Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Ceisteanna (236)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

236. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 89 of 14 November 2019, the allowances (details supplied) outside of accommodation received by the 1,693 applicants who indicated they have commenced employment or self-employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48702/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As stated in my reply to your previous question of 14 November, 2019, the weekly allowance payment for international protection applicants living in an accommodation centre stands at €38.80 per week for adults and €29.80 per week for children since 25 March 2019.

Our opt-in to the (recast) Receptions Conditions Directive, for the first time, places the provision of material reception conditions (accommodation, food and clothing) on a statutory basis, underpinned by EU law.

The European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 transposed the Directive into Irish law and under the whole-of-Government approach, a number of Government Departments and Agencies work closely together to ensure the necessary supports and services are provided to residents. For example, my Department offers accommodation and related services. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection pays a weekly personal allowance to each resident and covers any exceptional needs. The Department of Education and Skills provides school places for children resident in the centres. Children also have access to the free pre-school scheme, the Early Childhood Care and Education programme. In addition, children attending school may access the State school transport system. The HSE provides mainstreamed health services to residents.

Regulation 5 of the 2018 Regulations provides that where a resident has been working for a reasonable period of time (12 weeks), the Daily Expenses Allowance (paid weekly by DEASP) can be reduced or withdrawn and the applicant may be required to make a contribution towards the cost of their accommodation and related services. Schedule 2 of the Regulations sets out the charging schedule, which is calculated on the basis of the applicant's earnings and is capped at the cost to the State of providing the accommodation. My Department in consultation with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is currently examining how best to introduce an appropriate charging mechanism with the least administrative burden.