Dáil Éireann - Volume 523 - 05 October, 2000
Written Answers. - Voucher Scheme for Asylum Seekers.
Mr. Broughan Mr. Broughan
45. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the voucher scheme for asylum seekers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15030/00]
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): Asylum seekers entering the country at present have their needs met under the system of direct provision currently in operation. Direct provision for the most part represents a cashless system with the State assuming responsibility for providing suitable accommodation on a full board basis.
Asylum seekers are also entitled to a range of other services while waiting to have their applications processed. For example, subject to satisfying means tests, asylum seekers are entitled to allowances under the supplementary welfare allowances scheme and medical cards. They are entitled to the same health services as Irish medical card holders and the children of asylum seekers can avail of free primary and secondary education.
The introduction of direct provision on 10 April 2000 brought Ireland into line with other member states of the European Union, including the United Kingdom who introduced direct provision on 1 April, and followed thorough investigation and careful planning. This system represents a fair and effective means of meeting the basic needs of our asylum population.
While I have no immediate plans to introduce a voucher system for asylum seekers, I am keeping the matter under review in the light of the ongoing situation.
Question No. 46 taken with Question No. 34.
Dáil Éireann 523 Written Answers. Voucher Scheme for Asylum Seekers.