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Question

108. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will address concerns around the designation of a hotel (details supplied) as an emergency reception and orientation centre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45536/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Equality is responsible for the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers while their application for protection in the State is being processed. RIA also procures suitable premises on behalf of the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI) for the accommodation of refugees when they first arrive in the State and before they move to their permanent homes in locations throughout the country. In both cases potential centres are assessed from a number of perspectives including access to local amenities, the provision of State services and the suitability of the accommodation for its particular purposes.
On 31st July 2015, RIA advertised for expressions of interest from persons or companies wishing to provide accommodation and related services for persons in the protection process. On foot of this advertisement, the proprietors of the premises in question responded to RIA. These premises meet the particular requirements of the OPMI for the accommodation of families invited to Ireland under the UNHCR Refugee Resettlement Programme. The premises will provide initial accommodation on a rolling basis to groups of Programme Refugees in the immediate period following their arrival in Ireland. Adult refugees undergo an eight week cultural orientation programme prior to their resettlement in locations, agreed between the OPMI and local authorities, throughout the State. As an assistance to their orientation programme, children with refugee status are provided with an education programme. Links to services such as health, transport etc., are also provided for families.
It is established best practice that on arrival in a new country, refugees need time to rest after what has been a traumatic experience, a very long journey and to acclimatise to their new environment. Refugees are supported by OPMI through this processes following their arrival. After the initial period, the language training and orientation programme begins and the refugees attend classes four days a week. Outings to local places of interest will generally be organised at weekends as well as activities for the children. Transport for these outings is of course provided as is regular transport to local urban areas.