What is Direct Provision?

Direct provision is a State-funded system providing food and shelter for people seeking international protection in Ireland while their applications are being processed. It was established in 2000 as a temporary measure to deal with big increases in the numbers of applicants. 

As of June 2022 11,689 people, including nearly 2,800 children, are currently living in direct provision.. The majority of residents in centres come from Pakistan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Albania, Malawi, South Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Syria. Another 84 nationalities are also represented in the centres.

What do asylum seekers live on?

Adults receive a personal allowance of €38.80 per week. Children receive an allowance of €29.80 per week. The weekly allowance was raised from €19.10 for adults and €15.60 for children in August 2017.

Time spent in the system

Residents were spending an average of 23 months in direct provision by the end of December 2017. In 2019 this figure had reduced but over a third spent two or more years in the system.


Some centres, like Mosney in Co Meath, have fully self-catering accommodation where residents can cook their own meals. Other centres have more limited cooking facilities where residents can cook on hobs in a communal area. The remainder of centres provide canteen style food.

Physical Exercise

Some of the centres have very limited exercise equipment inside and/or outside the main buildings. Most asylum seekers do not partake in any organised sport or physical activity though they will spend much of their day walking to save money on transport costs.

Ability to work

In 2017 the Supreme Court found that the ban on those in direct provision seeking work was unconstitutional. Now work permits are granted to some asylum seekers.

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