The White Paper to End Direct Provision and to Establish a New International Protection Support Service has been published by the Department of Justice.
The White Paper sets out the Government’s approach to fulfilling the commitment in the Programme for Government 2020 to end direct provision and replace it with “a new International Protection accommodation policy centred on a not-for-profit approach.”
Informed by the work of the Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process, the White Paper sets out a new, two-phase, model centred on a human rights approach.
According to the White Paper, in Phase One applicants will be accommodated in a Reception and Accommodation Centre (six of these will be set up under State ownership) for four months. During this phase, vulnerability assessments and health assessments will be carried out, particular focus will be paid to assessing the needs of children who come to Ireland with their families and applicants will be eligible to apply to a bank account and apply for a driver license.
In Phase Two it is planned that all accommodation will be own-door, self-contained houses or apartments for families. The location and number of applicants to be accommodated in each county will be determined according to a national settlement pattern that will be developed by the County and City Management Association, in cooperation with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and different support options will apply depending on the accommodation strand provided.
During this phase, it is planned that applicants will have access to mainstream services, such as in relation to education and health, English language supports, an income support payment at a rate broadly similar to the Supplementary Welfare Allowance and applicants will be entitled to access employment if they do not receive a first instance decision within six months.
The White Paper is split into three parts. Part I outlines the end to direct provision and explains the new approach being proposed to supporting people seeking refuge in Ireland. Part II outlines the implementation, governance and risk, and Part III explains the background to the reform.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission released a press release welcoming the White Paper.
For more information:
Department of Justice White Paper to end Direct Provision and Establish a New International Protection Support Service
Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process