Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (311)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

311. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons being accommodated in direct provision; the length of time they have been in direct provision in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44565/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The following table details the lengths of stay of persons who have availed of accommodation provided by the Immigration Service of my Department (as of 1 November 2019)

Number of Months

Total

0<3

1,053

3<6

833

6<9

625

9<12

802

12<18

800

18<24

802

24<36

1,016

36<48

762

48<60

519

60<72

178

72<84

78

84+

114

Total

7,582

In relation to the length of time applicants spend in the international protection process, I can inform the Deputy that, while some individuals may live for many years in direct provision centres, these include applicants who have received previous negative decisions and are exercising their right to appeal through the various avenues open to them.

The numbers above include over 770 people who were granted protection status or a permission to remain in the State but remain in international protection accommodation centres. The Immigration Service of my Department is working with organisations like the Peter McVerry Trust, the Jesuit Refugee Service and DePaul Ireland, to assist these people to transition to mainstream housing services but that is proving challenging in the current housing environment.

My Department has also introduced a number of measures aimed at reducing the time taken to determine applications. The International Protection Act, 2015, introduced the single procedure process for the determination of protection applications. Under the single procedure all elements of a person's protection claim (refugee status, subsidiary protection status and permission to remain) are considered together rather than sequentially. The aim of the single procedure is to help reduce waiting times significantly.

An applicant who applies for international protection today can expect to receive a first instance recommendation/decision within approximately 15 months, provided that no complications arise. Prioritised cases are being processed in just under 9 months. Prioritised applications include those from countries such as Syria and Eritrea and from especially vulnerable groups of applicants, such as unaccompanied minors. My Department is aiming to reduce processing times for all first instance decisions to 9 months by the end of this year.