Words: Staff Writer
According to a new plan laid out in a white paper released today, those applying for international protection in Ireland will spend no more than four months in new not-for-profit centres as part of a new system aimed at ending Direct Provision by 2024.
Today it has been revealed that the government intends to end Direct Provision by 2024, with plans to replace it with a new “blended” accommodation system.
The details arrived as part of a white paper published today, following continued criticism of the institution that sees many asylum seekers live in terrible conditions provided by private contractors. The new approach would see an overhaul of the current privatised system.
Since its inception private contractors have been paid over €1 billion for their involvement in Direct Provision.
According to the paper, by 2024 the government will introduce a new international protection support service to be delivered by the Department of Children, Equality, Integration and Youth.
Meanwhile, those arriving in Ireland seeking asylum will stay for a maximum of four months in state-owned reception centres. Following this, they will move onto not-for-profit housing.
Phase one will see single people housed via “urban renewal initiatives” and “rent-a-room” schemes. Elsewhere, private tenancies will be used to house some families.
The report states, the intention is to develop six State-owned accommodation centres. One will be in Dublin with the rest scattered throughout the rest of the country. The plan is based on estimates of 3,500 applications annually for international protection in Ireland.
According to the report, asylum seekers will go to these six receptions centres for an “orientation period”. Here, they will undergo a vulnerability assessment and receive support in the shape of English language classes and information on education, health, childcare, employment and more. Moreover, as part of phase two of the plan, they will have “own door” accommodation for families and “own room” accommodation for single people.
Like the current system of DP they will be given an “allowance” and after four months, they will be moved into not-for-profit accommodation. According to the Irish Times, the housing will be sourced and financed by AHBs and will be provided separately to social housing provided to local authorities by AHBs.
While still qualifying for state support, applicants will be encouraged to seek employment after spending half a year in Ireland.
Though the plan is to move away from the Direct Provision centres, the government will honour and may renew existing contracts with private businesses until the new system is established.