I and my colleague Minister Charles Flanagan T.D. have recently approved new standards for direct provision accommodation centres. They were prepared by a Standards Advisory Group, established in 2017 and comprising officials from my Department, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the HSE National Office for Social Inclusion as well as representatives from AkiDwA, Children's Rights Alliance, the Core Group of Asylum Seekers and Refugees, the Jesuit Refugee Service, SPIRASI, and the UNHCR. The Standards address a range of themes including accommodation provided for those people seeking the protection of the State, food and catering, individual, community and family life, health and wellbeing, governance and meeting the special reception needs of applicants. They therefore build on the work done in the 2015 McMahon Report and meet the requirements of the Recast Reception Directive.
The standards were opened to public consultation last year which included dedicated information workshops at a number of accommodation centres.
It is planned to publish the standards shortly. The current procurement process in respect of direct provision accommodation was designed with a view to ensuring that all direct provision accommodation will adhere to these standards, when they come into force in January 2021.
I am committed to developing a robust independent inspection process to monitor and ensure compliance with the standards following their implementation.