Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
482. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the lack of liaison support for persons in emergency accommodation being provided to asylum seekers in a hotel (details supplied) in County Wicklow including lack of social worker and liaison for physical and mental healthcare; if the appropriate resources will deployed to the asylum seekers as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6623/20]
I can inform the Deputy that the issue of providing liaison support for residents in the accommodation location referred to by the Deputy is a matter for the Department of Health. They have advised that the issue will be raised with the HSE and that they will revert to the Deputy in due course.
However, it is important to note that services for international protection applicants including health services are mainstreamed. Applicants are linked with primary care services. They are entitled to a medical card while residing in Direct Provision accommodation and their prescription charges are waived. Applicants access health services through the same referral pathways as citizens including referral to disability and mental health services. Every effort is made to ensure that residents' specific needs are met. Where more intensive care needs are required, such cases are referred directly to the HSE.
Safetynet, a primary care health service, carries out health screening in a number of temporary accommodation locations on behalf of the HSE. Officials in my Department work closely with the HSE screening team and with Safetynet to ensure that applicants are accommodated in locations where their medical needs can be met. We also work collaboratively to ensure that any special accommodation arrangements (for example, ground floor accommodation, wheelchair accessible facilities etc.) are in place, as required.
I can assure the Deputy that the health and safety of our residents, centre staff and the wider community where they live will continue to be our over-riding priorities. We will continue to work hard with local management, health agencies, and NGOs to provide every support possible to residents at this difficult time.