Clarification of ‘managed chaos’ in Citywest Hotel sought by SDCC
THE movement of refugees in and out of Citywest Hotel at all hours of the day and night is “managed chaos” according to Cllr Carly Bailey.
The Irish Government agreed to lease Citywest Hotel for two years to accommodate people arriving here from Ukraine.
However, South Dublin County Council say their immediate priority is to “get clarification” and a “better understanding” of people currently staying in Citywest Hotel and two other hotels in the county, in order to link them with and “provide a full range of integrated services to refugees.”
Citywest has 756 rooms and can accommodate up to 2,000 people. There is also a conference centre attached to the hotel.
“That’s a significant resident population,” noted SDCC chief executive Daniel McLoughlin at the recent council meeting.
“There is also, within the convention centre, 300 rest care beds to be used for people transitioning from a base in Citywest to other parts of the country.
Mr McLoughlin said the council are seeking clarification via government, to get a “breakdown of the use of the rooms, in terms of transient accommodation and more permanent accommodation.”
“That will help us focus on public services in terms of on-site and off-site. Already on site you have Dept Social Protection, HSE, Irish immigration office, Dept Children, and there are other intermittent public services that is being availed upon site. But we need to better understand the resident population.”
He said there is another “couple of hotels” in the county that have similar arrangements for the months ahead, and they need to understand the numbers there too for the same purposes.
SDCC confirmed to The Echo that the other two hotels are the IBIS hotel and Tallaght Cross Hotel.
Cllr Carly Bailey (SocDems), said it was not possible to “overstate how unmanaged” the situation is in Citywest.
“South Dublin volunteers are doing incredible work trying to facilitate people coming through the doors, often not told they are landing or arriving. They could come in the middle of the night, the morning, the afternoon, buses full of people with children, older people,” said Cllr Bailey.
“They are sleeping on floors, then shipped off somewhere else. It is unclear if any agencies are involved with accommodation. There doesn’t seem to be any centralised system. It is a very difficult situation, we need to demand better as a council from government. Whatever about a short term response to an immediate crisis, we are now months into it and it is still absolutely managed chaos.”
Mr McLoughlin said the clarification was required to allow them to “engage with this more permanent population in terms of their integration into society and getting involved in community events.”
He said local authorities are also working on “pledges” on vacant properties, of which there is a “small amount” in the county.
Another avenue is that councils have been asked to see if there is any vacant properties in their areas that could be utilised for family hub/hostel type accommodation.
“There is very slim pickings in South Dublin to be honest, “said the chief executive, who reported investigations so far, had identified only one or two remote possibilities.
The Echo contacted SDCC and the Dept of Children for an approximate figure on the amount of refugees currently staying at the three hotels in the county, including Citywest.
An SDCC spokesperson said: “The position with regard to refugee accommodation across the South Dublin administrative area is constantly changing. There appears to be a more continuous accommodation arrangement with the IBIS hotel and Tallaght Cross Hotel in addition to Citywest.
“There is a need to have greater clarity around the duration of stay and the profile of families at these locations to ensure the appropriate targeting of public services. At this point we do not have confirmation of numbers likely to remain in accommodation at these locations.”
The Echo also asked the Dept Children for a breakdown of Ukranian and non-Ukranian refugees at the three hotels.
The Department of Children told The Echo it was not possible to provide details regarding how many persons fleeing the conflict in Ukraine have arrived in South Dublin to date as it is “likely to change quickly depending on the number of people arriving into the country on a daily basis.”
The Department listed six hotels currently in use in the county for Ukranians in the county – Aspect Hotel Park West, IBIS Red Cow, The Cross Tallaght, Clayton Liffey Valley, Maldron Newlands Cross and Maldron Tallaght.