Expert says holiday homes are "low-hanging fruit" for potential accommodation for Ukrainian refugees 4 months ago

Expert says holiday homes are "low-hanging fruit" for potential accommodation for Ukrainian refugees

"I don't think we're going to build our way out of this."

A Senior Lecturer in Housing at Technological University Dublin has described vacant holiday homes as "low-hanging fruit" for potential accommodation for Ukrainian refugees.

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Lorcan Sirr discussed the possibilities for potential accommodation on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 on Monday (11 April).

"To put it into context, by the end of this week, we would have to house the equivalent of the population of Navan, or one and a half Clonmels, so that's around 30,000 people.

"I don't think we're going to build our way out of this because this is an urgent crisis, it's not something we can put on the long finger, or something we can spread out over many years, we need to house these people immediately.

"What you do in a situation like that when you're under extreme pressure is that you look at the low-hanging fruit, you look at what you have immediately available.

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"In the medium term, what we can look at is vacant housing.

"A lot of the vacant housing is vacant for a reason, the owners might be in nursing homes or they might be houses for sale, and a lot of those houses will need refurbishment, so that's a 6-12 month process."

Sirr described building, whether modular or not, as a slow solution, which would provide a solution in 12-24 months.

"The immediate solution is holiday homes, unoccupied holiday homes around the country.

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"We've about 62,000 holiday homes spread around the country, including 1,000 in Dublin city, that are unoccupied for most of the year.

"They already meet the standards for accommodation for the equivalent in the rental sector.

"Now, a lot of those holiday homes are in dispersed locations, without a doubt, but there's a huge amount of holiday homes in congregated settings particularly at the edges of towns and villages, and to me, that's the low-hanging fruit."

Sirr suggested that if even 20% of holiday home owners pledged their property to Ukrainian refugees, it would make a significant impact.

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Sirr recommended a payment of around €300-€400 a month as an incentive for homeowners to pledge their homes.

Roderic O'Gorman said this weekend that there have been no formal discussions about families receiving financial payments for hosting Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.