The accommodation and ancillary needs of persons seeking international protection, who request such services, are currently provided through 39 accommodation centres located throughout the State. Since the introduction of this system, all of the centres have been operated by commercial bodies regardless of whether the sites are in State ownership or private ownership. The commercial operators are responsible for the provision of security at these sites.
Contractors must work to achieve balance between addressing any possible security concerns, while also recognising that these accommodation centres provide a home to protection applicants. All centres operate a common visitor policy where all visitors must sign in upon arrival and are not permitted to go into private living quarters of residents. For safety and security reasons, most centres operate CCTV systems in accordance with general data protection regulations.
In general, the Reception and Integration Agency advises that where there is CCTV in operation, it should cover the following areas of an accommodation centre: the entrance gate and car park, if any, the main door and reception area, and all public areas. In respect of future accommodation centres, contractors offering the premises are obliged to ensure that appropriate security is in place before it becomes operable as a centre accommodating persons seeking international protection. The recent fires at Rooskey and Moville were distressing and potentially tragic events. In both cases, security was present at the time of the fire. Following the recent fires, officials from the Reception and Integration Agency have been liaising with all current centre managers asking them to review their security arrangements. It is important to note that where accommodation centres operate, there are quite good relations with local communities and local community groups and, historically, the security risk to these centres is minimal. This only serves to reinforce that scaremongering about such centres is baseless. However, the RIA is also liaising directly with An Garda Síochána at a national level to discuss potential security risks to accommodation centres and how these risks should be addressed.