Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (958)

Martin Kenny


958. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of site visits from RIA that is policy for temporary direct provision; if RIA staff are required to meet residents on these visits; if the RIA give pre-warning to contractors or management; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34569/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In order to meet the rising demand for accommodation spaces and due to insufficient capacity within the Reception and Integration Agency's (RIA) accommodation portfolio, advertisements were placed in the national press seeking expressions of interest from hotels and guesthouses for the provision of bed and board on a short term basis for persons in the protection process. My Department is working to identify additional capacity within its accommodation portfolio.

Premises proposed for use as emergency accommodation facilities are inspected by RIA staff prior to opening, and their suitability is assessed, taking all necessary regulatory and legislative requirements into account.

RIA staff carry out visits to the emergency locations in order to meet with residents on a one to one basis and address any needs they may have. RIA has also contracted with the Jesuit Refugee Service to provide a Visiting Support and Cultural Liaison Service to emergency locations in the Dublin area who will provide a vital link between residents and the Department in respect of identifying issues that any resident may encounter. RIA has also sought proposals from various NGOs for the Monaghan/Cavan area for this service.

Residents in emergency accommodation may contact RIA directly through email or by telephone if they have concerns or issues and RIA will endeavour to resolve them. Where issues are brought to RIA's attention in relation to a particular emergency location, RIA staff work to resolve such matters quickly and will liaise with the managers in the emergency locations and the residents as appropriate in order to do so, including carrying out on-site visits.

RIA has facilitated visits by the Office of the Ombudsman to a number of emergency accommodation locations and has liaised with that Office in relation to feedback on foot of those visits.