Firm shutting down Dublin's largest direct provision centre received €27.5m in 11 years

Firm shutting down Dublin's largest direct provision centre received €27.5m in 11 years

Gordon Deegan

The private firm that is shutting down the largest direct provision centre in the capital received payments totalling €27.5m from the State over an 11 year period for operating the centre, new figures show.

Earlier this month, the operators of the Clondalkin Towers Hotel in west Dublin notified the Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) that the direct provision centre would close on December 3 at the end of the current contract.

There are currently 248 residents at the centre including 91 children.

65 of the 248 total have leave to remain in Ireland and face homelessness when the centre closes if they cannot source rented accommodation in the private sector, using the housing assistance payment (HAP).

In response to a written Dáil question to Deputy Eoin Ó Broin (SF) on the payments made to the operator of the centre, the Minister for State at the Dept of Justice, David Stanton has confirmed that the operator has been paid €27.5m by the State between 2006 and 2015.

The operator, Fazyard Ltd is by led by Sean Lyons and his son, Sean Lyons Jnr and in addition to the 2006-2015 payments, a group of Lyons' firms including Fazyard Ltd and Old George Ltd received payments totalling €4.14m in 2017 from the State with the two providing accommodation for around 500 asylum seekers at the Clondalkin Towers and Emo, Co Laois.

This is in addition Fazyard Ltd along with the connected entity, Old George Ltd receiving payments totalling €6m from the State for accommodating asylum seekers in 2016.

In his written Dáil reply to Deputy Ó Broin, Minister Stanton said that “discussions between the contractor and officials from the Department are on-going with the welfare of the residents at the centre of those discussions”.

The most recent accounts for Fazyard show that the business was sitting on accumulated profits of €4.2m at the end of November 2016. The firm’s cash pile increased from €187,703 to €540,304. Numbers employed by the company total 37.

Firm shutting down Dublin's largest direct provision centre received €27.5m in 11 years

Minister Stanton confirmed that a tender has been advertised for a new direct provision centre 40km within Newbridge and pointed out that Clonadalkin is in that range. Closing date for the tender is October 17.

In his reply, Minister Stanton stated that the Clondalkin Towers firm was paid €3.83m between June 24, 2014 to December 7, 2015; €3.9m between December 25, 2012 and June 23, 2014; €4.3m from August 8, 2011 to December 24, 2012; €7.42m from April 1, 2009 to August 8, 2011 and €7.99m from October 10, 2006 to March 31, 2009.

Minister Stanton stated that the RIA endeavours to achieve the best value for money in relation to these contracts, in respect of which negotiations can take place with a number of commercial entities.

In response to confirmation that Fazyard Ltd, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, Nick Henderson described the closure earlier this month as “very, very bad news” who said the timing would cause huge distress to families particularly coming as it does before the end of the school term.

Minister Stanton stated that funding has been granted to South Dublin County Partnership for a two-year housing and integration programme of which a key part is assisting residents of the Towers Centre who have their status to access housing supports.

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