Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has today published the Health (Inspection of Emergency Homeless Accommodation and Asylum Seekers Accommodation) Bill 2021.
The Bill grants the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) the power to inspect all emergency homeless accommodation funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
It also grants HIQA the power to inspect reception centres and accommodation centres provided for asylum applicants.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The Bill I am publishing today, drafted in conjunction with the Office of Parliamentary Legal Advisers, seeks to introduce an independent, emergency inspection regime for emergency homeless accommodation and accommodation provided for asylum applicants.
“There have been concerns raised about the quality of the accommodation provided both for those accessing emergency homeless accommodation and those currently in direct provision centres.
“Covid 19 and its impact has also highlighted how inappropriate the congregated style accommodation settings are that form part of both emergency homeless accommodation and direct provision accommodation and how they must be urgently phased out.
“This Bill grants HIQA the power to conduct inspections of all emergency homeless accommodation funded by the Department of Housing to ensure that it is of the highest possible standard.
“HIQA would also be tasked with inspecting reception centres and accommodation centres housing asylum applications.
“While the white paper on ending direct provision pledges to move towards own door accommodation, we need a system in place now to inspect the accommodation currently on offer to ensure it meets required standards.
“I hope to introduce this Bill at first stage when the Dáil returns in September. I believe it is a comprehensive piece of legislation that will help ensure that accommodation provided for vulnerable households meets the highest possible standards.”