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“Minister Confirms Rodents in Direct Provision Centres, Slugs in Food” – Tóibín

The Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, has confirmed to Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín that a slug was found within food served at a direct provision centre last month and that there have been many infestations of rodents in direct provision centres.

 

Speaking on the topic, Deputy Tóibín, the leader of Aontú, said:

 

"The admission from the government that there are rodent infestations in Direct Provision centres and that there has been an incident where an asylum seeker was served food which had slugs in it confirms what many of us have been saying all along - the system is cruel and unfit for purpose. I understand a certain company was previously engaged by the government in the running of Direct Provision centres. I have written to the Minister to seek clarity as to whether or not the contract with this particular company is still in place. The company in question separately provides the food in some US prisons and has come under the spotlight there following reports of maggot-contaminated food being served to prisoners. What does it say about the system here if the same company engaged in running prisons in America were contracted by the Irish government to run Direct provision centres?" concluded Tóibín

 

ENDs

 

 

 

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 13/07/2021
Question Number(s)493 Question Reference(s): 37485/21
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth if his attention or that of his Department has been drawn to reports of worms found in food served in Kinsale direct provision centre in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY




I have been made aware of a social media post which I understand may be the incident report to which the Deputy refers.  Having consulted with my officials in the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS), they have advised me that a resident at the centre in question had reported to centre staff that a lettuce slug had been found on their plate on 26 June 2021.

I can assure the Deputy that this was an isolated incident which regrettably occurred despite the lettuce going through a sanitisation process in line with HACCP procedures prior to being served. Any remaining lettuce products on service were removed and replaced immediately. At the time the issue was raised, centre staff responded immediately and apologised in person to the resident. The resident was offered an alternative meal.

Centre management followed up with resident the next morning to reiterate their apology and ensure the resident was not adversely affected by the unfortunate incident the previous day.  To date IPAS has not received any formal complaint regarding this matter.  
 

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 13/07/2021
Question Number(s)498,497 Question Reference(s): 37490/21, 37489/21
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION



* To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth if his attention or that of his Department has been drawn to reports or instances of mice or rat infestations in direct provision centres since he took office; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Peadar Tóibín T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 13 July, 2021.

* To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth if his attention or that of his Department has been drawn to reports of cockroach infestations in direct provision centres since he took office; and if so, if he will provide detail on these incidents.

- Peadar Tóibín T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 13 July, 2021.

REPLY


I am aware of reports that circulate on media and social media regarding the presence of vermin in some accommodation centres for International Protection applicants.  My Department officials are also made aware of occasional incidences by the centre management.

The Deputy will appreciate that, as with any premises whether residential or otherwise, there is always the possibility of intrusion by vermin.  

 The requirement for inspection of dedicated accommodation centres is a contractual obligation for all service operators contracted by my Department. Accommodation centres are subject to regular unannounced inspections by both my officials in the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) and an independent inspectorate company (QTS Ltd).   These inspections are generally undertaken, twice yearly by my officials in IPAS and once yearly by QTS Ltd.  

Inspectors examine all communal areas, bedrooms, kitchens and dining areas. Inspectors also examine occupancy registers, staffing records, health and safety documentation (including fire safety records), food preparation systems , menu cycles (in centres that provide full catering), facilities available to residents, information provision to residents and the condition of external grounds.

Evidence of any vermin infestation is also noted during the routine inspections by the centre management and by my officials or by QTS Ltd.  Where there is evidence of any vermin activity, this is dealt with appropriately by the centre management and further inspections may follow.  For example, where a cockroach infestation is found, a pest control company will be engaged to fog any affected rooms.  More than one intervention may be required to fully address the issue if evidence is found of eggs on cloting etc.  Residents of any affected room will be moved to another room until the situation is brought under control and the room is suitable for re-occupation.

Completed inspection reports are published on https://smex-ctp.trendmicro.com:443/wis/clicktime/v1/query?url=www.ria.gov.ie&umid=57096163-5d7d-42a0-a745-a5ad3e6c0087&auth=3851052a65d9657d2ab4c1fa657bb1ebb1940985-a95709b66118000b08dc7ea88d017a2af5dd2055 once the contractor has been given the opportunity to comment on the findings and, if necessary, indicate how and when any required remedial work has or will be undertaken.  

 

 

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 13/07/2021
Question Number(s)499 Question Reference(s): 37491/21
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: Peadar Tóibín T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth if his attention or that of his Department has been drawn to reports or instances of hunger strikes in direct provision centres since he took office; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY




On any occasion where a resident refuses food for any significant period of time, such matters are brought to my attention by officials in the International Protection Accommodation Service within my Department. 

I am informed that, while such instances are rare, some residents have in the past, refused food in order to draw attention to a particular issue that may, or may not, relate to their accommodation.   It is important to note that often the issues that give rise to such incidents may relate to matters outside the remit of my Department. 

IPAS officials also advise that as soon as they become aware of such instances, they work closely with the resident, accommodation centre staff, and other relevant state agencies and service providers to resolve the matter with compassion and sensitivity for the individual concerned. The health, both physical and psychological, of residents is paramount in doing so. 

On a more general note,  I can assure the Deputy that the health and wellbeing of all people who avail of accommodation provided by the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) of my Department is of the highest priority to myself and my officials.

A confidential Freephone telephone support service, funded by, but independent of, this Department, was also established in May 2020 to provide further support to residents that are being accommodated by my Department.  This Freephone confidential support helpline is operated by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).  Any isue raised through this service may be passed in confidence to IPAS for investigation and resolution.

 

Residents also have full access to the Ombudsman and Ombudsman for Children should they wish to lodge a complaint regarding any services provided by my Department or other State Agencies and Departments.

By Aontú Press | 21 July, 2021



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