Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival site to house refugees
Hundreds of refugees will be housed in tented accommodation on the site of Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival as part of a scheme starting tomorrow (September 5).
Up to 750 people will be given accommodation on Electric Picnic festival’s site at Stradbally Hall Estate, the Irish government’s Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) confirmed [via BBC News].
The music festival in County Laois wrapped yesterday (September 3) and after revellers departed, work began on readying the site for hosting refugees over the next six weeks.
DCEDIY plans to operate the site at full capacity by this Thursday (September 7). There will be provisions for hot meals, hot water and hot shower facilities, toilets, and on-site access to a paramedic and first aid.
Since February 2021, the Irish government has accommodated more than 92,400 people seeking refuge. This consists of 69,518 people who have fled the war in Ukraine and 22,700 people seeking international protection.
“The summer months have seen an increase in the number of arrivals from Ukraine, with more than 10,000 people fleeing here since May 1, an average of around 650 people per week,” a DCEDIY spokesperson said.
“It is estimated that up to 500 people could continue to arrive over the next weeks from Ukraine.”
Around 70,000 people attended this year’s Electric Picnic, which hosted performances by Billie Eilish, Niall Horan, The Killers, Fred Again.. and many others. The music festival was first established as an annual event in 2004.
Additionally, the Irish government has sourced accommodation from the tourism sector and student housing elsewhere to help with the influx of refugees. Those options are at capacity, however, which has resulted in a need for extra accommodation.
“Due to this significant shortfall, it is expected that, from next week, tented accommodation will be the primary source of accommodation for new arrivals from Ukraine,” a spokesperson for the department added to the BBC.
“A small number of new arrivals have already been placed in tents, and this will increase as new locations for tented facilities come on stream. Vulnerable arrivals will be prioritised for any non-tented accommodation available.”
Meanwhile, Niall Horan paid tribute to the late Sinéad O’Connor with an emotional performance of her classic song ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ at Electric Picnic. Watch here.