Firms paid €50m for running direct provision centres last year

Official figures show Mosney plc has received €127.4m since 2002 for accommodating asylum seekers

Protesters attending a national demonstration calling for the end to the Direct Provision System last year. Photograph:  Tom Honan.

Protesters attending a national demonstration calling for the end to the Direct Provision System last year. Photograph: Tom Honan.

 

Private firms operating the network of direct provision centres for asylum seekers and refugees across the State were last year paid more than €50 million.

Figures published by the Department of Justice show the highest amount, more than €8 million, was paid to Mosney plc, which operates a centre for 600 asylum seekers at the former holiday camp in Co Meath. The company received €127.4 million from the State between 2002 and 2017 for these services.

There was a 30 per cent increase in asylum applications in the State last year, with 5,200 asylum seekers living in 34 centres at the end of December, and the overall cost of operating the system is expected to rise this year.

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) is currently seeking to open “as a matter or urgency” a new direct provision centre in Lisdoonvarna for 115 asylum seekersm, which is being opposed locally.

The figures show a number of companies controlled by businessman Alan Hyde through the Barlow Group last year received fees of almost €6.9 million. The group accommodates more than 600 asylum seekers across Cork and Waterford.

Separately, a group of firms led by businessman Seán Lyons received fees of €6.85 million for providing accommodation for around 500 asylum seekers in Dublin and Emo, Co Laois.

Two companies owned by Aramark, which controls the food and lifestyle brand Avoca, last year received €5.5 million for operating State owned direct provision centres in Co Clare, Co Cork and Co Meath, where more than 825 asylum seekers are accommodated.

Bridgestock , which is led by businessman Shay Gillen and caters for some 500 asylum seekers in Co Mayo and Co Sligo, was paid €5 million last year and has been paid €91 million since 2000.

Next Week and Co Ltd, which has been accommodating some 200 Syrian refugees in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, received more than €2.9 million lastyear.

Millstreet Equestrian Services, which provides accommodation for around 380 asylum seekers in Cork and Waterford, received €3 million from the department last year. The firm has received €76 million in fees from the State since 2000.