51. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to respond to the implementation of the report of the working group on the protection process report this week which found that most recommendations have not been implemented ten months on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9211/16]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Report of the Working Group on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers contains a total of 173 recommendations, many of which have implications for a number of Government Departments and services.
The recommendations were taken forward by the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy and Public Service Reform. To date some 90 of the recommendations have been fully implemented and a further 26 are in the process of being implemented. Work on implementing a further number of recommendations is continuing. The International Protection Act 2015 responds to 26 of the Report's recommendations. The Act provides for the introduction of a single application procedure for international protection, which is specifically aimed at addressing the length of time persons spend in the protection process. The new procedure will significantly streamline and speed up the processing of protection applications and will reduce the length of time that persons spend in the Direct Provision system. Preparations for commencement of the single procedure are progressing.
At the end of April there were some 4,400 persons living in the direct provision system. This is a reduction from the figure of approximately 5,100 at the end of 2014 notwithstanding that there was a doubling of the numbers of persons seeking asylum last year compared with 2014. This reflects the significant progress made in processing cases on hand over this period.
My officials met with a representative group of NGOs yesterday to update them on progress.