Written answers

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

International Protection

Photo of Pa DalyPa Daly (Kerry, Sinn Fein)
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95. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the scoping exercises that have been carried out in relation to the construction of new reception and integration centre or centres as envisioned in the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision. [60693/21]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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Earlier this year, I published A White Paper to End Direct Provision and to Establish a New International Protection Support Service. Since then my Department has taken a series of steps to implement these reforms, with a view to completing them by the end of 2024.

A staff team has been established in my Department to lead the transition to the new model. Ending Direct Provision and putting in place the new system with its focus on human rights, on not-for-profit delivery, and on integration from day one, requires a whole-of-Government approach. My Department is therefore working closely with key stakeholders across Government to plan, design, and implement the changes described in the White Paper.

I have appointed a Programme Board, including officials from relevant Government Departments and agencies, and independent members, to oversee the transition. So far, the Board has met four times since its establishment, and its next meeting is scheduled for 16 December.

As stated in the White Paper, my intention is to have the new system of supports and accommodation for international protection applicants operational by December 2024. We have made good progress on this objective to date. Working with the Housing Agency, my Department has begun to acquire the accommodation needed to implement the White Paper reforms. We are currently prioritising the acquisition of accommodation for Phase Two - that is, after people have completed their initial four months in a Reception and Integration Centre and move into the community.

We anticipate that the process of moving the first applicants into this accommodation will begin in 2022 and that it will accelerate over the following years as more properties come on stream.

A detailed implementation plan is being developed and has been reviewed by the Programme Board. It is set out timelines for the different elements of the transition process.The planning process for capital projects including the Reception and Integration Centres, will be initiated in 2022.

It will take time to end Direct Provision and replace it with a new and very different system of accommodation and supports - grounded in human rights and delivered on a not-for-profit basis. However, I am fully committed to implementing the model by December 2024.


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