Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Questions (209)

Éamon Ó Cuív


209. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the present tendering process being carried out in the west of Ireland in relation to the provision of direct provision will be concluded; the stage at which local communities will be consulted in relation to same; the nature of the consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38291/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the State has a legal obligation to offer accommodation, food and a range of other services (including meals, utilities, healthcare etc.) and allowances to any person who claims a right to international protection in Ireland while their legal claim is being examined. The number of applicants has been steadily increasing (up 36% since the start of the year) and to cope with demand, my Department has invited premises to tender to offer accommodation and other services.

Following the most recent tender process, an evaluation of offers received is now underway. We cannot confirm the location of new centres at this time. When the evaluation and commercially sensitive aspects of the process are completed, my Department will begin engagement with local communities and their political representatives.

It is anticipated that the evaluation process for this region will conclude by mid November 2019.

Additionally, advertisements were placed in the national press seeking expressions of interest from accommodation providers for suitable accommodation, which the Department could contract for 12 months. Accommodation providers can offer premises both through the tender process and the expressions of interest process.