The emergency Rest Centre for Ukrainian refugees in Arklow is to close. As a result, the Coral Leisure Centre will return to full community use.
At the end of March 2022 Wicklow County Council, along with all 31 Local Authorities, were asked by Government to establish community facilities to provide emergency beds for arriving Ukrainian refugees.
As part of this request and reflecting the national urgency, Wicklow County Council initiated the set-up of 50/60 emergency contingency beds temporarily at Coral Leisure Centre Arklow.
Over a period of two months, the centre provided a short-term, safe and welcoming environment for 251 Ukrainian individuals and families. A warm welcome, help and assistance was always provided to often traumatised arrivals.
This was a national humanitarian response to a war time emergency situation and Wicklow County Council was committed to providing safe, appropriate and respectful accommodation while facilitating continuous care and embedded service provision.
Residents remained at the temporary centre for between four and seven days before being moved to more medium-term accommodation. Many arrivals to the centre sourced host families within the Arklow area and have integrated into the local community through schools and work and local activities.
While it is regrettable that this emergency response measure has had an effect on a small number of businesses at the Coral facility, the Council continue to liaise with the businesses affected. The Council acknowledges that local groups and community were inconvenienced through the unavailability of the Sports Centre and we express our sincere gratitude for the immense support and contributions of the Arklow community in making this emergency rest centre operational and providing temporary accommodation for Ukrainian refugees fleeing their war-torn country.
The emergency rest centre was situated in an ideal location for our Ukrainian friends with access to many of the great facilities within the area. All materials, supplies, trades persons required throughout the operation of the rest centre were sourced locally.
The success of the centre was greatly supported by the Ukrainian Hub that was set up in Bridgewater which provided clothing, bikes, children’s toys etc to the refugees. The Hub’s support and assistance to Wicklow County Council in making our Ukrainian residents welcome and safe is to be commended and a special Thank You to all the volunteers involved.
Arklow Community Rest Centre at Coral was always intended to be a temporary emergency measure to provide accommodation for displaced Ukrainians. The centre was run effectively by Wicklow County Council staff and Civil Defence unit. Help was also provided by a small number of local volunteers.
It is now the intention of Wicklow County Council to close this temporary centre and return to Coral Leisure for community use.
Alternative emergency accommodation has now been provided for the Region covering Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow. The Ballyogan Regional Temporary Rest Centre will have the capacity to accommodate up to 300 displaced Ukrainian Nationals for short periods. Thereafter they will be allocated longer term accommodation in other areas of the state.
Immediate emergency and accommodation needs of Ukrainian refugees continues to be met by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDI&Y) and the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS), with the support of local authorities.