Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Ceisteanna (206)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

206. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the increase in the number of persons in direct provision over the past three years; the number of persons in direct provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38288/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, while a claim for International Protection is being examined, the State is legally obliged to offer accommodation and related services to anyone without means - which includes all meals, medical care and utilities. A weekly personal allowance is paid to each person in a centre and exceptional needs are covered by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

The number of applications for international protection has been steadily increasing and is up 36% since the start of this year. To meet the associated increase in demand for accommodation, my Department has initiated two processes to source additional accommodation. We have sought expressions of interest from parties who would be interested in providing accommodation and related services to people in the international protection process and we have also launched a nationwide, regional tendering process.

Following the most recent tender process, an evaluation of offers is underway. When the evaluation and other commercially sensitive aspects of the process are completed, the Department will begin engagement with local communities and their political representatives.

In 2015, 4,696 people availed of the offer of accommodation services in a direct provision accommodation centre. By end 2018, 6,115 persons were residing in these centres. This is an increase of 1,419, which represents a 30.2% increase in the numbers of those in living in accommodation centres in the period 2015 to 2018.

The following table provides the totals for each year from 2015 to 2018, for the Deputy's information.

Numbers of persons residing in Accommodation Centres for the years 2015 – 2018

Year

Occupancy in Accommodation Centres, End of the Year

2015

4,696

2016

4,425

2017

5,096

2018

6,115