Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (54)

Mick Wallace


54. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason he has ceased publishing data with regard to the number and nature of deaths of persons residing in direct provision centres; if he will consider recommencing collection of the data; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26863/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department has no official role in the collation of statistics on deaths of asylum seekers living in RIA provided accommodation. All records of deaths in Ireland are held in the General Register Office, which is the central civil repository for records relating to Births, Marriages and Deaths in Ireland.

International protection applicants access health services (including mental health services) in the same way as Irish people – through the GP, primary care and hospital system. RIA has no role in the provision of these services. The details of a protection applicant’s medical condition is a confidential matter between the patient and his or her medical practitioner.

Sometimes, RIA may have general knowledge of the cause of death – perhaps by way of a relative voluntarily providing the information or arising from the specified medical needs of the resident concerned prior to their death. It does not, indeed cannot, hold or have access to death certificates.

In most cases, the deaths of residents occur in hospitals. Where information may be provided to centre managers by residents or friends of the deceased, it is informal in nature and is not an official record of death.

RIA will provide data where it has information on deaths. However, that data cannot substitute for the formal records held by the appropriate authorities on deaths in Ireland and on the causes of such deaths.