State tender seeks €40m worth of services for refugees

The Department of Justice has stepped up its plans to provide accommodation and services worth €40m for refugees of the Syrian conflict.

The tender outlines the requirement for accommodation for a minimum capacity of 240 people under "the provision of Premises including the provision of Management, Catering, Housekeeping, General Maintenance and Security Services for Persons seeking International Protection".

The tender deadline is February 2 and states the accommodation can be offered either through full-board or independent living premises. Full-board premises already in use as Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres (EROC) include Monasterevin in Co. Kildare, Dungarvan in Co. Waterford and Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon. An example of an independent living EROC is the Mosney Accommodation Centre in Meath and tenderers have been invited to inspect those properties next week.

According to the tender: "Contracting Authority immediately requires the Services for a minimum of 240 people, with a potential requirement for additional numbers depending on further reception of persons seeking international protection into the State. All premises offered by a tenderer must be in Ireland and must have a minimum capacity for 80 people.

"Residents generally arrive in groups and reside at the premises for approximately 20 weeks after which they are provided with housing on an individual or family basis as appropriate. Vacated rooms may be reassigned to new residents within a short timeframe."

Last August the Department of Justice asked the Office of Government Procurement to notify prospective tenderers of its intention to seek offers of accommodation and services for refugees and asylum seekers scheduled to come here from Greece, Italy and Lebanon.

At that stage 459 of the 1,089 asylum-seekers which Ireland had committed to relocating from Greece had arrived and another 440 people had just received clearance to travel here.

The latest tender is part of the longstanding commitment made by Ireland back in 2015 to take in 3,800 refugees and asylum seekers, over and above the normal rate of asylum applications - a number that increased in 2016 it was decided to accept 200 unaccompanied minors from Calais in France.

The latest tender was issued by the Office of Government Procurement and puts the duration of the contract at 24 months with an estimated value, excluding VAT, of €40m.

Meanwhile, RIA has apologised after admitting it has not been displaying inspection reports of Direct Provision centres on its website.

The most recent inspection reports in the Ria site date from last June, and a spokesman for the Department of Justice said: "RIA apologies for the current gaps on its website and is working hard to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. Inspections have continued to be carried out as usual. An issue has arisen with the platform on which the RIA website is currently built and the RIA is working with the IT section of the Department of Justice and Equality to build a new platform which will conform to the public services accessibility guidelines. When this process is completed, all the reports not yet on-line will be uploaded as quickly as it is technically feasible to do so."

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