128. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons in direct provision; the number who have been able to open bank accounts to receive direct provision; the way in which a person receives direct provision if the person is prevented from opening a bank account; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4544/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Individuals who seek to make an application for International Protection within the State are provided with accommodation by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Equality. As of 20th January 2019, there were 6,227 persons living in accommodation provided by the RIA. This figure includes 337 persons residing in emergency accommodation.
International Protection applicants who reside in this accommodation are provided with full board, accommodation and other services as well as a daily expenses allowance. I’m advised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, which administers the allowance, that payments are generally made through the post office network. The customer attends the post office to collect the payment personally. The opening of a bank account for these purposes therefore is not necessary.
Under the European Union (Payment Accounts) Regulations 2016, any consumer who is legally resident in the EU, including an asylum seeker, who does not already have a payment account with a credit institution in the State has the right to open and use a payment account with basic features. Such institutions should be aware of their obligations under national and EU law in this regard. This information was also transmitted throughout the Centres to applicants during the presentations made and the booklets produced for the information campaign surrounding access to the labour market last June. My Department does not enquire into the personal management of finances by applicants.