Asylum seekers lodge 47 complaints; Direct Provision system exceeds bed capacity

Asylum seekers lodge 47 complaints; Direct Provision system exceeds bed capacity
File photo.

Asylum seekers lodged just 47 complaints with the Reception and Integration Agency about the Direct Provision system last year.

The figure, provided by the Department of Justice, comes amid confirmation that the DP system now has exceeded its capacity and has had to access emergency bed spaces.

Nick Henderson, the CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said there were "several issues" with the relatively low number of complaints, including the likelihood that some asylum seekers would be wary of making a complaint about the centre in which they live amid an expectation that little, if anything, would change.

He said some asylum seekers may not be aware of the complaints mechanism and would also be wary of lodging a complaint with RIA, while they may also feel the scope of any possible complaint would be quite limited.

He said a complaint regarding transfer between different centres may not be entertained at all.

"Also people may be wary of complaining to the body which is providing accommodation," he said. "They need to probably see examples of the complaints mechanism working before they themselves pursue it."

Figures provided to RTE showed there are currently 6,355 people in Direct Provision, above the contracted capacity on January 20 of 6,156.

RIA has had to access emergency bed spaces in hotels since last September due to insufficient capacity in the system, while two properties earmarked to house asylum seekers have been targeted in arson attacks in recent months.

The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) said any works that could be carried out within Direct Provision centres have also been stalled or rolled back because essentially all rooms in the system were now in use.

Mr Henderson said the capacity issue was not a surprise because of delays in making decisions about status, an increase in the number of people seeking asylum and particularly because of the effect of the overall housing crisis.

The Irish Refugee Council said there were 700 people currently in the DP system who had already secured their status to stay in Ireland, but who could not move on because of a lack of available accommodation and an associated lack of means to secure that accommodation.

"We expect that figure [of 700] to rise," he said.

Mr Henderson argued that the Government would have to secure more accommodation space to get past the crisis and that another potential difficulty faced by some people who have been granted asylum here was "racism or discrimination, direct or indirect" when they seek access to private rented accommodation.

The IRC has said the full welfare allowance should be granted on refugee status, as well as an extension of the Housing Assistance Payment scheme.

More on this topic

NUI Galway becomes sixth 'sanctuary' college for asylum seekers in IrelandNUI Galway becomes sixth 'sanctuary' college for asylum seekers in Ireland

Sinn Féin: Oughterard concerns legitimate but Grealish 'seeking to stoke up division'Sinn Féin: Oughterard concerns legitimate but Grealish 'seeking to stoke up division'

Justice Minister 'very concerned' by TDs' comments about asylum seekersJustice Minister 'very concerned' by TDs' comments about asylum seekers

Rural Ireland must get priority over immigrants, Cork TD says Rural Ireland must get priority over immigrants, Cork TD says


More in this Section

Concern for children's safety following 'alleged suspicious approach' in DublinConcern for children's safety following 'alleged suspicious approach' in Dublin

More focus on livelihoods needed in Brexit talks, says Micheál Martin More focus on livelihoods needed in Brexit talks, says Micheál Martin 

Ireland’s only dedicated track for car drifting facing uncertain futureIreland’s only dedicated track for car drifting facing uncertain future

Emergency care resources 'highly skewed' to North East, study findsEmergency care resources 'highly skewed' to North East, study finds


Lifestyle

Audrey's been sorting out Cork people for ages.Ask Audrey: C’mere, what’s the story with Chris O’Dowd thinking he’s better than Cork people

So, I put a link to a short story up for my students the other day. The story was by Michael Morpurgo and I was delighted to find an online copy. It can be challenging when you are relying on non-paper texts to teach.Secret diary of an Irish teacher: I love physical books and always will

Celebrated actress Siobhán McSweeney may have found fame starring in a TV series set at the other end of the country, but Cork is never far from her thoughts, writes Ciara McDonnellHome is where the art is for Derry Girls actress

There are literally hundreds of free events on offer this evening for kids and adults on Culture Night. Marjorie Brennan selects the best of them, in Cork and beyondCulture Night: Get out and make the most of it

More From The Irish Examiner