Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (250)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

250. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a direct provision centre is planned for a town (details supplied) in County Cork. [47165/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the State has a legal obligation to offer accommodation, food and a range of other services including utilities, healthcare and allowances to any person who claims a right to international protection in Ireland while their legal claim is being examined.

The number of applications for international protection has been steadily increasing (up 60% to date this year). To meet the associated increase in demand for accommodation, my Department has initiated two processes to source additional accommodation.

Firstly, 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. Premises assessed as suitable under this process may be offered a short-term contract (usually one year) which will help to meet demand while the regional tender process is rolled out nationally.

Secondly, we have run procurement competitions through the Government’s procurement portal, Etenders, on a regional basis throughout the country to procure accommodation. These contracts will be longer term with a minimum contract duration of 2 years on offer and a maximum contract duration of 4 years.

It is open to accommodation providers to offer premises both through the expressions of interest process or the tender process.

Tenders received are evaluated on the most economically advantageous tender method which assesses bids on the quality of service as well as price. The level, expertise and qualifications of staff are assessed as part of this process.

As the evaluation of offers is currently underway, my Department is not in a position to confirm the location of new centres under consideration at this time. When the evaluation and commercially sensitive aspects of the process are completed, my officials will engage with local communities and their political representatives. I can however, advise that there are no current plans to open a centre in the location referred to by the Deputy.

It is important to state that there are accommodation centres all over the State and the overall experience of the communities in which they are located has been very positive.