Eoin Ó Broin TD launches Bill to grant HIQA the power to inspect emergency accommodation and direct provision centres
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has today launched the Emergency Homeless Accommodation and Direct Provision Independent Inspection Bill 2017.
The Bill grants the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) the power to inspect all emergency homeless accommodation funded by the Department of Housing, Planning and Community and Local Government. It will also grant HIQA the power to inspect direct provision centres funded by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Equality.
The Dublin Mid-West TD said:
“As a constituency TD and through my work as Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing I am deeply concerned about the poor quality conditions some individuals and families both in emergency accommodation and direct provision are living in.
“It is not only the quality of the facilities that is concerning. It is the length of time people, including families with children, are accommodated here and the long term impact living in this sort of accommodation has on the welfare of children.
“I acknowledge that both the Reception and Integration Agency and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive conduct their own inspections of these facilities. However, crucially these inspections are not independent.
“This morning I met with HIQA to discuss these concerns and to ask about the feasibility of conducting a review of the child protection and welfare services provided to children living in all government funded emergency accommodation including Section 10 and local authority funded emergency homeless accommodation. This is a limited review which HIQA is currently permitted to do under legislation. I also wrote to Ministers Murphy and Zappone asking them to make a similar request.
“The Ombudsman for Children this week further confirming the difficulties faced by families with children were living in in emergency accommodation. FOI requests made by Cormac Fitzgerald from The Journal.ie also highlighted some of the appalling conditions families were living in.
“Sinn Féin believes there is a compelling case for an independent inspection regime for these kinds of facilities. HIQA is best placed to do so but the agency will need additional resources to take on this role as it is already stretched to capacity with its current workload.”