Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

International Protection

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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422. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if his attention has been drawn to the eviction and transfer of Ukrainian parents and children from an accommodation centre (details supplied) in County Cork; if parents and children could be included in the exemption for those over 65 years and those with medical conditions; and if support will be provided to residents to find alternative private accommodation locally. [28736/24]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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The centre to which the Deputy refers is providing accommodation to International Protection (IP) applicants. There are no Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTPs) currently being accommodated in this location.

The International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) does not comment on the particulars of individual transfers.

My Department is currently providing accommodation to over 31,000 International Protection applicants, of whom 5,700 have been granted permission to remain in Ireland and, as such, are no longer in the international protection (IP) process. At the same time, there is currently an ongoing shortfall of accommodation for newly arrived people applying for international protection.

Where a person progresses through the application and review process, and receives a grant of status or permission to remain in Ireland, their status in terms of access to housing becomes the same as other people living in Ireland and Irish citizens. In these circumstances, however, my Department and the IPAS team is aware of the challenges in housing availability across the population and has continued to provide accommodation until residents are in a position to source accommodation independently.

All those with international protection/Permission to Remain are written to once status has been granted and are advised that given their progress through the IP process, they will need to seek alternative accommodation. They are supported to register with a Local Authority and, if required, avail of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) to secure alternative accommodation.

The International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) works with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to support people in securing alternative accommodation once they receive Permission to Remain, given the change to their legal status. A specific Transition team works in collaboration with Depaul Ireland, the Peter McVerry Trust, and Local Authorities to support residents with status to move on from IPAS accommodation.

Where a person cannot secure independent accommodation by the defined date, IPAS will provide temporary, emergency accommodation. Acknowledging the ongoing increases in people arriving into Ireland seeking international protection, and the shortfall in accommodation for new arrivals, my Department will continue to work to support all those using our services.

From 14 March 2024, anyone fleeing the war in Ukraine looking for State-provided accommodation in Ireland is accommodated for a maximum of 90 days in Designated Accommodation Centres (DAC). The aim of the Accommodation Policy is that all Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection (BOTPs) will move on from the DACs by day 90 of their arrival in a DAC and be responsible for their own accommodation.

There is a significant emphasis in each DAC between the Local Authorities and the Irish Red Cross to engage with BOTPs around pledge or Offer a Home opportunities. Families are prioritised in this regard. There is also a strong focus from the Local Authorities and the International Organisation for Migration in enabling BOTPs to source private accommodation arrangements and support towards finding employment.

The 90 day policy is not applicable to those aged 66 or over, unaccompanied minors, and BOTPs identified on site by the HSE as being medically vulnerable. These are the only exemptions available on arrival.

While in the DAC, if it becomes apparent to the Local Authority that the BOTP will have significant difficulties in sourcing their own accommodation and/or employment, despite the support of the Irish Red Cross and the Local Authority, they may be considered by my officials as an exceptional case.

Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection are entitled to make their own private arrangements including potentially availing of pledged accommodation if they wish, and can avail of some supports to do so. Those wishing to avail of pledged accommodation in any given area should contact the Local Authority in that area or the Irish Red Cross pledge process. The Irish Red Cross can be contacted by email at?registerofpledges@redcross.ie?or by phoning 1800 50 70 70.??

BOTPs may also explore private rented accommodation either through their own means or with the assistance of Rent Supplement, if eligible. Rent Supplement is a means-tested payment administered by the Department of Social Protection to help meet the cost of private rented accommodation. Their local Department of Social Protection office may be able to provide further information relating to Rent Supplement. Contact details for the local offices can be found on gov.ie (Intreo centres and local branch offices).


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