248. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the engagement that has taken place between him, his Department and the implementation group with civil society organisations and-or NGOs in relation to the detail of Ireland's opt-in to the EU reception conditions directive; the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27671/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Government responded to the views of members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, members of the Justice McMahon Group and from NGOs and civil society organisations by deciding to opt-into the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive (2013/33/EU). The views of all relevant stakeholders were therefore well-known.
To facilitate the practical arrangements for the opt-in and the compliance process led by the European Commission, the Government established a cross-Departmental Implementation Group. This Group was available to meet with stakeholders throughout the process. An information session on the process and on the interim arrangements for access to the labour market introduced from 9 February 2018 was hosted by my Department officials on 23 January 2018. All NGOs identified as working in this area were invited to attend. Members of the Implementation Group from other Government Departments and services were also in attendance and available to respond to any questions raised.