Up to 200 Irish nationals have taken the ultimate precaution of applying for space in a luxury communal bunker to ensure their survival in the event of a nuclear apocalypse or a natural disaster.
A Californian-based company behind the secretive project is planning to roll out a network of 20 vast doomsday shelters across America that would allow hundreds of people to live underground together in "four-star" comfort for a year in the event of a nuclear catastrophe.
Despite the hefty price tag – costing between $25,000 and $50,000 for a place – a number of Irish nationals have already splashed out the full amount, while 200 more have made applications for shelter in the handful of already-completed post-Armageddon complexes.
Vivos, the company behind the project, claims that life will carry on as normal in the shelters, measuring from 10.000 to 250,000 square feet, with each facility supplied with filtered air, a hospital, classrooms, their own water supply, a bakery, a gym, a hair salon, a workshop, a garden area and even a prison.
The firm's ambitious chiefs said the communal facilities will house between 80 and 5,000 people, depending on size, with families accommodated in private suites, with lounge, kitchen area, private baths and showers.
The company's founder, Robert Vicino, said the Irish public have continued to show a keen interest in the project, with up to 10 already forking out the full amount for residence in one of the few completed nuclear-hardened shelters.
And he said a further 200 Irish nationals – out of a global total of almost 50,000 – have "taken the first step" by applying for space in a fortified shelter.
"[The 200 applicants] have already gone through their first stage of vetting. Final evaluation and approval is done if and when they are ready to proceed, wherein we have extensive discussions to answer each other's questions, such as any criminal record, financial ability, attitude, ability to cohabitate with others, and their skills,” Vicino said.
"The Irish interest has remained strong from the onset of Vivos. The affordability has been the biggest obstacle."
Although one smaller completed complex in Indiana, which will accommodate 80 people, is listed on the company's website, Vicino said he was not willing to reveal the locations of "several" other large, completed facilities across the U.S.
But he stressed that if Irish membership continues to grow, he would consider building a facility in Ireland.
"We have a very large complex pending in central Europe that can accommodate thousands. That shelter will likely come on line before any in the U.K., or Ireland specifically, due to the broader market to help pay for this massive project,” he said.
"However, given enough Irish members ready, willing and able to proceed, we will direct our efforts to Ireland."