In Ireland asylum-seekers and their children are accommodated in residential institutions, under a reception system known as ‘Direct Provision’. The system meets the basic needs of food and shelter for asylum seekers directly while their claims for refugee status are being processed. Asylum seekers receive full board accommodation and personal allowances of €21.60 per adult and €21.60 euro per child per week.
Many have spent years living in an institutional setting that was designed to be a short-term solution. The Direct Provision system is overseen by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), a body of the Departmet of Justice & Equality.
Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has published a commentary on his Office’s experience of dealing with complaints from refugees and asylum seekers living in direct provision centres. In ‘The Ombudsman & Direct Provision – The story so far’, the Ombudsman says that sometimes residents are reluctant to complain and some complaints arise as a result of cultural differences. As a result the Ombudsman’s office has worked with the Reception and Integration Agency, and residents and managers in 35 centres around the country to seek to improve services.
In April last year the remit of the Ombudsman and Ombudsman for Children to examine complaints from asylum seekers living in direct provision centres was confirmed.
The Ombudsman received 97 formal complaints from residents in 2017. The complaints included those about transfers between direct provision centres, as well as the quality of food and standard of accommodation at the centres. Residents also complained about the refusal of travel expenses to attend medical or solicitor’s appointments, the attitudes of some centre staff and communication regarding deportation orders.
The Ombudsman said: “We have found that the most effective way to deal with complaints is to meet with residents and centre managers to discuss the issues being raised. This has resulted in many complaints being resolved on the spot.”
The Commentary can be read here.
Source: Ombudsman of Ireland