The system of direct provision was introduced to Ireland in 1999. Protection applicants (people seeking asylum in Ireland) are provided with accommodation, usually in large, congregated settings such as former boarding schools, convents, guesthouses and hotels. Almost all of these centres are privately-owned and all are privately run and generate huge profits for the companies who run them.
In 2021, there were about 7,000 people living in direct provision accommodation (including the initial reception centre, direct provision centres and emergency centres) across Ireland. Almost 1,700 of those were children.
In 2023, around 20,000 people are living in these centres. Over 4,000 of those are children.
Many residents do not have access to any cooking facilities. Single people commonly share a room with several strangers and entire families may share one room.
When direct provision was first introduced the then Minister for Justice said that people would stay no longer than 6 months in the system.