361. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reported capacity of each direct provision centre at the end of June 2019, in tabular form; the reported capacity of each direct provision centre in January 2018; if works to increase capacity have taken place; and if so, the nature of the works. [31311/19]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): In January and again in September of 2018, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department published a call in the national press for expressions of interest from potential contractors to meet the increasing demand for accommodation for persons in the protection process. The criteria against which the Department assessed the offers of accommodation were availability, standard of property, ability to provide communal social spaces for residents, ability to cater at mealtimes and proximity to various other services.
Seven new accommodation centres were opened following those calls for expressions of interest.
Simultaneously, staff in my Department worked with existing accommodation providers to identify additional capacity in existing centres. This involved the identification of additional or unused areas within a centre by centre staff, followed by upgrade or refurbishment works by the centre operator to ensure that all any new accommodation provided met statutory requirements and then final approval of the increase in capacity by the Department. This process was ongoing during 2018.
In August 2018, my Department, in conjunction with the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), commenced a series of regional Requests for Tender (RFT) competitions for accommodation and other services for persons seeking international protection. To date, seven such competitions have been held. Two are complete and the remainder are underway. Additional capacity was also identified as part of those competitions. As the results of some of the competitions have yet to be published, the identity of those premises remains confidential.
Tabular information on the capacity of centres is as follows:
|Centre Name||County||Capacity 7th January 2018||Capacity 30th June 2019|
|King Thomond Hotel*||Clare||115|
|Great Western House||Galway||162||162|
|Atlas House Killarney||Kerry||90||90|
|Atlas House Tralee||Kerry||100||100|
|The Hazel Hotel*||Kildare||143|
|The Montague Hotel||Laois||202||202|
|The Old Convent||Mayo||245||245|
|The Grand Hotel*||Wicklow||111|
** denotes accommodation centre closed between January 2018 and June 2019