Thursday, March 09, 2023

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A SITE in Carlow town is to be assessed for modular homes for Ukrainian refugees. Land off the Tullow Road is being viewed as part of a national programme of rapid-build modular homes for refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) confirmed in a statement to The Nationalist that a site has been offered for assessment in Co Carlow. The statement says if a site is identified as suitable, then the department would carry out a programme of engagement, ‘which involves meeting councillors and officials of local authorities, service providers, community groups etc’.

The department declined to comment on where the site was in the county. However, The Nationalist understands it is located off the Tullow Road in Carlow town adjoining local estates and, as of last week, has yet to be assessed.

The land is under the control of the Department of Housing as it is part of the Land Aggregation Scheme.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has been tasked with developing the programme for rapid-build modular homes on behalf of the DCEDIY. The OPW would also be responsible for site preparation and the acquisition and installation of the homes onto sites.

The DCEDIY statement said: ‘The OPW is the sponsoring agency for the purpose of rolling out the programme, with the Department of Housing having responsibility for identifying sites that might be suitable through seeking information from public authorities on potential sites in their ownership. Once sites are offered, an assessment is carried out in terms of location and access to local facilities. OPW then undertakes the necessary technical site assessments.’

All rapid-build home sites will ‘have roads, footpaths, street lighting and community facilities, including a play area and green spaces in line with local authority planning guidance’.

‘The homes will be highly energy-efficient, durable units with a 60-year lifespan and the development of the sites will be conducted in an environmentally sustainable way to ensure that, post development, the site will enhance the local area.’

The department said all units would be manufactured offsite with limited construction disruption. Once completed, the department will provide ‘management and maintenance of the homes’.

Councillors in the Carlow Municipal District were briefed by a department official in recent weeks about the matter, when they were told the modular homes would be used for Ukrainians already based in Carlow. The Nationalist contacted Carlow County Council for a comment, but was referred to the DCEDIY, as modular home accommodation falls under the department’s remit.

News of the possible modular homes began to circulate online last week. It has sparked a planned ‘Carlow Says No’ protest in the town centre next week, with the organiser calling on people on social media to “protect your children against unvetted migrant men/women”.

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