DUBLIN, Ireland - The government on Friday published a review of spending on direct provision (asylum-seeker) accommodation.
The report, produced by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is titled the Spending Review on Direct Provision.
The review noted some of the significant and ongoing improvements that have been made to the system in recent years, while finding that expenditure on Direct Provision accommodation is expected to exceed €120 million this year and is likely to increase in the future. It found the expected increase is due to a number of factors, in particular the planned improvements to accommodation standards and the rising number of people seeking international protection.
"The number of international protection applicants we are receiving continues to rise. In the first half of this year alone, we have seen a 36% annual increase in the number of applications received. In these circumstances, it is prudent to have an accurate picture of costs and an identification of factors impacting expenditure," the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said Friday.
"For all good policymaking, I believe it is essential to have a strong evidence base. This is especially true at a time when we are examining the entirety of the Direct Provision system and mapping a plan for immediate improvements and for medium to long-term transitional change," the minister added.
Outlining some of the initiatives already underway in his Department, Flanagan continued, "A High Level Interdepartmental Group has been established in my Department, led by one of our Deputy Secretary Generals, to review the system. To complement their work, we are setting up a Consultative Group, which will be independently chaired and include representatives from key stakeholders and NGOs working in this area. Today's Report provides baseline data, an examination of the asylum trends and some EU comparators, which will be a useful reference point for their discussions."
The review was carried out by the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service unit of the Department of Justice and Equality with key input from the Reception and Integration Agency, and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.
As part of the ongoing process to reform the system, the government on Friday published the agreed National Standards for accommodation centres prepared by an Advisory Group including UNHCR Ireland and NGO representatives.
"The National Standards will apply to all service providers contracted by the Reception and Integration Agency to operate and manage accommodation and reception centres. They provide a framework for the continual development of services and supports for residents by improving the quality of care and ensuring consistency across the centres," the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton," said Friday.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia).