A White Paper to End Direct Provision
16 September 2021
A White Paper to End Direct Provision and to Establish a New International Protection Support Service.
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., published a White Paper to End Direct Provision and to Establish a new International Protection Support Service. This White Paper sets out a new Government policy to replace Direct Provision, which will be phased out over the next four years.
This will establish a new system for accommodation and supports for applicants for International Protection. Under this new system, people who are applying for protection will be helped to integrate into Ireland from day one, with health, housing, education, and employment supports at the core of the system.
The new system will be grounded in the principles of human rights, respect for diversity and respect for privacy and family. It is being designed to offer greater support and greater autonomy to International Protection applicants. It will operate on a not-for-profit basis. The emphasis, according to the Government’s plan, is on a person-centred approach to support people to integrate into local communities.
The new model proposes a two-phase approach. In Phase One, the applicant will be accommodated in a Reception and Integration Centre for four months. These centres will be newly built to a high specification and will be operated by not-for-profit organisations on behalf of the State.
The focus in Phase One will be on identifying needs, defining pathways, and linking applicants to appropriate services. The guiding principle for Phase One will be an approach that seeks to encourage integration from day one, to place people on the most successful pathway possible towards an independent life in Ireland. This will include English language tuition and employment activation supports. Applicants will be able to apply to open a bank account and will be provided with information on how to do this. Furthermore, applicants will be eligible to apply for Irish drivers’ licences while in Phase One accommodation.
Phase Two will commence for applicants who have spent four months in Ireland and whose protection claims are still being processed, they will be moved to accommodation in the community. This will be own-door or own-room accommodation, for which they will pay a means-tested rent. Homes will be situated within the community, with supports to encourage interconnectedness. Applicants will be entitled to seek paid work after six months, and they will be encouraged and supported to do so. Integration supports will continue to be available to people who need them.
Support will be provided for vulnerable people throughout their application including education, healthcare, supports for children and victims of domestic violence. All cultural and religious sensitivities will be kept in mind throughout both the phases.
The transition to the new system will be led by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Progress will be monitored by a Programme Board whose membership will include non-government stakeholders. It is envisaged that the new system will be fully operational by December 2024.
Click HERE to read the full report.