25 May 2022

Government takes first steps to end Ireland's Direct Provision system

Government takes first steps to end Ireland's Direct Provision system

Government takes first steps to end Ireland's Direct Provision system

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., today published a White Paper to End Direct Provision and to establish a new International Protection Support Service.

This White Paper sets out a new Government policy to replace Direct Provision, which will be phased out over the next four years.

"A new system for accommodation and supports for applicants for International Protection will be established. Under this new system, people who are applying for protection will be helped to integrate into Ireland from day one, with health, housing, education, and employment supports at the core of the system," a statement read.

"The new system will be grounded in the principles of human rights, respect for diversity and respect for privacy and family. It is being designed to offer greater support and greater autonomy to International Protection applicants. It will operate on a not-for-profit basis.

"Under the new system, when people arrive in Ireland seeking International Protection, at Phase One they will stay in one of a number of new Reception and Integration Centres for no more than four months. These centres will be newly built to a high specification and will be operated by not-for-profit organisations on behalf of the State.

"During this orientation period, people will receive integration supports to help them adjust to living in Ireland. This will include English language tuition and employment activation supports

"After their first four months in Ireland, people whose protection claims are still being processed will move to accommodation in the community. This will be own-door or own-room accommodation, for which they will pay a means-tested rent.

"Applicants will be entitled to seek paid work after six months, and they will be encouraged and supported to do so. Integration supports will continue to be available to people who need them.

"The transition to the new system will be led by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Progress will be monitored by a Programme Board whose membership will include non-government stakeholders. It is envisaged that the new system will be fully operational by December 2024."

Publishing the White Paper, Minister O’Gorman said: “As a Government, we committed to end Direct Provision and replace it with a new system that would be run on a not-for-profit basis and centred on human rights. Today’s White Paper sets out how we are going to do that. Under the new system, people seeking International Protection in Ireland will be encouraged and supported to integrate from day one.”

“The accommodation will be own-door for families, and provide the privacy and independence so many were not afforded over the past two decades. Single people will have own-room accommodation, ending the shared dormitory-styled rooms associated with the current system.

“We have seen the huge groundswell of solidarity for people in the current Direct Provision system. Irish people want to be proud of the support offered to people who come here seeking protection. In making a home here, they strengthen and enrich our communities.

“This is a new approach to supporting the needs of International Protection applicants in Ireland. It will be run on a not-for-profit basis, and in order to be truly transformative, it will rely on strong engagement and cooperation between the State and not-for-profit organisations. I am looking forward to creating new partnerships with non-governmental organisations as we begin the process of bringing this new system to fruition.”

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