Dáil Éireann - Volume 640 - 25 October, 2007
Written Answers. - Asylum Support Services.
Deputy Michael Ring Deputy Michael Ring
Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of properties spread over a town in which asylum seekers are housed (details supplied) in County Mayo; the capacity of each of those properties; and the amount of money paid to the proprietor of these buildings for 2005, 2006 and to date in 2007. [25817/07]
Deputy Michael Ring Deputy Michael Ring
Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if approval has been given by his Department for the housing of asylum seekers at a premises (details supplied) in County Mayo; the number of asylum seekers based in this location; and if all the asylum seekers are contained within one property or if they are spread over a number of properties. [25818/07]
Deputy Brian Lenihan Deputy Brian Lenihan
Deputy Brian Lenihan: I propose to take Questions Nos. 141 and 142 together.
The Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is principally charged with two sets of responsibility (1) accommodation of asylum seekers while their applications for asylum are processed and (2) to develop, drive and coordinate integration policy across other Government departments, agencies and services for all legally resident migrants and to coordinate the Government’s resettlement programme.
In July 2006, the RIA placed a national advertisement seeking expressions of interest from persons who could offer suitable accommodation for asylum seekers. The RIA continues to receive offers of accommodation on foot of this advertisement. In fulfilling its remit to provide accommodation for asylum seekers, the RIA examines all offers of accommodation for their suitability and decisions on the possible use of individual premises are taken on the basis of current needs at any particular time.
In the case of the premises referred to by the Deputy, the RIA has approved its use as a direct provision accommodation centre for asylum seek ers. The centre complex comprises a series of buildings, viz., the original building described by the Deputy; twelve single storey bungalow-type chalets; and eighteen two storey duplex ‘townhouses’. All of these units are collectively viewed by RIA as a single centre with an overall capacity of 328 persons. The different types of accommodation elements are accessed depending on the family profile of the asylum seekers assigned to the centre at any one time. The numbers allocated to each part of the centre will also vary in accordance with the family make-up. The actual number accommodated at the centre on 14/10/07 was 328, i.e., its full capacity.
Services at asylum seeker accommodation centres are provided to RIA on a fixed cost, flat rate basis. All costs related to the provision of the service is borne by the contractor. Between December 1999 and 10 April 2000 (when Direct Provision was introduced) the rates paid to providers of direct provision ranged from €200-€344 per person per week (pppw). Since that time and despite considerable inflationary pressures, the RIA have achieved reductions in the rates paid which now fall within the normal range of €189-255 pppw. Contracts for services at direct provision centres are not usually issued on a calendar year basis, i.e., they usually begin at some point during a year and could range in length from six months to a number of years. The RIA is unable to provide the detailed financial information requested as its release could prejudice the competitive position of the State but can confirm that the rates are within the range stated.
Separately from its function of accommodating those in the asylum process and in fulfilment of its integration function, the RIA has contracted a separate building in the same town consisting of fifteen apartments, which is being used as an Orientation Centre for programme refugees admitted under a UN resettlement programme. Programme Refugees will spend approximately eight weeks in the centre where they will be provided with intensive cultural orientation and language training programme to prepare them for independent living in the community. The children between the ages of six and eighteen years undergo a separate programme to prepare for entry into mainstream education. On completion of the eight week orientation programme, the resettled refugees will transfer to other parts of the country for permanent resettlement. This Orientation Centre is currently assisting approximately fifty two refugees from Myanmar/Burma who will move to Castlebar in mid November for permanent resettlement.
Dáil Éireann 640 Written Answers. Asylum Support Services.