Thursday, 25 February 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Direct Provision System
198. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if his attention has been drawn to a protest in direct provision centre (details supplied); if he will ensure the person engaged in the protest receives the necessary health supports, physical and mental; the steps he is taking to address the failures with the direct provision system and move towards a humane, fair and human rights based system of accommodation for those seeking asylum and here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10719/21]
I am aware of the incident in the accommodation centre referred to by the Deputy which I understand has now ended.
The International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) of my Department worked closely with the accommodation centre staff, relevant state agencies and other service providers with regard to the resident’s needs and situation for the duration of the incident. Such engagement will continue to ensure that the required health needs are met through the onsite medical services at the centre which includes a full primary care service and nursing staff.
I can assure the Deputy that the health and well-being of all people who avail of accommodation provided by my Department is of the highest priority to my Department.
Where a protection applicant chooses to accept an offer of accommodation from my Department, they will, in normal circumstances, be first brought to the National Reception Centre in Balseskin, Dublin. At Balseskin, they will be offered a health assessment by the on-site HSE team, which comprises a nurse, nurse specialist, area medical officer, general practitioners, social worker and psychologist. This ensures that applicants can be assessed for any special reception needs that they may have before they are designated an accommodation centre. The IPAS works closely with the HSE screening team to ensure that International Protection applicants are moved to locations where their medical needs can be met.
It is important to note that services for all International Protection applicants (including health services) are mainstreamed. Protection applicants are linked with primary care services (GPs). They are entitled to a medical card while residing in International Protection accommodation and have a waiver of prescription charges. Applicants access health services through the same referral pathways as Irish citizens including referral to disability and mental health services. Every effort is made to ensure that residents' specific needs are met.