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Ten companies paid €58m to run unregulated accommodation for children in care last year

Two directors of one company running emergency accommodation for children in care shared €866,000 in remuneration

Ten private companies were paid €58 million between them to run emergency accommodation for children in State care last year, according to figures from Tusla, the child and family agency.

One company was paid nearly €13 million to accommodate children taken into State care in unregulated placements, known as special emergency arrangements.

More than 180 vulnerable children are living in these emergency arrangements, which are often in bed and breakfasts or rental properties run by care staff from private companies.

Tusla has been under pressure due to its increasing reliance on the arrangements, which can cost up to €1 million per young person per year. The State agency paid 10 companies €58 million to run or staff such emergency accommodation last year, according to figures released to The Irish Times.


Tusla stopped placing children in accommodation run by one of the largest providers, Ideal Care Services, after it found checks of prospective employees had been “fabricated” and some Garda vetting records had been altered.

While Tusla has said no children were put into accommodation run by the company after late April last year, it was paid €4.4 million last year, making it the seventh-highest-paid provider during the year.

Figures show Baig and Mirza Health Services Ltd, which trades as Kare Plus Dublin South, was the highest-paid provider of special emergency arrangements last year, receiving €12.9 million from Tusla.

Accounts show the company made €3 million in profits, with remuneration for its two directors increasing from €195,000 to €866,000. The company’s owners and directors are Muhammad Usman Baig (39), from Malahide, Dublin, and Farhan Mirza (40), from Dún Laoghaire, who is also its chief executive.

The second-highest-paid provider of special emergency arrangements last year was Comet Care Ltd, which received €8.4 million. The directors of the company are Louis O’Moore (42), from Swords, Dublin, and John O’Moore (68), from Raheny, Dublin.

The third-highest-paid company, Whisbay Ltd, received €5.7 million, and Victoria Healthcare Organisation Ltd received €5.6 million. The fifth-highest-paid provider, Reign Healthcare, received €5.4 million. Good People Homecare Ltd, a major supplier of agency staff to emergency accommodation for Tusla, was paid €5.3 million last year.

A further three companies - Clarion Healthcare, Tender Touch Services and Superior Health - were all paid more than €3 million last year. Sylverline Chikwe, a director of Tender Touch, said the majority of the funds went towards staff wages and other costs associated with running three special emergency arrangements.

The figures detailing payments Tusla made to private companies running emergency accommodation were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Baig and Mirza Health Services said it did not wish to comment on payments it had received from Tusla, while the other providers did not respond to queries.

The total cost of accommodating children in special emergency arrangements last year topped €70 million.

Tusla has said it is working to reduce the number of children in emergency arrangements and that it has ramped up oversight of companies contracted to provide accommodation.

Catherine Murphy, Social Democrats TD and member of the Dáil public accounts committee, said she was concerned about Tusla “farming out” the running of accommodation to companies making profits.

She said there was a need to increase the number of care homes run directly by the State, which would likely cost less overall and reduce the risk of young people being placed in substandard accommodation.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times