Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality, Immigration and Integration Fiona O’Loughlin TD has called for a robust inspection process for Direct Provision centres.

Deputy O’Loughlin made the comments after reports of appalling conditions at a Direct Provision centre in County Sligo. The centre has reportedly experienced a severe rat infestation which has put the health and safety of residents at risk.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “The Direct Provision operators are in receipt of huge amounts of public money. In 2017, private firms operating direct provision centres were paid €50m. These private operators need to ensure that the centres are clean and adequately equipped to cater for the needs of residents.

“The current inspection process for Direct Provision centres is carried out by the Department of Justice. They are carried out at random but usually only occur three times a year. This process isn’t robust enough considering there are currently 34 centres spread around the country. Minister Flanagan needs to ensure that inspections are carried out on a regular basis. The Government is paying huge sums of money for these centres and the least we can expect is for them to be clean and fit for purpose.

“I intend raising this issue with Minister Flanagan and highlight the need to put in place a robust inspection process for Direct Provision centres. Nobody should have to live in a rat infested building,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.