State repatriates 285 destitute foreign nationals

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) last year spent €60,252 flying destitute foreign nationals home from Ireland.

That is according to the RIA’s 2014 annual report that shows that the agency spent a further €27,000 on ‘nappies and miscellaneous’ for asylum seekers living in 34 direct provision accommodation centres across the country.

In relation to the numbers flown home by the RIA last year, the figures show that the agency assisted in the voluntary repatriation of 285 people, with 70% of those being Romanian.

According to principal officer at the RIA, Noel Dowling: “RIA continued to successfully carry out its role of assisting with the voluntary repatriation of destitute citizens of the 13 states which have joined the EU since 2004.” He said: “The 2014 figures represented a decrease of 38 persons (12%), and of €22,339 (27%), since 2013.

The annual report shows that the RIA repatriated 34 Poles, nine Slovakians and eight each from Latvia and Hungary.

In contrast to the plight of those flown home by the RIA, the direct provision system continued to be a bonanza for the firms providing direct provision services. The figures show that last year the RIA paid €43.68m to private firms in respect of commercially owned centres and an additional €6.9m to firms in respect of the management of State-owned centres.

Currently, firms are paid €24.49 per person per day in the 34 direct provision centres in 16 counties while the same contract for state-owned centres averages at €15.50. Purchase orders published by the Department of Justice show three contractors received over €5m last year.

The Barlow Properties group that operates Mount Trenchard in Co Limerick received €5.15m in fees for its five centres for 480 asylum seekers. The highest amount — €5.9m — went to Bridgestock, amounting to €76m the firm has received from the State between 2000 and 2014.

East Coast Catering got €5.78m, bringing to €102m what the firm has received in direct provision payments between 2000 and 2014.

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