Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Questions (145)

Jennifer Whitmore


145. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the postnatal supports that are available to asylum seekers who give birth in Ireland; the policy that is currently available for the postnatal care of both asylum seeker mothers and their babies in direct provision centres or hotel accommodation; if his attention has been drawn to the particular case of a woman (details supplied) who was transferred to another centre with a newborn baby; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45728/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I am aware of the particular case referred to by the Deputy. It is my policy to move families out of emergency accommodation into dedicated International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) centres as soon as possible. In this particular case, I am advised by IPAS officials that they were in contact with the mother and her representatives to assure her that ongoing supports would be available to her and her baby at her new accommodation centre.

Dedicated IPAS accommodation centres are generally better equipped to meet the needs of applicants and their families than temporary emergency centres and employ appropriately trained staff more familiar and experienced with providing services to protection applicants. I am conscious, however, of the need to ensure the welfare of families living in IPAS accommodation.

As the Deputy may be aware, the provision of all medical services, including post-natal care are mainstreamed through the HSE. Any International Protection applicant accommodated in IPAS accommodation is entitled to a medical card and can access medical care through the GP referral process or emergency services. I'm also advised that an official from the HSE Social Inclusion Department works full time with the IPAS Resident Welfare Team to assist IPAS in its efforts to ensure residents are able to access whatever health services they may require during their time in IPAS accommodation.

I trust that this information is of assistance to the Deputy.