Three nearby Kerry hotels and hostels to accommodate Ukrainian refugees
Three hotels and a hostel in Kerry have closed to customers and will instead be used to accommodate Ukrainian war refugees, while a sports complex in Tralee is put on hold for emergency shelter.
Kerry, which is among the biggest accommodation banks outside Dublin, with 50,000 tourist beds, is seen as a potential home for a large proportion of Irish refugees.
However, most hotels and guesthouses in the county have already accepted tourist bookings amid what is expected to be a bumper year for tourism following the easing of Covid travel restrictions.
Killarney hotelier Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation (IHF), said it would be impossible for her to offer substantial accommodation until next November and that this would be true for others hotels and locals that have large bookings.
Refugees have started arriving at the Skellig accommodation center in Cahersiveen, which could potentially accommodate up to 200 people, locals say.
Refugees have also arrived at the 140-bed Earl of Desmond Hotel outside Tralee and the 72-bed Inisfallen Hotel in Fossa, Killarney, and its sister hostel, 3 Lakes Hostel in Killarney town, are expected welcome refugees from today.
The IHF has written to members in Kerry asking on behalf of the government for any type of accommodation, including guesthouse, hotel and B&B, on a commercial basis.
He told members that currently around 200 to 250 people are looking for accommodation per day.
“In an effort to secure additional accommodation for Ukrainian nationals coming to Ireland, the Government is seeking to secure as many hotel rooms as possible for blocks of three to six months and, where possible, is seeking the exclusive use hotels,” the IHF said. noted.
“However, the Department would also be open to offering a one-month contract.”
The Children’s Department, which manages refugee accommodation, did not disclose the amount paid per person.
“Contractual matters cannot be disclosed due to the commercially sensitive nature of this information,” a spokesperson said.
The Catholic Church in Ireland is investigating whether its properties could be used to house war refugees, and in Kerry that work is also progressing.
A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Kerry said: “A number of properties have already been identified and these will be assessed as to their suitability by the relevant authorities.”
The John Mitchels GAA Sports Complex in Tralee has also been put on hold as a short-term accommodation facility.
A spokesperson for Kerry County Council said an agreement had been reached with council management which is coordinating transport and other services for refugees to use the large modern gymnasium for overnight accommodation.” in case no hotel bed is available”.