New report on Direct Provision shows that it is failing vulnerable people

Posted On: 7 February 2014

Media Release, 7 Feb 2014

The ESRI today published a report by the European Migration Network detailing the organisation of reception facilities for asylum seekers in Ireland. The report, part of an EU-wide study, was to identify good practices for flexible, efficient reception facilities whilst maintaining the quality of reception conditions.

The report deemed the Irish system unsuitable for long-term residence and found that almost one third of asylum seekers in the system have been in Direct Provision for more than 5 years.

The report also found that overcrowding was one of the main problems, with families often living in one room or single-parent families required to share a room with another family.It also found that Ireland is one of only two EU countries that does not allow asylum seekers the right to work.

Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said: “The statement by the Reception and Integration Agency of the Department of Justice that it takes no responsibility to ensure that private contractors comply with regulations governing the suitability of accommodation for vulnerable adults and children is alarming.  This cannot be considered an appropriate exercise of the state’s duty of care.”

She continued “Minister Shatter’s acceptance that Direct Provision centres are not suitable for long term residence has to be followed by a commitment to draw a line under Direct Provision.  A new single procedure for asylum claims will not address the needs of those currently in the system and is not therefore an answer to the acknowledgement that the current system has much too high a price both for the state and for those who languish in it”.



For more information contact Caroline Reid 085 858 5510 /

Sue Conlan, CEO, is available for interview.


The ESRI report is a part of an EU study ‘Organisation of Reception Facilities for Asylum Seekers in the different Member States’ which was developed in cooperation with 23 Member States and Norway.

Irish Refugee Council Report on Direct Provision: Direct Provision: Framing an alternative reception system for people seeking international protection

Irish Refugee Council Report on children Direct Provision: State Sanctioned Child Poverty and Exclusion, The case of children in state accomodation for asylum seekers

Other key findings of ESRI report include:

~ The Minister for Justice and Equality has stated that residents are not ‘in the care’ of the State but rather the State has a ‘duty of care’ which it discharges via external contractors.

~ RIA inspections and those conducted by QTS are non-technical. RIA indicated that it is the responsibility of the direct provision contractor to ensure that their reception centre is in compliance with all relevant regulatory requirements. RIA does not take responsibility for ensuring such standards are met and does not consult with local authorities, noting that they deem this to fall under the remit of the contractor.

~ 59% of asylum seekers in Direct Provision in Ireland have been resident for over 3 years, 31% for over 5 years, and 9% for over 7 years.

~ 38.2% of all those in Direct Provision centres are children.

~ Pregnant women and single parents with minor children form a substantial part of the asylum seeker population, with 644 lone parent family units (numbering 1,828 persons) in RIA accommodation at the end of 2012.

*RIA has stated that they are not considered to be a ‘special needs’ group.

~ No specific reception facilities have been allocated for vulnerable groups of applicants.

*Ireland is one of five Member States that do not provide tailored accommodation for vulnerable persons.

~ Eight reception centres are occupied by single males, one by single adults and two by families only. The remainder are mixed.

~ Ireland is one of only two EU countries who not allow asylum seekers the right to work.

~ The reception system is endorsed by the Government as being both cost-effective and flexible, but acknowledged to be unsuitable for long-term residence.