Written Answers. - Asylum Applications.

Joe Costello

Question:

394 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the services that his Department provides for asylum seekers and refugees; where they are located; the number of personnel employed in the provision of these services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11136/03]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the system of dispersal and direct provision under which the accommodation needs of asylum seekers are met while their application for asylum is being considered. The accommodation provided to asylum seekers – currently 5,700 places in 57 centres in 24 counties – under the system of dispersal and direct provision is administered by the Reception and Integration Agency, RIA, which operates under the aegis of my Department.

The provision and resourcing of statutory services such as health, social welfare, education, etc., to asylum seekers are matters, in the first instance, for the relevant Departments and agencies operating under their aegis. In that regard, the RIA is a multi-disciplinary, cross agency body with staff seconded to it from a number of Departments and agencies – the Department of Health and Children, the Department of Education and Science, the Department of Environment and Local Government, Dublin City Council, the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Irish Red Cross – so as to co-ordinate service delivery to asylum seekers at local level and to liaise with local statutory service providers and the appropriate Departments. The current staffing complement of the RIA is 58.