Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (704)

Róisín Shortall


704. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the anticipated cost in 2019 of the direct provision system. [36704/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

On 15 August 2019, the Spending Review on Direct Provision 2019 was published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, as is the normal practice for Spending Reviews. The Review was prepared  by the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) unit of my Department with key input from the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). For the Deputy's further information I attach a link to the published Review.

As set out in the Review, the total expenditure in 2018 on accommodation and ancillary services by my Department to meet the accommodation needs of people seeking international protection was €78 million. This was the highest level since 2010. The Review further indicates that the cost could exceed €120 million this year, based on most recent trends.

It found that the expected increase is due to a number of factors, in particular the planned improvements to accommodation standards and the rising number of people seeking international protection. In the first half of this year alone, we have seen a 36% annual increase in the number of applications received. The use of emergency accommodation is also putting significant additional pressure on costs for this year.

To reduce our reliance on emergency accommodation, a public procurement process is currently underway to source new accommodation centres. These centres, which are expected to begin opening in the coming months, will provide for independent living for residents by way of cooking facilities and an onsite food hall.  I expect that this will significantly enhance the daily lives of all applicants and in particular families and children.