Ending Direct Provision begins with Budget 2022
Government must act urgently on the White Paper on the Elimination of Direct Provision, starting with Budget 2022. As of May 2020, there were 7,700 people living in the Direct Provision system spread across 84 locations, comprising both main centres and emergency accommodation due to the spread of Covid-19.
The Day Report and the subsequent White Paper sets out Government policy to replace the Direct Provision system and establish a new International Protection Support Service over the next four years which would ideally be expedited. This new system will support those applying for protection to integrate in Ireland from day one with health, education, housing and employment supports. This new system will have applicants stay in a new Reception and Integration Centre for no more than four months. These centres will be delivered on behalf of the State by non- profit organisations. Applicants will receive language and employment activation supports during this initial orientation period. After the first four months, anyone with a claim still in progress will move to accommodation within the community, families with own door and single people will have own room accommodation. Other supports such as access to as legal aid and assistance, access to work, education and training, access to driving licences and bank accounts are provided for which are all welcome steps. Social Justice Ireland welcomed the commitment in the Programme for Government to abolish the Direct Provision system and move away from the for-profit model.
The development of this new model of delivery was due to begin in February of 2021 in a phased basis until its completion by December 2024 with estimated capital costs of between €446 million and €672 million and current costs of €175 million. This should begin with an initial investment of €500m in Budget 2022.
To make a difference to those living in the system now, Social Justice Ireland recommends the immediate introduction of the vulnerability assessments at a cost of €2 million.
Language supports are vital to allow residents in the system to fully understand and engage, to access their rights and opportunities and to integrate with and contribute more successfully to their new communities.
Social Justice Ireland proposes that Budget 2022 allocate €10 m to begin this process and support the implementation of legislation to allow International Protection Applicants to apply for Irish Driver’s licences.
Read the full text of our Budget Choices 2022 Policy Briefing - Delivering a Fair Recovery - HERE.
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