Responsibility for the provision of accommodation for applicants for International Protection transferred to my Department from the Department of Justice on 14 October, 2020.
On 21 October 2020 I published the report by the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support, including Accommodation, to Persons in the International Protection Process. The report had been submitted to Government the previous day and the Government accepted the Advisory Group’s conclusion that the current system of Direct Provision is not fit for purpose and must be replaced.
The Programme for Government contains a committment to ending the Direct Provision system and replacing it with a new International Protection accommodation policy, centred on a not-for-profit approach. The Government has also committed to the development of a White Paper which will set out how this new system will be structured and the steps to achieving it.
My Department is currently developing the White Paper which I expect to publish by the end of the year. The recommendations of the Advisory Group will inform the White Paper. We will also consider a number of other relevant reports including the Inter-Departmental Working Group Report on Direct Provision (November 2019) and the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice & Equality, Report on Direct Provision (December 2019). Consultations will be undertaken with relevant Government Departments and agencies, with the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman for Children, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, NGOs, housing bodies and with residents of Direct Provision centres.