Press release: 17 February 2021

Irish Refugee Council call for Land Development Agency functions to include accommodation for people seeking protection

The Irish Refugee Council today wrote to Minister Darragh O'Brien TD on the recently published Land Development Agency Bill.

A copy of the letter is available here

Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council said:

"We welcome the publication of the Bill and specifically the use of public land for housing for all people. We recommend that accommodation for people seeking international protection is specifically included in the mandate and functions of the Land Development Agency. We believe it is essential that the new entity properly reflect the Government’s commitment to end Direct Provision and develop and sustain new accommodation models."

"In January the Irish Refugee Council published a report authored by Campbell Tickell and commissioned by ourselves. The report aims to be a constructive, practical and forward thinking contribution to the debate about what should replace Direct Provision."

"One of the key recommendations of the report is that the accommodation of people seeking protection and refugees should be included in national and local housing development plans, regional spatial strategies and in the mandate of the Land Development Agency and that the Agency’s powers be broadened to use land for the purpose of developing the housing needed."

"The Advisory Group on the Provision of Support to Persons in the International Protection Process wrote to Government on the 28 August recommending that the mandate of the Land Development Agency could be expanded to include acquiring and developing one or more State owned reception centres into its future planning and to provide for the special accommodation needs of certain categories of applicants for international protection. The Advisory Group’s final report, published in October, also stated same."

"We recommend that this provision be inserted into Section 13 of the Bill as an additional specific function of the Agency. A suggested possible wording (to be inserted after subsection (o) is: (p) to support the development and provision of accommodation for people seeking international protection, including the identification of suitable land, including within mixed use developments and for reception centres"