The Children’s Rights Alliance has welcome calls by the Ombudsman for Children to establish an independent inspectorate of Direct Provision centres that house asylum seeker families.
Dr Niall Muldoon, launching his office’s annual report for 2017, called on the Government “to implement in full the recommendations of the McMahon report, and in particular to establish an independent inspectorate of Direct Provision to ensure there is transparency and regulation of standards”.
Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, welcomed Dr Muldoon’s intervention and echoed his call.
She said Dr Muldoon’s findings highlighted that accommodation and living conditions “can vary hugely” in the Direct Provision system and welcomed the development of National Standards for Direct Provision.
However, Ms Ward added: “The development of standards is one crucial step forward, but without an independent inspectorate undertaking unannounced inspections, they will lack the necessary oversight and transparency to achieve meaningful change.
“We can’t have a system in place where companies providing centres/accommodation for children and families are not publicly accountable. Given that the majority of Direct Provision centres are contracted to private providers, it is essential that where standards are not met residents have access to a redress mechanism to hold the State to account.
“The fact that Direct Provision residents have come forward and made complaints to the Office of the Ombudsman for Children about their interaction with services is positive. Providing a similar avenue of redress in relation to the quality of their accommodation would go a long way to transforming and radically improving the system.”