KILL Equestrian Centre in Co Kildare is understood to be housing up to 340 Ukrainian refugees, with the owners set to earn a potential revenue of €8.3 million, as reported recently in The Irish Times.
Controversy has surrounded the equestrian centre, once one of Ireland’s premier show venues, since a major flood in 2011 led to the business collapsing. It was sold in 2017 to property developers Newtownsland (Kill) Ltd who applied for permission to demolish the buildings but were refused.
Last November, a fire at the property was investigated by the Gardaí. The fire happened after a protest of local people following the discovery that the site was the subject of a proposal to convert the buildings into accommodation for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.
It is understood the contract for the emergency accommodation was awarded to Newtownsland (Kill) Ltd. The firm is co-owned by property construction group Montane Developments (Ireland).
In repose to a Dáil question from Sinn Féin Kildare North TD Réada Cronin, Roderic O’Gorman, TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth, said the equestrian centre has been developed in accordance with current building regulations. “I met with representatives of residents of the Kill community on March 23rd to outline the full plans in terms of the use of the building, where the first group of 114 individuals from Ukraine arriving from April 24th.
“Further moves will take place over the following month, bringing the total number of people displaced from Ukraine residing at the centre to 340. There are no plans at this time to use the building or any part of the site to accommodate more people.
O’Gorman continued: “I am advised by my officials that the facility is being developed in accordance with current building regulations including newly built HVAC systems and that an appropriate fire certificate is in place. My Department has seen proof of appropriate insurance for the facility. The management of the company has experience in the commercial hospitality sector. A management office is located at the property, with out of hours security and contact arrangements in place.
“The facility will be staffed with a rostered team to include the facility manager, duty managers, night managers/security, food service staff and cleaners. There will be a 24/7 presence with a CCTV feed to a management office and the manager on duty will be contactable on the duty mobile number.”