Number living in direct provision over five years halves to 600
Over 4,301 people now in direct provision, 2,611 of them for between one and five years
Ellie Kisyombe at a Dublin rally calling for the end to the direct provision system for asylum seekers. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Direct provision centre on Hatch Street, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke
However there are still 4,301 people living in these circumstances, including 2,611 who have been in direct provision for between one and five years.
The figure of 4,301 also includes 400 people who have permission to remain in the State and “are in transit to independent living”, according to Minister of State for Justice David Stanton.
Mr Stanton released figures in a written parliamentary reply to Fianna Fáil immigration and integration spokeswoman Fiona O’Loughlin who sought data on the number of people in direct provision.
Mr Stanton acknowledged that “the State has been criticised for the length of time persons spend in direct provision and, accordingly, the various relevant State bodies must all work together to transition persons granted status out of the system as quickly as possible”.
He said the Reception and Integration Agency, which has responsibility for those in direct provision, was “particularly mindful of the reality of the housing situation in the State” and the pressure on services such as community welfare and rent supplement.
Direct provision is the controversial institutional accommodation provided by the State for asylum seekers in 34 centres across the country. Some have no cooking facilities. Adult residents receive a weekly allowance of €19.10 with €15.60 for children. They are not allowed to work.
At the end of October last year 4,792 people were living in direct provision. This dropped by almost 500 to 4,301 at the end of October this year.
The figure includes the 400 people granted the right to live and work in Ireland, but who stay in direct provision because they cannot get alternative accommodation.
While best international practice indicates that asylum seekers should be in direct provision for months rather than years, figures for Ireland show 614 people have been living in direct provision for more than five years. However this represents a drop of just over 50 per cent.
The number of people in direct provision for between four and five years has dropped slightly from 241 to 198.
The figure for those living in these circumstances for between three and four years has also dropped from 301 to 249.
But there has been an increase of 136 in those living in direct provision for between two and three years, from 382 in October last year to 518 this year.
Similarly the number of people in direct provision for between one and two years has risen by 409 from 623 last year to 1,032 in October this year.
The number of people who have been in the system for less than 12 months is down from 2,033 in October last year to 1,690 at the end of October this year, a drop of 343.