State paid €43.5m to eight direct provision operators in 2016
Avoca owner Aramark paid €5.2m for three centres in which 850 asylum seekers live
Mosney direct provision centre in Co Meath. File photograph: Frank Miller
Eight contractors operating a network of direct provision centres around the country accommodating asylum seekers were paid a total of €43.5 million last year.
New figures published by the Department of Justice show that two of the private contractors, Mosney Holidays and East Coast Catering, each received fees in excess of €7 million in 2016.
Mosney Holidays operates a direct provision centre for 600 asylum seekers at Mosney in Co Meath and last year received the highest amount amongst the providers, at €7.4 million.
The payment brings to €119.4 million the amount the firm received from the State from 2002-16 for its direct provision service.
East Coast Catering accommodates more than 520 asylum seekers in the Dublin and Dundalk area and last year received fees of €7 million, bringing to €115 million the fees the company received from the State between 2000 and 2016.
The profits enjoyed by the two companies and a number of others in the sector are not known as they have unlimited status and are not required to lodge annual accounts with the Companies Office.
At the end of last year, there were 4,619 residents in direct provision centres with an additional 79 people living in self-catering accommodation.
The overall figure of 4,698 included 385 children under four and 652 aged 5-12.
The figures show contractor Fazyard Ltd and a connected entity, Old George Ltd, received payments totalling €6 million. The two firms provided accommodation for some 500 asylum seekers in Dublin and Emo, Co Laois.
Three contractors received fees in excess of €5 million, including Avoca owner and international food and services giant Aramark, which received €5.2 million. Co Mayo firm Bridgestock received €5.8 million.
The direct provision service operated by Aramark is a small part of its overall business. It operates three State-owned centres accommodating a total of 850 asylum seekers at Cork, Athlone and Knockalisheen in southeast Clare.
Bridgestock caters for some 500 asylum seekers in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo and Sligo town, and the €5.8 million received last year brings to €86 million the fees the firm has received since 2000.
The third firm to receive in excess of €5 million was the Barrow Group, which provides accommodation for almost 500 asylum seekers in Cork, Waterford and Limerick. It received €5.1 million last year.
The new figures from the Department of Justice’s Purchase Order book for 2016 show that Millstreet Equestrian Services, which provides accommodation for about 380 people in Cork, Waterford and Tipperary, received payments totalling €4.1 million. Millstreet has received €73 million in fees from the State since 2000.
The figures also show that Onsite Field Management received fees of €2 million to provide services for 325 asylum seekers at State-owned centres.