State's bill for direct provision centres up 43% last year

ireland
State's Bill For Direct Provision Centres Up 43% Last Year State's Bill For Direct Provision Centres Up 43% Last Year
According to the Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman, at the end of last year, there were 1,010 residents accommodated by his Department.
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Gordon Deegan

State payments to companies involved in accommodating asylum seekers last year soared by 43 per cent to €172.5 million.

According to new figures provided by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, three companies operating direct provision centres each received over €8 million in the 10 months to the end of October last.

The €172.5 million total is for the 12 months of 2020 and compares to a payout of €120.65 million for 2019.

Last year's bill includes €99 million to 26 companies operating privately-owned direct provision centres and €10.6 million to companies managing State-owned direct provision centres.

Emergency accommodation

In a series of written Dáil replies to Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy, Mr O’Gorman confirmed that last year an additional €59 million was paid to 32 operators providing emergency accommodation where there was insufficient capacity within the accommodation portfolio to meet demand for services.

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The bill also includes €1.3 million to Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to assist residents; €823,323 for the provision of utilities in State owned centres; €434,083 in transport costs for direct provision residents and €113,448 for purchasing fittings for State owned centres.

Mr O’Gorman stated that during 2019 and 2020, there were seven new accommodation centres for International Protection applicants opened in total, with a combined capacity of 784 beds.

Numbers declined 9%

The cost of funding the overall network of centres soared last year in spite of those residing at the centres declining by 9 per cent.

The minister confirmed that at the end of 2020, there were 6,997 residents in the network of centres - a drop of 686 on the 7,683 at the end of 2019.

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The 6,997 total at the end of December included 1,985 minors.

According to the Mr O'Gorman, at the end of last year, there were 1,010 residents accommodated by his Department who had secured an International Protection status or a permission to remain in the State.

He stated: “Considerable work is being undertaken to support these residents to move out of accommodation centres and into secure permanent accommodation.

He added: “Throughout 2020 a total of 1,136 people moved to accommodation in the community, of whom 799 received assistance from the support services outlined. This compares to a total of 837 people who moved to community housing in 2019 from accommodation centres.”

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