110. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the rationale used to determine which persons living in direct provision centres will be able to access feminine hygiene products under the plans to fund the cost of same; and the number of persons that will be able to access and not access these products respectively, under this plan. [46107/18]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): As a result of the recommendations in the McMahon Report, accommodation centres for persons in the protection process are all moving to an independent living model (which includes either self-catering or communal catering). In this model, each resident is assigned a number of points depending on their family composition and residents can procure food and other items such as personal toiletries and hygiene products at a food-hall type facility provided by the contractor.
As the Deputy will be aware, I am making arrangements that for those centres that do not yet have the independent living model in operation and in which women and girls are resident, that supplies of female hygiene products will be made available as required.
Currently, within the Department's accommodation portfolio, five centres which have a combined capacity of 1,537 persons out of a total current population of 5,848 currently deliver services through the Independent Living Model.
It is important to note that following my recent commitment to provide hygiene products to those residents who are not in a centre which operates the Independent Living Model, this now means that all residents, regardless of which style of centre that they reside in, can procure these items without the resident incurring the cost.
The Department has recently commenced a public procurement exercise under which public tenders for the provision of accommodation and ancillary services by way of the independent living model to persons in the protection process will be advertised. This process is scheduled for completion in 2020 and will be delivered via a series of regional competitions to cover the entire State. As this process reaches completion, the numbers of residents living in the Independent Living Model will increase towards 100%.
The rationale behind the move to delivering accommodation services through the independent living model was to address concerns regarding the dependency of residents and to increase their independence and prepare those residents who obtain a permission to remain for the realities of living in the community.