I propose to take Questions Nos. 525 to 528, inclusive, together.
There are currently three properties being utilised by the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) of my Department in Co. Louth. These are Carroll Village in Dundalk, Setanta Bed & Breakfast in Ardee and the Carnbeg Hotel in Dundalk.
Carroll Village, is a dedicated international protection accommodation centre that was initially contracted in 2005 on an annual basis with contract renewal every January since. My Department has a contract for accommodation services in 23 apartments in the Carroll Village complex and we are currently in discussions with the provider for continued use of these apartments for 2021. The remaining apartments in the complex are not contracted to my Department.
Self-catering accommodation provided by my Department normally provides an on-site shop or foodhall where residents may obtain food and household items free of charge under a points based system. This facility is a contractual requirement for contractors for such accommodation centres. In addition, a weekly allowance of €38.80 per week for adults and €29.80 per week for children is paid by Community Welfare Officers (CWO). This allowance is a cash supplement for incidental expenses.
However, Carroll Village was chosen as a pilot project to provide self-catering facilities with weekly payments from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to cover the normal day to day living costs associated with living independently. Since 2017, International Protection residents of Carroll Village have been required to cover the costs of utility bills and to facilitate this, prepay meters were installed in the apartments.
Due to lack of capacity within the IPAS accommodation portfolio and continuing high demand for accommodation services, my Department contracted a number of hotels and guesthouses to provide accommodation and board to protection applicants. My Department is currently using the Setanta Bed and Breakfast in Ardee as temporary accommodation in Co. Louth. In addition, as a measure to deal with the impact of Covid-19 on those persons seeking international protection, my Department has also contracted the Carnbeg Hotel in Dundalk to operate as a quarantine centre for applicants before they are re-accommodated within the Department’s accommodation centres.
The forthcoming White Paper on the future direction of the provision of accommodation to International Protection , due to be published this month, will inform the type of accommodation that my Department will contract in the future.