State spent €65M on direct provision
2018-08-01 13:30:30 -
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Photo source: Wikimedia Commons 

By Chinedu Onyejelem

The Government spent more than €65m last year on the direct provision system.

The cost was released by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan in response to a Dáil Question by Sinn Féin spokesperson for justice and equality Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, who also asked for a full list of direct provision centres in the state, whether run publicly or privately, and their contractual status.

Minister Flanagan broke down the costs as €57,679,449 “to meet the accommodation needs of those persons seeking international protection” plus €7,727,601 for “the accommodation needs of those persons brought into the state under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme”.

Last year some 5,656 asylum seekers were housed in 34 direct provision centres, 27 of which are owned and operated by commercial companies.

The list shows that privately operated centres — including Mosney in Co Meath, with 600, and Balseskin in Finglas, with 350 – currently have the largest number of asylum seekers. The State-owned Lissywoolen in Athlone and Kinsale Road Centre in Cork City have 300 and 299 respectively.

At more than €8m, Mosney PLC received the highest sum from the Department of Justice.

Earlier this year, the Irish Examiner reported that Mosley had received a total of €127.4m from the State between 2002 and 2017 for its direct provision service, while eight other centres shared €41m last year.

Lucky Khambule, coordinator of Masi, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, criticised the Government for putting more money in the pockets of commercial operators. 

“Our view has always been that direct provision is a system that is promoting profit,” Khambule said, adding that the standard of living of those in direct provision remains poor.
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