Direct Provision was established 20 years ago because many of the people claiming asylum in Ireland at the time were in danger of falling into homelessness. Since then, more than 65,000 vulnerable people have been assisted by the system.
While a person’s asylum application is being assessed, all food, accommodation, utilities, etc. is offered free of charge. Residents have access to healthcare and education. A personal weekly allowance is also paid to each resident including the children. The system is completely voluntary and residents can leave whenever they like.
Local communities across Ireland have helped to create a warm and welcoming environment for people who have come to Ireland seeking our protection.
There are currently 40 accommodation centres located in 20 counties across the country and there are positive relationships between residents and local communities in all cases.
Each centre has a Friends of the Centre group. This initiative brings residents, community and voluntary groups together to increase integration opportunities and provide for the development of greater community linkages with the residents and the centre.
Integration has hugely positive effects for both centres and local communities by fostering friendships and understanding. This results in increased cultural awareness and helps build a more inclusive environment.
No. Direct Provision is completely voluntary and residents can leave at any time. Asylum seekers can choose to live with family or friends already living in the community or can source and provide for their own accommodation.
After nine months, asylum seekers are eligible to work if they have not received a first decision on their application.
They have access to all sectors of employment, with the exception of the Civil and Public Service, An Garda Síochána, the Irish Defence Forces and Embassies or consulates accredited to the State.
There is no minimum or maximum salary threshold, no language requirement/assessment, and no evidence of a job offer is required before a permission is granted.
There are no restrictions relating temporary or permanent jobs, or to full-time or part-time work. They can also become self-employed.
If eligible, the Minister for Justice and Equality grants them a labour market access permission. Over 3,870 permissions have been granted to date.
No. The Department of Justice and Equality does not select any particular areas as locations for centres. Premises are offered to the Department via an open procurement process. This procurement process is taking place regionally, throughout Ireland, including in Dublin.
Additionally, to meet the short-term needs of the Department, advertisements are placed in the national press seeking expressions of interest from accommodation providers for suitable premises.
Services provided to the Department of Justice and Equality are sourced through competitive tenders and expressions of interest. This ensures value for money for the taxpayer while also providing residents with a place to stay while their application is assessed.
The Spending Review on Direct Provision, published on 15 August 2019, showed that last year, the average daily rate per person in commercially owned centres was €35.50 per person. This figure rose to €44.00 per person in centres where independent living is provided.
Accommodation centres are generally made up of a mixture of men, women and families.
The asylum system operates to allow us to identify, at the earliest stage possible, those who need our protection and for those who are found not to need protection, to enable us to return them to their home country as quickly as possible.
Each application is assessed individually on its own merits by the International Protection Office (IPO). No assumptions are made on a person’s eligibility for asylum based on their nationality, religion, gender, etc.
Once it is confirmed that an accommodation centre is opening, the Department of Justice and Equality links in with the other service providers to ensure that the necessary supports are put in place.
In terms of access to healthcare, where GP lists are full, the HSE will arrange for access to GPs who have availability in the surrounding area.
Schools where asylum seeking children are enrolled can apply to the Department of Education and Skills for any additional resources required, including capitation and teaching resources.