Many Ukranians are relieved and glad to take refuge in Breaffy House Resort Castlebar, as a temporary home as they have fled from the Russian invasion of their country.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees are expected to arrive in Ireland over the coming weeks, according to the Integration Minister Roderic O'Gorman.

Almost 10,000 refugees have arrived in this country to date, with 4,500 accommodated by the state and the rest staying with friends and family.

Locally, Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar is now home to over 200 refugees.

Over 100 rooms are being made available at the Breaffy Woods Hotel, at the request of the Department, and the first refugees arrived on Friday night.

Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley was out in the Breaffy Woods Hotel this morning and met some of the many new arrivals.

There were many woman and children and just a few men in the large lobby of the hotel. Children were playing and laughing, while their parents looked on pensively.

Many who have arrived in Castlebar have no English.

The atmosphere was pleasant and bright as families and individuals readied themselves to take a bus into the town centre at about 9.30am this morning.

They have generally arrived with nothing, but they have  secured PPS numbers on arrival and are being assisted by local TREO staff and so will receive social welfare payments while many hope to be able to work very quickly.

One man I spoke to Yun was talking to me and simply broke down sobbing. He is here with his three daughters and wife. His eldest daughter was upstairs in a room on a zoom call. She is studying the equivalent of the Leaving Cert in the Ukraine and she was online at 9am learning. He said he was so relieved that they were all safe but he said "I want to fight for my country, I should be fighting the invaders".

The many children that have arrived at the hotel are not yet in school. but plans are being made to accommodate them soon. Some parents are anxious to get their children in school, others are dazed and just glad to be alive.

Members of Breaffy GAA are due there later today to get children out playing sport and enjoying outdoor activities.

Two young, smiling, Ukranian women kindly spoke to Midwest News to tell us a little of their stories…

 

 

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