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A FORMER RESTAURANT AND HOSTEL in Ennis is now being used to house displaced Ukrainian refugees.

What was formerly The Rowan Tree Café and Hostel and has been renamed The Abbey Hostel is now operating as an accommodation unit for an approximate 20 to 30 refugees originally from Ukraine who fled their native country following Russia’s invasion.

At the end of April, job vacancies were advertised with an immediate start for a receptionist, catering assistants and cooks to be located at The Abbey Hostel. Ownership of the hostel has not changed since “increasing and sustainable operational costs” were cited by management of the Rowan Tree as the reasons for its closure in October.

Displaced Ukrainians now based at the Hostel had been residing on the Quin Rd in the Clare Civil Defence’s headquarters in an emergency unit.

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Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Pat Dowling on Monday stated that another facility is available in the case of an additional cohort arriving. The Clare Echo understands that this is located in the heart of Newmarket-on-Fergus.

“We’ve gone from nationally a high of around 750 arrivals per day to a current level of 100 to 150 per day. The numbers have softened somewhat,” Dowling explained. An approximate 2,200 Ukrainians are in Clare, he said, this figure does not include those staying with family and friends, the majority of the 2,200 are in hotels and hostels.

According to the Chief Executive, each county has been asked to have a certain level of additional capacity available in the event of a sudden influx. “We have some capacity but I wouldn’t be advertising it too loud because I think we’ve done our fair share in Clare on the displacement”. Over the weekend, four local authorities were requested to house a “significant number of refugees” but Clare County Council was not one of them.

Lisdoonvarna’s population has doubled since the arrival of the refugees, Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) outlined that the community is working with Ukrainians very positively. “I’m very proud of our communities and how they’ve responded, I would like to reiterate my call for more support on the grounds for signposting and helping communities to know whose role it is in which particular area. The numbers coming are not as large but the numbers that we have are very large,” he said.

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