Lease approved for Citywest to house Ukrainian refugees
THE GOVERNMENT has approved the decision to enter into a 2-year lease with Citywest Hotel to accommodate refugees, with the Convention Centre used as the central processing and transit hub for those fleeing the war.
As previously reported by The Echo, the Government have been in negotiations over the last few weeks with the owners of the hotel, Tetrarch Capital, to finalise the deal.
On Wednesday, June 1, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, brought a memo to Government providing an update on the final terms of a licence agreement for the use of the Citywest Hotel and Conference Centre to assist in the whole of government response to the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis.
The government approved the decision to enter into a 2-year lease for both the use of all 764 rooms in the hotel and also the use of the convention centre as a transit hub.
The hotel and conference centre currently accommodates about 2,300 people that have fled the war in Ukraine.
The hotel was used as a self-isolation and quarantine centre for health care workers for the majority of the last two years.
In March 2020, the HSE agreed to pay Tetrarch €21m for use of the property for seven months, paying an extra €1.9m for use of the convention centre, which was prepared as a 300-bed field hospital.
The Convention Centre at Citywest is now being used as the central processing and transit hub for Dublin airport and Dublin port arrivals for those fleeing the conflict in the Ukraine.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Social Protection have also moved their airport operation to the transit hub.
The Centre operates on a 24/7 basis and a number of other organisations are present onsite including Better Start, the HSE, the International Organisation for Migration and the South Dublin Volunteer Centre.
This means that all necessary immediate supports are now co-located in Citywest, including an overnight rest area, making the initial arrival more comfortable for people fleeing from Ukraine.
In addition to this, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD, also announced an additional €10.5 million in funding to assist the community response to support people arriving from Ukraine.
This funding will strengthen the capacity of those already working across the community and voluntary sector to improve the experience and quality of life of people arriving from Ukraine.
The funding package includes funding of €5 million for the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme and Local Development companies to support the response at local level.
Funding of €0.5 million will go to volunteer centres to help them deal with the increased activity and demands on these centres and on the volunteers helping to deal with this crisis and €5 million will go to the Community Foundation Ireland “Ireland for Ukraine” fund.
Announcing the funding on Wednesday, June 1, Minister Humphreys said: “Since the start of this terrible war, our communities have played a central role in helping people arriving from Ukraine settle into their new life in Ireland.
“The Community and Voluntary Sector, which my department has responsibility for, has not been found wanting in stepping up to the plate and assisting families arriving here.
“I am therefore very pleased today to have secured Cabinet approval to provide an additional €10.5 million to continue to support community efforts.
“Some €5 million in funding will be provided to the Local Development Companies through the SICAP Programme.
“Also confirmed was funding of €5 million to Community Foundation Ireland (CFI) who will be administering the Ireland for Ukraine Fund.
“And finally, €500,000 will be used to support our volunteer centres, which have been dealing with a huge demand for services since the start of the war in Ukraine.
“I am confident that this additional funding will help ensure the integration of the people arriving from Ukraine, as well as assisting both rural and urban communities in continuing their work.”