199. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when an agreement with a company (details supplied) was signed to provide a direct provision centre at a hotel for an initial 12 months; if the agreement commenced on that date; if the company has received payment from that date for supplying a direct provision centre at the hotel; and the value of payments made to date. [11832/19]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): In January and again in September of last year, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department published a call for expressions of interest in the national press for premises to meet the increasing demand for accommodation for persons in the protection process. This accommodation is for those seeking international protection, namely asylum seekers.
This call sought expressions of interest from parties who would be interested in providing accommodation and related services on an urgent and emergency basis. This was issued in response to the urgent and unforeseen demand for accommodation and related services from those persons arriving in the state seeking international protection.
Following on-site assessments carried out by staff in the Department, the offer of the Caislean Mara hotel in Moville, Co. Donegal was deemed to be suitable premises for the needs of the Department.
I can confirm that the terms of the agreement have been reached but not commenced as, due to the damage done to the premises following a fire in late November 2018, the premises is not ready to open. The terms will commence once the centre has been repaired and recertified.
No payments have been made to date to the contractor for the provision of accommodation services at the Caislean Mara Hotel.