As many as half of the 700 quick-build modular houses approved by the Government to house Ukrainian refugees might not be completed by the end of 2023 over difficulties assessing suitable sites
As The Irish Times reports, a presentation by the Office of Public Works (OPW) prepared for a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing confirmed that 204 modular homes on five sites will begin to be handed over for occupation from next month.
It also indicated that a further 106 homes on two sites in Tullamore, Co Offaly and Rathdowney, Co Laois will be completed from August 2023.
However, the OPW has no up-to-date information on the expected completion dates of the remaining 370 quick-build homes promised by the Government to accommodate as many as 2,800 refugees.
In its presentation the OPW said further completions are “dependent on the availability and quality of sites on offer”.
It said “site feasibility is currently being assessed” and “some sites may not be viable”. Already two identified sites, in Co Waterford and in Co Cork, have been deemed unsuitable.
The Government approved the provision of 500 modular houses last summer and later increased the overall target to 700 units.
The original completion date was November 2022, but the process has been beset by delays. The deadline was pushed back to the new year and then until May.
Photographs supplied by the OPW to the committee confirm that work is well-progressed on the five sites in phase one: in Mahon, Co Cork (64 units); Farnham Road, Co Cavan (28 units); Thurles, Co Tipperary (62 units); Claremorris, Co Mayo (28 units) and Doorly Park, Sligo (22 units).
The overall cost projection for the project is estimated to be €140 million.
Earlier this year the OPW appealed to local authorities asking them to identify 10 additional “good sites”. As of now, there is no indication that those sites have been identified.
Members of the committee, chaired by Green Party TD Steven Matthews, will question OPW officials closely on this and if there is any prospect of the 700 units being completed by the end of 2023.
The goal of the modular homes project was to develop brand-new housing “rapidly” to ease the refugee accommodation crisis.
Written by Kenneth Fox
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