Supporting Local News

Refurbished house in Ardrahan provides home for 47 women and children

Refugees began arriving in Ardrahan last weekend after Government signed a deal to rent a refurbished country house for international protection applicants.

Camelot House has been contracted to house up to 47 women and children who are fleeing their own countries, including in Africa.

Located about 2.5 kilometres from the village, that has a population of over 540, the revamped property at Cregaclare is owned by Born Again Limited.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) confirmed it has offered a twelve-month contract to the owner.

“It is not possible to say with certainty what the length of stay will be having regard to the number of International Protection applicants arriving in Ireland and the scarcity of alternative accommodation,” it said.

The accommodation includes 14 bedrooms across two buildings with “large communal and recreational spaces”.

It includes a large, repurposed two and a half storey house, plus a three-bedroom bungalow beside it.

Toilets and showers are communal, and the Department said there were “sufficient numbers of each at required ratios”.

The property is just under two kilometres from a bus stop on the Galway-Gort route; and two and a half kilometres from Ardrahan train station on the Galway/Limerick line.

DCEDIY said:”A transport plan has been put in place to accommodate resident travel arrangements.”

The property has high-speed Wi-Fi, and is fitted with fire alarms, fire-fighting equipment and security cameras in common walking areas.

Residents will have shop vouchers, and refreshments stations. They will also be given toiletries and other essential items such as toilet paper.

According to the Department, this is the first time Born Again Limited has operated a facility such as this.

Training will be offered to the provider, and there will be a manager and/or security staff on site at all times, according to the contract.

The manager is property developer, Declan Gardiner.

DCEDIY said a “valid fire cert” is in place and the conditions of the fire cert “are in the process of being complied with”.

It confirmed that most of the residents are “new arrivals” to Ireland.

The adults get a weekly allowance of €38.80, and they are allowed to work after six months in Ireland.

The Department said it has notified Galway County Council of the accommodation and informed the three Galway East TDs.

Deputy Ciaran Cannon (FG) said some of the residents started arriving last weekend.

“I was out cycling with a farmer from Ardrahan on Saturday afternoon, and he said to me he had spotted two women walking with suitcases on their heads! It was a new sight, certainly for Ardrahan,” said Deputy Cannon.

He said Ireland had a legal and international obligation to accept refugees, and he expected the community in South Galway will welcome them to the village.

“These people are coming from pretty horrific circumstances. To be honest, everyone has just continued going about their business. It simply hasn’t registered. In general, the reaction has been positive.

“People in Kinvara went out of their way to welcome people to Kinvara; there was a welcoming ceremony and they were showered with clothes and food. They were embraced in the community and I’m sure the same thing will happen in Ardrahan,” said Deputy Cannon.

The Department said this was one of 170 emergency accommodation centres across 25 counties.

“These options must be considered to prevent homelessness for the unprecedented numbers of people arriving seeking international protection,” it said.

As of August, Ireland had taken in 81,075 Ukrainians fleeing war and 22,979 international protection applicants from other countries.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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