Day Advisory Group Report on Direct Provision
The Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support, including Accommodation, to Persons in the International Protection Process (Day Report) has now been published. You can find Nasc’s statement on the Day Report here.
The report makes a series of recommendation to end direct provision and transform the international protection by mid-2023. In the Programme for Government 2020, the Government committed to ending direct provision and replacing it with a new accommodation policy based on a not-for-profit approach.
What was the Advisory Group?
Last year, Dr. Catherine Day was asked to bring together an expert group with representation from asylum seekers and NGOs to examine best practice in the provision of services to international protection applicants, to examine likely longer term trends and to set out recommendations and solutions. Nasc, the Irish Refugee Council and Masi (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland) were part of this expert group.
What recommendations does the Day Report make about direct provision?
The report recommends an end to “congregated and segregated accommodation of applicants for international protection”. This means ending direct provision by mid-2023.
Instead applicants for international protection (applicants) should be housed for 3 months only in a reception centre. During this initial 3 months stay, applicants should be given PPS numbers, Temporary Residence Cards and given information about applying for permission to work, support with training and education (eg having foreign qualifications recognised) and support with practical and administrative issues like opening bank accounts, applying for driving licences etc. The vulnerability assessment would also be carried out within the first 30 days of making an application.
After 3 months, applicants would be able to access a HAP-equivalent payment. They may then try to secure their own accommodation or get assistance from an onsite accommodation allocation/matching service. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage would be responsible for securing housing placements.
Accommodation would be distributed widely across the entire country. Applicants would continue to be eligible for supports for up to 18 months after they receive protection or a permission to remain status.
What happens in Direct Provision centres in the meantime?
The report includes a number of recommendations to be implemented as soon as possible. These include appointing HIQA as an independent inspector to inspect conditions in direct provision centres and ensure that the National Standards are being implemented from January 2021.
More immediate recommendations include facilitating applicants to access bank accounts and driving licences as well as removing restrictions on the right to work. The report recommends that after 3 months applicants would be eligible to apply for a labour market access permit.
What about processing times?
The report recommends that shorter processing times for international protection applications must be set with binding deadlines for different stages in the process. The report recommends that the International Protection Office should make the first instance decision within 6 months and the International Protection Appeals Tribunal should make the decision on the appeal within 6 months.
This would significantly reduce the amount of time people spend waiting to get a final decision on their application. To do this, both the IPO and the IPAT will need to clear the backlog of cases. The report recommends that to achieve this, a simplified approach should be taken to anyone who has been in the system for more than 2 years by the end of 2020. They should be offered permission to remain for a period of 5 years without prejudice to their pending international protection application.
What other recommendations does the report make?
The report makes wide-ranging recommendations:
- legal aid should be provided from the very beginning of the application potentially up to judicial review stage. The Legal Aid Board should be resourced to provide approximately 20 hours of work per case.
- Tusla social workers assigned to unaccompanied minors should be legally obliged to seek legal advice on a protection application as soon as possible after the minor becomes the responsibility of Tusla.
- Appropriate accommodation, with additional supports and services, be provided for those identified as victims of trafficking and sexual abuse, both in the reception centres and thereafter. In the interim priority should be given to designating private, non-shared rooms to trafficked people and those who have been abused. In the transition period, while women are waiting to be moved out of direct provision centres, the need for female-only accommodation should be considered a priority for those with heightened vulnerability.
- The report recommends that Ireland opts into the current EU asylum legislation.
What happens next?
The report has been presented to the government. The government has said that they will produce a White Paper by the end of this year. The White Paper will be informed by the recommendations of this report.
You can show your support for the recommendations of the Day Advisory Group by writing to, or emailing your local TD as well as the Minister for Justice and Equality, and the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration.