Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 17 November 2022
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government
Planning and Development Regulations: Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Emer Higgins (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source
I thank the Minister of State and his team for being here. In the past ten months, we have welcomed 47,000 Ukrainians and 17,000 refugees from other countries. We have never seen anything like that before in Ireland or Europe. It is the biggest movement of people since the Second World War. Of course, the catalyst this time has been the illegal invasion of Ukraine. I firmly believe that we must play our part.
I am very proud to represent a constituency that has played a leading role in Ireland's response to the crisis. In addition to a number of hotels in my constituency being used as emergency accommodation, the country's transit hub, Citywest, is located in my area. Dolcain House is our newest facility for emergency accommodation.
I would like to put on the record my frustration regarding the lack of information we had over the past couple of months. That created a bit of a vacuum of information locally, which was probably filled by a little confusion and concern. I am pleased that we are getting clarity about the regulations today, particularly as this facility will come under these regulations. We now have confirmation that a report was done and that works are completed in advance of anybody move into moving into the site. It has been provided pro bonofor use as an emergency accommodation centre for an initial period of three months. The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has indicated his intention to extend that contract further. The regulations we are discussing have an expiry date. I would like to get some confirmation on this. It is my understanding that there is no built-in mechanism within these regulations for that to be extended beyond that period. In order for that to happen, we would need to come back to this committee and the Dáil. Could the Minister of State clarify that?