Morris calls for long term plans to cater for Ukrainian refugees

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Tipperary County Council’s ability to cater for hundreds of Ukrainian refuges needs to be looked at.

That’s the view of Independent Councillor Seamie Morris who says a long term permanent plan needs to be put in place.

A temporary emergency accommodation centre has been set up by the local authority at the community centre in Littleton which has already housed a number of Ukrainian refugees who have since moved to more permanent accommodation outside the county.

Nenagh based Councillor Morris says great efforts have been made by people in the county to take in those fleeing the war-torn country but feels this isn’t a long term solution.

“We need to have a broad discussion about our capacity to take in hundreds and hundreds of refugees. Bear in mind it took us over a year, maybe two years, to be able to look after the small number of Syrian refugees that relocated to Tipperary and thankfully they relocated successfully.

“It takes a huge amount of resources to put all the services around people when they come into the country.”

Councillor Morris also says Tipperary County Council needs to be reimbursed for the costs incurred in providing services for Ukrainian refugees.

He says both the local authority and members of the public have been fantastic in their response to the crisis.

However he says the council cannot be at a financial loss as a result.

The Nenagh based public representative also says planning rules need to change to cope with the expected influx of refugees from Ukraine.

“I know that a modular home making company in North Tipp has offered to make 20 modular homes available. But the modular homes or timber based homes or houses are illegal in Tipperary County Council planning.

“So something like that needs to be modified straight away.

“I think every Director of Services in Tipperary County Council has been sequestered to do this work and I would hope that the Department would pay for this, that this won’t have to come out of County Council resources.

“We have a government that are putting their chests out in Europe saying that we will take up to 200,000 refugees – we can’t. For them to say that in the middle of a housing crisis is just reckless.”