A Ukrainian Community Response Forum was established in Limerick in Mid-March
LIMERICK City and County Council says nearly 800 Ukrainian nationals are now living in temporary accommodation across Limerick having arrived here since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February.
At their May meeting, members of the local authority received an update on the response locally to the influx of refugees from Ukraine.
A Ukrainian Community Response Forum, made up of all stakeholders, has been meeting weekly since mid-March to co-ordinate the activities of statutory agencies and voluntary groups and organisations.
Seamus O'Connor, chief officer with the Limerick Local Community Development Committee, said the council aware of 759 Ukrainian nationals who have travelled to Limerick over the last number of months.
Of those receiving assistance from the State, 472 are currently living in hotel accommodation while 35 people are living in B&Bs or other tourist accommodation in Kildimo and Kilfinane.
Mr O'Connor said a further 217 Ukrainian nationals are living in Collective Accommodation Centres in Ardagh, Castleconnell, Foynes and Pallaskenry.
The meeting was told the designated rest centre for Limerick is located at the former St Lelia's school in Kileely and that 35 Ukrainians are currently being housed there.
The figures circulated on Monday do not include Ukrainian nationals who have sourced accommodation privately or who are staying with friends or family.
The meeting was told those arriving in Limerick from Ukraine are not being placed in social housing units and that the council is in constant contact with the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS), which is the lead agency nationally.
Council CEO Dr Pat Daly, who chairs the Ukrainian Community Response Forum, told councillors it is the only forum in the country to have created a dedicated WhatsApp group and that it has been a big success.
"Everyone has their mobile number on there and it pings morning, noon and night and it gets real-time answers to real-time problems and that has been spectacular," he explained.
Mr Daly thanked the Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Daniel Butler, and all of the other members of the Forum for their support since it was established.
Sonja Reidy, Ukrainian Response Accommodation Lead, said efforts are continuing to identify suitable buildings such as former convents, schools or retreats which could be used to house more Ukrainians, if required.
She added that 46 serviced sites have been identified across Limerick which have the potential to accommodate modular units while a number of former pubs and hotels have also been identified for use - subject to activation funding being allocated.
Several councillors suggested vacant buildings in their own areas and Ms Reidy said she would engage with them over the coming weeks and months.
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