My Department is responsible for offering accommodation and related services to international protection applicants while their claim for protection is being examined. These services are demand led and generally it is difficult to predict demand far in advance.
Due to an unexpected rise in applications (figures are up 53% in the first nine months of this year), the 38 existing accommodation centres, which offer accommodation, food, utilities and a suite of State services, have reached capacity.
I am advised by the Immigration Service, that a small number of international protection applicants were regrettably not initially accommodated in September 2018, as a result of our accommodation centres being at full capacity at that time. Those affected applicants who made a further request for accommodation, were subsequently accommodated. I can inform the Deputy that despite the continuing pressures on our accommodation system, no person in the international protection process who has required accommodation has been refused this year.
There are on-going tendering processes for new accommodation centres. Pending the opening of new centres, and to ensure that we continue to provide accommodation for all applicants who require it, the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS, formerly the Reception and Integration Agency) of my Department has been accommodating applicants in emergency accommodation in hotels and guest houses.
As of 6 October 2019, there are 6,094 persons residing in the 38 accommodation centres located nationwide across 18 counties. As these centres are at full capacity, there are also a further 1,453 applicants residing in 35 emergency accommodation locations in hotels and guest houses.