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State spent €70m on private and state accommodation for asylum seekers

Over 5,100 people are currently being housed in 37 accommodation centres around Ireland.

Asylum seekers protesting against planned capacity cuts at the Mosney accommodation centre in 2010.
Asylum seekers protesting against planned capacity cuts at the Mosney accommodation centre in 2010.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE STATE SPENT almost €70 million on housing for asylum seekers at private and state centres around the country last year, according to new figures released by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA).

The RIA is a state body under the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service which is in charge of providing accommodation and services for asylum seekers while their applications for asylum in Ireland are being processed.

According to the Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter, there are currently over 5,100 people being housed in the 37 accommodation centres under contract to the RIA.

Asked by Labour TD Dominic Hannigan for a breakdown of the weekly costs per accommodation centre, Shatter said that “it is not in the interest of the taxpayer that details of current individual contracts are known to the public or to other parties who are, or may be in the future, engaged in negotiations with RIA”.

He added that the Information Commissioner has upheld the policy of updating the table of contracts annually at the end of January in respect of all financial information up to the end of December two years previously.

Last year, the RIA spent €69.459 million, of which €8.258 million was spent on fixed costs relating to the provision of management and other services at the seven state-owned centres. Another €1.458 million was spent on utility and maintenance at these seven centres.

In total, the state spent €57.784m on 37 commercially-owned centres last year (of which seven closed down in 2011), while €68,000 was spent on transport costs to bring asylum seekers to the Dublin reception centre and accommodation centres around the country.

Contracts

Shatter said in the Dáil last week that an EU tendering process recently concluded for the management of the seven state-owned centres under contract to the RIA, and the newly agreed contracts are effective from 14 June.

Four of these state-owned accommodation centres are based in Co Kerry and operated by Onsite Facilities Management (OFM) Ltd. The other three are operated by Campbell Catering Ltd (trading as Aramark) and are based in counties Cork, Clare and Westmeath.

The state-owned centres currently have capacity for 1,150 people; three of the centres accommodate families, two accommodate single males, and the other two are mixed.

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