Senior government officials warned of “opportunism” as they struggled to provide accommodation for refugees with suggestions put forward for using disused buses, seminaries, school gyms, an empty ferry terminal, and even the creation of two new fifteen-minute cities.
In internal emails, civil servants said they needed to watch out carefully for people who would look to financially benefit from the crisis, as had happened during the Covid-19 pandemic and other crises.
Brainstorming emails said the focus should be on “speed rather than perfection” including when it came to building standards and planning permission.
It said everything should be on the table including the use of seminaries, boarding schools, the army camps at the Curragh and Gormanstown, major stadiums, army housing, and churches.
One email said: “There is an unused ferry terminal in Dun Laoghaire [in Dublin] – the terminal could be used, and a ferry‐size boat could be used to house people in that dock. Cruise ships also an option. Ask all marinas to house three families – old boats are not expensive.”
It said even disused buses could be converted into accommodation while help could be sought from skilled apprentices in fitting out emergency lodgings.
These records were released following an appeal to the Information Commissioner after extensive delays in dealing with the request by the Department of Children and Equality.