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Questions and Answers: Department releases further information on new arrangement for Ukrainian refugees in Stradbally

Yesterday, it was revealed that up to 950 Ukrainian refugees are to be accommodated in Stradbally for a 32-week period from early November.

They will return to Stradbally Hall, site of the Electric Picnic, with the contract in place until Mid-June.

Instead of the current tents, those staying will be in cabins this time.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth have followed the news with 14 questions and answers which are below:

1 – How many people are intended to be accommodated in Stradbally Estate? What will the resident breakdown be at the building?

The maximum capacity in this centre is for 950 people. The residency will be entirely made up of Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection fleeing the war in Ukraine. The profile of arrivals from the war in Ukraine to date is mainly women and children.

2 – How long can people expect to stay there? What is the duration of the contract?

The term of the contract for the site is for a 32-week period. Residents will stay at the accommodation for a number of weeks, with support services provided at the site to assist BOTPs in adjusting to life in Ireland and to aid better integration and independence.

3 – What are the conditions at the site – what are the sleeping arrangements, toilets, showers, etc.? What are the catering arrangements for the building?

The secure site will be configured to hold a series of enclosed marquee-type structures, containing arrays of own-door cabin-type accommodation, with various configurations to accommodate families, couples, single persons etc.

All cabins will be enclosed in a marquee type solid sided structure complete with cassette floor system and rigid wall panelling
throughout, complete with doors, glass panels and ramps.

In order to ensure that we have sufficient capacity in the very short term, before the winter ready cabins are made available, the Department will be utilising the tented accommodation at the site for approximately 2 weeks leading up to the delivery of the cabins. No tented accommodation will be utilised on the site once the winter-ready accommodation is available.

The accommodation provided takes careful consideration of BOTPs’ welfare needs and includes the following welfare services;
o hot catered meal service provision
o on-site access to an advanced paramedic and first aid service
o shower and toilet facilities in each own-door cabin
o self-service laundry facilities
o sanitation and refuse services
o indoor dining facilities
o indoor and outdoor recreational spaces
o utilities (hot water, heating) and tracked walkway all around site to ensure safe passage between accommodation and other amenities.

4 – Who are the owners and who are operating on site? What experience do they have?

The accommodation facility will be operated by PASTURES NEW LIMITED. The management of the company has experience in large scale event development, the commercial hospitality sector and human welfare supports to asylum communities in direct provision settings.

5 – How many staff are on site? Is there a presence there 24/7? What are the security arrangements for the building?

The facility will be staffed with a team to include the facilities manager, community manager, facilities management, welfare staff, food service staff, cleaners and a 24-hour presence for on-site security and medical staff.

The site is surrounded on all sides by secure fencing, and will have one entrance and exit point, managed at all times by security. Each resident will be issued with a lanyard displaying photo ID, which they will be required to show on entry and exit. Standard procedures (incl. visitor log) will apply for guests visiting the site.

6 – Are there appropriate fire safety measures in place?

All statutory requirements pertaining to the establishment and management of emergency accommodation at this site are met.

7 – How will BOTP applicants be provided with PPS numbers? Are some of them eligible to work?

BOTP applicants are provided with full medical checks, medical cards and PPS numbers on arrival into the Citywest before transport to their accommodation.

They are then eligible to seek work and many people have done so and are making a positive contribution to the local and national economies particularly in areas where there are skills shortages.

8 – What health supports are available to BOTP Applicants?

BOTP applicants are provided with full medical checks and medical cards on arrival into Citywest. A full list of HSE supports is attached to this briefing note at Appendix A.

As part of this communication and engagement process, the national HSE lead has been notified of this centre opening and they have activated local services.

9 – What about school places?

Stradbally Estate winter-ready cabin accommodation facility is a temporary, emergency accommodation site, and as such, there is no requirement for additional school places.

DCEDIY and our colleagues across Government will be working with the accommodation provider to provide additional services at the site which will support BOTPs in integrating and achieving independence.

10 – Local access

A lit, secure path provides pedestrian access to Stradbally village, from which bus routes can be used to access other destinations. This path is connected to the village via a gate, and it is proposed this will also be consistently monitored.

11 – What integration supports are available to provide day-to-day activities to the BOTP Applicants?

As Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection Ukrainian people receive housing, health, education, income and other supports.

The local Community Fora has also been informed of this opening and will engage with the new arrivals to involve them in community activity and offer supports and activities as appropriate.

12 – Is any assessment provided to BOTP Applicants to ascertain their needs or vulnerabilities?

All BOTP arrivals are given a full medical and health check on arrival to assess their needs.

13 – Is Stradbally Estate the only area considered for this type of accommodation, or have other areas in the city/country been examined? How many other centres like this are in operation?

Emergency accommodation centres have been opened in all parts of the country. These options must be considered to prevent homelessness for the unprecedented numbers of people arriving seeking protection.

The Stradbally Estate – Ukraine Temporary Tented Accommodation site – has been in place for almost 6 weeks and has proven very successful. Interaction and engagement with the local community has been positive.

It is within this context that the Stradbally Estate site has been identified as one of a number of sites where contingency accommodation for those fleeing the war in Ukraine will be provided over the next few months.

14 – Who should public representatives contact with follow-on queries or concerns?

The Community Engagement Team is working across Government to ensure a more coordinated approach. Queries on this specific location can be directed to community@equality.gov.ie