Local hotel owner says Ukrainian refugees have added to the community

Photo courtesy of Dundrum House Hotel Facebook page

A West Tipp hotel owner says Ukrainian refugees have been a welcome addition to the community.

Jeff Leo took over the Dundrum House Hotel prior to Covid and has since opened it up to those fleeing the war.

At present there are 123 refugees staying there with around 100 more expected and Jeff says they are well equipped to facilitate new arrivals with 230 rooms at the site in total.

Speaking to Tipp Today he said there are still safety concerns surrounding the walkway for those going into the village that should be immediately addressed.

However, overall Jeff says the refugees have integrated well with many now working in the locality.

“They’ve been getting jobs, they’ve really been integrating into the community. Through Centra through DJ Butler, between Crowe Meats, Dew valley Foods, working on local farms, milking cows, they actually want to work and they actually really want to move on with their lives and for me looking it has to be extremely challenging and very tough.”

Jeff also commented on the tourism sector saying he is confident that tourism will pick up in the next year.

Their main goal now is to go ‘back to basics’ and reopen the hotel for a start.

Jeff told Tipp Today that there have been a number of challenges but he is positive about the future of the industry.

He says they want to make the golf course at the site a destination for tourists globally.

“We took the opportunity to put the focus on the golf course and with the feedback from the members it’s the best it’s ever been and it’s only going to get better. We have the likes of Jeff Howes who is a world renowned golf designer he’s done Mount Juliette, he’s done Fota Island, he’s done the Heritage and we’ve brought him on just over the last year and a half, two years to give some advice on design and really bringing the golf course up to another level.”