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Minister: No, we don't throw people out of asylum centres with just a sleeping bag

Campaigner Sister Stan said yesterday that children were in danger as a result of lack of oversight in direct provision centres.

Image: sitting alone via Shutterstock

JUSTICE MINISTER FRANCES Fitzgerald has rejected claims that there are no proper child protection policies in place in facilities for asylum seekers.

It follows comments yesterday by campaigner and founder of Focus Ireland Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, who said that children were in danger in the centres as a result of lack of oversight.

“There are no child protection policies in those places with direct provision,” Sister Stan said yesterday on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

She also said that the centres run by the Reception and Integration Agency weren’t subject to inspections and that once residents turned 18 they were thrown out “with nobody in the world and all they’re offered is a sleeping bag”. 

Addressing the subject today, Fitzgerald said Sister Stan’s assertions were not true.

“Despite numerous responses by previous Ministers for Justice over the years to Oireachtas queries in the matter, it is surprising that there remains a belief that asylum accommodation centres are not subject to proper inspection,” she insisted.

They are.

She said all centres were subject to a minimum of three unannounced inspections a year – “one by an independent company, QTS, under contract to RIA and two by RIA officials”.

The Minister said the RIA took the issue of vulnerable persons in its system very seriously.

All staff in centres are Garda vetted and RIA has robust policies in place relating to child protection and sexual harassment and violence.

There are currently 4,353 residents in 34 Direct Provision accommodation centres across the State

Most provide full-board accommodation with adults receiving €19.10 per week. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work or receive social welfare payments.

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