My Department welcomes and supports interaction between the local community and residents in our Accommodation Centres. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our centres were closed to visitors for a number of months, in order to protect our residents and staff.
In line with the phased re-opening of society and gradual lifting of public health restrictions, our centres reopened to certain categories of visitors on Monday 22nd June 2020. These categories included Migrant NGOs, members of Friends of the Centre groups (established in cooperation with the centre management team and International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS), Department of Justice officials and contractors visiting centres for inspections, maintenance and general network management, and other State officials providing services to residents.
The opening up of centres to other categories of visitors including friends and acquaintances from the local community and persons acting in an official capacity requiring one to one contact (e.g. legal representatives and IPAS officials conducting resident clinics) will happen in subsequent phases over the coming weeks in accordance with ongoing consultation with public health officials.
As per the Government guidelines on the further easing of restrictions on movement outside the home, residents can of course meet with anyone from the local community outside of the centre, but in doing so are encouraged to continue following the guidelines on hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and social distancing.
In relation to Garda vetting for NGOs and volunteers, this must be done through their own organisation who can then confirm to centre managers that volunteers have up to date and appropriate vetting disclosures.
Individuals not affiliated with an organisation and who wish to volunteer in a centre should contact Volunteer Ireland for advice on how to obtain a Vetting Disclosure. Personal friends and acquaintances of residents do not require Garda vetting.
IPAS has contacted management in a specific centre to clarify the position.