363. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons who have been refused accommodation in direct provision centres to date in 2019; the alternatives offered to such persons; and the length of time between refusal and their being offered accommodation. [31313/19]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): While an international protection claim is being examined, the Reception and Integration Agency(RIA) offers accommodation and related services to anyone without means. There is no obligation on anyone to accept the offer of accommodation.
Accommodation is provided under the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 which came in to effect in June 2018. No applicant for international protection has been refused accommodation in 2019. Under the regulations listed above RIA may provide material reception conditions in accommodation other than that which is usually provided, where the accommodation capacity normally available is temporarily exhausted.
The pressure our accommodation system currently faces is clear. The Reception and Integration Agency is accommodating 6082 people in its 39 accommodation centres and a further 988 people are in emergency accommodation in hotels and guesthouses. The use of emergency accommodation is not ideal. However, we must ensure that each person arriving today to claim protection, with no advance warning, tonight has shelter, food and any urgent medical care required.
In this context, RIA continues to seek additional capacity, including through the ongoing regional procurement process to minimise its use of emergency beds.