Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway, Eugene Murphy, has highlighted the fact that a total of €64.3 million was spent on centres for refugees and asylum seekers in 2016, which is a rise of 11 per cent on the previous year.
Deputy Murphy raised the matter in the Dáil chamber recently under Questions on Promised Legislation, when he called for clarification on the amount of money spent in 2016 on commercially owned centres for refugees and asylum seekers throughout the country.
“Let me preface my question by saying I don’t want this question to be interpreted as anti-asylum seeker or refugee, but the recent annual report from the Reception and Integration Agency shows that €64.3 million was spent to run centres for refugees and asylum seekers in 2016, which is an 11 per cent rise on 2015. €51.7 million was spent to run 28 commercially owned centres, with €7 million spent on seven State-owned facilities, so there is a big difference in both figures,” said Deputy Murphy.
The Fianna Fáil TD called on the Government to provide a breakdown of that expenditure. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan noted that Deputy Murphy had raised some important issues. He added that while there are issues of commercial sensitivity, he is happy to deal with the matter under future Question Time in the Dáil.
“It is imperative that we get a full breakdown of the figures as there seems to be major difference in the cost attributed to running a commercially owned facility compared to a State-owned centre,” Deputy Murphy said. How can it cost €51.7 million to run 28 commercially owned centres compared to €7 million for seven State-owned facilities? We need answers and clarification on this issue as a matter of urgency.”