The Reception and Integration Agency in my Department is responsible for the procurement and management of accommodation and ancillary services for persons in the protection process. All accommodation centres for those persons seeking protection, whether State-owned or privately owned, are operated by commercial companies. There are currently 39 accommodation centres being operated under the direct provision system.
RIA contracts for an all-inclusive service, which includes catering services, as well as cleaning, security, maintenance and laundry services. It is not possible to isolate the cost of catering services from the overall cost.
Extensive and detailed information on the amount paid by my Department to each company contracted to provide direct provision accommodation every year up to and including 2016 can be found on the RIA website www.ria.gov.ie under the 'Contract Values' section of the website. This is in accordance with the Reception & Integration Agency's policy on disclosure of financial information which was agreed with the Office of the Information Commissioner. The Deputy will appreciate that it is not appropriate to provide values for current contracts entered into by my Department. Negotiations take place with a number of commercial entities on an ongoing basis with a clear focus on achieving the best value for money in respect of each contract. It is not in the interests of yielding best value for the taxpayer that details of current individual contracts are made available to other commercial bodies which are, or may be in the future, engaged in these negotiations.