A legal rights organisation has recommended that the system of direct provision of accommodation for asylum seekers should be radically reformed.

The Free Legal Advice Centre also said the system - originally intended to be a short-term measure - does not deliver value for money and needs to be overhauled.

The Department of Justice has defended the direct provision system, saying Ireland is among the top countries in Europe when it comes to how well it treats asylum seekers.

When those seeking asylum come to Ireland from abroad their applications can take years to process.

While they are waiting for their case to be heard, asylum seekers are dispersed around the country and housed on a full-board basis.

They are also given €19.60 per week to meet all other needs - the system is called direct provision.

FLAC says the weekly payment of just under €20 has not increased in ten years, that some of the food is not up to standard and that accommodation can be overcrowded.