Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality, Inclusion and Law Reform Pa Daly TD has today set out the party’s priorities in relation to the forthcoming White Paper on the International Protection System and Direct Provision.
Teachta Daly said:
“In our general election manifesto, Sinn Féin committed to ending the Direct Provision system and implementing the all-party Oireachtas Commission’s findings.
“An Expert Group report, chaired by Catherine Day, also looked at the matter and provided what should be a solid blueprint for ending the system.
“The White Paper should be the beginning of the end of the system once and for all, but it is crucial it gets things right in a number of areas.
“The first, and perhaps most critical, is the provision of accommodation. Sinn Féin have called for a system of own door accommodation to be built and maintained in partnership between Approved Housing Bodies and reputable NGOs already working with asylum seekers.
“The units could be provided in appropriately sized clusters with communal facilities for support and advice services.
“The delivery of units could be timed to coincide with the ending of existing legal Direct Provision contracts.
“These would be high quality temporary homes for people seeking asylum, with onsite supports.
“Provision of financial supports and the resolution of the backlog within the system, both of which the report recommends can be resolved with the right action, are also important.
“Critically, reforms can lead to savings for taxpayers, who are currently subsidising the profits of private providers. The report’s reforms would provide a more humane system for less costs in terms of current expenditure, as the system cost €170million in 2019.
“A switch to own door accommodation could see that figure go down to between €110-160million. An initial capital expenditure of up to €1billion would be required, but this would easily pay for itself in terms of savings over the lifetime of the accommodation.
“Contrary to rumours shared by local councillors, there are no plans by the Department of Justice to work with any property developer to house a future influx of asylum seekers. There will be no solution to Direct Provision without solution of the wider housing crisis, and the government needs to show leadership on this.”