Action urged on direct provision


SEANAD:TREVOR Ó Clochartaigh (SF) said an asylum seeker in a direct provision hostel had told him yesterday that he was suicidal. This man was deeply upset about being uprooted again. The centre in question was to be closed without consultation. He hoped fellow Senators would intervene with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to get him to sit down with Oireachtas representatives from Galway to hear their representations.

Mr Shatter had said that the manner in which such centres operated needed to be reviewed.

Mr Ó Clochartaigh said that earlier this week the Ombudsman had expressed her very serious concerns over the way in which direct provision was being handled.“I really fear that we are witnessing another State-sanctioned scandal, and it’s happening on our watch. We have to do something very, very soon about it,” he added.

Following criticism by Government and Opposition members of aspects of the Bill to accelerate the national programme of revaluation of commercial and industrial properties, Brian Hayes, Minister of State for Public Service Reform, said every effort would be made to take on board whatever constructive amendments were tabled.

Seán Barrett (Ind) said he welcomed the commitment that the committee stage of the Bill would not be taken until talks had been held with affected interest groups. Hoteliers, among others, were concerned about the unfettered power being conferred on the valuation commissioner.

Cait Keane (FG) said that statistical guidance and analysis must be provided to entities to which valuation work was outsourced. Tom Sheahan (FG) said there should be a link between rates assessment and the profitability of businesses.