Under the direct provision system being operated under the auspices of the Department of Justice by the Directorate of Asylum Seekers Services (DASS), a total of £15m was paid out in providing full-board accommodation for asylum seekers.
This £15m was paid to the owners of 65 properties around the country who house asylum seekers.
A further £15m was paid out by the State in acquiring properties to house asylum seekers, including Brook House in Ballsbridge, Dublin, which is currently being refurbished, the Parnell West Hotel in Dublin, and three mobile home sites in Kildare, Athlone and Tralee.
However, it is understood that the figures do not include additional costs of meeting the health care needs of asylum seekers, which are met by the health boards.
Nevertheless, it is understood that the most significant costs are in relation to accommodation.
In April last year the Department of Justice’s DASS took over the running of the direct provision scheme for asylum seekers, where the asylum seeker is provided with full board and accommodation.
Asylum seekers who have not been provided with full board accommodation in direct provision and who have no other means, qualify for the full standard rate of supplementary welfare allowance.
This amounts to £76 per week for a single adult, £123 per week for a couple and £13.20 for a dependent child.
Asylum seekers who arrived in the State prior to the introduction of direct provision and who live in private rented accommodation qualify for rent supplement. For example a single person living in Dublin can receive up to £64 a week towards rent while a family can receive up to £179 per week, depending on the number of people in the family.
According to the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, in October 2000 there were 7,715 supplementary welfare allowance claims in respect of 13,005 asylum seekers.
Of these, 1,658 claims are in respect of people in direct provision and they receive the reduced allowance of £15 per adult per week and £7.50 per child. In addition there are 1,010 asylum seekers covered by unemployment assistance claims and the payment rates are equivalent to supplementary welfare rates. ♦