409. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps being taken to ensure that residents in direct provision centres are being advised of their right to vote in local elections in 2019; and the way in which contact with candidates will be facilitated in order that residents can engage fully with the democratic process. [54193/18]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The Reception and Integration Agency, which is responsible for the operating of accommodation centres, provides information to residents regarding the rights of those living in state provided accommodation to vote in various elections and referenda. The most recent circular was completed in the third quarter of 2018 and sent to all centres for display in the public areas and on notice boards where residents can view it. It outlines eligibility to vote based on the residence and legal status of those living in the accommodation. It also details how to check the register and how to apply for inclusion on the electoral register.
This circular also covers canvassing by politicians during elections and states “Political representatives may, if they wish, provide their contact details or details of political meetings outside the centre.” It also states that canvassers and politicians may leave material “on the public notice board / tables in the accommodation centre for the information of residents.”
In keeping with the standard rules regarding votes, this can only be done within the 30 day period leading up to a referendum or election (local, national or European).