Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (579)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

579. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 487 of 12 February 2013, if he will provide details in tabular form of those persons living in direct provision 36 months and over by year they entered direct provision. [8689/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

In my response to Parliamentary Question No. 487 of 12 February, 2013, I provided the Deputy with information pertaining to the numbers of residents in direct provision and their length of stay in that system. This information indicated that of 4,735 persons residing at that date in direct provision, 2,833 had been residing there for 36 months or more.

Based on updated statistics from the later date of 19 February, 2013, there are now 4,760 persons in direct provision accommodation centres under contract to the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department. As before, the following profile shows the duration of stay of residents currently in direct provision accommodation centres but it now shows a breakdown of up to 7 years or more, a male and female resident breakdown and the percentages involved.

-

Female

Male

Total*

Months

No.

%

No.

%

No.

%

0<3

87

3.8%

147

5.9%

234

4.9%

3<6

89

3.9%

117

4.7%

206

4.3%

6<9

89

3.9%

114

4.6%

203

4.3%

9<12

108

4.7%

138

5.6%

246

5.2%

12<18

142

6.2%

160

6.5%

302

6.3%

18<24

107

4.7%

121

4.9%

228

4.8%

24<36

242

10.6%

255

10.3%

497

10.4%

36<48

253

11.1%

325

13.1%

578

12.1%

48<60

382

16.7%

378

15.3%

760

16.0%

60<72

349

15.3%

313

12.6%

662

13.9%

72<84

216

9.5%

203

8.2%

419

8.8%

84+

219

9.6%

206

8.3%

425

8.9%

Total

2283

100.0%

2477

100.0%

4760

100.0%

(*This profile is based on residents' most recent entry to the direct provision system. It does not include past time spent by residents who left the system for a period and subsequently sought and were granted re-access to the system.)

It is important to note that RIA itself has no function in determining whether someone should stay or not in its accommodation. Its function is to provide accommodation and related services to those who have sought international protection and who otherwise have no means of supporting themselves.

In essence, RIA accommodates all those who make a claim for international protection and who seek accommodation until such time as they:

(i) leave voluntarily;

(ii) are removed - either by way of deportation or Dublin II transfer;

(iii) are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection; or

(iv) are granted leave to remain, either through the process set out in the Immigration Act, 1999 or by way of special scheme such as the 2005 IBC scheme.

As I previously outlined, I acknowledge that the length of time spent in direct provision is an issue to be addressed and I have taken a number of steps to speed up the processing of applications including redeployment of resources, establishment of a legal panel to assist INIS in processing a cohort of repatriation cases. Further, I plan to republish the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010 to create a single procedure for the processing of applications. These steps will help reduce the time a person spends in direct provision while they await a final decision on their case.

As I also explained, I recently approved an initiative to put in place a panel with legal expertise who will assist INIS in processing a cohort of repatriation cases, thus speeding up the overall process and reducing the time spent by persons in the direct provision system. I would expect to see significant dividends, in terms of cases finalised, from this initiative in the coming months.