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Direct Provision System

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 July 2020

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Questions (907)

Bríd Smith


907. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps she will take to abolish the direct provision system; and her plans to replace same. [14776/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As confirmed in the Programme for Government, the Government is committed to ensuring that Ireland provides protection to those seeking refuge from conflict and persecution, as is required under international law. It is also committed to ending the current system of directly providing accommodation and other State supports to applicants for international protection within the lifetime of the Government and to replacing it with a new international protection accommodation policy, centred on a not-for-profit approach. Responsibility for the accommodation system is transferring from my Department to the Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration and officials from both Departments are making the necessary arrangements to facilitate the transfer of functions.

Last year, Dr Catherine Day was asked to bring together an expert group with representation from asylum seekers and NGOs to examine best practice in other European States in the provision of services to international protection applicants, to examine likely longer term trends and to set out recommendations and solutions. Any new system for the provision of accommodation and additional supports to international protection applicants will be informed by the Report of this Expert Group.

The Group is examining both the reception system for accommodating applicants and the system for processing applications, and is expected to make recommendations for changes in both areas. A briefing paper on the work of the group, prepared by the Chairperson to inform programme for government talks, was recently circulated to members of both Houses of the Oireachtas by the previous Minister. The work of the group is advancing at pace and their report is expected by the end of September.

The intention as stated in the Programme for Government is to publish a White Paper by the end of this year, informed by the recommendations of the Expert Group, which will set out how a replacement to the Direct Provision system will be structured and the steps to achieving it. It will be a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, to progress the matter following the transfer of this function to his Department.