CALL US NOW 061 310 328
Donate Now

Direct Provision


Direct Provision is the current system of accommodating asylum seekers in Ireland. Asylum seekers are housed in residential institutions known as Direct Provision centres across the country, with 32 centres in total. Direct Provision is intended to provide for the basic needs of asylum seekers as their asylum applications are being processed.


  • The average length of stay in Direct Provision is more than four years, with many having spent up to 10 or 12 years living in these conditions;
  • Three meals are provided at set times each day – residents have no right to cook for themselves;
  • Residents live in shared accommodation, with some sharing rooms with up to eight people of different backgrounds and nationalities.
  • An allowance of €21.60 is provided on a weekly basis.
  • Asylum seekers have no right to work in Ireland – unlike most EU member states;
  • The standards of accommodation and living conditions vary widely from centre to centre – there are no national standards for Direct Provision centres;
  • The majority of Direct Provision centres are managed by private contractors on a for-profit basis, on behalf of the State.
  • Physical and mental health issues among residents are very common. Asylum seekers are 5 times more likely to experience mental health issues and psychiatric conditions.
  • Children have been born and raised living in these conditions, the long-term effects of which are still unknown.


There are approximately 4,500 asylum seekers living in 32 Direct Provision centres across Ireland, including approximately 1,500 children. In the Limerick area, there are nearly 400 asylum seekers living in four Direct Provision centre’s, including approximately 50 are children.

To view monthly and annual statistics on Direct Provision, please visit the Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) website:

RIA Statistics

Direct Provision was designed as short-term accommodation but many asylum applicants experience lengthy stays, which is associated with declining physical and mental health. The current system creates barriers to integration and results in social exclusion. Asylum seekers are not entitled to work, thus being forced to rely on the State and further hindering integration while compounding mental health issues.


Adult weekly allowance for people living in Direct Provision

4 years

Average length of time people live in Direct Provision

X5 mental health

Asylum seekers are five times more likely to develop mental health & psychiatric issues


Ireland is one of only two of the 28 EU member states to have opted out of the EU ‘Reception Directive’ which sets out minimum standards of reception conditions for asylum applicants, including access to the labour market and vocational training six months after making their application.

A recent Supreme Court judgement found Ireland’s complete ban on employment for asylum seeker’s to be unconstitutional. In response to this judgement, Ireland has promised to opt-in to this Directive in 2018, which will bring Ireland in-line with other EU member States.

To read more about the EU Directive and Minimum Standards for Reception Conditions, visit the EU Commission website



In June 2015, following extensive advocacy efforts, the Government published the McMahon report, which comprised 173 recommendations for reform of the protection process including Direct Provision and supports to asylum seekers.

Visit Progress on McMahon Report Recommendations for details on the reform process to date.


Doras Luimní has been campaigning for change to the asylum system since our establishment in the year 2000: the year the Direct Provision system was introduced. The key issues on which advocate include:

End current system of accommodating asylum seekers, known as Direct Provision.

Transparent decision-making

Improved legal support for people making asylum applications

Independent appeals and complaints mechanism

Right to work for asylum seekers.

Development of not-for-profit reception system that respects human rights principles.



Doras Luimní established a community campaign group ‘End Direct Provision Limerick’, in September 2014, which comprises residents of the four Direct Provision centres in the Limerick region and concerned individuals, activists and academics in Limerick with an interest in the issue.


Doras Luimní and the Irish Refugee Council launched a proposal to clear the asylum backlog in December 2014. The proposal calls on the Minister for Justice to grant permission to live in Ireland to various categories of people who have been trapped in Direct Provision as a result of the failed asylum system in Ireland.


Doras Luimní carried out a public awareness campaign entitled Invisible Children, in conjunction with the Irish Refugee Council, to highlight the impact on children of growing up in asylum seekers accommodation. The installation replicates a typical family room in Direct Provision.


Sign up for our e-bulletins