111. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if plans to fund the cost of feminine hygiene products for persons living in direct provision centres will not extend to persons living in independent living centres; and if so, the reason therefore. [46108/18]
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).
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 hygiene products will be made available as required.
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.
Under the Independent Living Model, each resident is assigned a weekly points allocation depending on their family composition. Residents then procure the items that they need on-site from their points allocation. Any points not used in a given week can be utilised in any week within a four week period. The points allocated allow for each resident to choose the foods they eat and the toiletries and personal hygiene products that they want. In all cases, the costs of feminine hygiene products will be covered by the Reception and Integration Agency either directly or indirectly. My Department continue to monitor the application of the Independent Living Model to ensure it is meeting the needs of residents.
My Department has also recently commenced a public procurement exercise to seek public tenders from contractors for the provision of accommodation and ancillary services by way of the independent living model to persons in the protection process. This process is scheduled for completion in 2020 and will be delivered via a series of regional competitions to cover the entire State.