The site of Irish music festival Electric Picnic is currently being transformed into a temporary home for around 750 refugees.
Work has now begun in setting up hundreds of tents across the festival site in Stradbally, County Laois, where Electric Picnic festival went ahead over the weekend from September 1 – 3.
According to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), the site will house nearly 1,000 refugees for a six-week period after the Irish government signed a contract for the site’s use, effective from today, September 5.
Tented accommodation is being set up across the land, and is estimated to run at full capacity by the end of the week. Up to 500 people could arrive from Ukraine over the coming weeks, a spokesperson told the BBC.
“The summer months have seen an increase in the number of arrivals from Ukraine, with more than 10,000 people fleeing here since 1 May, an average of around 650 people per week,” they explained.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, around 70,000 people have fled the country to seek refuge in Ireland. The Irish government has also accommodated a further 22,000 refugees from other countries since the beginning of 2021.
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“It is expected that, from next week, tented accommodation will be the primary source of accommodation for new arrivals from Ukraine,” the department told the BBC.
A “small number” of new arrivals from Ukraine have already been placed in tents, according to the department, while vulnerable arrivals will be prioritised and could be placed in non-tented accommodation if available.
Those on-site will be able to receive hot meals, access to medical facilities and first aid, and hot water, shower, and toilet facilities.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins