287. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on the recent reports on the possibility of an asylum centre closing before Christmas; his plans for same; the way in which the 225 residents of a centre (details supplied) were informed; when his attention was drawn to the fact that the company that owns the property was withdrawing its service; his further plans to relocate these families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41954/18]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): My Department was informed by the contractor for the centre, by letter received on 3rd October 2018, that they will not be seeking to renew the contract which expires in December.
Residents at the centre were all formally informed by personal letter delivered last Friday morning, 12th October 2018, that it had not proved possible to secure an extension of the contract to 30th June 2019 and that unfortunately the centre would close when the contract comes to an end on 3rd December 2018.
Notwithstanding this, we will continue to work with those residents of the Towers who are still in the protection process in order to identify alternative accommodation from within the accommodation portfolio of my Department. The Department has commenced the process of identifying additional capacity both by way of the public procurement competition referenced above and an advertisement placed in the national press seeking expressions of interest in providing accommodation on an emergency basis for persons in the protection process.
My aim is to limit, to the greatest extent possible, the disruption to families and to residents relying on Dublin-based services. The Reception and Integration Agency is working on contingency plans to facilitate school going children, currently living in the centre in question, to continue in their current schools for the current school year. However, the Reception and Integration Agency is very constrained by the current demands for its accommodation and by the absence of bed capacity within its system.
Considerable work has been done to support residents with status to move out of accommodation centres and to secure permanent accommodation.
My Department also provides funding to NGOs on accommodation issues affecting those who have been granted permission to remain, including the approximately 60 such persons affected in this instance. In particular, funding was granted to the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Peter McVerry Trust under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund Ireland 2017 - 2019 for the PATHS project (Providing Asylum-seekers in Transition with Housing and Support). In addition, funding has been granted to South Dublin County Partnership for a two year housing and integration programme, a key part of which is to assist residents who have received permission to remain, to access housing supports. Officials from my Department have been liaising with South Dublin County Council in relation to the particular situation arising in Clondalkin.