Former St Aloysius College mooted as hub for arriving Ukraine nationals

The possible use of the former secondary school, St Aloysius College, as a hub for Ukraine nationals arriving into Athlone has been mooted by Deputy Mayor, Cllr Aengus O’Rourke.

Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser on Tuesday, the local Fianna Fáil Councillor, lauded the Irish response to the humanitarian crisis which continues to unfold in the Ukraine with an unprecedented number of accommodation pledges and an ongoing willingness to donate money and goods to the cause.

“As always, we, as a nation, have shown our compassion and generosity in support of a nation in terrible need, decimated by the actions of a dictator and war criminal.

“We really have united for the cause as a nation, unlike our nearest neighbours in the UK, who in many ways are shamefully turning their back on the innocent people of Ukraine in their hour of need.

“While there are at least 6,000 Ukraine nationals now in Ireland from Ukraine, many more women and children are expected to arrive here in the coming days and weeks.

“Accommodation is essential but so too are the suite of public services that are necessary to call a place ‘home’ and the government are doing a good job of providing the relevant services with work continuing in this instance.

“With Ukraine nationals due to arrive in Athlone in the near future it is crucial that we ensure as smooth a transition as possible under circumstances which are far from normal.

“To that end I spoke to the new owners of St Aloysius College on the west side of Athlone and I am pleased to say that they are happy to engage with the department to make the school available.

“Education, in particular for the Ukrainian children, is absolutely essential. So, returning the children to a regular routine of education and sport should be prioritised.

“St Aloysius College is a recently refurbished school, in great condition and is ready for immediate use, turn the heating on for a day or two and it will be ready.

“It could also be used as a welcome centre for people arriving and a community hub for the Ukrainian nationals so they can gather and stay in touch with one another, while at the same time using the facility it as a centre for integration with members of the local community also.

“I have made the authorities aware of the availability of St Aloysius, I hope to report progress soon,” Cllr O’Rourke asserted.


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