Councillors to meet today to discuss refugee crisis

DONEGAL County Council says it recognises the impact accommodating Ukrainian refugees is having on the local tourism sector.

There are five hotels and 16 bed and breakfasts in Donegal currently housing Ukrainians on behalf of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. A further 17 suppliers of hostels and self-catering have also been contracted.

Nationally over 4,000 hotel bedrooms are being utilised, a figure that has raised concerns over a possible accommodation shortage for those looking to holiday in Ireland this summer.


Donegal County Council described the situation as “complex” and said it was important those fleeing war felt welcome in the county.

But the local authority also said it was conscious of the impact the influx of displaced families and individuals was having on the local tourism industry.

“In line with the national effort Donegal County Council is co-ordinating the Community Response Forum to the Ukrainian crisis and as part of this the council is engaging with both frontline services and communities across the county as we welcome people seeking refuge,” said a spokesperson.

“This is a complex and rapidly changing situation and the need to respond effectively and compassionately to this humanitarian crisis is central to our efforts.

“We also recognise that there is an impact on communities right across the county including those operating in the tourism sector and we would like to thank everyone for their generosity and co-operation as we continue to support and welcome people seeking refuge while working to minimise impacts for sectors such as tourism.”

The comments come ahead of a meeting in Letterkenny today (Monday) to discuss Donegal’s response to the Ukraine situation.

A range of organisations will meet with councillors to brief them on the inter-agency response to the crisis.


According to latest figures there are over 1,300 Ukrainians now living in Donegal with 259 children enrolled in local schools.

Some of those who have arrived in recent months will relay their personal stories to elected members.

Cathaoirleach Jack Murray.

Cathaoirleach Jack Murray said the gathering would give councillors a clearer picture of the work being done and how the local authority can best assist the relief effort.

“There is a huge amount of work being done but it was felt that a wider discussion involving councillors was needed,” he said.

“We are getting a lot of questions from people and some elected members felt that a meeting like this would provide them with more information.”

Among the groups set to address the meeting are the Red Cross, An Garda Síochána, the Intercultural Platform and local social welfare officials.

The cathaoirleach said Donegal had “done itself proud” in its handling of the refugee crisis with various sectors and communities coming forward to play their part.

But with many refugees being housed in temporary accommodation where contracts could end in the near future, a long term plan needs to be put in place.

“I am also conscious that mica is continuing to have a huge impact on our county and there are going to be very testing times ahead.

“So we need to make sure that everyone who needs support – whether they are a Ukrainian family, a mica family or someone else who needs accommodation for whatever reason – can access it.”

“It will be a huge challenge for all the agencies but we need to make sure we can forge a path for everyone here,” Councillor Murray added.

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