Up to 300 asylum seekers are facing uncertainty over their futures following the decision to close their accommodation centre in Galway City.
The Department of Justice has confirmed that many of the residents of Lisbrook House will be relocated to other centres around the country.
Family units face the biggest disruption due to a lack of suitable accommodation available in Galway.
Over 100 families occupy three floors of the former Ibis Hotel, many of them women and children.
The majority are from African countries and have been living in Galway for over four years.
The Reception and Integration Agency said it was working with the HSE to prioritise a small number for retention in Galway, based on medical need.
The RIA said it was making every effort to find suitable alternative accommodation for families in other parts of the country.
However, it accepted that the closure of the centre was a difficult process and one that would cause upheaval for residents.
Many parents at Lisbrook House have expressed deep concern about the disruption to their children’s lives and to their education at the start of a new school term.
There are two other accommodation centres in Galway, the Eglinton Family Centre in Salthill, and the Great Western centre in Galway city, which accommodates single men.
It is understood that around 50 men at Lisbrook House have been informed of their transfer to the city centre hostel.
The Irish Refugee Council said the sudden closure of Lisbrook House was the latest example of how Direct Provision accommodation was entirely unsuitable for families. The centre is run by private contractors.
The RIA said it was reducing the number of centres around the country from 60 to 35, in line with a drop nationally to just under 5,000 refugees.
It said it hoped to have all 273 residents moved out of Lisbrook House by the end of October.