The Director of Services for Housing with Mayo County Council has confirmed that the hostel in Ballycastle in North Mayo is being looked at for the housing of up to 50 Ukrainian refugees.
Cllr Michael Loftus raised the matter at the Ballina MD meeting on Wednesday last, when he asked: "Are you going into the hostel in Ballycastle, there is talk of 50 Ukrainian refugees going in there. People just want to know."
Tom Gilligan replied: "Nothing has been confirmed but the plan is we will be able to accommodate Ukrainian refugees in the hostel there; there are ownership issues we know there, however."
Cllr Loftus asked: "Has the community been consulted? This is a place with only one shop, one post office; are the facilities there to deal with another 50 people coming into the town?"
Mr Gilligan assured Ballina MD that the move was 'further down the road' and that there certainly will be consultation with the community, adding: "I believe the services are there to deal with the refugees coming in; nothing has been finalised, but the plan is we do want to use that building because it has been under-utilised for a number of years and we are in dire need of accommodation."
Cllr Jarlath Munnelly said the lesson they had learned was 'to engage with the community fully and as soon as possible'.
Ballina MD Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mark Duffy, stated: "Consultation is very important in Ballycastle. It has been devastated in the past but the whole community benefits, from people who want to work and those who want to volunteer with refugees, it is very beneficial all round."