Almost 150 asylum seekers living in direct provision centres for at least seven years

Mount trenchard direct provision centre, Co Limerick

Almost 150 asylum seekers have been living in direct provision centres for seven years or more.

Department of Justice figures supplied to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) breakdown the amount of time asylum applicants have been resident in emergency accommodation.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service figures shed light on the extremely long periods that applicants must live in direct provision centres, such as Mosney in Co Meath.

Figures show 142 residents have been in accommodation for 84 months or more, 65 for between 72, and 84 months and 146 applicants have been in centres for between 60 to 72 months.

Thousands more in emergency accommodation have stayed for long periods, including more than 1,700 who have been resident in centres for between 24 and 48 months.

Elsewhere, the PAC has also received figures from the Department of Justice which show that some 100 claims have been made by the Irish Prison Service in respect of tuberculosis.

The claims have been handled by the State Claims Agency, department secretary general Aidan O'Driscoll has told the PAC by letter.

He also tells the committee that, of the 100 claims, 66 were concluded or dealt with by January 25 this year.

Mr O'Driscoll said he has sought extra information about compensation levels and will come back to TDs and senators with those figures.

Meanwhile, the HSE will today tell PAC by correspondence that there was "no conflict of interest" in picking financial services firm PwC to carry out a review of the escalating costs for the €1.7bn national children's hospital.

This is despite the fact that health authorities previously engaged the services of PwC over the second phase of the new hospital build last year, prior to the controversy over the massive rise in the project cost.

The HSE letter says: "The HSE has in place a framework for the provision of professional services to assist in the Programme for Health Service Improvement.

"This provides resourcing for expertise to be drawn down as required. Under the terms of this framework, it was agreed that PwC would carry out the review of the escalation in the cost of the new children's hospital.

"In the context outlined above, the HSE is satisfied there is no conflict of interest."

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