My Department is working to secure new accommodation centres for International Protection applicants, as the number of people arriving to seek protection in the State continues to rise (figures are up 53% to date this year).
I wish to advise the Deputy that the assessment process for the Western Region is on-going. Due to commercially sensitive aspects of the evaluation process, I am not informed of the locations of the premises offered for consideration until the process is complete.
Following completion of the assessment process, the successful bidders will be advised of their placing on the framework. As the Department draws down from the framework, those bidders will be advised of any required mobilisation works to be commenced before a contract can be signed and the centre can become operational. As the Deputy is aware, the projected completion of the assessment phase is mid-November, however, that is subject to all compliance checks and site visits being completed on schedule.
My Department will engage as soon as possible with the local elected representatives and state service providers in the area in relation to the individual centres and in order to allay any concerns about impacts on local services. My Department is conscious that the general public will have questions about any new centres and is working to ensure that information can be released as early as possible.