The Department of Integration has confirmed to Westmeath Topic that Columb Barracks is to be used for temporary refugee accommodation. 120 single male refugees are set to be accommodated at the Barracks in the coming days.
In response to a query from the Westmeath Topic, the Department said:
“The Department is currently working, in co-operation with the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces, on a plan for the use of Columb Barracks for temporary refugee accommodation purposes.
The intention is that no person should have to stay at Columb Barracks for more than 3 weeks before being moved on to more suitable accommodation. We intend using the site for a maximum of 12 months.
This will initially involves the installation of 15 tents for a limited period to accommodate 120 single male International Protection applicants (IPs). It is intended that these tents will only be used for a period of 8 weeks.
This is in response to the current challenge whereby adult International Protection applicants are not offered accommodation due to lack of availability.
While the tents are in use, the Department will procure and install Portakabins for more medium term use. The Portakabins will accommodate both Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTP, or Ukrainian) and IP families.
The Department is aware of a number of community, sporting and other groups currently using the site. This will not be affected and the accommodation area will be separate.”