Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
277. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if his attention has been drawn to the asylum seekers being moved from Cork to Letterkenny despite the impact this will have on integration (details supplied); if they are being moved for own-door accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38837/21]
279. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if it will be ensured that all children and families in direct provision being moved from congregated hotel-style living are housed in own-door or independent living accommodation as close as possible to the community in which they have been residing. [38869/21]
280. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will suspend the compulsory moving of five families from a direct provision congregated setting (details supplied) until own-door or independent living accommodation can be located within the community they have been residing in. [38870/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 277, 279 and 280 together.
As the Deputies will be aware, I have recently announced my intention for the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) of my Department to cease its reliance on temporary emergency accommodation for International Protection applicants by the end of this year; and moving residents to own door accommodation wherever possible. The provision of own-door accommodation represents a substantial improvement in terms of allowing families to attain independence, privacy and develop a normal family life while within the system.
These moves are in context of the wider Government commitment to end Direct Provision by the end of 2024 as set out in the “White Paper to End Direct Provision and to establish a new International Protection Support Service” that I published earlier this year. The provision of own-door accommodation for all applicant families is the goal of the White Paper.
The use of temporary emergency accommodation had to regrettably be continued for longer than anticipated due to the advent of the pandemic and the overriding need to ensure all residents could be accommodated in as safe an environment as possible. As a result some families, for whom the intention was that the use of temporary emergency accommodation would be brief, spent longer periods in this type of accommodation.
I understand that moving to a new location is difficult for any family, particularly those in the International Protection Process, but moving from emergency accommodation to own door accommodation will provide greater independence and privacy for the families in accommodation more appropriate to their needs.
Despite the efforts of IPAS officials, there is at present no other suitable accommodation for these families available to IPAS in the Munster region.
It is a requirement for IPAS to re-accommodate people from temporary emergency accommodation to dedicated IPAS accommodation centres as soon as appropriate vacancies become available, and as such no formal appeals process exists, however IPAS officials do engage with families individually where concerns emerge about an intended move. IPAS encourage any family with specific concerns about moving to their new accommodation to contact IPAS directly. The dedicated Resident Welfare team will be on hand to provide support throughout the moves.
I am absolutely committed to improving conditions for International Protection applicants in the accommodation provided by IPAS. To this end, IPAS a new dedicated Customer Service unit to engage with IPAS residents, as well as a new Resident’s Welfare Team were established earlier this year.