State body accused of making direct provision men homeless
Problem arises regarding men on deportation orders but who cannot be deported
Independent TD Michael Harty said men had been issued with letters by State agency telling them to vacate their direct provision centres within four weeks. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A Government agency has been accused of adding to homelessness because it is issuing eviction letters to men in direct provision who have been refused asylum but cannot be deported.
Independent TD Michael Harty said the Reception and Integration Agency had begun issuing letters to single males “who are on deportation orders” but who cannot be deported because they come from countries in conflict such as Somalia and Palestine, which he said Ireland does not deport to.
Dr Harty, a Co Clare GP, said men had been issued with letters by the agency telling them to vacate their direct provision centres within four weeks.
He asked if the Government planned to extend “this new policy” to families and children and he said these single males “will become homeless and add to the crisis of street homelessness”.
Dr Harty queried the shift in policy and said that Minister of State for Equality David Stanton had stated that no asylum seeker would be made homeless because of these letters.
“What does that mean? Are these letters to be ignored? Has the [Reception and Integration Agency] changed its mind and withdrawn them? What exactly is going on?”
Minister for Education Richard Bruton said every year about 2,000 people make asylum applications and that meant they had to accommodate the 50 people a week who needed accommodation.
He said the State was currently providing temporary accommodation – “bed, breakfast and board” – for almost 5,000 people in direct provision.
Mr Bruton said “we cannot guarantee that everyone is able to remain forever in accommodation if they have been unsuccessful in their application”.
He pointed out that to facilitate people coming through the system “there must be some effort in respect of people who have been the subject of deportation orders to see that they would move on since their cases have been fully adjudicated under the international rules we apply and a decision made that they are not eligible for status in Ireland”.
The Minister said “this is an effort to deal with a problem in a reasonable and fair way as best we can”.
Dr Harty said it cost €50 million to fund direct provision and the money could be spent in a much different way.
The Minister told him that people were not obliged to accept offers of direct provision “and many do not take them up”. The system represented the State “attempting to provide for such people instead of the 2,000 who come in going on to the streets and being vulnerable as they would be”.