More than 20 Oireachtas members have signed a letter calling on the Government to publish the annual number of deaths in the Direct Provision system.

The letter to the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Children and Equality describes the "secrecy" around the Direct Provision system as "concerning".

It notes that following a recent written question to the Department of Children and Equality, the Government confirmed it does not keep records or statistics on the number of deaths within the Direct Provision system.

The letter said it makes "no sense" that the department is not recording deaths, if the human rights of asylum seekers are to be protected.

It said many TDs and Senators have been contacted by people within the system and reports of people taking their own lives, poor living conditions and hunger strikes "are the order of the day".

The letter, which has been signed by 15 opposition TDs and eight Senators, was written by Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín.

Those who have put their names to the correspondence include Independent TDs Catherine Connolly, Mattie McGrath, Marian Harkin, Joan Collins, Cathal Berry, Carol Nolan, Thomas Pringle and Sean Canney.

Deputies Richard Boyd Barrett, Bríd Smith and Gino Kenny of People Before Profit have signed as have the Social Democrats TDs Gary Gannon and Cian O'Callaghan.

Deputy Pa Daly signed on behalf of all Sinn Féin TDs and Senators.

The Independent Senators Victor Boyhan, Frances Black, David Norris, Gerard Craughwell, Eileen Flynn, Rónán Mullen and Lynn Ruane, and Labour Senator Annie Hoey, have also signed Mr Tóibín's letter.

The names of five Aontú councillors are also included.

Deputy Tóibín described the "secrecy" around the system as "unhelpful" and has urged the Government to give the letter serious consideration.