Where a person sadly dies while they are being provided with accommodation by my Department, we work closely with the centre manager to assist the person’s next of kin, if known, in accessing the supports provided by the State, and to ensure that any other residents affected by the death are assisted in accessing the services that can support them.
All deaths and serious incidents that occur within accommodation centres provided by my Department are referred to the Gardaí as a matter of course and the Gardaí in turn refer all deaths to the local Coroner’s Office. The International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) of my Department provides information to An Garda Síochána and the Coroner’s Office as and when requested.
IPAS developed a Critical Incident Policy last year. The Policy includes guidelines for IPAS staff and for accommodation centre managers and their staff in the event of the death of a resident. The Policy includes a protocol for record keeping whereby IPAS maintains a record of all critical incidents. The Policy was issued on 23 November 2019.
Sadly, five deaths of residents have been notified to IPAS since the introduction of its Critical Incident Policy. One death occurred last year and a further four deaths have occurred this year.
All records of deaths in Ireland are held in the General Register Office, which is the central civil repository for records relating to Births, Marriages and Deaths. My Department does not have an official role in the collation of statistics on deaths of International Protection applicants. The IPAS of my Department, and the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) before it, may not have always been informed of a death, for example if the death occurred in a hospital or other setting. As a consequence, it cannot provide details of deaths since 2015 of people whose place of residence at the time was in accommodation provided by my Department.