All new properties which the Department contracts are required to provide detailed information in relation to suitability for use including fire certification and other information to ensure that properties meet the National Standards.
“Properties are also subject to inspections and all properties offered to the Department are carefully appraised before contracts are issued.
“Over the past year, communities across Ireland have demonstrated great solidarity and welcome for those who come here seeking refuge.”