Departmental Funding

Questions (380)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

380. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a list of community groups/organisations currently in receipt of funding from his Department; if such organisations are subject to a service level agreement containing a clause prohibiting the use of funding to change law or Government policies, or prohibiting the use of funding to persuade persons to adopt a view on law or public policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12053/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Funding is provided to a large number of community groups under a range of schemes administered by my Department. Compilation of the information requested would require a disproportionate amount of time and effort. However, if the Deputy wishes to request information on a more specific basis, for example in respect of groups active in the Community, environment or housing areas, I will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible.

Irish Water Expenditure

Questions (381)

Noel Harrington

Question:

381. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will outline the public consultation process phases to be undertaken by ComReg prior to finalising the cost structure for water supply/investment by Irish Water; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12056/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 provides for the transfer of water services functions from the local authorities to Irish Water. The Act also provides that responsibility for the independent economic regulation of the water sector is assigned to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and the CER has been given statutory responsibility for protecting the interests of customers.

Domestic water charges will commence with effect from 1 October 2014 and Irish Water will issue the first bills to domestic customers from January 2015 . The approach to charging will be outlined by Irish Water in a water charges plan to be submitted by it to the CER in line with the provisions of the Act. The CER is expected to announce its decision on the approved water charges plan in August 2014.

The CER has already undertaken public consultations on the development of the economic regulatory framework for water services and has indicated that in April 2014 it will be carrying out a number of public consultations. These will include consultation on the approach to the design of domestic water tariffs for both metered and unmetered properties. Full details of the CER’s public consultation plans are available on its website (www.cer.ie).

Local Authority Housing

Questions (382)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

382. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to help reduce the number of persons on local authority housing lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12078/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Government’s 2011 Housing Policy Statement clearly outlines that the priority for Government will be to meet the most acute needs of households applying for social housing support. Government is responding to these needs through a variety of mechanisms and more flexible funding models. To maximise the social housing gain from constrained resources, the social housing leasing initiative and the Rental Accommodation Scheme each play their part as long term social housing supports. I am also fully committed to the principle that there should be a social housing gain from private developments. I believe that we need to strike a balance between stimulating the construction sector while capturing a proportionate social housing gain from any increased construction activity. Alongside expanding the role of the Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) in terms of acquisitions and construction, other mechanisms will include options to purchase within the leasing model and build to lease. 

In July 2012, I announced details of a three-year funding programme of €100 million to deliver some 800 new units of voluntary and local authority owned social housing. In 2014 funding of over €587 million is being made available across a range of housing programmes. This includes a €50 million capital stimulus to support construction and related programmes, primarily in the housing area, including €30 million to recommence a State house building programme; €10 million for an unfinished housing estate resolution project; and €10 million for housing adaptation grants. When this is taken into account funding for housing for 2014 is effectively maintained at 2013 levels.

With the benefit of the additional capital for new housing construction, the new social housing construction programme for 2014 - 2015 is expected to deliver close to 700 new social and voluntary homes. Earlier today, I announced a €68m social housing construction programme for local authorities that will see some 56 individual projects being progressed over the 2014-2015 period and will deliver 449 new homes. I intend to announce details of the projects to be progressed by AHB’s under the Capital Assistance Scheme as early as possible in Quarter 2, 2014. In addition, a special investment of €15 million for the retrofitting of boarded-up local authority houses is intended to bring 400 homes back into productive use for persons in need of social housing.

The Homelessness Oversight Group, which I established in 2013 for the purposes of reviewing the progress of the approach being advocated in the Homelessness Policy Statement, identifying obstacles and proposing solutions has submitted its first report to me.  The report considered the supply and access to housing units throughout the country.  A copy of this report is available on my Department's website, www.environ.ie.

On 25 February 2014, the Government approved the establishment of a Homelessness Policy Implementation Team and an implementation unit.  The team is tasked with implementing the Homelessness Oversight Group's First Report.  In spite of the financial constraints within which we are required to operate, I expect the final output across all social housing programmes for 2014 to be in the region of 5,000 new housing units. I am committed to continuing to develop innovative and sustainable approaches to the provision of social housing into the future.

Question No. 383 answered with Question No. 350.

Mountain Access Schemes

Questions (384, 385)

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

384. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the land erosion on traditional walking paths on the mountain ranges here; if he will confirm that it is his intention to establish proper developed pathways in order to prevent the erosion from the increased footfall of hill walkers but in particular the use of bikes, motorbikes and quad bikes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12098/14]

View answer

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

385. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the increase in participation by walkers using for recreational purposes the magnificent mountain ranges of the Dublin-Wicklow mountains, if he is satisfied that he has sufficient funds to develop pathways to alleviate the erosion that is occurring on this mountain range; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12103/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 384 and 385 together.

I am aware that the issue of erosion, as a consequence of the growing popularity of outdoor activities including hill walking, is of increasing concern. My Department oversees the implementation of the National Countryside Recreation Strategy (NCRS) which aims to ensure sustainable and responsible recreational use in the countryside.

Measures to address erosion include the Walks Scheme which represents an innovative response to facilitating the development and maintenance of many of Ireland’s key walking trails. The main point of the Scheme is that it brings in the landholders as key participants in the provision of high quality walking trails, by contracting them to undertake maintenance work on the trails in line with agreed work plans. The Walks Scheme is currently operating on 39 trails supported by over 1,800 landowners and is being managed by 16 Local Development Companies around the country.

A pilot Mountain Access Scheme is currently being implemented at Mount Gable in Connemara and a more extensive scheme is being developed for Carrauntuohill and the MacGillicuddy Reeks in Co. Kerry. These pilot Mountain Access projects are being progressed with a view to developing best practice in relation to sustainable trails and walking routes in the uplands. A focus of these pilots will be the management and repair of erosion and other negative consequences arising from increased activity in sensitive landscapes.

Restrictions on the use of bikes, motorbikes, quads etc are generally a matter for the landowner. Where trails cross State lands, this is a matter for the individual State Agencies to manage through byelaws and subsequent enforcement. In areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas or Natural Heritage Areas, I understand that use of quads, scramblers and other motor vehicles is generally proscribed by the National Parks and Wildlife Services.

Local Government Reform

Questions (386)

Ann Phelan

Question:

386. Deputy Ann Phelan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the way the LDC alignment process will affect the roll-out of the Tús programme; the stakeholders and elected members that will be represented on the LDCs and on the LEOs; the way this will be decided and by whom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12118/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) are to be established in each local authority area in line with the provisions of the Local Government Reform Act 2014. The Chief Officer of the Committee, in consultation with elected members through the Corporate Policy Group, will establish the membership of the committees locally, involving statutory and not-statutory partners, with representation from local government, State agencies, local and community development, and social, economic and community interests. This will be covered by guidelines to be issued by my Department.

LCDCs will have a key focus on achieving a more strategic, joined-up approach to local and community development locally. This will have regard to the range of publicly-funded programmes that are locally implemented. The Tús programme is the responsibility for the Minister of Social Protection who has overall responsibility for its implementation. Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) will be executive offices within the local authorities, service by the staff of the local authority, and will perform functions on behalf of Enterprise Ireland under service level agreements. The governance arrangements for LEOs is a matter for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (387)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

387. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a breakdown of total spend from his Department including via local authorities to community enterprise centres, including funding to the National Association of Community Enterprise Centres, since the scheme was launched in 1989, broken down by year, and the corresponding number of jobs created; the number of persons in employment directly in CECs, including the NACEC; and the cost of this per annum from 2002-end 2013. [12123/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I have no function in relation to the matters raised in the Question. My Department does not provide funding for Community Enterprise Centres or to the National Association of Community Enterprise Centres and has no information in regard to related employment matters. I understand that Enterprise Ireland, under the aegis of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, has a role in relation to the matters raised in the question.

Severe Weather Events Expenditure

Questions (388)

Derek Nolan

Question:

388. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to apply for EU funding for businesses and homes affected by the recent storm damage; if he will provide any additional information regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12134/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform had discussions with the European Commission on possible EU funding under the Solidarity and Regional Support schemes. The purpose of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is to allow Member States to request financial aid in the event of major natural disasters. There is a damage threshold per Member State which is set at 0.6% of GNI. The estimated costs of damage caused by the storms between 13 December 2013 and 6 January 2014 was €69.5 million. The estimated costs for subsequent damage caused by severe weather from 27 January to 17 February 2014 are currently being collated but indications are that these will not exceed the costs of the damage for the 13 December 2013 to 6 January 2014 period. These total estimated damage costs are well below the non-negotiable GNI threshold of 0.6% (€770 million in the case of Ireland) of the Solidarity Fund.

The possibility of a regional application has also been considered. This is also subject to a series of impact criteria, including one relating to more than 50% of population of a region being directly affected by a natural disaster. Taking Munster as an example for regional designation purposes, with a population of 1.254 million it would have to be demonstrated that at least 627,000 persons were directly affected. Or, if a single county was designated as a region for the purpose of an application, and taking Galway as an example of one of the worst affected counties, 126,000 persons would have had to be directly affected. Therefore, the situations which have occurred do not appear to meet the criteria for application purposes.

Housing Adaptation Grant Funding

Questions (389)

Ann Phelan

Question:

389. Deputy Ann Phelan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will clarify if his Department is willing to reduce the age limit to 60 years for the HOPS grants for applicants solely reliant on DSP payments such as invalidity pension and disability payments to assist those most vulnerable and most in need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12160/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Housing Aid for Older People Scheme (HAOP) provides grants of up to €8,000 to assist older people living in poor housing conditions to have necessary repairs or improvements carried out. Grant eligible works include structural repairs or improvements, re-wiring, repairs to or replacement of windows and doors, provision of water supply and sanitary facilities, provision of heating, cleaning, painting etc.

Some changes to the grant schemes were made recently on foot of the report by a review group, established in 2013 by my Department, to examine the terms and conditions governing the suite of grants. The aim of the review was to spread the benefits of the schemes as widely as possible and to ensure fairness and value for money in their operation. While the age limit for eligibility has been increased from 60 to 66 years a lower age limit can apply at the discretion of the local authority in certain cases. The detailed administration of the scheme, including the assessment, approval and payment of grants to applicants, is the responsibility of the relevant local authority.

Commercial Rates

Questions (390)

Finian McGrath

Question:

390. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his view on correspondence (details supplied) regarding commercial rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12207/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes, in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001. Schedules 3 and 4 of that Act set out properties that can, and cannot, be considered for rating purposes.  The Commissioner for Valuation has sole responsibility for all valuation matters, including determination under the Act of relevant property for the purposes of rates. There is no specific exemption from commercial rates in rating law for property occupied for the purpose of creating music.

Appointments to State Boards

Questions (391)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

391. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the action he is taking to encourage more Irish executives to serve on State boards under the remit of his Department; his views on the recent Merc Partners survey; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12460/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

A notice was placed on my Department’s website on 19 July 2011, seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced persons, for consideration as members or chairpersons of the boards of State bodies under the aegis of my Department. Vacancies on the boards of other bodies under my Department’s aegis will be notified on the website as they arise. However, expressions of interest can be made at any time and will be kept on file in my Department for consideration as vacancies occur.

A new website portal, www.stateboards.ie, will now offer a single dedicated point of contact to all Government Departments as a support to the existing Board member selection procedures. This portal will facilitate the advertising of opportunities to express an interest in State Board vacancies and the terms and conditions pertaining to same, the registration by prospective Board members of their general interest in a position on a State Board and the sending of alerts to those registered on www.stateboards.ie of Board vacancies as and when they arise. In considering applications, due regard is had to the requirements of the position, the qualifications, experience and expertise of applicants, and Government policy regarding gender balance on State Boards.

All appointments are made in accordance with the appropriate legislation governing appointments to each body. In some cases statutory selection procedures must be followed or nominations must be sought from independent nominating panels before appointments are made by the Minister or the Government, as appropriate. In a number of situations, only some appointments to the body concerned are made by the Minister, or appointments are made with the consent of another Minister.

Northern Ireland Issues

Questions (392)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

392. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the report presented 19 months ago by the Omagh Support and Self Help Group which calls for a public inquiry into the bombing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11511/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Omagh Support and Self-Help Group presented to the Irish and British Governments a report which it had compiled setting out certain matters relating to the atrocity at Omagh which it considered to be of concern and calling for a public inquiry into those matters. I am currently in the process of finalising a detailed consideration of the matters raised by the Omagh Group in its document insofar as they relate to this State and to the Garda Síochána. I will conclude this process shortly and once I have done so I will communicate directly with the Omagh Group.

The Deputy will be aware that the British Government decided that it does not does not propose to hold a public inquiry into certain matters surrounding the Omagh bombing raised by the group. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has stated to the group that she does not believe there are sufficient grounds to justify a further review or inquiry above and beyond those that have already taken place or are ongoing.

Commission of Inquiry

Questions (393)

Clare Daly

Question:

393. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will support the call for an inquiry into the abuse of Cynthia Owen and the murder of her daughter Noeleen Murphy. [11555/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the concerns raised regarding this case were the subject of an independent examination by a Senior Counsel who reported in 2007 and whose conclusions were accepted by the then Minister. I have considerable sympathy for the person concerned and fully appreciate the genuine concerns set out in correspondence received by my Department regarding this case. However, in keeping with the review's findings I do not believe that there are grounds for me to take this matter further.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (394)

James Bannon

Question:

394. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11926/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a valid application for a certificate of naturalisation has been received from the person referred to by the Deputy. As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process. The nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time. I am informed that this application is being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Foreign Annulments

Questions (395)

Willie Penrose

Question:

395. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a declaration of annulment which was made in the Philippines can be recognised in this jurisdiction for the purpose of allowing a person to remarry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11518/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

A person who has obtained a civil annulment from a jurisdiction outside the European Union may apply to court under section 29 of the Family Law Act 1995 for a declaration as to marital status. The court will determine whether the person is free to remarry in Ireland.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (396)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

396. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an application for naturalisation will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11530/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a valid application for a certificate of naturalisation has been received from the person referred to by the Deputy. As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process. While most cases are now generally processed within six months, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time. I am informed that this application is being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Deportation Orders Data

Questions (397)

Joe Higgins

Question:

397. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the process in place for deportation orders that are issued in the post and are returned undelivered; and the number of deportation orders issued in 2011, 2012 and 2013 that were undelivered. [11550/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that all Deportation Orders are issued to a person's last known address as notified to my Department by the individual applicant. My Department is not always notified of a change of applicant address and this sometimes leads to post being returned undelivered. However, the Deputy should note that the onus is on the applicant to ensure that they notify my Department when they change address.

Any Deportation Order issued to a last known address remains valid and will, when returned undelivered, be retained on the individual applicant's file and can be served to the new address when one becomes available. Records are not maintained of the number of undelivered Deportation Orders.

Asylum Applications

Questions (398)

Michael McGrath

Question:

398. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he is taking in order that applications for asylum will be decided in the quickest possible timeframe; his plans to make changes to the system of direct provision; his views on whether any asylum seeker who has to remain in direct provision for longer than six months should be given the right to work and/or to receive training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11554/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The median processing time to a final decision on an asylum application in 2013 was 36 weeks. Some cases can take significantly longer to complete due to, for example, delays arising from medical issues or because of judicial review proceedings. All asylum applications and appeals are processed in accordance with the Refugee Act 1996 and other relevant statutory provisions. High quality and fair decision-making in all cases continues to be a key priority at all stages of the asylum process.

Persons who are refused refugee status are notified of their entitlement to apply for subsidiary protection. This is separate to the asylum or refugee status determination process. This is invariably followed by the so-called leave to remain process. Each of these processes which determine whether an applicant can remain in the State are hugely complex and subject to oversight by the courts and have to be examined in accordance with a large body of Irish and international law. There are no shortcuts as the outcomes can lead to the most fundamental life-changing event for the applicants.

As the Deputy may be aware I made new Regulations last year governing the investigation and determination of applications for subsidiary protection in the State. The European Union (Subsidiary Protection) Regulations 2013, which came into effect on 14 November 2013, were made to address certain matters which arose from the judgment of the High Court in January 2013 in the MM case.

Under the new Regulations, responsibility for the processing of applications for subsidiary protection was transferred from my Department to the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner with appeals to be dealt with by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Both of these bodies are independent in the exercise of their statutory functions and they have substantial experience in the area of asylum investigations and appeals, respectively. Once the new arrangements have bedded down, my aim is for applications currently on hand to be processed to finality by the statutory bodies concerned in the shortest possible timeframe consistent with quality and fair assessment of all cases and of course, subject to the cooperation of applicants and no further legal impediments arising.

Legislative reform in the area of protection remains a key priority. Work on a new Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill, which remains part of the Government's Legislative Programme, is being advanced to enable publication later this year. The Bill will provide, inter alia, for the introduction of a single application procedure for the investigation of all grounds for protection and any other grounds presented by applicants seeking to remain in the State. This re-organisation of the protection application processing framework should substantially simplify and streamline the existing arrangements by removing the current multi-layered and sequential processes and provide applicants with a final decision on their application in a more ‘straight forward’ and timely fashion.

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is responsible for the accommodation of protection applicants in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal. Direct provision provides for full board accommodation supports while a final decision is awaited by a person on their protection or any related leave to remain application.

The operation of the Direct Provision system is kept under review and I have consistently acknowledged that the length of time that residents spend in Direct Provision is an issue to be addressed. I have no desire for applicants to remain in the protection system any longer than the minimum period it takes to process their case. The Direct Provision system is not ideal but it is a system which facilitates the State in providing a roof over the head of those seeking asylum or seeking to be allowed, on humanitarian grounds, to stay in the State. It allows the State to do it in a manner that facilitates resources being used economically in circumstances where the State is under financial difficulty.

The numbers of asylum seekers residing in direct provision has reduced significantly over the last five years. At the end of December 2013 there were 4,360 residents in direct provision compared with 6,494 at the end of December 2009. This represents a reduction of 2,134, or 33%, in the number of residents in direct provision in that period. Compared to the numbers residing in direct provision at its highest point in April, 2005 (8,080), there has been a reduction of 46% or 3,720 persons in the intervening nine years.

A comprehensive review of the operation of the asylum seeker accommodation programme was carried out and the subsequent report - "Value for Money and Policy Review - Asylum Seeker Accommodation Programme" - which was published in May 2010, found that there are no cheaper alternatives to the Direct Provision system. No Government can afford to ignore the likely consequences of any change to the Direct Provision system. The system cannot exist solely in its own context. It is inextricably linked to the surrounding international protection process. By its very nature, the processing of applications for international protection is a solemn and complex task which does not always lend itself to achieving speedy outcomes. The time needed to determine the outcome of any legal proceedings also impacts on the length of the process. A substantial proportion of cases in the High Court relate to judicial review proceedings taken or decisions reached in the international protection arena.

In relation to the right to work, there are no plans to review the prohibition on the right to work for asylum seekers. Section 9(4)(b) of the Refugee Act 1996 provides that applicants for international protection shall not seek or enter employment or carry on any business, trade or profession during the period before the final determination of their application. The key concern in the light of past experience is that both the asylum process and the wider immigration system could be undermined by giving immigrants who secure entry to the State, on foot of claims to asylum, the same access to employment as immigrants who follow the lawful route to employment. There is an effective immigration and visa system in place for those who wish to lawfully migrate to the State for employment purposes.

In terms of access to training, eligibility for former FÁS training programmes provided through the Education and Training Boards, under the auspices of SOLAS, is a matter for the Department of Social Protection. However, it should be noted that currently asylum seekers who do not have an entitlement to work are entitled to free access to adult literacy, English language and mother culture supports only.