Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of temporary accommodation centres for asylum seekers nationally; the criteria and regulations in relation to the granting of contracts for temporary accommodation centres; the location and number of residents in these centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22551/19]
162. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons in direct provision that are accommodated in emergency accommodation; the length of time such persons have been accommodated; the system in place for such persons to ensure access to supports and services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22594/19]
163. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number, location, capacity and occupancy of each temporary direct provision centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22595/19]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 159, 162 and 163 together.
The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department has been encountering considerable ongoing pressure on its accommodation portfolio. This pressure increased significantly from the second half of 2018 when the number of new applicants requiring accommodation began to exceed RIA's bed capacity.
In January 2019, in order to ensure that the State could continue to provide accommodation for all protection applicants, and continue to comply with the EU Reception Directive, the RIA placed an Expression of Interest for Emergency Bed provision in the national media. Such accommodation involves the use of hotel and guest house accommodation where RIA typically contracts a defined number of rooms within existing commercial hotels/guest houses.
As of 21st May 2019 there were 687 residents accommodated in 19 emergency accommodation locations. These are located in counties Cavan, Dublin, Meath, Monaghan, Laois, Louth, Wicklow and Wexford.
The relevant statistical data is contained in the following table:
|-Duration of Stay||No. Of Residents|
|Less than 1 month||116|
|1 month - 2 months||111|
|2 months - 3 months||151|
|3 months - 4 months||77|
|4 months - 5 months||83|
|5 months - 6 months||60|
|6 months - 7 months||72|
|7 months - 8 months||11|
|8 months - 9 months||6|
|Total numbers in Emergency Accommodation (as at 21 May)||687|
The duration of stay in the Emergency Accommodation is intended to be for as short a time as possible prior to being transferred to a contracted RIA accommodation centre when places become available. Family composition, ages of children and medical needs are factors which are taken into account.
Persons accommodated are provided with full board accommodation. SafetyNet, on behalf of the HSE, offers medical screening to those applicants who do not receive screening at Balseskin Reception Centre. Additionally, the RIA is liaising with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to assist in the process of linking residents with local Community Welfare Services. Staff from RIA are meeting with the residents in these locations to discuss any issues that may arise.
Premises proposed for use as emergency accommodation facilities are inspected by RIA staff prior to opening, and their suitability is assessed, taking all necessary regulatory and legislative requirements into account.