National Indoor Arena opens doors to 100 refugees after scores faced with sleeping rough

The National Indoor Arena at Abbotstown has welcomed 100 asylum seekers through its doors.

he Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) has confirmed that the temporary accommodation centre officially opened yesterday evening.

Last week, Sports Ireland announced that the National Indoor Athletics Training Centre would be made available for a period of up to “six weeks as part of an emergency response initiative”.

Chief executive officer Dr Una May said Sport Ireland is “pleased to be in a position to respond positively to the Government’s request”.

“This emergency initiative will be for a period of up to six weeks, allowing the relevant authorities to provide more permanent accommodation for the refugees. Following this, the arena will be available for the beginning of the indoor athletics season,” she said.

“Sport has been a welcome lifeline for many refugees arriving into Ireland in recent months and the wider sport sector is to be commended in that regard.

“Sport Ireland Facilities will be offering the use of the facilities on the Sport Ireland Campus for use by the refugees for the duration of their stay.”

The DCEDIY has confirmed that the centre can accommodate 200 people in total.

In a statement released to, the department said: “DCEDIY has engaged a facilities management company as well as security, and the facility has Wi-Fi. Meals, bed linen and toiletries will all be provided. Applicants may be accommodated there for up to six weeks before being moved to more suitable accommodation, as it becomes available within the current shortages.”

It comes as earlier this week the Irish Refugee Council warned that asylum seekers were facing “street homelessness”, after 19 international protection applicants presented at its Dublin office, saying they were told that “accommodation is not available to them”.

It’s understood the people were from countries including Georgia, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan and at least one of them has a significant health issue.

The DCEDIY also confirmed that up to 130 refugees were left without accommodation for several nights because State-run accommodation for asylum seekers reached capacity last week.

Since February almost 37,500 people who fled the crisis in Ukraine have sought accommodation from the State, alongside 15,000 international protection (IP) applicants.

As a result, the department is currently supporting over 51,000 people, compared to 7,500 this time last year.

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