Thomas Pringle TD

PQs: Pringle raises accommodation shortage for refugees in Ireland

Thomas Journal ie

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For Written Answer on : 25/09/2018
Question Number(s): 210 Question Reference(s): 38394/18
Department: Justice and Equality
Asked by: Thomas Pringle T.D.
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QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons in 2018 that have been refused accommodation in the Reception and Integration Agency’s accommodation portfolio due to the lack of bed space; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) has been working actively to find solutions to the increased demand for its accommodation over the past months.
To meet the steady increase in demand, RIA has added a net 646 beds to its portfolio over the last twelve months, including by opening of new centres in Lisdoonvarna and Moate. However, in recent weeks demand has spiked and the number of people arriving in Ireland applying for international protection has increased even further.
Due to this spike, full capacity was reached and RIA had to prioritise accommodation for families and other vulnerable persons who presented and were unable to offer immediate accommodation services to some people. The numbers who did not initially receive an offer of accommodation are relatively small and RIA has been working to meet their needs and indeed many have since been offered accommodation.  Further efforts to provide accommodation to international protection applicants will involve the opening of new accommodation centres.
It is an extremely rare event for a person not to be offered accommodation in Ireland on arrival.
To address current and future needs, advertisements have been placed in the national media seeking additional accommodation that must be fully compliant with the recommendations of the McMahon report. Quite separate to this, it is also engaged in an open competitive process to establish a framework of accommodation centres from which we can draw down accommodation as and when needed over the coming years.
At the present time (September 2018), the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) has contracted approximately 5,800 beds, almost all of which are fully occupied.  It is currently accommodating some 600 persons in accommodation who have been granted a permission to remain in Ireland (and therefore are technically ineligible for free accommodation in Accommodation Centres).  Some of these have recently received a decision while others have received decisions several months and indeed a couple of years ago.
The Reception and Integration Agency has provided funding to NGOs to provide house-finding and support services to these residents to obtain permanent homes in the community. RIA also works with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on this issue.

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