Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 9, inclusive, answered orally.

Programme for Government.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

10 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date with regard to implementation of those sections of the Programme for Government under the headings community payback, parental responsibility and anti-social behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46732/08]

A community service order requires an offender to perform unpaid work for between 40 and 240 hours, usually to be completed within 12 months. The aim of a community service order is to rehabilitate the offender and bring about meaningful reparation to the community for his or her crime. The Probation Service of my Department has responsibility for the supervision and management of these orders.

The Programme for Government provides for a community pay back scheme. It is intended that this will build on the community service scheme, which is currently the subject of a value for money and policy review by an independent evaluator. The review, which is nearing completion, will influence how best to progress this aspect of the Programme for Government.

The Children Act 2001, as amended, provides for a number of measures in relation to parental responsibility in respect of children involved in anti-social behaviour and children found guilty of offences. The imposition of any particular sanction provided for by the Act on the parents or guardians of an offending child is a matter for the courts. The National Youth Justice Strategy 2008-2010 provides for the monitoring of the use of the anti-social behaviour measures in the Act. This will be progressed during the term of the Strategy in the context of the commitment in the Programme for Government.

Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority for both An Garda Síochána and my Department. The commitments relating to such behaviour in the Programme for Government were intended to be implemented over the lifetime of the Government and are currently being addressed with a view to their implementation, in co-operation with other Departments and agencies as necessary, within that time period, in the context of the resources available.

Departmental Agencies.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

11 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding contacts he has had with the Equality Authority regarding difficulties they will face as a result of his decision to cut their budget by 42% for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46749/08]

Pat Breen

Question:

12 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his vision for the future of the Equality Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47127/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 12 together.

I have already dealt with many of the issues raised by the Deputies in my earlier reply to Question No. 2.

As I said since it became fully operational in 1999 over 45 million euro has been provided by the State for the activities of the Equality Authority alone. In total, in the last five years my Department alone has spent €127 million on equality and disability issues. By any objective analysis, that is a clear statement of the Government's strong commitment to building an inclusive society rooted in the principles of equality of opportunity and fairness for all.

A robust and effective equality infrastructure has been developed in this country over the last number of years. The Government will continue to strengthen this infrastructure so that persons who do experience discrimination and inequality can continue to exercise, without impediment, their constitutional rights. This is why I ensured additional funding of €340,000, an increase of 15%, will be provided to the Equality Tribunal in 2009 — the Body which actually adjudicates on individual claims of inequality. The additional support the Government is provided to the Tribunal reflects the priority which I believe should be given to persons who have a grievance in this respect.

The total budget for State equality bodies in 2009 is almost €7.5m. In the times we are in, that is a significant sum of money. When account is taken of all equality issues including disability, integration, gender based violence as well as human rights, the budget for next year is €25.5m. If proof is needed of my commitment and that of the Government to making Ireland a more equal place, then I would suggest you hardly need to look further than that.

As to contacts I have had with the Equality Authority, most recently, I met the representatives of the Authority last week at which they put forward a "Management Plan". Under the Plan the Authority wanted to retain current staffing levels at 53. They also wanted the Department, out of its own budget, to put forward extra non-pay expenditure of €0.7m. In total the Authority wanted a minimum allocation of €4m compared to the allocation of €3.33m announced by the Government. For the reasons I have mentioned — allowing for the Exchequer position, the clear need for economies and the establishment of priorities in my Department — I did not support the Authority's claims for more money in 2009. At any rate, that money is simply not there.

That the Chief Executive and one member of the Authority (Therese Murphy) should decide to resign from the Authority at this time is, of course, regrettable. I do not as Minister shares their views about the continued viability of the Authority. The Authority, based in Roscrea in new headquarters and staffed by the full complement of persons committed to being there will, I am satisfied, continue to be vibrant and effective.

I have said I accept that 2009 will be a difficult year for the Equality Authority and indeed other agencies in the Justice area. However, I am satisfied that the Authority can fulfil its core functions within the allotted financial envelope. I welcome the Board's statement in this regard and its stated commitment and determination to continue work effectively and independently for the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equality on our society.

Firearms Licences.

Joe Costello

Question:

13 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of licensed handguns in respect of each year from 2002 to date in 2008; the number of licensed handguns that were reported as stolen; the number of such stolen guns that were subsequently used in crimes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46740/08]

The Deputy will be aware that prior to 2004 there was ade facto ban on handguns in this jurisdiction. However, I understand from the Garda Authorities that records indicate approximately 1,800 handguns have been licensed since the beginning of 2004 and that 31 have been stolen in that period. I am further advised that stolen firearms are used in the course of the commission of other criminal offences but, because not all stolen firearms or firearms used in the commission of offences are recovered, it is not possible to say precisely how many formerly legally held handguns have been used in criminal offences.

As I have stated on a number of occasions I am concerned with the situation we now find ourselves in following the growth in the licensing of hand guns over the past few years. We now have these 1,800 handguns licensed, and not as a result of a considered or deliberate public policy decision. As Mr. Justice Charleton said in a recent judgement the public is entitled to feel alarmed at the proliferation of handguns. I am not going to permit the growth of a ‘handgun' culture. It was against this background that I recently announced my proposals for reform in this area, which include a ban on issuing new licenses for handguns and a strict regime for renewal of existing licenses, with limited exceptions made in relation to Olympic sports.

The House may note the recent endorsement of these proposals by the Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate who draws on her own considerable experience of policing in the United States. She has recently been quoted as saying that a lot of guns used in the commission of crime in the States are guns that have been stolen from their rightful owners. We must have controls in place to prevent the same thing happening here. My proposals will be reflected in the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which I will be publishing early in the new year.

It is important to say that my proposals in relation to handguns will not impinge directly on the activities of the vast majority of licensed firearms holders. I recognise that those firearms holders pursue their legitimate interests in a law abiding way and am anxious to have a well regulated sector in which those interests can be successfully pursued, in co-operation with the relevant authorities. But the reality is specific issues arise from the inherent nature of firearms.

Garda Proceedings.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

14 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take to ensure the recommendations contained in reports of the Garda Ombudsman Commission on investigations are acted upon by An Garda Síochána and the Garda Commissioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46745/08]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 sets out the duties and responsibilities of the Garda Commissioner in the direction and control of the Force and of the Garda Ombudsman Commission in the investigation of complaints.

Where the Garda Ombudsman Commission investigates a complaint or any other matter, it must include in its report to the Garda Commissioner a statement of the facts established, a recommendation about whether or not disciplinary proceedings should be instituted, the reasons for that recommendation and, if proceedings are recommended, the particulars relating to the proceedings that the Ombudsman Commission considers appropriate. Any such disciplinary proceedings will be taken under fair but effective disciplinary regulations made in 2007. These regulations addressed weaknesses in the previous disciplinary system identified by the findings of the Morris Tribunal. The Ombudsman Commission must be notified by the Garda Commissioner of the outcome of any proceedings.

In at least one recent case, the Ombudsman Commission also made general procedural recommendations to the Garda Commissioner which are being actively pursued.

The Ombudsman Commission may also make recommendations in its annual report or in other specific reports to me as Minister, and every such report is laid before the Houses. It is of course open to the Ombudsman Commission to express any views it may have on the responses made to its recommendations, whether specific or general. Any such views would clearly deserve and require the most careful consideration.

Garda Strength.

Bernard Allen

Question:

15 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on introducing a special grade for community Gardaí with opportunities for promotion under a new organisational structure in order to strengthen and encourage a significant increase in the numbers of community Gardaí working in communities here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47121/08]

The number of Community Gardaí has grown significantly in recent years. The total personnel strength attached to Community Policing at the 30th of November 2008 was 689, up from 452 at the end of 2005. That is an increase of 237, or 52%.

While these dedicated Community Gardaí carry out valuable specific duties in the community, it is important to appreciate that this supplements rather than supplants the efforts of all Gardaí in their work in the community. Community policing is at the heart of the work of the Garda Síochána and has been so from its foundation. Community policing in its broadest sense is the responsibility of every member of the Force, and I therefore do not believe that the case has been made for the creation of a special grading and promotion system. Indeed, there is a danger that such a discrete system, which could have the unintended effect of separating out community duties from general duties, could undermine the forcewide dedication to community policing.

In its report "Policing in Ireland — looking Forward" the Garda Inspectorate stated—

"The Inspectorate believes, however, that community policing should be more than a separate unit or operation within a police service. It must be the fundamental policing philosophy at the core of the organisation".

This is a view which I fully endorse. I know that the Commissioner places the highest value on the close links between the Garda Síochána and the community it serves, and I am sure that this will be reflected in the work currently under way in the Force in developing a new national model of community policing.

Bail Law.

Deirdre Clune

Question:

16 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will propose legislative amendments to the Bail Act 1997; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47140/08]

The operation of the bail laws in force is kept under review.

The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution allows for bail to be refused to a person charged with a serious offence, where it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent the commission of a serious offence by that person.

The Bail Act 1997 gave effect to this Amendment and also tightened up the bail regime generally.

The Criminal Justice Act 1984 provides for mandatory consecutive sentences to apply where a person is convicted of an offence committed while on bail. In addition, the law provides that the fact that an offence was committed while on bail must be treated as an aggravating factor at sentencing and that the court shall impose a sentence that is greater than that which would have been imposed otherwise, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The Criminal Justice Act 2007 amended the 1997 Act and other statutes governing the law on bail with the aim of facilitating a stronger challenge by the prosecution to applications for bail by persons charged with serious offences and of further improving decision making by the courts.

These stringent provisions include a requirement that applicants for bail may have to provide a statement of their means, their previous criminal record and details of any offences committed while previously on bail. The Act also provides that a Garda Superintendent may give an opinion that bail should be refused on the grounds that the applicant is likely to commit a serious offence if granted bail. The prosecution authorities are also given the right to appeal against decisions to grant bail or, where it is granted, the conditions attaching to it.

The Agreed Programme for Government includes a commitment to conduct a formal annual review of the new measures in relation to bail introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 2007. The issue of establishing a formal review mechanism will be addressed when the provisions have been in force for a sufficient period to enable trends to be meaningfully assessed.

National Disability Strategy.

David Stanton

Question:

17 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 992 of 24 September 2008, if the strategic document outlining the vision, mission and objectives of the National Disability Strategy as detailed in Towards 2016 has been finalised; when he will publish same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47093/08]

Work on the document committed to in Towards 2016 to outline the vision, mission and objectives of the National Disability Strategy continues under a high-level inter-departmental group in consultation with the Disability Stakeholders Group. The document will be finalised as early as possible in the New Year.

Departmental Agencies.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

18 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding contacts he has had with the Human Rights Commission regarding difficulties it will face as a result of his decision to cut their budget by 24% for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46748/08]

As I indicated in my contribution to the budget debate I decided that the main priority in the Justice area in 2009 will be tackling crime. In that regard, decisions about funding reflect that priority with the result that in a small number of areas budgets have been reduced significantly. Moreover, in line with Government policies generally I have asked all bodies to substantially reduce their spending on consultants, advertising, promotional activities and other non-core items.

I met recently with the President and CEO of the Commission to discuss their financial situation and my Department is, of course, available to assist them in every practical way possible. I consider that there is sufficient funding provided to enable them to discharge their core functions. I would also remind the Deputy that the Human Rights Commission was, this month, awarded a supplementary estimate of €250,000 in order to assist them in discharging outstanding bills and expenses for 2008.

Both the Commission and the Equality Authority, the other body with which they are to integrate facilities with, currently operate from separate Dublin city-centre office premises which have a cumulative per annum rental cost of over 800,000 euro. I firmly believe that significant efficiencies and savings can be realised by both bodies — and possibly others as well — sharing office facilities.

I can also state that I am prepared to agree at this stage that these savings may be used by both of the bodies in question to supplement their budgets in meeting the costs of discharging their core functions. I want to emphasise that this does not mean an increase in the published budget of either body and neither does it mean that the savings in question can be used for advertising or any other public relations type activities. In other words, I do not propose to redistribute the savings to meet other expenditure requirements across my Vote Group.

Garda Strength.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

19 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the strength of An Garda Síochána at the latest date for which figures are available broken down by full members, those who have attested but not yet concluded their training, those in training, the expected number that will be recruited during 2009 and the total anticipated numbers at each above category at the end of 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46750/08]

Mary Upton

Question:

69 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans for recruitment to An Garda Síochána during 2009; the number of new recruits who will be accepted per quarter during 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46777/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 69 together.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the attested personnel strength of An Garda Síochána on 30 November 2008, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 14,445. In addition, on that date there were 945 student Gardaí in training who have yet to be attested. This means that, after allowing for anticipated retirements, there will be a significant net increase in 2009 in the attested strength of the Force.

The most recent intake of Garda students was last month, when 100 students were taken into the Garda College. A similar intake is planned for in February 2009. Calculations on the scale of future intakes will be made closer to the relevant time taking into account wider Government policy on the public service.

Commissions of Investigation.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

20 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date with regard to the implementation of the recommendations of the Report of the Commission of Investigation into a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46756/08]

The Report of the Commission of Investigation into the Dean Lyons case offered a thorough independent analysis of the facts surrounding the false confession made by Dean Lyons based on the evidence of all relevant witnesses. It concluded that there was no deliberate attempt to undermine the rights of Dean Lyons. At page 12 of his Report Mr Birmingham (now Judge Birmingham) makes it clear that the Commission had no role in making recommendations on future safeguards and procedures. Instead an Expert Group was established by the then Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform for that purpose.

The Group will be reporting on the adequacy of Garda training, protocols, regulations and procedures, in assessing the fitness of persons to be interviewed and on the recording of any bona fide reservations of an individual member of a Garda investigation team as to the truthfulness or accuracy of self — incriminating statements. As has been indicated in this House previously the Group took time to allow it to comprehend the work associated with the Sixth report of the Morris Tribunal which, as Deputies will be aware, dealt extensively with the question of detention of vulnerable suspects. The Group is now considering that Report with a view to finalising its work.

Garda Stations.

Martin Ferris

Question:

21 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the sub-standard and insufficient nature of the accommodation available to the Garda Water Support Unit in Athlone, the unnecessary hardship this causes for officers and that expensive equipment is exposed to excessive wear and tear as a result; if he has discussed the matter with the Garda Commissioner; and the steps that will be taken to address the matter. [46622/08]

The Garda Water Unit is a national Unit based in Santry Garda Station and Athlone Garda Station.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are currently liaising with the Office of Public Works to identify suitable accommodation and storage facilities in Athlone for the members of the Garda Water Unit and their equipment, vessels and vehicles. A property has been identified as being suitable to meet these needs in the long term.

I am further informed that, in the interim, Garda management, in collaboration with the OPW, is providing significant additional accommodation in Athlone adjacent to the existing Garda station. While it is a matter for local management in the first instance to decide how the operational units of Athlone Garda Station are deployed within the additional accommodation, the expansion in accommodation should provide an immediate improvement in respect of accommodation for the Garda Water Unit on a temporary basis.

Garda Complaints.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

22 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the report of the Garda Ombudsman Commission following the death of a person (details supplied); the steps he will take to ensure the report, which has been forwarded to the Garda Commissioner is acted upon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46746/08]

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

64 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps that have been taken in respect of the report of the Garda Ombudsman Commission following the death of a person (details supplied) and in particular the recommendations in the report that require action by An Garda Síochána or the Garda Commissioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46743/08]

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

65 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take to ensure monitoring of PULSE to ensure members of An Garda Síochána adhere to their legal and disciplinary obligations in regards to its proper use; if audit-trails of the usage of PULSE and other official systems can always be accurate and verifiable, as recommended by the Garda Ombudsman Commission following the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46744/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 64 and 65 together.

The report and recommendations referred to relate to the alleged leaking of official material from Garda sources to the media relating to a deceased person. The full text of the Ombudsman Commission's report in relation to this matter is available on its website.

The report recommends to the Garda Commissioner that supervisory ranks of An Garda Síochána should regularly monitor the use of PULSE to ensure that members adhere to their legal and disciplinary obligations with regard to its proper use. The Ombudsman Commission also recommends that suitable measures be put in place by the Garda authorities to ensure audit trails of the usage of PULSE and any other official information systems can always be accurate and verifiable.

With regard to Pulse, An Garda Síochána have detailed procedures and instructions in place on the operation of the Pulse system. The Pulse system incorporates an accurate audit system which records all record creations and updates made on the system. The audit record includes the date and time when the update on the system took place and contains details of the user signed onto the system at that time. Audit-trails also record all inquires made on the core items of interest on the PULSE system including Person and Vehicle. Audit records are written at the time the associated transaction took place. These audit records can only be accessed centrally and are not available or visible to the users.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the recommendations included in the report of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission are being examined.

Crime Prevention.

John Deasy

Question:

23 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cross-departmental strategy which exists in relation to tackling anti-social behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47147/08]

Frank Feighan

Question:

42 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the actions he has taken since taking office to address the problem of anti-social behaviour in communities here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47157/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 23 and 42 together.

One of the policing priorities set for An Garda Síochána for 2008 under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 is to combat, particularly in co-operation with other agencies and the community generally, the problems of public disorder with a particular emphasis being placed on alcohol related behaviour (including under age drinking) and socially disadvantaged communities. Public order maintenance is also one of the priorities I have set for An Garda Síochána in 2009.

Public disorder is an issue where co-operation between the Gardaí and the local community is vital. That is why I am proceeding with the nationwide roll out of the joint policing committees, following their successful pilot phase. These committees enable local authority representatives and officials and Gardaí, with the participation of Oireachtas members and community interests, to get together in a structured way to discuss matters affecting the policing of the area.

The Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) is an executive office of my Department working with the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. It is responsible for leading and driving reform in the youth justice area. The IYJS funds organisations and projects providing services, including Garda and Probation projects, to young people aged under 18 years who find themselves in conflict with the law.

The IYJS works in close co-operation with other Departments including Education and Science, Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and agencies including An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service, the Probation Service and the Health Service Executive. This is reflected in the development of the National Youth Justice Strategy 2008-2010 which focuses on children who have already had some contact with the criminal justice system. The aim of the Strategy is to provide a partnership approach among agencies working in the youth justice system.

Led by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the RAPID Programme targets 46 of the most disadvantaged areas in the country. The Programme requires Government Departments and State agencies to bring about better co-ordination and closer integration in the delivery of services to these areas. The Programme is structured around seven themes, one of which is crime and community safety. An Garda Síochána are leading the development of a local strategy and implementation plan for each area, the aim of which is to deliver targeted actions to improve community safety and tackle anti-social behaviour. My Department contributes to these aims, for example through the provision of funding for community based CCTV schemes.

The Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme, operated by Garda Juvenile Liaison Officers, has proved to be highly successful in diverting young persons away from crime by offering guidance and support to juveniles and their families. It also enables referral to the Garda Youth Diversion Projects which are community-based, multi-agency crime prevention initiatives operating separately from the Diversion Programme. There are currently 100 of these projects operating in various locations throughout the country.

Strong provisions are in place to combat anti-social behaviour. The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 modernised the law in this regard. In addition, the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003 contains provisions to deal with alcohol abuse, which is often at the root of crime and anti-social behaviour, and its effect on public order, and the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003 provides the Garda with powers to deal with late night street violence and anti-social conduct attributable to excessive drinking.

The Criminal Justice Act 2006 brought into force additional legislation to target public disorder and anti-social behaviour. In January, 2007 behaviour warnings and civil orders were introduced for adults, and in March, 2007 behaviour warnings, good behaviour contracts and behaviour orders were introduced for children.

The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008, enacted last July, gives further powers to the Gardaí to tackle the misuse of alcohol. The Act places restrictions on the availability and visibility of alcohol and provides for more effective enforcement to deal with the consequences of alcohol abuse. The Gardaí may seize any bottle or container from a person under the age of 18 and which a Garda suspects contains alcohol to be consumed by a person under 18 in a public place. They may also seize bottles or containers containing alcohol where there is a reasonable apprehension of public disorder or damage to property and require a person to leave the place concerned in a peaceable and orderly manner. The Act also allows for the issue of fixed charge notices for the offences of intoxication in a public place and disorderly conduct in a public place, which are offences under sections 4 and 5 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994.

Firearms Licences.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

24 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of handguns that have been reported as stolen each year for the years 2004 to date in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47137/08]

John Deasy

Question:

43 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his proposals in respect of prohibiting handguns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47148/08]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

54 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his legislative and action based plans to clamp down on the growing prevalence of firearms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46624/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 24, 43 and 54 together.

The Garda Commissioner informs me that 31 legally held handguns have been stolen since the start of 2004. The breakdown by year is as follows:

Year

Handguns recorded as stolen

2008

4

2007

6

2006

11

2005

7

2004

3

*Figures provided are provisional/operational and liable to change.

As the Deputy is aware, for over 30 years prior to 2004, it was policy not to license handguns in this jurisdiction. Following a series of judicial decisions, that is no longer the case and approx. 1,800 handguns have been licensed since then.

Since my appointment I have expressed concern at the number of handguns which have been licensed here in recent years. I am aware that the vast majority of licensed firearms holders pursue their interests legitimately. I am conscious too that many of them deeply resent any connection that is made to the issue of licensed handguns in the context of our crime problem. But as Justice Minister I cannot avoid the reality that the overall number of weapons in circulation and the type of those weapons can add to a gun culture. Indeed the issue of handguns was highlighted by Mr Justice Peter Charleton in a judgement during the summer when he said that a reasonable person is entitled to feel alarmed at the proliferation of handguns.

My proposals for reform in this area include a ban on issuing new licences for handguns, although there will be limited exceptions in relation to Olympic sports. Those who have licences already can, when they are due for renewal, apply to have them renewed under a new licensing procedure where the safety of the community will be paramount. Together with the Garda Commissioner I will keep under annual review the outcome of the licensing procedure and, if the outcome leaves a situation which still poses an unacceptable risk to the community, will use new powers to ban particular types of firearm.

These proposals will be given legislative form in the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which I will be publishing early in the new year.

The House may note the recent endorsement of these proposals by the Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate who draws on her own considerable experience of policing in the United States. She has recently been quoted as saying that a lot of guns used in the commission of crime in the States are guns that have been stolen from their rightful owners. We must have controls in place to prevent the same thing happening here.

As to illegally held firearms — however obtained — members from all sides of the House will agree that a priority of the criminal justice system is to rid society of illegal weapons. This objective has been at the core of Operation Anvil since it was established in 2005. Under that Operation up to 30 November, 2008 over 1,200 firearms have been recovered in Dublin and almost 1,000 in the rest of the country. The Gardaí will continue to address the issue of illegal guns relentlessly.

It should be noted that a wide range of provisions to combat gun crime were introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 2006. That Act introduced mandatory minimum sentences of between five and ten years for certain firearms offences, including possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, possession of a firearm with criminal intent, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of a firearm while hijacking a vehicle, use of a firearm to resist arrest and a new offence of altering a firearm.

Detention Centres.

Brian Hayes

Question:

25 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position with regard to the development of the proposed new national child detention facility for young offenders at Lusk, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47162/08]

In March 2008, the Government approved the development of new national children detention facilities on the Oberstown campus near Lusk, Co. Dublin. Planning for the development is underway and a design team from the Office of Public Works has been assembled to advise on architectural, construction and engineering matters to deliver high quality designs and to manage the construction of modern, state of the art facilities.

The development will increase the accommodation capacity in the detention school service from 77 to 167 places and will be required to be carried out in phases to ensure that the existing facilities continue to operate and make detention places available to the Courts until the new accommodation is available. The timeframe for the construction of phase 1 which will provide 80 new build detention places is the end of 2012.

The cost involved for the project will be met from National Development Plan/Exchequer sources and adequate capital provision to progress this project has been made in the 2009 Estimates.

Departmental Agencies.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

26 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the work of the Equality Authority since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47132/08]

I refer the Deputy to my response to Question No. 2 of the 18 December 2008. I have nothing further to add to the details of that reply.

Court Awards.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

27 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount paid out in compensation or legal costs arising from claims against members of the Gardaí in respect of assault, illegal arrest and other reasons for each year from 2002 to date in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46766/08]

The information requested by the Deputy concerning the amounts paid out in Court awards and out of court settlements in relation to actions taken against members of An Garda Síochána relating to assault, unlawful arrest or other breaches of citizens' rights is set out in the table below.

Actions taken by Civilians against Gardai

The number of cases settled/or awards made by the Courts are shown in brackets

Year

Category of payment

Assault

UnlawfulArrest

Other

Overall Total

2002

Awards

€1,270(1)

€3,809.21(1)

€56,500(2)

Settlements

€166,924.48(6)

€106,835.58(10)

€185,078.82(11)

Costs

€230,769.67

€148,714.19

€340,486.45

Total

€398,964.15

€259,358.98

€582,065.27

€1,240,388.40

2003

Awards

€11,000(1)

€10,000(2)

€4,870(2)

Settlements

€75,000(4)

€303,011(5)

€112,814.84(4)

Costs

€145,561.70

€71,794.28

€542,075.73

Total

€231,561.70

€384,805.28

€659,760.57

€1,276,127.55

2004

Awards

€15,000(1)

Nil

€3,215.06(1)

Settlements

€198,697.48(5)

€73,007(5)

€50,500(3)

Costs

€231,646.62

€100,019.36

€266,713.57

Total

€445,344.10

€173,026.36

€320,428.63

€938,799.09

2005

Awards

€1,000.00(1)

€2,025,321.00(3)

€85,125.00(2)

Settlements

€130,250.00(7)

€1,569,114.00(9)

€58,000(2)

Costs

€137,447.90(10)

€658,508.78(10)

€205,466.85(15)

Total

€268,697.90

€4,252,943.78

€348,591.85

€4,870,233.53

2006

Awards

€18,076.32(1)

€41,443.80(3)

Nil

Settlements

€386,200.00(17)

€622,000(15)

€606,500.00(8)

Costs

€187,797.28(11)

€60,983.61(10)

€28,983.93(3)

Total

€592,073.60

€724,427.41

€635,483.93

€1,951,984.94

2007 (Provisional)

Awards

€97,500.00(2)

Nil

€5,246,047.00(4)

Settlements

€238,000.00(8)

€1,297,000.00(10)

€4,451,000.00(34)

Costs

€485,944.95(10)

€1,488,193.20(9)

€1,125,597.19(29)

Total

€821,444.95

€2,785,193.20

€10,822,644.19

€14,429,282.34

2008 (Provisional) to 08/12/08

Awards

€12,500(1)

€5,500(1)

€12,500(1)

Settlements

€505,000(15)

€56,024.34(6)

€273,157.58(18)

Costs

€816,847.70(15)

€650,968.42(14)

€1,943,853.08(27)

Total

€1,334,347.70

€712,492.76

€2,229,510.66

€4,276,351.12

Legislative Programme.

Damien English

Question:

28 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress he has made since being appointed Minister in respect of the establishment of a judicial council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47153/08]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 341 on 18 November 2008.

Criminal Prosecutions.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

29 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of cases of murder in which firearms were used in respect of each year from 1998 to date in 2008; the number of such cases in which prosecutions for murder were initiated; the number of such cases in which convictions were secured; if he is satisfied with the level of detection and conviction in such cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46761/08]

The following table contains the number of cases of murder recorded in which firearms were used, the number of prosecutions initiated and the number of convictions secured in each year from 1998 to 2007 and to date in 2008. Figures provided for 2008 are provisional, operational and liable to change.

One of the main priorities I have set for An Garda Síochána in 2009 is to target gun crime, organised crime and drug related crime through a range of measures, including the use of the Garda specialist units and targeted operations such as Operation Anvil.

An Garda Síochána meet this task by strategic actions, including in particular continuous and intensive intelligence led operations against groups and individuals engaged in such illegal activity. Available intelligence is fully analysed and used in the strategic deployment of both local and specialised operational Garda units in targeting persons and groups. It is used in carrying out searches and arrests aimed at both preventing attacks and apprehending persons suspected of being involved in such attacks. Profiles regarding the personnel of organised criminal gangs are continually updated.

The Garda Commissioner has established, on a permanent basis, the Organised Crime Unit, with the specific objective of targeting those suspected of involvement in organised crime, including drug trafficking, importation, sale and supply. Similar operations are undertaken by Garda specialist units, including the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Drugs Unit and the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Operation Anvil commenced in the Dublin Metropolitan Region in 2005 to deal with this type of serious crime and was extended nationwide in 2006. The primary focus of the Operation is the targeting of active criminals and their associates involved in serious crime by preventing and disrupting their criminal activity through extensive additional overt patrolling and static checkpoints by uniform, mobile and foot patrols, supported by armed plain clothes patrols. Under Operation Anvil up to the end of November, approximately 1,200 firearms have been recovered in Dublin and 1,000 in the rest of the country.

At a time when the public finances are under pressure, I will ensure that top priority will continue to be given to frontline policing. Funding for Operation Anvil will increase in 2009 from €20 million to €21 million to enable it to continue with targeted disruption of serious and organised criminal activity. Other key operations will be maintained through 2009, and any savings that have to be made will not be allowed to diminish frontline policing. There will also be a 20% (€1.5 million) increase next year in funding for the Criminal Assets Bureau. Overall, the Garda budget next year will be €1.589 million.

There can be considerable difficulties for the Gardaí in obtaining evidence in shootings which are the result of gangland activities. This arises not least because many such victims (where they survive the attack) and their associates will not co-operate with the Garda investigation. Nevertheless, the Gardaí are determined to pursue rigorously all killings, whatever their background. The detection rate for murders by its nature increases over time as Garda investigations progress. It is expected that in respect of each year the number of convictions obtained will increase as Garda investigations are concluded and the number of proceedings commenced are finalised by the courts. This applies particularly to murders committed in the most recent years. In addition, directions may be received from the Law Officers to charge persons arrested in connection with such incidents with offences other than murder. Furthermore such persons charged and brought before the courts may be convicted of offences other than murder.

The number of murders recorded in which a firearm was used, proceedings commenced and convictions

Year

Recorded

Proceedings Commenced

Convictions

2008*

21

5

0

2007

18

5

0

2006

26

6

2

2005

22

3

2

2004

8

5

5

2003

19

6

1

2002

10

4

3

2001

9

2

1

2000

12

4

1

1999

12

7

5

1998

4

2

1

*Figures provided for 2008 are to 18 December, 2008.

All figures are provisional and liable to change.

Statistics in respect of the years 2003-2007 are compiled by the Central Statistics Office.

Proposed Legislation.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

30 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for the failure to implement the 2005 EU Directive on money laundering by the deadline of December 2007; when the required legislation will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46739/08]

Legislation to give effect to Directive 2005/60/EC known as the 3rd EU Money Laundering Directive and the related Implementing Directive 2006/70/EC is being drafted at present. The proposed legislation will also take into account relevant recommendations arising from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) third mutual evaluation report (2006) on Ireland's measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

As the Deputy is no doubt aware Ireland already has effective anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing legislation in place as set out in the Criminal Justice Act 1994 and amended by the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 and the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005. The legislation which is now being prepared will update the current legislation and further strengthen the legal framework in place.

Due to the importance and relevance of this legislation to a wide range of stakeholders in the financial, commercial and other sectors, following Government approval in February to the drafting of this legislation, approval was also given to the publication on my Department's website of the General Scheme of the proposed Bill and for the initiation of a consultation process involving all interested parties. An extensive consultation process took place in which a wide range of bodies including representatives of the financial services sector participated and which has proved extremely useful in identifying and clarifying relevant issues. The proposed legislation is complex and as I have mentioned is of importance to a wide range of sectors.

I am also taking the opportunity through this Bill to repeal and consolidate the existing anti-money laundering provisions, an approach which will facilitate all bodies and agencies who operate in areas affected by this legislation.

I can assure the Deputy that priority is being given to the drafting of this Bill and my Department is working closely with both the Department of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General to expedite the completion of the Bill as soon as possible. I expect to be in a position to publish the Bill as early as possible in 2009.

Criminal Gangs.

Joe Costello

Question:

31 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if there are plans to house convicted criminals, who are members of criminal gangs in isolation units; when such units will be available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46741/08]

I wish to inform the Deputy that there are strategies in place to deal with criminal gangs in prisons. A number of recent initiatives have been introduced with a view to preventing identified gang leaders from conducting their business while in custody and also to prevent them exerting inappropriate influence over other persons.

A High Security Unit was opened in Cloverhill Prison in May 2007 and a number of serious drug and criminal gang members are now segregated from other prisoners, thus limiting the inappropriate influence they might otherwise have been able to exert. In addition, there are a number of high security prisoners detained in Portlaoise Prison, which has a constant army presence.

The new prison facilities at Thornton Hall will include a purpose designed high security facility capable of accommodating up to 40 prisoners in a safe, secure setting with appropriate support facilities. It is also intended that the proposed prison development at Kilworth, County Cork will have a high security unit and this is being provided for in the design brief for the new facility.

Other security initiatives have been introduced which make it more difficult for prisoners to engage in illegal activities while in prison. These initiatives include the introduction of passive drug dogs, the installation of airport style security including scanners, x-ray machines, etc., and the establishment of an Operational Support Group. A core function of this group is to gather and collate intelligence information on criminal gang members in our prisons and to carry out intelligence led searches on them.

Road Traffic Offences.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

32 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when it is intended to increase the Garda search powers, promised in the Programme for Government, in relation to drug crime along the lines of the new random breath-testing model for drink driving to allow random searches at particular, places, times and events when senior gardaí believe there is a risk of drugs being present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46765/08]

This matter is under consideration in my Department. Having regard to the sensitivity and complexity of the issues involved in any significant extension of search powers, including issues of constitutional importance, I am unable to say at this stage when proposals will be available.

Firearms Offences.

Tom Hayes

Question:

33 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of juveniles who came into conflict with the law for possession of firearms and knives in each of the years 2000 to 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47164/08]

The compilation of crime statistics is now the responsibility of the Central Statistics Office (CSO). This decision was taken following the submission of a report and recommendations by an expert group on crime statistics. The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for this and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for the purpose.

I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics related to the number of juveniles who come into conflict with the law for possession of firearms and knives to the Deputy. These statistics will cover the period 2003-2006. The 2007 statistics will be available at a later date.

Statistics prior to 2003 are available in the Garda annual reports which can be found on the Garda website (www.garda.ie).

Other information on this topic is available in the Diversion Programme Reports. I would like to inform the Deputy that the 2006 and 2007 Diversion Programme reports are being laid before the Oireachtas today. Copies of these documents will also be available shortly on the Irish Youth Justice Service website (www.iyjs.ie).

Translation Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

34 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether it is safe to rely on guarantees of a private company alone in relation to the standard and quality of interpreters it may provide to An Garda Síochána; and if he will introduce a register or accredited public service interpreters for use by the Garda, the courts and tribunals. [46621/08]

Since the mid 1990s Ireland had significant rates of net inward migration. The immigrant population comprises United Kingdom nationals who have been coming here for many years, nationals of European Economic Area countries who have in large part free movement entitlements, and persons from other countries. Obviously the language needs of such persons vary greatly depending on their individual circumstances. Because the provision of public services to immigrants is generally handled as part of the mainstream provision of service this poses challenges for all public service agencies — not just the Garda Siochana.

To that end, the Office of the Minister for Integration recently commissioned research in relation to interpreting and translating services. The research was published as a Report entitled "Developing Quality, Cost Effective Interpreting and Translation Services in Ireland" on 6 October 2008 and is available on The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism website, www.nccri.ie

The recommendations made include a recommendation that a register of accredited practitioners be developed which Government service providers would use. This recommendation and the other recommendations in the report will be considered by a sub-group of the Cross Departmental Group on Integration which was recently established by the Minister for Integration, Mr. Conor Lenihan. The Cross Departmental Group comprises senior civil servants from relevant Departments.

For its part, and to enable it to meet its current requirements, the Garda Síochána is currently undertaking an EU based procurement to put in place contracts for the provision of interpretation and translation services for the Force. As part of this process, emphasis has been placed on ensuring that appropriate quality assurance mechanisms are in place both in the initial selection of the service providers and in the ongoing monitoring of standards over the duration of the contracts. It is expected, subject to the finalisation of contracts, that the new services will be in place in the first quarter of next year.

Community Policing.

Willie Penrose

Question:

35 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received from the Garda Commissioner the report of the working group developing proposals for a comprehensive model of rural and urban community policing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46758/08]

Denis Naughten

Question:

48 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take to improve rural policing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40062/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 35 and 48 together.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the report of the Working Group on the National Model of Community Policing is being considered by Senior Garda Management. I look forward to seeing the proposals which emerge from the report.

The national strategies for Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert, both of which were launched in 2007, will also inform the organisation on how best to implement future crime prevention programmes and community policing programmes.

Proposed Legislation.

Joan Burton

Question:

36 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he expects to publish the Covert Surveillance Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46736/08]

Following the approval by the Government of my proposals and the publication of the General Scheme of the Bill on 18 November, 2008, the matter of the drafting of the BilI is now being dealt with by Parliamentary Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General.

I expect that the Bill will be published early in the new year and enacted as soon as possible.

Garda Investigations.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

37 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date with regard to the murder of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46734/08]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the murder of the person concerned is under active Garda investigation.

The Deputy will appreciate that as the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.

Garda Equipment.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

38 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in relation to non or less lethal weapons available to An Garda Síochána; the extent of such availability; and the extent of the training which is being provided in the use of such weapons. [46530/08]

There are three types of less lethal weapons currently used by members of An Garda Síochána. They are conductive electric devices, beanbag (impact projectile) and incapacitant spray. These less lethal weapons are currently available for use by members of the Emergency Response Unit and the Regional Support Unit. I am advised by the Garda authorities that members receive initial training in the use of these less lethal weapons and that they are required to undergo refresher training three times a year.

Following consultation with my cabinet colleagues, I recently approved the Garda Commissioner's proposal to issue incapacitant spray to all operational members of the Garda Síochána. It is anticipated that, following a procurement process, the spray will be rolled out to the organisation on a Garda Divisional basis in conjunction with the requisite training programme.

Garda Training.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

39 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the indoor firearms training range at Garda Headquarters in Phoenix Park Dublin was closed down because of ricochet and other problems; the reason there has been such a delay in bringing the firearms range up to standard; and the timetable proposed for such work. [46529/08]

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the firing range in Garda Headquarters was closed in December 2005 on a precautionary basis due to possible health and safety issues.

There has been considerable investment in training facilities over the past two years including the provision of two Prefabricated Modular Firearms ranges at the Garda College and in the Dublin Metropolitan region. These prefabricated ranges are newly designed products that facilitate live fire shooting for up to four persons in a carefully managed environment which adheres to all range safety requirements. In addition to these, the new Firearms Automated Training System (FATS) has also become operational. FATS does not involve the firing of live ammunition. The FATS system now represents 1/3 of the annual firearms refresher training for firearm card holders and has introduced judgemental training for the first time.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that there are sufficient resources and infrastructures in place to provide training for members of the Garda Síochána who are authorised to carry Firearms Authorisation Cards.

I am further advised by the Garda authorities that a feasibility study into the measures required to bring the firearms range located at Garda Headquarters up to the highest international standard has been carried out. This study is currently under consideration by the Garda Accommodation Programme Board in the context of the overall Garda accommodation strategy and priorities.

Criminal Offences.

Michael Creed

Question:

40 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will introduce legislative changes to deal with the prevalence of mobile phones within the prisoner population; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47144/08]

Section 36 of the Prisons Act 2007, which came into affect in May 2007, makes it an offence for a prisoner to have unauthorised possession of or use mobile telecommunications devices. Under the Act it is also an offence to supply such a device to a prisoner. The penalty for such an offence, on summary conviction, is a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, and on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.

Public Order Offences.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

41 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of persons, broken down between children and adults, given anti-social behaviour warnings since the new system came into operation on 1 January 2008; the number of anti-social behaviour orders sought in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46764/08]

Brian Hayes

Question:

204 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of anti-social behaviour orders deployed to date in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47506/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 41 and 204 together.

Part 11 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, which provides for civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by adults, was commenced on 1 January, 2007. Part 13 of the Act relating to anti-social behaviour by children was commenced on 1 March, 2007. These provisions set out an incremental procedure for addressing anti-social behaviour by adults and children. With regard to children, these range from a warning from a member of An Garda Síochána, to a good behaviour contract involving the child and his or her parents or guardian, to referral to the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme and to the making of a behaviour order by the Children's Court.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that from 1 January, 2007 to 30 November, 2008 922 behaviour warnings to adults and 601 behaviour warnings to children were issued. There have also been 12 formal good behaviour contracts, which are used only in the case of children, agreed.

I am further informed that from 1 January to 30 November, 2008 479 behaviour warnings were issued to adults and 469 to children. In the same period, eight formal good behaviour contracts, which are used only in the case of children, were agreed.

I am also informed that up to 30 November, 2008 there have been six applications made to the Courts for civil orders (adult) and behaviour orders (child) by members of An Garda Síochána. Three of these applications were successful resulting in two behaviour orders and one civil order being issued.

Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 23.
Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 24.

Garda Investigations.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

44 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received communication from the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission regarding a possible public interest inquiry into the circumstances in which serious drug charges against a person (details supplied) were dropped; if the internal Garda inquiry into the same affair has been concluded; if he has received a report from the gardaí on their inquiry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46752/08]

I informed the House previously that I received an interim report from the Garda Commissioner on a particular case involving a convicted drug dealer. An internal Garda inquiry is ongoing into the matter at present.

The House will also be aware that I agreed to a request from the Garda Commissioner that the interim report provided to me should be forwarded to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. The Ombudsman Commission has indicated that it has opened a public interest investigation in relation to the withdrawing of charges against an individual.

In the circumstances, I believe that it would not be appropriate for me to make any further comment about the case pending the outcome of that investigation. If action is required on my part as a result of that investigation then, of course, I will take it.

Garda Strength.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

45 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if, in regard to his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 71 of 13 November 2008, he will outline the nature of the issue with personnel resources that arose at the communications centre for the Dublin Metropolitan Region on 31 October 2008; the appropriate measures being put in place for the longer term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46775/08]

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that difficulties regarding reduced availability of personnel resulted in the dispatch function of the Communications Centre for certain Divisions in the Dublin Metropolitan Region being handed over to various Garda stations. This was brought to the attention of Garda management and steps have been taken to increase the number of personnel assigned to this centre to prevent a recurrence and to ensure that sufficient resources are available in future. At no time were any Garda patrol vehicles restricted or the radio system disabled during the period.

Crime Prevention.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

46 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action he proposes to take to combat the rise of criminal activity in all areas here with particular reference to tackling gun crime and the increasing use of illegally held weapons in homicides; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47120/08]

I must emphasise that I attach the highest priority to tackling organised and gun crime and bringing those involved in such activities to justice. One of the main priorities I have set for An Garda Síochána in 2009 is to target gun crime, organised crime and drug related crime through a range of measures, including the use of the Garda specialist units and targeted operations such as Operation Anvil.

Operation Anvil commenced in the Dublin Metropolitan Region in 2005 to deal with this type of serious crime and was extended nationwide in 2006. The primary focus of the Operation is the targeting of active criminals and their associates involved in serious crime by preventing and disrupting their criminal activity through extensive additional overt patrolling and static checkpoints by uniform, mobile and foot patrols, supported by armed plain clothes patrols. Under Operation Anvil up to the end of November, approximately 1,200 firearms have been recovered in Dublin and 1,000 in the rest of the country. There have also been over 7,000 arrests for serious crimes such as murder, robbery and burglary and 67,000 searches for weapons, drugs and stolen goods. In this way, the Gardaí will continue to address the issue of illegal guns relentlessly.

At a time when the public finances are under pressure, I will ensure that top priority will continue to be given to frontline policing. Funding for Operation Anvil will increase in 2009 from €20 million to €21 million to enable it to continue with targeted disruption of serious and organised criminal activity. Other key operations will be maintained through 2009, and any savings that have to be made will not be allowed to diminish frontline policing. There will also be a 20% (€1.5 million) increase next year in funding for the Criminal Assets Bureau. Overall, the Garda budget next year will be €1.589 million.

Since my appointment as Minister I have also expressed concern at the number of handguns which have been licensed here in recent years.

Some time ago, I directed my Department and An Garda Síochána to carry out an urgent and intensive review of the firearms law. Following that review, I have brought forward proposals which include no new licenses being issued for handguns, subject to limited exceptions in relation to Olympic sports. Existing licenses will not be renewed unless applicants fully meet the requirements of a radically tightened licensing procedure where the safety of the community will be paramount.

While a de facto ban on new handgun licences is already in place, my proposals will be given legislative form in the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which I will publish early in the New Year. That Bill will also tackle comprehensively the issue of airsoft guns, including making their possession in public a serious offence. It will also contain measures which the Garda Commissioner has suggested to me in relation to tightening up the law on possession of knives.

There are, of course, already very severe penalties for firearms offices in place under the Criminal Justice Act 2006. For example, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life and using a firearm to resist arrest or aid escape carry a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years. Possessing a firearm while hijacking a vehicle, possessing a firearm or ammunition in suspecious circumstances, carrying a firearm with criminal intent and altering a firearm carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.

The Government has approved my proposals for a Criminal Justice (Covert Surveillance) Bill, and I have published the General Scheme.

The Bill will open up the possibility of intelligence gained through secret surveillance being used in evidence for the prosecution of cases of serious criminal activity. In the light of the increasing sophistication of criminals, subversives and terrorists, their use of intermediaries and the associated difficulties in obtaining direct evidence, the use of additional evidence is crucially important. The Bill will provide for a system of authorisations for covert surveillance operations which will, as a rule, involve an application to a judge for authorisation to proceed with the surveillance and where the reasons for the surveillance will be clearly set out before the court.

The Bill also provides that in cases of exceptional urgency a senior member of An Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces may approve a surveillance operation for a period of no more than 14 days.

Work is also ongoing on the preparation of the General Scheme of the Criminal Justice Bill 2009 which will contain further useful measures to combat crime.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

47 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the measures which will be introduced to tackle gangland crime in Dublin and Limerick in view of recent murders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47118/08]

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

55 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the fight against gangland crime was one of the policing priorities for 2008 set by him under An Garda Síochána Act 2005; if so, his views on whether this has been a success; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47117/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 55 together.

The Garda Commissioner's Annual Policing Plan sets out strategic goals inter alia a commitment to significantly reduce the impact of crime and criminal behaviour. These goals are backed up by strategic actions which include a commitment to continue and intensify intelligence-led operations against groups and individuals engaged in the trafficking of illegal drugs and guns into and within the State.

An Garda Síochána, in accordance with the priorities determined by me as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform pursuant to Section 20 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and 2007 is committed to targeting violent crime and those who engage or facilitate persons involved in such activity.

There are two categories of organised crime groups operating in this jurisdiction. The first category consists of individuals/groups that are well established and tightly structured and are involved in drug trafficking, armed robbery and firearms offences. The second category involves groups whose activities are characterised by less cohesive group structures and criminal activities which are mainly confined to Ireland.

An Garda Síochána targets organised crime groups on an ongoing basis and profiles regarding the personnel of such groups are continually updated. Intelligence-led operations to target those suspected of being involved in organised crime are primarily undertaken by specialist units of An Garda Siochana, under the remit of Assistant Commissioner, National Support Services. These units include the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Drugs Unit, the Organised Crime Unit, and the Criminal Assets Bureau.

An Garda Síochána have put in place specific strategies to target criminal activities including: the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau which identifies and targets funds accumulated by criminals, in order to seize such assets and to deprive them of the profits of their criminal activity; Operation Anvil which commenced in May 2005 and focuses on the disruption of serious and organised criminal activity. To date, Operation Anvil has resulted in the seizure of over 1,200 firearms and recovered stolen property worth in excess of €30m in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) up to 30th November 2008 and the recovery of 983 firearms and the arrest of almost 23,500 prisoners in operations outside the DMR up to roster date ending 19th October 2008; the ring-fencing of €21 million within the Garda budget to ensure the continued operation of Operation Anvil; the establishment, on a permanent basis of the Organised Crime Unit which works in association with other specialist units; the allocation of additional resources to the Garda National Drugs Unit and at district and divisional level.

Organised crime, including persons suspected of involvement in drug-trafficking, importation, sale and supply, including the illegal importation of firearms, are being targeted by the Gardaí on a number of fronts. A number of organised crime groups have been targeted recently resulting in firearms being recovered and drugs seized. This has resulted in a number of prosecutions and convictions. An Garda Síochána use their resources and available criminal legislation to the fullest extent to target criminal activities.

I am assured that Garda resources and operations are kept under regular review by senior Garda management in conjunction with Regional Assistant Commissioners and the heads of specialist units to ensure their continued effectiveness.

Question No. 48 answered with Question No. 35.

Prison Building Programme.

Mary Upton

Question:

49 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he is satisfied regarding the capacity of the preferred bidder to deliver the Thornton Hall prison project; the progress that has been made on the project since the enactment of the Prison Development (Confirmation of Regulations) Act 2008; the estimated date for the commencement and the completion of the project; the estimated cost of the project, including the cost of acquiring the site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46776/08]

It is the responsibility of the commercial consortium, under the PPP process, to arrange the funding and other resources to deliver the project and to have them in place when the contract is signed. It is not appropriate, for commercial and procurement reasons, for me to comment on the specific financial funding aspects of the PPP contract negotiations which are currently in progress.

Since the enactment of the Prison Development (Confirmation of Resolutions) Act, 2008 the Irish Prison Service, along with its technical advisors and the National Development Finance Agency has focused on progressing the Negotiation Phase of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) process with Leargas, the preferred tenderer, across financial, technical and legal aspects of the project. This involved the continuation of the design development of the project and contract negotiations to enable the Irish Prison Service to contract with the PPP Co and commence construction of the new prison development.

While negotiations on the contract are at an advanced stage they have not yet been completed to the point that the Project Agreement can be signed. I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that it is anticipated that it will not be possible to have a contract signed this year. The aim would be to have a contract signed early in 2009. Construction will commence immediately after contract award and should take no more than 3 years. This timeframe is subject, of course, to the successful completion of the contract negotiations. I can say, however, that if the current contract negotiations are not successfully concluded there are other tenderers and other options which can still be considered.

The Thornton Hall project is a complex Public Private Partnership Project which involves the construction of more than 30 buildings, including 8 prison facilities on the site, a major internal road network, extensive perimeter security and a vast array of security systems both physical and electronic. Additional matters have had to be addressed following the extensive public consultation involving the publication of the Environmental Impact Assessment and consideration of the development by the Oireachtas.

Pressures on the international financial markets have the potential to impact on all major capital projects. The Irish Prison Service is being advised by the National Development Finance Agency in relation to trends and developments in this area.

The construction timeframe for the new prison facilities is approximately three years from the date of award of contract.

The cost of the acquisition of the site for the prison development was €29.9 million. An additional 8.7 acres has also been acquired to provide a dedicated access road to the main site. This was done following representations from the local community which reflected concern in relation to the effect of increased traffic generated by the prison project. The cost of this additional land was €1.3 million.

A total of €8.6 million has been expended to date on preliminary site works including surveys, landscaping, security and maintenance of the property, studies such as archaeological, topographical, etc., and professional fees including legal and specialist technical advice.

It is not appropriate, for commercial and procurement reasons, to provide details as to the likely costs of the construction. In particular it would not be in the public interest to give an indication of expected costs before a bid is accepted and a contract finalised. The disclosure of such information is, in any event, not allowed under Department of Finance guidelines applicable to Public Private Partnership.

Garda Strength.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

50 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of community gardaí per Garda division employed here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47155/08]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 315 which was put down for answer on Wednesday 17 December 2008. The position remains unchanged.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

51 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of members of the Garda Reserve recruited to date; the stations to which they have been allocated; the number of applicants for the Reserve in training; if he is satisfied with the rate of recruitment; when he expects that the full complement of 1,500 will be in place; if restrictions have been placed on recruitment to the Reserve arising from budgetary restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46762/08]

On 30th November 2008, there were 331 attested Reserve Gardaí and 114 Reserve trainees. The 331 attested members currently operational are assigned to the following stations:

Dublin Metropolitan Region

Pearse St, Kevin Street, Kilmainham, Donnybrook, Store St, Bridewell, Fitzgibbon Street, Clondalkin, Finglas, Lucan, Ballyfermot, Blanchardstown, Ronanstown, Santry, Raheny, Swords, Clontarf, Coolock, Ballymun, Balbriggan, Malahide, Howth, Crumlin, Sundrive Road, Rathmines, Terenure, Tallaght, Rathfarnham, Dun Laoghaire and Blackrock.

Cork

Mayfield, Bandon, Gurranabraher, Midleton, Fermoy, Anglesea Street, Watercourse Road, Clonakilty, Macroom and Togher.

Other Regions

Sligo, Galway, Tuam, Henry Street, Limerick, Ennis, Tralee, Waterford, Tramore, Kilkenny, Wexford, New Ross, Gorey, Enniscorthy, Arklow, Wicklow, Baltinglass, Bray, Newbridge, Celbridge, Naas, Kildare, Carlow, Clonmel, Cahir, Carrick on Suir, Tipperary town, Nenagh, Thurles, Cavan town, Monaghan town, Drogheda, Dundalk, Ashbourne, Trim, Kells, Navan, Castlebar, Westport, Ballina, Mullingar, Longford, Letterkenny, Tullamore, Portlaoise, Carrick on Shannon and Roscommon.

The Agreed Programme for Government has set a target strength for the Reserve at 10% of the full-time strength of the force. As the Garda Reserve depends on volunteers who undertake their training and other duties during their free time, it is difficult to predict how many people will commence training in any particular period. However, I can assure the Deputy that the Garda Commissioner is continuing to make every effort to reach the recruitment target and that no restrictions are in place for recruitment to the Garda Reserve.

Recruitment is ongoing and the Public Appointments Service (PAS) has received just over 4,000 new applications to join the Reserve already this year up to end November. The PAS hold interviews on a rolling basis at a range of locations around the country. The ongoing public information campaign to recruit members to the Garda Reserve includes indoor and outdoor awareness raising campaigns and radio and TV promotional interviews nationally and locally.

Departmental Agencies.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

52 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the proposal by a group (details supplied) that the Budget 2009 cuts to the Human Rights Commission and Equality Authority be reversed and decentralisation of the latter be put on hold at least until after the Public Service Review Group completes its work. [46619/08]

I refer the Deputy to my responses to Questions Nos. 2 and 18 of today, 18 December 2008. I have nothing further to add to the details of those replies.

Garda Deployment.

Liz McManus

Question:

53 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if there are plans to review the number of Garda personnel assigned to duties as Garda protection officers, having regard to the fact that there are 55 personnel allocated to these duties at an annual cost of €6 million and having regard to cutbacks in other public services; if the 3% payroll cut will apply to the Garda protection unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46754/08]

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the number of Garda personnel assigned to the Garda Protection Unit is determined by operational rather than financial considerations. The 3% payroll reduction in 2009 covers all Garda payroll expenditure including salaries and overtime. The Garda Commissioner is responsible for the allocation of resources including the allocation of personnel to the Garda Protection Unit as and when they are required.

Question No. 54 answered with Question No. 24.
Question No. 55 answered with Question No. 47.

Garda Stations.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

56 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the storm damage to a Garda station (details supplied) in County Donegal; the plans to carry out necessary construction and renovation work; when it is expected that the said station can be reoccupied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46642/08]

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the Office of Public Works have been instructed to carry out the necessary remedial works as a priority following a recent lightning strike at the station named by the Deputy. Due to the extensive nature of the damage, initial estimates are that repair works would take in the region of 3 months. As a result, the Office of Public Works has been requested to source alternative accommodation for the station party. A number of alternatives have been identified and the OPW are working with Garda Housing Section and local Garda management in order to acquire suitable accommodation.

Drug Seizures.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

57 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the quantity and values of seizures of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and other drugs within the State during 2007 and to date in 2008; the proportion of the overall flow of drugs into the country that is believed to be represented by these seizures; the new initiatives he is planning to control the flow of illegal drugs into the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46755/08]

The following tables show the quantity of drugs seized and their approximate street value for 2008 (up to 25th November):

2008

Drug Type

Quantity

Estimated Street Value

Cannabis

828.950 kgs

1,657,900

Cannabis Resin

5,102.530 kgs

35,717,710

Heroin

161.700 kgs

32,340,000

Cocaine

1,877 kgs

131,390,000

Ecstasy

196,341 tablets

1,963,410

Total Value

203,069,020

2007

Drug Type

Quantity

Estimated Street Value

Cannabis

773.669 kgs

1,547,338

Cannabis Resin

1,271.727 kgs

8,902,089

Heroin

148.292 kgs

29,658,400

Cocaine

1,763.548 kgs

123,448,360

Ecstasy

275,082 tablets and 13.381 kgs

2,884,630

Amphetamine

58.223 kgs and 10,471 tablets

1,030,410

Total Value

167,471,227

*Statistics provided are operational, provisional and liable to change.

It is not possible, with any degree of scientific precision, to estimate the proportion of seized drugs relative to the overall market for illicit drugs. However, through ongoing specific initiatives and intelligence-led operations, An Garda Síochána continues to seize substantial quantities of illegal drugs destined for the streets in this jurisdiction, disrupting those criminals involved in the importation, distribution, sale and supply of illegal drugs in Ireland.

Initiatives undertaken by An Garda Síochána to target those suspected of involvement in this type of criminality include:

1. the allocation of additional resources to National Units involved in combating illegal drug-trafficking and organised crime gangs;

2. enhanced co-operation and co-ordination between National Units and District and Divisional Drug Units in identifying and targeting those persons identified as being involved in the sale, supply and distribution of illegal drugs at a local level;

3. continued collaboration with the Revenue Commissioners (Customs & Excise Branch), the Naval Service and other international law enforcement agencies, including participation at the Maritime Analysis Operations Centre for Narcotics, which was recently established in Lisbon, Portugal in identifying and targeting those involved in the importation of illegal drugs into this jurisdiction;

4. increasing public awareness of issues relating to the sale, supply and distribution of drugs, through working with communities and community groups to encourage co-operation with An Garda Síochána; and

5. ongoing training programmes for personnel as Divisional Asset Profilers, who have the specific remit of targeting assets of persons who are suspected of being involved in the importation, sale and supply of drugs at local, divisional, and district level.

These specific initiatives are taken in conjunction with the responsibility on all members of An Garda Síochána who are tasked with implementing the criminal law, including relevant drug-trafficking legislation. The recent interception by the Joint Task Force off the West Coast of a shipment of Cocaine being imported for the European market is an example of the excellent results achievable through a multi-agency, intelligence-led approach to the activities associated with the trafficking, importation and sale and supply of illegal drugs.

Garda Resignations.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

58 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will make a statement on the rate of resignation of female members from An Garda Síochána over the past five years. [46620/08]

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the number of female members of An Garda Síochána who have resigned from the force and the number of total resignations from the force in each of the past five years and including this year to the 30 November 2008, the latest date for which figures are readily available, is as set out in the following table.

Year

Female Resignations

Total Resignations

2004

5

24

2005

12

33

2006

8

44

2007

8

62

30/11/2008

15

44

I have also been informed by the Commissioner that the number of female members of the force, as of the 30 November 2008, was 3,133, which represents 21.7% of the total strength of the force.

EU Directives.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

59 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of EU directives for which his Department has responsibility that remain to be implemented; the directives that are overdue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46738/08]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

EU Measure

Transposition date

Current position

1

Council Directive 2001/40/EC of 28 May 2001 on the mutual recognition of decisions on the expulsion of third country nationals

N/A

The transposition date does not apply to Ireland as this is a Schengen-related measure and the deadline only applies to Schengen Member States. The implementation of this Directive is being examined in the context of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008.

2

Council Directive 2002/90/EC defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence

N/A

The transposition date does not apply to Ireland as this is a Schengen-related measure and therefore the deadline only applies to Schengen Member States. It is proposed that this measure will be implemented by the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008.

3

Council Directive 2004/82/EC of 29 April 2004 on the obligation of carriers to communicate passenger data

N/A

The transposition date does not apply to Ireland as this is a Schengen-related measure and therefore the deadline only applies to Schengen Member States. The implementation of this Directive is being examined in the context of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008.

4

Council Directive 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005, relating to the minimum standards concerning the procedure for granting and withdrawal of refugee status in the Member States

1/12/2007 1/12/2008* (*Article 15)

Irish law and practice in this area is already substantially in compliance with the terms of this Directive. The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008 includes provisions to restate the law on refugee and other protection procedures with some amendments. These restatements are in compliance with Ireland’s obligations under the Directive.

5

Directive 2006/24/EC of 15 March 2006 of the European Parliament and Council on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC.

17/9/2007

Much of the Directive is covered by existing legislation. It is expected that legislation to transpose the remainder of the Directive will be published in early 2009.

6

Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 26 October 2005 on the prevention of the use of financial systems for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing

15/12/2007

The Money Laundering Bill is currently being drafted. It is intended that it will be published in early 2009.

7

Commission Directive 2006/70/EC of 1 August 2006 laying down implementing measures for Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the definition of politically exposed person and the technical criteria for simplified customer due diligence procedures and for exemption on grounds of a financial activity conducted on an occasional or very limited basis

15/12/2007

The Money Laundering Bill is currently being drafted. It is intended that it will be published in early 2009.

8

Commission Directive 2008/43/EC of 4 April 2008 setting up, pursuant to Council Directive 93/15/EEC, a system for the identification and traceability of explosives for civil uses

05/04/2009

It is intended that the proposed Explosives Bill, which is to be published in early 2009, will empower the Minister to make regulations which will transpose this Directive.

9

Directive 2007/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 May 2007 on the placing on the market of pyrotechnic articles

04/01/2010

It is intended that the proposed Explosives Bill, which is to be published in early 2009, will empower the Minister to make regulations which will transpose this Directive.

10

Directive 2008/51/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons

28/07/2010

It is expected that the Directive will be transposed by the deadline in 2010.

11

Directive 2008/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters

21/05/2011

It is expected that the Directive will be transposed by the deadline in 2011.

Proposed Legislation.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

60 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he expects to publish legislation based on his Justice for Victims Initiative; if his attention has been drawn to the concerns expressed by a group (details supplied) and set out in its report, A Better Deal: the Human Rights of Victims in the Criminal Justice System; his views on the concerns raised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46742/08]

In June of this year I launched the Justice for Victims Initiative to respond to the needs of victims. On that occasion I announced an important legislative package of reforms to be published by Spring 2009. I remain confident of meeting that target.

The document prepared by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), A Better Deal: the Human Rights of Victims in the Criminal Justice System makes a welcome contribution to the debate on the position of victims of crime. The comments and recommendations from the ICCL are being given due consideration.

Garda Deployment.

Joe Carey

Question:

61 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on introducing incentives to community gardaí to live in the communities that they police; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47126/08]

While there are currently no proposals to introduce specific incentives for members of An Garda Síochána to live in communities they police, it is the case that where Garda official accommodation is available in any of the operational Garda Divisions, applications are invited from members to occupy such accommodation, thus allowing Gardaí to live among the community they serve.

An Garda Síochána is committed to introducing a cohesive and integrated structure to community policing throughout Ireland and the development of the Garda Síochána National Model of Community Policing is at an advanced stage. Detailed and lengthy research was conducted with interested parties over a long period of time in the development of this model. I very much agree with the Garda Inspectorate's view that there is a strong foundation of community policing in Ireland and in that context it should be recognised that community policing is a matter for each member of An Garda Síochána.

Departmental Reports.

Willie Penrose

Question:

62 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action he has taken or plans to take arising from the report of the Hartnett Inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied), who died in Garda custody in Clonmel, County Tipperary, in 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46757/08]

As indicated in my response to Parliamentary Question Number 46 of 13 November 2008, the findings of the Hartnett Report have been accepted. Notwithstanding the fact that the Inquest into the death of the person in question has now concluded I am still constrained in what I can say due to the fact that civil proceedings instituted by the person's family are still ongoing.

A Chief Superintendent had been appointed under the Garda Síochána (Discipline) Regulations 2007 to deal with disciplinary matters arising from the Report. The question of discipline for members is, in the first instance, a matter for the Commissioner and I understand that one member has been dealt with under that process and the process is ongoing in respect of two others.

Garda Deployment.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

63 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí operating as juvenile liaison officers; the proportion of personnel this represents; if he has plans to increase the numbers having regard to the success of schemes operated by JLOs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46759/08]

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the number of Gardaí operating as Juvenile Liaison Officers (JLO's) on 30 November 2008, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 107. The overall strength of An Garda Síochána on 30 November 2008 was 14,445. The number operating as JLO's represents 0.74% of the overall strength.

The Commissioner has approved the appointment of 7 Juvenile Liaison Officers per year for the period 2007-2010 (28 in total). The National Juvenile Office (N.J.O.) has examined the areas which will benefit most from the creation of the additional 7 new Juvenile Liaison Officers (J.L.O.) posts for 2008. In deciding on the locations, the following matters were taken into consideration;

The number of children referred to the Diversion Programme over the past three years;

The number of JLO's currently employed in each Division;

The social background of the location under consideration;

The geographical size of the area to be covered by existing JLO;

Demographic trends;

The work demands on the JLO.

In respect of appointments for 2008 the Commissioner has appointed, or is in the final stages of appointing, JLO's in the following Divisions:

DMR South (Tallaght);

DMR West (Finglas);

DMR North (Coolock);

Tipperary;

Cavan/Monaghan;

Limerick;

Kerry.

Questions Nos. 64 and 65 answered with Question No. 22.

Garda Communications.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

66 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will confirm that Garda personnel are barred from inputting incidents directly in the Garda PULSE system and that they must instead phone the details through to an office in Castlebar County Mayo; if he is satisfied that this is the best use of resources having regard to the fact that members of the force were trained to do this task; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46733/08]

I have been advised by the Garda authorities that Garda members are not barred from directly inputting data onto the PULSE system. It is however a general policy that, with the exception of incidents where direct Garda input is required for operational reasons, incidents should be phoned into and created on PULSE by personnel in the Garda Information Service Centre (GISC).

The GISC provides for Gardaí, who would otherwise have to return to their Stations to input data onto the PULSE system, to log the information with their civilian colleagues in the GISC, while remaining free to continue their operational duties. This major initiative has freed up significant amounts of Garda time for frontline policing. Quality control and review of data is also managed by dedicated civilian staff at the GISC, thereby relieving Sergeants of this administrative task and allowing them to be deployed for more operational duties.

PULSE, the main repository of incident information available to the Force, is more widely available than ever in over 340 locations nationwide and continues to be an invaluable tool used extensively by Gardaí in the performance of their duties. The establishment of the GISC in Castlebar has been one of the most successful efficiency measures in the history of the Garda Síochána. It is an overwhelmingly civilianised operation which has vastly improved the effectiveness and accuracy of the PULSE system.

Legal Aid Service.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

67 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the extent and cost of free legal aid awarded in criminal cases in each of the past five years to date; the number of convictions or acquittals in such cases; the number of prison sentences imposed; the number of such cases that were subject to appeal; the outcome of the appeal; the number of such cases recidivist in nature with particular reference to homicide; the number of persons convicted and currently on release for whatever reason. [47119/08]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

237 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the extent to which the cost of free legal aid in criminal cases has increased or decreased in each of the past five years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47631/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 237 together.

As the Deputy is aware, the courts, through the judiciary, are responsible for the granting of criminal legal aid. The expenditure for the past 5 years is set out in the following table.

Year

Expenditure

% Increase in Expenditure on Previous Year

€m

2003

37.353

29.3

2004

34.140

-8.6

2005

40.208

17.8

2006

42.093

4.7

2007

46.365

10.1

Jan to Nov 2008 (provisional)

48.858

17.9

I understand that the other details sought by the Deputy are not readily available and that they could only be obtained by the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of staff time and resources.

Tribunals of Inquiry.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

68 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action that will be taken arising from the seven reports from the Morris tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46747/08]

The Morris Tribunal has completed its work and has produced a total of eight reports. The Government has already taken strong action on foot of its recommendations. These include:

the passage of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the most significant piece of legislation relating to An Garda Síochána in the history of the State,

the establishment of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission with almost 100 staff — including its own investigative staff,

the establishment of the Garda Inspectorate with its international policing expertise, as a source of independent and expert advice for the Minister,

new more streamlined discipline regulations,

the imposition on members of a legal duty to account for their official actions,

the empowerment of the Garda Commissioner, with the consent of the Government, to dismiss a member of garda, sergeant or inspector rank where he has lost confidence in the capacity of the member to discharge his or her duty and where dismissal is necessary to maintain public confidence in the Force,

new promotion regulations and a competency based promotion system,

a whistleblowers' charter and the appointment of an eminent former senior civil servant as a Confidential Recipient.

Other areas of organisational development and modernisation are being progressed within the terms of reference of the Garda Síochána's published Corporate Strategy 2007 to 2009 including a number of specific change projects under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner, Strategy and Change Management. These changes are indicative of unprecedented reform and a new era in policing and will go a long way to ensuring that the events in Donegal will not be repeated.

Finally, it is my understanding that the Dail Committee on Procedures and Privileges has established a sub-Committee to consider Mr Justice Morris's recommendations as to how public representatives should deal with anonymous allegations.

Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 19.

Legislative Programme.

Jack Wall

Question:

70 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if it remains policy that he will play the lead role in bringing forward legislation to address the issues confronting residents of developments governed by management companies; if heads of a Bill have been agreed; when it is proposed to publish such legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46778/08]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

200 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the stage at which he is planning to introduce new estate management company legislation; the stage at which his proposals are; and when the Bill will be published. [47332/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 70 and 200 together.

Work on the preparation of legislative proposals to respond to recommendations set out in the Law Reform Commission's Report on Multi Unit Developments continues across relevant Departments as a matter of priority.

In so far as my Department is concerned, I expect to be in a position to progress the necessary legislation early in the New Year. However, in light of the broad range of policy areas involved, relevant Ministers and the Attorney General are consulting on whether it would be more expeditious to introduce a single Bill or, alternatively, to adopt a sectoral approach to amending legislation. The Government's ultimate decision on the matter will be made on the basis of how quickly the necessary legislation can be enacted.

Garda Operations.

Liz McManus

Question:

71 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of occasions in 2007 and to date in 2008 in which grenades, bombs or improvised explosive devices have been used; the number of occasions in each year when the Garda called on the assistance of the Army ordinance unit to deal with such devices; the number of prosecutions initiated as a result of the discovery or such devices; his views on the increased use of such devices by criminal elements; the steps being taken to curb the use of such devices, particularly having regard to the danger they pose the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46753/08]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

241 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action he has taken or proposes to take to identify the strategy behind the increase in the number of explosive devices which have had to be disarmed in recent times; the number of such viable devices rendered harmless in the past 12 months; if he anticipates increased criminal activity with such weaponry playing a major role; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47635/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 71 and 241 together.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that in 2008 (up to 1 December) there were 98 incidents involving grenades or pipe-bombs or other improvised explosive devices in the Dublin Metropolitan Region. A Defence Forces Explosive Ordnance Device team attended at 73 of these. In 2007 there were 24 such incidents and an Explosive Ordnance Device team attended at 17 of these.

The House will appreciate that it would not be helpful for me to comment on the specific details of Garda operations in this regard. However, investigations are carried out by the Garda Síochána into all such incidents. The Garda Síochána is firmly focused on disrupting such activities, detecting the criminal elements involved and bringing them before the courts.

Crime Levels.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

72 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the Garda has an estimate of the number of criminal gangs operating in this country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46735/08]

I have been informed by the Garda Authorities that there are two categories of organised crime groups operating in this jurisdiction.

The first category consists of individuals / groups that are well established and tightly structured and are involved in drug trafficking, armed robbery and firearms offences. The second category involves groups whose activities are characterised by less cohesive group structures, and criminal activities which are mainly confined to Ireland.

The membership of organised crime gangs tends to be fluid and the nature of criminal activity is such that offences committed by members of gangs may or may not be connected with the individual's membership of such gangs. Therefore it is not possible to ascertain the precise number of criminal gangs operating in this country.

Organised criminal gangs operating in this jurisdiction are targeted on an ongoing basis and profiles regarding the personnel of such groups are continually updated. Intelligence-led operations to target those suspected of being involved in organised crime are primarily undertaken by specialist units of An Garda Síochána, under the remit of Assistant Commissioner, National Support Services. These units include the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Drugs Unit,the Organised Crime Unit, and the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Measures have been put in place to deal with serious crime. These include Operation Anvil and other intelligence-led operations which have been used to target specific individuals. Operation ‘Anvil' commenced in May 2005 in the Dublin Metropolitan Region and was extended country-wide in 2006. The primary focus of Operation ‘Anvil' is the disruption of serious and organised criminal activity, using intelligence-led targeted operations on the one hand and an increased overt visible Garda presence on the other. The Garda Commissioner has publicly re-affirmed his absolute commitment to the objectives of Operation ‘Anvil', which is but one tool used by members of An Garda Síochána in endeavouring to combat crime.

An allocation of €21 million has been ring-fenced in the Garda Budget 2009 to ensure ongoing operations under Operation Anvil, which are augmented by other operations and initiatives, both locally and nationally.

Multi-agency approaches have been and continue to be used where all of the National Units from National Support Services i.e. National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Criminal Assets Bureau, Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (Money Laundering) and the Garda Technical Bureau, are used to combat serious crime. These Units are also supported by the Security and Intelligence Section who assist with intelligence briefings and the provision of timely information.

I am further advised that information on organised crime groups is disseminated to Europol on a regular basis.

Prisoner Releases.

Joan Burton

Question:

73 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prisoners on temporary release from Mountjoy Women’s Prison Dublin as a result of overcrowding; the steps being taken to deal with the overcrowding at the prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46737/08]

I can advise the Deputy that there were 61 female prisoners on temporary release from Mountjoy Prison on 15 December 2008. The reasons for the temporary releases varied and should not all be directly attributed to overcrowding.

It has consistently been acknowledged that there has been an overcrowding problem in the Dóchas Centre since its opening, even with the benefit of an additional 20 spaces provided in the final phase of its construction.

In order to deal with the situation, it has been necessary to convert some rooms for use as sleeping accommodation. The Prison Service will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Social and demographic trends indicate that we will inevitably continue to experience an increasing level of women prisoners in our prison system in the future. It is the Government's intention, therefore, to include an expanded version of the Dóchas Centre in the plans to move the entire Mountjoy Prison Complex to a green-field site in the greater Dublin area.

Prisoner Transfers.

Martin Ferris

Question:

74 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the rationale behind the decision to refuse repatriation to a person (details supplied) and in particular the basis upon which the conclusion that the person had closer ties to the UK than the Irish jurisdiction was reached in view of the fact that the person’s two children live here; and if he will make a statement detailing the weight of the constitutionally protected family in his considerations around repatriation applications generally. [46623/08]

The person referred to by the Deputy has made six separate applications for transfer to a prison in this jurisdiction under the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. All of these have been refused and the person concerned has been notified of the reasons for these refusals.

As the Deputy is aware, the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons does not confer an automatic right on any prisoner to be transferred nor does it confer an obligation on any State to comply with a transfer request.

Community Employment Schemes.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

75 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on changing the social welfare restrictions which make it impossible for women returning to work from family duties to access community employment schemes (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47323/08]

Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a fixed term basis. CE helps unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to a work routine and to assist them to enhance/develop both their technical and personal skills.

The eligibility criteria and participation limits for CE are set by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE). The qualifying criteria for participation are intended to facilitate the movement of participants through CE, allowing new participants who may not otherwise have such an opportunity, to avail of the programme.

In relation to the Deputy's query a person signing for credits from Social Welfare is not eligible to obtain a position on a FÁS Community Employment (CE) scheme.

However, I am advised that the FÁS programme Expanding the Workforce (ETW) is specifically aimed at women returning to the labour market. Women who have been out of the workforce for 12 months or more, who are not in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Benefit and want to return to work are eligible to participate in this programme. Many other accredited training courses are also available from FÁS.

All of the options outlined can be explored in full by contacting the local FÁS Employment Services Offices where advice and guidance on the most suitable course of action for a client can be provided.

In conclusion then, I would say that this Government will continue to support into the future the positive role of CE in meeting the needs of long-term unemployed persons while at the same time providing essential services to communities. In this regard, we are keeping the operation of the Scheme under constant review.

Economic Competitiveness.

Joan Burton

Question:

76 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 43 of 11 December 2008, the extent to which her Department is researching the possibility of the financial institutions accessing loan guarantees from the European Investment Fund that would enable them to expand their lending to small enterprises; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47439/08]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007-2013) contains a financial instrument, the SME Loan Guarantee Facility, that aims to improve the financial environment for SMEs by facilitating their access to debt and equity finance. The total indicative budgetary appropriations for the financial instruments under Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme are €1.1 billion and about half of this, approximately €500 million, is foreseen for the SME Loan Guarantee Facility for the period 2007-2013.

The SME Loan Guarantee Facility is operated by the European Investment Fund (EIF) on behalf of the European Commission and was launched by the Commission and the EIF, in late September 2007. My Department informed the Irish Banking Federation of the proposal in December 2007, including, the operation and the scope of the arrangement.

Financial intermediaries are free to make contact directly with the EIF concerning participation in the facility and I am aware that some have done so in the past.

Proposals from financial intermediaries will be examined by the EIF on a continuous basis up to 2013, within the constraints of the available Community budget allocations. Irish financial intermediaries, therefore, continue to have an opportunity to participate in the Facility during this period.

My Department continues to make itself available to any bank interested in pursuing the possibility of securing funding under the SME Loan Guarantee, with a view to their being put in contact with relevant officials in the European Investment Fund (EIF) and/or the European Commission, for further advice and assistance.

Participation in the Facility is however, a commercial decision for any financial intermediary concerned, in the first instance.

The Deputy will also be aware that the above EIF Loan Guarantee Scheme is separate from the recently announced €30 billion EIB Fund to provide loans to SMEs through commercial banks, in the light of the current economic environment. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has in the last fortnight, indicated that it is in discussions with four Irish banks in relation to its new €30 billion Facility. I very much welcome this development.

Equal Opportunities Employment.

David Stanton

Question:

77 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on a survey (details supplied) which showed that 70% of people with disabilities who were surveyed replied that they had problems regarding accessing employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47453/08]

The survey results in question are consistent with Census findings which indicate that employment participation by those with a disability, who do not express a difficulty about working, remains significantly lower than for their non-disabled peers.

In regard to accessing employment in the open labour market, all FÁS Services are open to people with disabilities, and FÁS encourage people with disabilities to register with them in order to access such employment.

In addition, FÁS provides a comprehensive menu of employment supports and schemes to enable people with disabilities to enter the open labour market, and these are complemented by both specialist and mainline vocational training provision.

Under the Programme for Government "A Blueprint for Ireland's Future 2007-2012" my Department is committed to putting in place a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities to help them to work in all sectors. This strategy is a key component of the Sectoral Plan for my Department, which was published in 2006 pursuant to the Disability Act 2005.

An outline of how a Comprehensive Employment Strategy for people with disabilities is being implemented has been developed by my Department, and has received a positive response from the Consultative Forum on an Employment Strategy that has been established under the Sectoral Plan.

A key focus of the strategy is on effecting the optimal changes to existing programmes, schemes and services, in particular with regard to the Supported Employment Programme and the Wage Subsidy Scheme. The overall objective of the strategy is to enhance the operation and effectiveness of the range of FÁS supports and services for facilitating increased participation of people with disabilities in the labour market.

Social Welfare Code.

Denis Naughten

Question:

78 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on whether monitoring the operation of coal mines by her Department failed in the past to address the working condition of miners; if, in view of same, she has had discussions with the Department of Social and Family Affairs regarding the inclusion of miners in the occupational injury benefit scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47558/08]

This matter has already been raised with a number of Departments, including my own, by the Joint Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. On the basis of the information available via the Committee, it would appear that this is a matter between the former miners and their former employers and insofar as the State may be concerned, a matter for further consideration under the social welfare code governing the State's disability and occupational illness benefit schemes.

The allegations regarding the policy of the provisions of the Mines and Quarries Act 1965 are, to the best of my knowledge, unproven. In any event, the legal advice available to me, is that the mere existence of statutory regulation in a specific sector does not, of itself, impose any duty of care on the State in relation to the employees in that sector. The matter of compensation to former miners is, consequently, not a matter for my Department.

Departmental Properties.

Joe McHugh

Question:

79 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the address and size in square feet of every building or premises in this State that is being rented or leased by her Department; the cost to the State of each of these rents or leases in 2007; if she will provide this information on a county basis; and if she will produce the information in tabular form. [47574/08]

The buildings and premises occupied by my Department and the 8 Offices of my Department are not rented or leased by the Department or its Offices. The information requested by the Deputy is, therefore, not relevant in the case of my Department and its Offices. The Deputy may wish to know that all buildings and premises occupied by my Department and its Offices are provided by the Office of Public Works without any cost to the Department and its Offices.

Job Protection.

Kieran O'Donnell

Question:

80 Deputy Kieran O’Donnell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if, in view of the ongoing uncertainty with the future of and the recent jobs losses at a plant (details supplied) in County Limerick she will seek an immediate meeting with the chief executive officer of the company to secure the 3,000 jobs at the plant. [47593/08]

We understand that the company is pushing ahead with its cost saving plan. Weakening demand and associated cost pressures continue to put pressure on the company to implement its new strategy.

It is standard IDA Ireland practice, where any of its client companies is undertaking reviews of this type, to engage with the company with a view to mitigating the impact on the company's Irish operations. IDA has been engaged in extensive discussions with the company concerned at the highest level. I have been fully briefed on these discussions as they have occurred and I have also met with the company at the highest level.

Such contacts with companies always proceed on a confidential basis and it is vitally important, if the best possible outcome for the Irish operations is to be secured, that confidentiality is respected.

Flood Relief.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

81 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance when the second phase of a project (details supplied) in County Cork will commence in view of the concerns being expressed by the residents of the area. [47264/08]

It is intended to appoint the consultants to undertake the detailed design of the second phase of the Scheme as soon as construction works commence on the first phase of the Scheme. This is expected to occur early in 2009.

Subject to available funding, works on the southern banks are expected to commence in the early part of 2010.

Consultancy Contracts.

Michael McGrath

Question:

82 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the procedure for a design and consultancy firm to be considered for inclusion in a suitable Office of Public Works framework agreement. [47266/08]

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is involved in the procurement and development of a wide variety of building projects. It considers the use of Framework Agreements, as provided in Directive 2004/18/EC to be a method of procuring building professionals, which best meets the business needs of the organisation.

At present the OPW has in place a multi-supplier Framework Agreement for the provision of professional services, namely Architectural Services, Civil & Structural Engineering Services, Quantity Surveying Services and Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Services.

Documentation regarding this multi-supplier Framework Agreement competition was advertised by the OPW in the national newspapers on 30 January 2007 and was published on the Government e-Tenders Procurement Portal — www.etenders.gov.ie. The closing date for receipt of tender submissions was 12 March 2007.

Following evaluation and assessment of the tender submissions received, successful firms were included in the Framework Agreement. In line with the terms of the Framework Agreement, firms will be commissioned on a project by project basis following a further competitive process.

The Framework Agreement will be in place for an initial period of at least two years and all participants will be subject to performance measurement and continuous improvement reviews throughout that period.

A Contract Award Notice detailing the list of successful firms included in the Framework Agreement was published on the Government e-Tenders Procurement Portal on 14 February 2008.

Departmental Staff.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

83 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money and staff which will be transferred from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in 2009 to the Office of Public Works to combat coastal erosion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47269/08]

The Office of Public Works are currently in negotiations with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food regarding the staffing posts and funding resources associated with the transfer of the coastal protection function with effect from 1 January 2009.

Departmental Agencies.

Denis Naughten

Question:

84 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance the purchase cost and resale arrangements in relation to all properties purchased for the Reception and Integration Agency and subsequently disposed of; the purchase price paid by the State and associated costs of purchase; the costs associated with the premises in the meantime including maintenance, repair, security and otherwise; the net purchase price received on resale, taking into account the gross figure and the costs associated with the resale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47288/08]

The Reception and Integration Agency of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform has responsibility for the provision of accommodation for Asylum Seekers. The Commissioners of Public Works acting on the instructions of the Agency purchased the following properties for the purpose of accommodation of Asylum Seekers, which were subsequently disposed of.

Parnell West Hotel — 38/39 Parnell Street, Dublin. This property was purchased in March 2000 for €3,725.729. It was used to accommodate Asylum Seekers until October 2005 and was sold in August 2006 for €7,236,000. The total fees paid for the disposal of the property was €41,378.35, which included VAT, advertising and other expenses. All legal matters regarding the purchase and disposal of the property were handled by the Chief State Solicitor's Office.

Lynch's Lodge Hotel, Macroom, Co. Cork. This property was purchased in October 2000 for €3,549,711 and sold in December 2005 for €2,300,010. The total costs incurred on security, rates, utilities, maintenance, etc. were €940,000. The total agents fees incurred on the disposal was €33,676, including VAT and advertising. There were no legal fees involved as the purchase and sale of the property was handled by the Chief State Solicitor's Office.

Devereux Hotel and Bungalow, Rosslare Harbour, Co. Wexford. This property was purchased in May 2000 for €2,745,808 and sold in March 2003 for €1,854,990. The total costs incurred on security, maintenance, etc. was €269,038. The total agents fees incurred in the disposal was €57,215.68, including VAT, advertising, etc. There were no legal fees as the purchase and sale of the property was handled by the Chief State Solicitor's Office.

Broc House, Donnybrook, Dublin 4. This property was purchased in June 2000 for €9,205,601 and was transferred to the Affordable Homes Partnership in September 2006. The total security and other costs incurred prior to the transfer was €763,428.64. There were no legal costs involved as the purchase and transfer of the property was handled by the Chief State Solicitor's Office.

Ionad Follain, Myshall, Co. Carlow. This property was purchased in July 2000 for €1,333,224.90 and was transferred to the Minister for Health and Children in August 2002. The total security and other costs incurred prior to the transfer was €176,510. There were no legal costs involved as the purchase and transfer of the property was handled by the Chief State Solicitor's Office.

Pension Provisions.

Michael McGrath

Question:

85 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will respond to correspondence from a person (details supplied) in relation to pension contributions in the public and private sector. [47297/08]

The details supplied with the Deputy's question raise a number of separate issues.

Firstly, as regards the annual earnings limit for tax-relieved pension contributions, I should explain that, in Budget 2009, I announced a significant reduction in that annual limit from just over €275,000 to €150,000. This reduced limit will apply for 2009 to all individuals contributing to supplementary pension arrangements whether those individuals work in the private sector or the public sector. The annual earnings cap acts, in conjunction with age-related percentage limits, to determine the value of pension contributions on which an individual taxpayer will get tax relief at his/her marginal income tax rate in any year.

This change is targeted at higher earners and the reduction in the annual earnings cap to €150,000 will result in a significant fall in the maximum value of tax relief that higher earners can obtain on contributions to supplementary pension provision. This change was made to promote greater equity in this area.

The details supplied with the question also make reference to increases in public sector pension payments. Total expenditure on public service pensions in 2007 was €2.3 billion and is increasing, arising from the growth in public service employment in recent years and from increasing longevity.

Measures to contain the cost of this increase in public service pensions have been put in place in recent years and policy options for further reform are outlined in the Green Paper on Pensions. These policy options are now being examined in the context of preparing a framework for comprehensively addressing the pension agenda over the long term.

Financial Services Regulation.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

86 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he will introduce legislative changes in early 2009 to address the failure of financial regulation here over the past three decades. [47327/08]

The legislative regime for financial regulation In Ireland is largely based on a comprehensive EU framework of Directives which applies across the EU. Arising from the recent financial turmoil, the Ecofin Council meetings in October and December 2007 agreed a set of common principles and a road map of further actions to enhance financial stability arrangements and the ability of authorities to respond to serious disturbances in EU financial markets. These Ecofin Road maps deal specifically with strengthening EU arrangements for financial stability and actions taken in response to the financial turmoil.

New regulatory proposals currently being discussed at European level and due for adoption by the European Parliament in early 2009 include:

improvements to the Capital Requirements Directive to further strengthen the existing prudential framework for risk management and to put in place enhanced coordination among supervisors in relation to cross-border groups;

amendments to the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive to improve coverage levels and payout periods.

I will, of course, ensure that Ireland introduces the required amendments to Irish legislation as timely as possible in order to transpose the resulting Directives within the required timeframe allowed.

The role and mandates of national regulators have been the subject of in-depth consideration by the Ecofin Council arising from the Ecofin Road maps. Common reporting standards for financial institutions are being introduced to enable greater EU-wide consistency in supervision and colleges of supervisors are being introduced for cross-border financial groups to allow for easier exchange of information between authorities.

It can be expected that further proposals in this area will be introduced during 2009 following the report of the de Larosiére Group, which was mandated by the European Commission to consider the organisation of European financial institutions to ensure prudential soundness, the orderly functioning of markets and stronger European co-operation on financial stability oversight, early warning mechanisms and crisis management, including the management of cross border and cross sectoral risks. It will also look at co-operation between the EU and other major jurisdictions to help safeguard financial stability at a global level. It is due to submit an initial report to the Spring European Council.

I might also add that, following a request by the European Commission, the International Accountancy Standards Board (IASB) has made improvements in the valuation of illiquid assets in accounting standards (IAS 39 and IFRS 7) for financial institutions. The Commission has also introduced proposals to improve the oversight of independent credit rating agencies, which will most likely be adopted in 2009.

These measures are in addition to the broad range of conditions imposed on participants in the State's guarantee scheme for credit institutions. The Regulatory Authority, which has statutory responsibility for the regulation of credit institutions, has advised me that it will continue to intensify its on-site and off-site supervision of credit institutions. This will build on revised capital and liquidity measures introduced by the Regulatory Authority during 2006 and 2007. The Regulatory Authority will focus on liquidity requirements, capital adequacy, risk management, balance sheet structure and corporate governance. This may involve setting additional regulatory ratios as appropriate in order to reduce the risk in the balance sheet, reflecting the current domestic and global conditions.

In conclusion, many aspects of our regulatory systems have proved themselves to be robust and sound in the recent turmoil. But it is also clear that regulators in Ireland as elsewhere need to learn the lessons of recent events. I am relying on the Financial Regulator to do just that, and to adapt its regulatory systems to new conditions, to take on new skills and to ensure that Ireland has a top class regulatory system.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

87 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the way he will protect the public interest and investment under the proposed bailout fund for six financial institutions; his views on nationalising one or more of the key financial system banks he referred to in a recent interview to protect and advance the public interest; and when significant management changes will be made to address perceived weaknesses in the recent banking near-collapse. [47328/08]

In my statement at 14th December 2008, I announced the Government's decision to support, alongside existing shareholders and private investors, a recapitalisation programme for credit institutions in Ireland of up to €10 billion. This will be done through the National Pension Reserve Fund or otherwise and subject to terms and conditions.

I also announced that in order to safeguard the interests of the taxpayer, State investment will be assessed on a case by case basis in an objective and non-discriminatory manner, having regard to the systemic importance of the institution, the importance of maintaining the stability of the financial system in the state and each credit institution's particular requirement for capital.

My priority is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the banking sector in Ireland and to underpin its contribution through the availability of credit to individuals and businesses in the real economy. I am closely monitoring each of the covered institutions and state investment, as mentioned previously, will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Recapitalised institutions may be required to comply with such requirements as to transparency and commercial conduct as the Minister sees fit.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

88 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the reason a company (details supplied) was included in the banks bailout scheme in view of the mutual nature of the society and its reported exposure by management to very small amounts of construction commercial bad debt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47329/08]

Under the terms of the Scheme support may be provided to a specific institution, if it is necessary and in the public interest for maintaining the financial stability of the financial system in the State. I am of the opinion, having consulted with the Governor of the Central bank and the Financial Regulator that the specified institution qualifies for cover under the Scheme on this basis.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

89 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the key elements of the proposed bailout fund for six financial institutions; the terms on which the fund will operate and disburse necessary funding; and the financial status of each institution which will trigger or justify a response from the new fund. [47330/08]

The Government's approach to the recapitalisation of credit institutions is designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the banking sector in Ireland and to underpin its contribution through the availability of credit to individuals and businesses in the real economy.

The Government has decided to support, alongside existing shareholders and private investors, a recapitalisation programme for credit institutions in Ireland of up to €10 billion. This will be done through preference shares and/or ordinary shares and will be subject to terms and conditions. The State may, where appropriate, participate on an underwriting basis. In principle existing shareholders will be expected to have the right to subscribe for new capital on the same terms as the Government. A key principle in the operation of such a fund will be to secure the interests of the taxpayers through an appropriate return on, and appropriate terms for, the investment.

As the next step in the process I am initiating detailed engagement with the credit institutions themselves in respect of specific proposals. In order to safeguard fully the interests of the taxpayer, State investment will be assessed on a case-by-case basis in an objective and non-discriminatory manner, having regard to the systemic importance of the institution, the importance of maintaining the stability of the financial system in the State, and the most effective and economical use of resources available to the State, as well as each credit institution's particular requirement for capital.

The terms for disbursement of funds will be set, in this context, having regard to the particular position of individual credit institutions, to ensure that all State funds are deployed to optimal effect. Recapitalised institutions may be required to comply with such requirements as to transparency and commercial conduct as the Minister sees fit. Any State investment will be undertaken in line with best practice in the EU and elsewhere, consistent with EU State aid rules and in particular the recent European Commission communication on recapitalisation.

Joan Burton

Question:

90 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to reports that senior bankers at a bank (details supplied) are in line to receive bonuses for 2008 up to 80% of the 2007 bonus; his views on whether such practices are inappropriate at a financial institution benefiting from a blanket guarantee from the taxpayer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47337/08]

The Scheme prepared under the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 requires each covered institution to prepare a plan to structure the remuneration packages of directors and executives, including total salary, bonuses, pension payments and any other benefits, so as to take account of the objectives of the Act.

I have recently established the independent, three member, committee CIROC (the Covered Institutions Remuneration Oversight Committee), as provided under the Scheme which will oversee all remuneration plans of senior executives of the covered institutions. Each covered institution has submitted its report to CIROC, which will then report to me within three months.

It is important to emphasise that one of the key features of this part of the Scheme is the requirement to orient the system of bonuses to create the appropriate incentives, incentives that point toward reduction in excessive risk-taking and that promote long-term sustainability.

The Scheme does not cover remuneration packages payable for periods before the coming into force of the Act.

It is important to note that the CIROC will have to develop its own views prior to reporting to me in March.

Joan Burton

Question:

91 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the way the public interest directors at banks covered by the bank guarantee scheme will be remunerated; the amount of this remuneration; the person who will make the payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47338/08]

As is stated in paragraph 32 of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme, the non-executive directors appointed in the public interest by the covered institutions are to be remunerated by those covered institutions. The amount of this remuneration is a matter for the institutions themselves. However, the Deputy should note that paragraph 47 of the Scheme clearly states that "each covered institution shall prepare a plan to structure the remuneration packages of directors and executives so as to take account of the objectives of the Act of 2008". This will form part of the work programme of the Covered Institution Remuneration Oversight Committee (CIROC), which I recently established.

Joan Burton

Question:

92 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if the public interest directors at banks covered by the bank guarantee scheme will undergo specialised training for that role; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47339/08]

My Department recently held generic briefing sessions on the Scheme in general and the fiduciary duties of non-executive directors for individuals on the panel from which the covered institutions are to appoint directors in the public interest.

Joan Burton

Question:

93 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the way public interest directors at banks covered by the bank guarantee scheme are to report back to him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47340/08]

Any director appointed in the public interest by the covered institutions will be subject to the provisions of company law. As such, he or she will be bound to act in the interests of the separate legal entity that is the company. Therefore, directors appointed in the public interest will not have a reporting relationship to me or to my Department. However, the panel comprises people who, in addition to their other experiences, can bring a civic mindedness and a sense of where the public interest lies to inform their view of what is in the company's interests.

Pension Provisions.

Joan Burton

Question:

94 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the details of the review carried out recently of the National Pensions Reserve Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47341/08]

I announced in my Budget speech that I was conducting a review of the National Pensions Reserve Fund in the context of recent economic and fiscal developments. I asked Mr Maurice O'Connell, former Governor of the Central Bank, to conduct the review. Mr O'Connell has now submitted his review to me and I am considering his conclusions.

As I stated in my Budget speech, any changes requiring legislation will be brought forward in due course.

Flood Relief.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

95 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Finance if the consulting engineers have completed the detailed designs for flood relief works in Johnstown village, Naas, County Kildare; and if funding will be allocated for the work in 2009. [47351/08]

Work on the detailed design is currently in progress. It is expected to be completed by April 2009.

The Office of Public Works is in discussion with Kildare Co. Council regarding funding of works. The discussions will be concluded when the detailed design is complete and estimates of costs and benefits are available.

Tax Code.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

96 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Finance if the 1% income levy will apply to all medical card holders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47548/08]

The position is that those with an entitlement to the medical card will be exempt from the income levy.

Unemployment Levels.

Joan Burton

Question:

97 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the approximate average effect on the public finances of each 0.1% increase in the live register figures taking into account reduced income tax revenues, increased social welfare payments, including secondary benefits, and other associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47563/08]

A 0.1 per cent increase in the numbers on the Live Register at the end of November, 2008 would add €3.1 million in a full year to the cost of Jobseeker's Benefit and Allowance payments.

Entitlement to secondary social welfare benefits varies according to the personal circumstances of the individual claimants and the available data on the costs of secondary benefits do not enable the determination of an average cost for any given increment in the numbers on the Live Register. Similarly, an individual's income tax contribution is based on a number of unique factors such as taxable income and personal circumstances. Accordingly, it is not possible to estimate the effect of each 0.1 per cent increase in the Live Register on these elements.

Decentralisation Programme.

Joan Burton

Question:

98 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 46 of 11 December 2008, the details of the €17.5 million acquisition of sites for deferred elements of the decentralisation programme, including the cost per site, date of acquisition, current value, current usage, current rental income and future intentions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47564/08]

The details of the sites purchased where decentralisation has been deferred are as follows:

Location

Site Cost

Acquired

Cavan

2,900,000

2006

Dungarvan

2,383,500

2006

Edenderry

1,500,000

2006

Thomastown

1,800,000

2008

Thurles

967,500

2005

Waterford

8,000,000

2008

All of the above acquisitions preceded the Government's Budget decision to defer part of the Decentralisation Programme for further consideration in 2011.

The sites in question are now part of the State's property portfolio and will remain so at least until the Government completes its further consideration of the programme in 2011.

If it is the case that any of the sites are surplus to requirements at that stage, the OPW will consider how best to extract value having regard to prevailing market conditions at the time. At that stage, the market value of the sites will be determined.

EU Funding.

Joan Burton

Question:

99 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if Ireland will participate in the joint european resources for micro-to-medium enterprises scheme managed by the European Investment Fund through which a portion of European Regional Development Funds can be allocated to the establishment of holding funds to support small and medium enterprises by improving the ability of SMEs to access finance; the contact, discussions or correspondence that have taken place between the EIF and his Department or other interested parties with respect to this initiative; the reasoning behind the decision to participate or not in the JEREMIE initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47565/08]

I refer the Deputy to my response to question number 45359/08 on Thursday 11th December 2008.

The Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE) launched in 2005 is an initiative of the European Commission together with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) to promote increased access to finance for the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the regions of the EU.

When Ireland's ERDF Structural Programmes 2007-13 were being developed, my Department in consultation with representatives of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Enterprise Ireland, the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly and the Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly had a number of discussions with representatives from the EIB on this issue. As part of these discussions JEREMIE was examined in the context of the arrangements then in place to assist SMEs in accessing appropriate financial support. Having reflected on the matter fully and given the nature and structure of JEREMIE, particularly in terms of the scale of operations that would be required to secure EIF participation, it was not considered suited to our Structural Funds programmes.

Following the recent change in global economic circumstances, the EU Commission launched a "European Recovery Plan" on 26th November 2008. As part of the plan, the Commission will be working closely with the EIF to accelerate and expand the existing provisions on financial instruments for small and medium enterprises under JEREMIE. The Commission together with the EIF, EIB and Member States will launch early next year two specific networking platforms as a forum for exchange of information, guidance and good practice. In this context, the Irish Authorities are considering if participation in JEREMIE is appropriate having regard to the ERDF programmes and the potential benefits to the Irish Businesses.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Joan Burton

Question:

100 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance further to his announcement on 14 December 2008 that up to €10 billion will be used to inject capital into the Irish banking system, the maximum possible proportion of State participation; if up to €10 billion in State funds could be injected into the banking system; if sources of State funding other than the National Pensions Reserve Fund have been ruled out for participation in this capital injection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47566/08]

In my statement on the 14th December 2008, I announced the Government's decision to support, alongside existing shareholders and private investors, a recapitalisation programme for credit institutions in Ireland of up to €10 bn. This will be done through the National Pensions Reserve Fund or otherwise and subject to terms and conditions.

I indicated that the State's investment may take the form of preference shares and /or ordinary shares and the State may, where appropriate, participate on an underwriting basis. In principle existing shareholders and private investors will be expected to have the right to subscribe for new capital on the same terms as the Government.

In order to safeguard fully the interests of the taxpayer, State investment will be assessed on a case- by- case basis in an objective and non-discriminatory manner, having regard to the systemic importance of the institution, the importance of maintaining the stability of the financial system in the State, and the most effective and economical use of resources available to the State and each of the credit institution's particular investment requirement for capital. Any State investment will be taken in line with best practice in the EU and elsewhere and consistent with the EU State aid rules, in particular the recent European Commission communication on recapitalisation.

Tax Code.

Joan Burton

Question:

101 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the annual, full-year cost to the Exchequer of exempting interest earned on foreign or off shore bank accounts from the income levy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47567/08]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the cost to the Exchequer of exempting from the income levy all foreign-sourced interest income is estimated to be of the order of €10 million in a full year in terms of 2009 incomes.

However, in not applying the levy to this type of income, regard has to be taken of the fact that the tax liability on these products has been increased by 3 percentage points in Budget 2009. In overall terms, the take from these products will therefore increase by approximately €20 million.

Departmental Properties.

Joe McHugh

Question:

102 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the address and size in square feet of every building or premises in this State that is being rented or leased by his Department; the cost to the State of each of these rents or leases in 2007; if he will provide this information on a county basis; and if he will produce the information in tabular form. [47576/08]

The following document details all ‘Office' space leased by the Office of Public Works with an annual rent of €10,000 and above that was held by way of leases that were ‘live' through 2007. It should be noted some buildings appear more than once in the list as there may be more than one lease associated with any building.

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Carlow

Carlow

LSE0109

Carlow Gov Off Church St

Church Street, Graiguecullen

Part

158.95

37,500.00

Office

Carlow

Carlow

LSE0112

Carlow Vehicle Reg Off

6 – 8 Lower Staplestown Road

Whole

162.58

60,967.50

Office

Carlow

Carlow

LSE0110

Carlow Prob & Wel Service

Quinn House, Mill Lane

Part

131.92

18,030.28

Office

Carlow

Carlow

LSE1209

Carlow Education Office

4 Court Place, Dublin Road

Whole

131.13

27,500.00

Office

Carlow

Carlow

LSE1307

Carlow Temp Decent Off (D/Ete)

O’Brien Road

Whole

1806

369,436.00

Office

Cavan

Bailieborough

LSE0032

Bailieboro Swo

Barrack Street

Part

80.83

13,250.00

Office

Cavan

Cavan

LSE0142

Cavan Dtc

Esker Place, Cathedral Road

Part

17.55

16,000.00

Office

Cavan

Cavan

LSE1261

Cavan Dtc

Esker Place, Cathedral Road

Part

40.14

20,500.00

Office

Cavan

Cavan

LSE0145

Cavan Gov Off Newcourt Shop Ctre

Newcourt Shopping Centre, Church Street

Part

648.35

122,200.00

Office

Cavan

Cavan

LSE1139

Cavan Gov Off Elm Hse

Elm House, Kinnypottle

Part

192.5

34,188.00

Office

Cavan

Cavan

LSE1242

Cavan Gov Off Elm Hse

Elm House, Kinnypottle

Part

218.18

46,970.00

Office

Cavan

Cavan

LSE1251

Cavan Gov Off Elm Hse

Elm House, Kinnypottle

Part

120.44

25,928.00

Office

Cavan

Cavan

LSE1301

Cavan Gov Off Elm Hse

Elm House, Kinnypottle

Part

138.98

29,920.00

Office

Clare

Ennis

LSE0301

Ennis Justice Welfare

Abbey Arcade

Part

46.45

13,205.28

Office

Clare

Ennis

LSE0995

Ennis Education Office

First Floor, Francis Street

Part

579.5

47,615.00

Office

Clare

Ennis

LSE0996

Ennis Education Office

First Floor, Francis Street

Part

579.56

47,615.00

Office

Clare

Kilrush

LSE1299

Kilrush Decentral.Revenue Off.

Enterprise House

Whole

585.29

85,050.00

Office

Cork

Bandon

LSE0061

Bandon School Inspectors Office

The Weir Centre, Weir Street

Part

123.84

26,750.00

Office

Cork

Bandon

LSE0063

Bandon Swo

Weir Street

Part

73.76

15,300.00

Office

Cork

Bantry

LSE0068

Bantry Customs And Excise

Old Convent House, Townlots

Part

216

28,000.00

Office

Cork

Bantry

LSE0067

Bantry Swo – 7 Main Strret

7 Main Street

Part

0

24,000.00

Office

Cork

Castletownbere

LSE0136

Castletownbere Swo

Church Gate

Part

28.52

12,220.00

Office

Cork

Clonakilty

LSE0163

Clonakilty Prob & Wel Office

Emmet Square

Part

159.79

16,000.00

Office

Cork

Clonakilty

LSE1232

Clonakilty Temp Dec Off CmrBl C

Block C, West Cork Technology Park

Whole

1152

157,480.00

Office

Cork

Clonakilty

LSE1289

Clonakilty Tem Dec Of SfpaBl G

Floor 1 Block G, West Cork Technology Park

Part

869.84

118,910.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0196

Cork Gov Off Connolly Hall

Connolly Hall, Lapps Quay

Part

179.66

28,000.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Cork

Cork

LSE0197

Cork Gov Off Connolly Hall

Connolly Hall, Lapps Quay

Part

0

17,000.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0206

Cork Gov Off Irish Life Bldg

Irish Life House, 1a South Mall

Part

875.49

205,933.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0209

Cork Gov Off Irish Life Bldg

Irish Life House, 1a South Mall

Part

982.23

190,800.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE1002

Cork Gov Off Irish Life Bldg

Irish Life House, 1a South Mall

Part

309.65

59,494.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE1210

Cork Gov Off Irish Life Bldg

Irish Life House, 1a South Mall

Part

360.98

69,914.52

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0201

Cork Marine Office

Parliament House, 10 Georges Quay

Part

176.51

33,013.19

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0957

Cork Marine Office

Oak House, Riverview Industrial Estate

Part

0

53,320.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE1062

Cork Marine Office

Oak House, Riverview Industrial Estate

Part

483

58,500.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0981

Cork Education Office

Block C Heritage Business Park, Mahon

Whole

1341

234,536.25

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE1037

Cork Environment Office

Unit 7, Eastgate Avenue, Little Island

Part

411

68,906.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE1077

Cork Prob & Wel Serv Cove St

St Nicholas Church, Cove Street

Whole

1474.44

300,368.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0194

Cork C&E Centre Park House

Centre Park House, Centre Park Road

Part

616.6

110,000.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE1137

Cork C&E Centre Park House

Centre Park House, Centre Park Road

Part

314

43,940.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE1421

Cork C&E Centre Park House

Centre Park House, Centre Park Road

Part

264.02

48,000.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0204

Cork Gov Off Hibernian House

Hibernian House, South Mall

Part

1730.26

280,000.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0205

Cork Gov Off Hibernian House

Hibernian House, South Mall

Part

111.2

11,247.09

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0950

Cork Gov Off Hibernian House

Hibernian House, South Mall

Part

0

18,284.23

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0212

Cork SWO – Esb Premises

Esb Premises, Marina

Part

659.96

102,850.00

Office

Cork

Cork

LSE0219

Cork Prob&Wel Serv 52 South Mall

52 South Mall

Part

119

20,200.00

Office

Cork

Dunmanway

LSE0288

Dunmanway SWO/CSO Office

Main Street

Part

103.3

14,119.49

Office

Cork

Fermoy

LSE0305

Fermoy SWO – Connolly Street

Connolly Street

Part

92.9

15,300.00

Office

Cork

Mallow

LSE0503

Mallow Farm Devopment Service

Gouldshill

Whole

95.3

10,361.06

Office

Cork

Mallow

LSE0504

Mallow Government Offices

25 O’brien Street

Whole

0

32,000.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Cork

Mallow

LSE0505

Mallow SWO

72 Main Street

Part

291.35

33,846.14

Office

Cork

Skibbereen

LSE0656

Skibbereen Forestry Office

Townsend Street

Whole

44.59

11,700.00

Office

Cork

Youghal

LSE1020

Youghal SWO – Main Street

14 Main Street

Part

58.83

12,000.00

Office

Donegal

Balleybofey

LSE0045

Ballybofey SWO

13 Main Street

Part

67.35

15,000.00

Office

Donegal

Ballyshannon

LSE0056

Ballyshannon Marine Office

Main Street

Whole

130.99

10,234.09

Office

Donegal

Ballyshannon

LSE1146

Ballyshannon Maritime Office

Top Floor, Iona Office Block, Abbeyview

Part

264

25,000.00

Office

Donegal

Buncrana

LSE0099

Buncrana SWO

Castle Avenue

Whole

0

33,000.00

Office

Donegal

Buncrana

LSE0100

Buncrana Government Offices

St Mary’s Road

Part

92.72

11,935.54

Office

Donegal

Buncrana

LSE0989

Buncrana SWO

St Marys Road

Part

185.81

34,000.00

Office

Donegal

Donegal

LSE0246

Donegal D.T.C.

’Irwin’s Premises’, Milltown Road

Whole

0

23,260.00

Office

Donegal

Donegal

LSE0247

Donegal D.T.C.

’Irwin’s Premises’, Milltown Road

Whole

93.46

11,176.23

Office

Donegal

Dunfanaghy

LSE0284

Dunfanaghy SWO

Main Street

Part

324.33

24,700.00

Office

Donegal

Killybegs

LSE0436

Killybegs Government Office

Donegal Road

Part

78.13

29,120.00

Office

Donegal

Letterkenny

LSE0451

Letterkenny Customs&Excise

Fortwell House, Lower Main Street

Part

179.39

24,000.00

Office

Donegal

Letterkenny

LSE0453

Letterkenny Driving Test Centre

Unit 5 Pearse Road

Part

76.18

15,000.00

Office

Donegal

Letterkenny

LSE0452

Letterkenny Revenue Office

Kilmacrennan Road

Part

467.38

58,000.00

Office

Donegal

Letterkenny

LSE1076

Letterkenny Prob/Wel Main St

48-50 Lower Main Street

Part

561.02

80,000.00

Office

Donegal

Letterkenny

LSE1426

Letterkenny Education Office

Mckendrich House, Pearse Road

Part

5400

41,896.00

Office

Dublin

Balbriggan

LSE1035

Balbriggan Passport Office

Unit 1, Fingal Bay Business Park, Balbriggan

Whole

2914.05

553,669.50

Office

Dublin

Blackrock

LSE0730

Blackrock Trident House

Trident House

Whole

1811.59

678,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0598

Parnell Sq 13-15 Parnell House

13 – 15 Parnell Square

Whole

4837.88

1,830,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0640

Marlborough St 101-104 Clare Hse

101-104 Marlborough Street

Part

0

412,344.90

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0357

Amiens Street (Gandon House)

Amiens Street

Whole

0

75,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0358

Amiens Street (Gandon House)

Amiens Street

Whole

1882.05

655,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0359

Amiens Street (Gandon House)

Amiens Street

Whole

1476.99

500,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0497

O’Connell St 29-32

Lyon/Findlater House, 29-32 O’Connell Street

Part

1698.3

533,290.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE1278

O’Connell St 29-32

Lyon/Findlater House, 29-32 O’Connell Street

Part

707.7

345,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0407

Irish Life Centre Block 1

Lower Abbey Street

Part

2779.94

918,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0408

Irish Life Centre Block 1

Lower Abbey Street

Part

529.53

206,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0404

Irish Life Centre Block 2

Lower Abbey Street

Whole

3630.53

1,310,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0405

Irish Life Centre Block 4 & 5

Lower Abbey Street

Part

779.18

273,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0409

Irish Life Centre Block 5/7

Lower Abbey Street

Part

3319.76

1,110,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0406

Irish Life Centre Block D E & F

Lower Abbey Street

Part

2469

900,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0317

Frederick St North Frederick Crt

Frederick Court, North Frederick Street

Whole

1996.77

702,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0020

Arran Quay (Arran Court)

Arran Quay

Part

473.24

165,337.23

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0596

Parnell St Parnell Busines Cntr

125 Parnell Street

Part

272

45,801.99

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0001

Abbey Street Upper 26 – 30

Chapter House, 26 – 30 Upper Abbey Street

Whole

1583.7

667,133.08

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0002

Abbey Street Upper 26 – 30

Chapter House, 26 – 30 Upper Abbey Street

Whole

2855

1,206,162.28

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0004

Abbey Street Upper 26 – 30

Chapter House, 26 – 30 Upper Abbey Street

Whole

2351.39

994,923.93

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0970

Abbey Street Upper 26 – 30

Chapter House, 26 – 30 Upper Abbey Street

Whole

491.16

211,542.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0108

Capel Street 89 -94

89 -94 Capel Street

Part

1971.6

689,321.76

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0599

Parnell Sq 2 – 3

2 – 3 Parnell Square

Part

0

698,355.94

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE0961

Parnell Sq 16

16 Parnell Square

Whole

3274.54

1,493,644.72

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE1140

Great Strand St Millennium Hse

52-56 Great Strand Street

Part

904.7

265,675.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE1430

Kings Inn House SWO

Parnell St

Part

774

208,275.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 01

LSE1431

Kings Inn House SWO

Parnell St

Part

1967

558,200.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0292

Adelaide Rd 65a (Davitt House)

65a Adelaide Road

Whole

4097.27

1,680,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0300

Ely Place 7-8 Ely Court

7-8 Ely Place

Whole

1785.95

711,322.50

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0314

Wilton Place Fitzwilton House

Wilton Place

Part

409.78

205,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0374

Grand Canal Street

1 Lower Grand Canal Street

Whole

3998.42

1,625,264.70

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0386

St Stephens Gr 67-71 Hainault Hse

67-71 St Stephen’s Green

Part

1750.61

600,000.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0387

Harcourt St Harcourt Cntre Blk 2

Harcourt Street

Part

515.69

228,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0388

Harcourt Road 4-5

4-5 Harcourt Road

Whole

3047

1,260,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0395

Harcourt Street 75-78

76-78 Harcourt Street

Whole

2279.3

1,010,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0396

Hatch Street 13-15

13-15 Hatch Street

Whole

1056.46

397,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0526

Mespil Road 43-49

43 – 49 Mespil Road

Whole

3784

1,637,756.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0532

Mount St Lr 73-79 Ballaugh House

73-79 Lower Mount Street

Whole

2392.83

933,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0533

Mount Street Lower 85 – 93

85-93 Lower Mount Street

Whole

4590.49

1,743,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0585

Pearse St 212-213 Oisín House

212-213 Pearse Street

Whole

0

1,493,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0590

Leeson Street Lower Ossory House

Earlsfort Centre, Lower Leeson Street

Whole

0

900,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0681

Molesworth St Gov Publications

Molesworth Street

Whole

296.27

241,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0707

Mount St Lr 79-83 Timberlay Hse

79-83 Lower Mount Street

Whole

3191.76

1,149,615.70

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0713

Townsend St 157 – 164

157-164 Townsend Street

Whole

5617

1,370,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0733

Andrew St 10-12

10-12 Andrew St.

Whole

1022.49

340,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0676

Earlsfort Tce St Steph Gr Hse

Earlsfort Terrace

Part

0

1,024,229.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0679

Earlsfort Tce St Steph Gr Hse

Earlsfort Terrace

Part

415.27

205,270.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE1004

Earlsfort Tce St Steph Gr Hse

Earlsfort Terrace

Part

826.85

365,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0008

Tara Street Apollo House

Tara Street

Whole

1473.39

560,750.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0009

Tara Street Apollo House

Tara Street

Whole

1477.11

453,120.20

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0010

Tara Street Apollo House

Tara Street

Whole

425.57

185,600.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0376

Mount St Lr 67-72 Grattan House

67-72 Lower Mount Street

Part

386.47

184,900.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0377

Mount St Lr 67-72 Grattan House

67-72 Lower Mount Street

Part

386.47

190,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0378

Mount St Lr 67-72 Grattan House

67-72 Lower Mount Street

Part

386.47

190,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0379

Mount St Lr 67-72 Grattan House

67-72 Lower Mount Street

Part

288

145,800.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0415

Lombard St East 8 – 11 Joyce Hse

8 – 11 Lombard Street

Whole

1408.96

560,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0529

Molesworth Bldg Setanta Cntre

Molesworth Street/South Frederic

Part

248.6

114,388.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0530

Molesworth Bldg Setanta Cntre

Molesworth Street/South Frederic

Part

5155.76

2,267,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0555

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

Nassau Street

Part

994

469,680.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0556

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

Nassau Street

Part

1632.29

643,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0557

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

Nassau Street

Part

1520

688,600.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0558

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

Nassau Street

Part

1608.32

656,454.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0559

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

Nassau Street

Part

582.03

240,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0560

Nassau Building Setanta Centre

Nassau Street

Part

1743.36

639,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0645

Statoil Building

1 Setanta Place, Kildare Street

Part

889.24

373,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0389

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 1

Harcourt Street

Whole

3669

1,300,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0391

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 2

Harcourt Street

Whole

3864

1,832,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE1419

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 2

Harcourt Street

Whole

0

105,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0392

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 3

Harcourt Street

Whole

2531

1,278,800.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0393

Harcourt Sq Garda Block 4

Harcourt Street

Whole

799.5

417,250.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0176

Clonmel Street [Clonmel Place]

Clonmel Place, Clonmel Street

Whole

1711.96

804,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0295

Earlsfort Terrace Earl Ctr Blk C

Earlsfort Centre Block C, Earlsfort Terrace

Whole

2788.46

1,210,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0318

Frederick St South Frederick Hse

Frederick House, South Frederick Street

Part

423

188,050.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0515

Merrion Square 24

24 Merrion Square

Whole

628.87

235,300.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0535

Mount St Upr 36

36 Upper Mount Street

Whole

417.14

200,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE1014

St Stephens Gr 94

94 St Stephens Green

Part

1875

711,724.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0121

Great Georges St Sth 73/83

73-83 South Great Georges Street

Whole

3222.14

260,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0153

Mount Street Lr Clanwilliam Crt

Lower Mount Street

Part

1172.61

480,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0154

Clare Street 12

12 Clare Street

Whole

320.04

112,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0155

Clare Street 22-25

22-25 Clare Street

Whole

1893.77

670,375.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0399

Holles Street Holbrook House

Holbrook House Holles Street

Part

404.96

174,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0613

Leinster St Sth 6-9 Phoenix Hse

6 – 9 South Leinster Street

Part

530.83

218,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0411

Harcourt Road Dun Sceine

Iveagh Court Block A

Whole

1881.27

850,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0078

Bishops Square

Redmonds Hill

Part

3020.46

1,495,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0080

Bishops Square

Redmonds Hill

Part

3082.05

1,525,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0082

Bishops Square

Redmonds Hill

Part

2260.07

1,120,000.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0516

Merrion Square 24 The Mews

24 Merrion Square

137.68

68,210.33

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0954

St Stephens Gr Ardilaun House

St Stephens Green

Part

2814.47

1,098,323.04

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0963

Merrion Row 2 – 4

2/4 Merrion Row

Part

1023.5

472,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0969

Earlsfort Terrace Earl Ctr Blk

Earlsfort Centre Block J, Earlsfort Terrace

Part

417

195,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE1044

Adelaide Road 29-31

29-31 Adelaide Road

Whole

5482.39

2,524,569.50

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE1147

Nassau St Social Srv Insp Unit

Morrison Chambers, 32 Nassau Street

Part

232.58

87,622.06

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE1169

Harcourt Street 71

Pinebrook House, 71 – 74 Harcourt Street

Whole

590

200,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE1170

Harcourt St 72-74

Pinebrook House, 72-74 Harcourt Street

Whole

3249

1,419,143.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0184

Kildare Street 43-44

Confederation House, 43-44 Kildare Street

Whole

2454.48

1,174,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 02

LSE0241

D’olier Street (D’olier House)

D’olier Street

Part

3873.81

1,085,626.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 04

LSE0652

Shelbourne Rd 21 Shelbourne Hse

21 Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge

Part

2763.99

1,018,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 04

LSE0156

Claremont Road Revenue Office

Claremont Road, Sandymount

Whole

1920.91

655,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 04

LSE0997

Waterloo Road St Martins House

Dublin 4

Part

1092

507,005.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 05

LSE0381

Kilbarrack Swo

Greendale Shopping Centre, Kilbarrack

Part

0

145,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 05

LSE0186

Coolock Northside Shop Cntre

Oscar Traynor Road, Coolock

Part

204.85

48,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 06

LSE0620

Rathgar Driving Test Centre

95 Orwell Road, Rathgar

Part

117.5

36,822.40

Office

Dublin

Dublin 06

LSE0107

Canal Road (Canal House)

Canal Road

Whole

744

370,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE0588

Ormond Quay Ormond House

Ormond Quay

Part

668.42

282,750.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE0591

North Circular Road Park House

North Circular Road

Part

1305.28

340,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE0592

North Circular Road Park House

North Circular Road

Part

345.22

90,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE0589

Ormond Quay Upper 19

Upper Ormond Quay

Whole

365.85

99,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE0506

Manor St Nursing Council

Units 6 & 7, Manor St Business Park

Part

338.17

85,000.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE0090

Bow Street Gov Office

31-35 Bow Street

Whole

917.67

450,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE0980

Navan Road Ashtowngate

Navan Road

Whole

6255

1,550,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE0987

Bow Street 12-13

Fitzgerald Building, 12-13 Bow Street

Whole

919.06

300,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE1180

Blackhall Plce Smithwick Tribu

Block C, 9-13 Blackhall Place

Part

627.91

375,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 07

LSE1266

Navan Road Ashtowngate Block B

Navan Road

Part

1048

254,401.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 08

LSE0700

Thomas Street 126 – 7

126 -127 Thomas Street

Whole

991.1

194,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 08

LSE0614

Conyngham Road Phoenix House

Phoenix House, Conyngham Road

Whole

1265.51

330,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 08

LSE1073

Garden Lane Prob/Welfare Off

Carmans Hall, Garden Lane

Part

316.14

55,980.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 08

LSE1228

Le Pole House

Le Pole House, Great Ship Street

Part

657.48

306,759.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 08

LSE1258

The Chancery Building

3-10 Chancery Lane

Part

1630

547,056.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 09

LSE0643

Santry Revenue Warehouse/Office

Unit H Furry Park, Furry Park

Whole

3382.4

400,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 10

LSE0047

Ballyfermot Prob & Wel Service

Le Fanu Road, Ballyfermot

Part

260

36,822.40

Office

Dublin

Dublin 11

LSE0309

Finglas Prob&Welfare Service

Poppintree Mall, Finglas

Part

436.44

66,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 11

LSE0310

Finglas Shopping Centre Fás

Unit 14c, Finglas Shopping Centre

Part

255.01

39,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 11

LSE0740

Finglas Driv Test Ctr+Rev Store

Unidare Industrial Estate, Jamestown Road

Part

500.45

45,520.15

Office

Dublin

Dublin 11

LSE0053

Ballymun Swo

Ballymun Shopping Centre, Ballymun

Part

189.52

25,394.76

Office

Dublin

Dublin 11

LSE0054

Ballymun Swo

Ballymun Shopping Centre, Ballymun

Part

0

28,092.95

Office

Dublin

Dublin 12

LSE0594

Park West Business Park Block 43

Block 43, Park West Business Park

Part

915.09

212,585.90

Office

Dublin

Dublin 13

LSE0244

Donaghmede Prob/Welfare Service

Donaghmede Shopping Centre, Grange Road

Part

719.33

160,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 14

LSE0577

Nutgrove Swo

Nutgrove Shopping Centre, Rathfarnham

Part

0

144,480.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 14

LSE0147

Churchtown Driving Test Centre

5 Braemor Road, Churchtown

Part

65.03

13,800.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Dublin

Dublin 14

LSE0071

Clonskeagh Belfield Office Park

Block 5 Belfield Office Park, Clonskeagh

Whole

3533.45

1,160,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 15

LSE0084

Blanchardstown Swo

Block A Westend Office Park

Part

2898.48

638,678.25

Office

Dublin

Dublin 15

LSE1282

Blanchardstown Gov Office

Block 3 Grove Court, Blanchardstown

Part

805.57

157,907.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 15

LSE1283

Blanchardstown Gov Office

Block 3 Grove Court, Blanchardstown

Part

805.54

157,907.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 22

LSE0170

Clondalkin Swo Ninth Lock Rd

Block B, Ninth Lock Road

Part

1144.71

215,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 22

LSE0167

Clondalkin Education Office

Convent Road, Clondalkin

Whole

418.06

43,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 22

LSE0168

Clondalkin Education Office

Convent Road, Clondalkin

Whole

418.06

43,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 22

LSE0169

Clondalkin Siac Building

Siac Building Monastery Road, Clondalkin

Part

2239.09

570,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 24

LSE0691

Tallaght Revenue Commissioners

Unit 247, The Square

Part

349.86

107,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 24

LSE0692

Tallaght Prob And Welf Service

Westpark House, Westpark Road

Whole

326.73

92,057.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 24

LSE1053

Tallaght DTC

Unit 1, Belgard Industrial Estate

Part

157.93

48,250.05

Office

Dublin

Dublin 24

LSE0690

Tallaght Gov Off St Johns Hse

St John’s House, Tallaght Retail Centre

Part

2948.18

722,501.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 24

LSE0687

Tallaght Gov Off Plaza Complex

Plaza Complex Belgard Road, Tallaght

Part

1866.13

380,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 24

LSE0688

Tallaght Gov Off Plaza Complex

Plaza Complex Belgard Road, Tallaght

Part

2288.46

500,000.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin 24

LSE1047

Tallaght PIAB

The Grain Hse, Blk 1, The Exchange, Belgard Square North

Part

1011.8

188,553.75

Office

Dublin

Dublin 24

LSE1058

Tallaght Education Office

County Hall, Belgard Sq North, Town Centre

Part

589.99

113,658.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin Airport

LSE0265

Dublin Airport Transaer House

Transaer House, Dublin Airport

Whole

1190.82

565,235.00

Office

Dublin

Dublin Airport

LSE1050

Dublin Airport Pier B

Dublin Airport

Part

39.7

14,599.20

Office

Dublin

Dublin Airport

LSE1577

Dublin Airport Terminal Building

Dublin Airport

Part

38.3

16,086.00

Office

Dublin

Dún Laoghaire

LSE0238

Dún Laoghaire Vehicle Reg Off

111 Lower Georges Street

Whole

182.2

47,500.00

Office

Dublin

Dún Laoghaire

LSE0235

Dún Laoghaire Prob & Welfare Serv

Foundation House, 12 Northumberland Avenue

Whole

245.63

85,999.36

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Dublin

Lucan

LSE0493

Lucan Swo – Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill

Part

0

16,671.66

Office

Dublin

Lucan

LSE0495

Lucan Swo – Main Street

Main Street

Part

0

12,697.38

Office

Dublin

Malahide

LSE0500

Malahide Swo

Main Street

Part

0

15,871.73

Office

Dublin

Swords

LSE0684

Swords Business Campus Unit 4

Balheary Road, Swords

Part

3480.71

634,852.53

Office

Dublin

Swords

LSE1144

Swords Business Campus Unit 5/6d

Balheary Road, Swords

Whole

864.84

181,490.55

Office

Dublin

Swords

LSE1174

Swords Business Campus Unit 5/6a

Unit 4, Balheary Road

Whole

1261.62

231,443.68

Office

Dublin

Swords

LSE1175

Swords Business Campus Unit 5/6c

Unit 4, Units A &C, Balheary Road

Whole

931.71

173,226.50

Office

Galway

Ballinasloe

LSE0037

Ballinasloe Gov Office

3 Society Street

Part

127.74

14,195.67

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0326

Galway Swo – Augustine House

Augustine House, Merchant’s Road

Part

0

33,267.14

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0345

Galway Garda Training

Mayoralty House, Flood Street

Part

171.77

31,420.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0347

Galway Gov Off Ross House

Ross House, Merchants Road

Part

408.78

88,000.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0348

Galway Gov Off Ross House

Ross House, Merchants Road

Part

402.72

81,281.25

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0356

Galway Driving Test Centre

Unit 4 Westside, Westside Shopping Centre

Part

104.51

28,600.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0335

Galway Revenue Tax Office

Hibernian House, Eyre Square

Part

194.44

27,299.37

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0336

Galway Revenue Tax Office

Hibernian House, Eyre Square

Part

184.03

31,696.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0337

Galway Revenue Tax Office

Hibernian House, Eyre Square

Part

380.62

54,281.30

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0338

Galway Revenue Tax Office

Hibernian House, Eyre Square

Part

931.34

150,375.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0340

Galway Gov Off Hynes Building

Hynes Building, St Augustine Street

Part

984.74

172,250.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0341

Galway Gov Off Hynes Building

Hynes Building, St Augustine Street

Part

0

235,000.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE1167

Galway Gov Off Hynes Building

Hynes Building, St Augustine Street

Part

1333.17

222,425.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0344

Galway Irish Water Safety

Long Walk

Part

153.19

41,722.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0355

Galway Education Office

Victoria Place

Whole

701.4

180,000.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0353

Galway Prob & Wel Serv

Abbey Arch Units 1, 4, 5, 7 & 8, Upper Abbeygate Street

Part

181.15

42,334.50

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Galway

Galway

LSE0354

Galway Prob & Wel Serv

Abbey Arch Units 1, 4, 5, 7 & 8, Upper Abbeygate Street

Part

154.77

31,144.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0951

Galway Environment Office

Office No. 3 The Plaza, Headford Road

Part

272.3

48,000.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE0972

Galway Garda Office

Unit 2 Liosban, Liosban Business Park

Whole

460.23

65,899.41

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE1021

Galway Daf Dockgate

Dockgate, Dock Road

Part

3430.37

744,825.84

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE1142

Galway Swo – Island House

Island House, Cathedral Square

Part

37.16

13,500.00

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE1222

Galway Liosbaun Garda Unit 1b

Liosbaun Business Park, Tuam Road

Whole

179

25,987.50

Office

Galway

Galway

LSE1239

Galway Revenue Fairgreen

Fairgreen Rd And Loughatalia Rd

Part

5525.95

1,214,221.40

Office

Galway

Loughrea

LSE0490

Loughrea Agriculture Offices

Esb Premises, Main Street

Part

92.89

26,600.00

Office

Galway

Loughrea

LSE0491

Loughrea Agriculture Offices

Esb Premises, Main Street

Part

100.33

13,865.54

Office

Galway

Loughrea

LSE0492

Loughrea Swo – PMPA Building

Pmpa Building, Bride Street

Part

111.48

23,000.00

Office

Galway

Loughrea

LSE1267

Loughrea Trans & RSA Temp Off

Clonfert House, Bride St

Part

116

31,225.00

Office

Galway

Loughrea

LSE1268

Loughrea Trans & RSA Temp Off

Clonfert House, Bride St

Part

360

56,187.50

Office

Galway

Loughrea

LSE1269

Loughrea Trans & RSA Temp Off

Clonfert House, Bride St

Part

332

51,837.50

Office

Galway

Spiddal

LSE1134

An Coimisinéir Teanga

Baile An Tsagairt

Part

340.6

45,981.00

Office

Galway

Tuam

LSE0734

Tuam Ordnance Survey Office

Airglooney House, Ballygaddy Road

Part

0

28,500.00

Office

Galway

Tuam

LSE0736

Tuam Government Offices

Rhatigans Premises, The Mall

Whole

235.78

38,500.00

Office

Galway

Tuam

LSE0735

Tuam Dtc

Balgaddy Road

Part

128.67

12,697.38

Office

Kerry

Kenmare

LSE0417

Kenmare Swo

Old Bridge Street

Part

160.07

19,000.00

Office

Kerry

Killarney

LSE0430

Killarney Government Offices

Credit Union Building, Beech Road New Street

Part

323.3

36,822.40

Office

Kerry

Killarney

LSE1234

Fossa Temp Ast Decentral Off

Killalea, Fossa

Whole

1115

140,000.00

Office

Kerry

Killarney

LSE1275

Killarney Park Court

Beech Road

Part

315.87

61,200.00

Office

Kerry

Listowel

LSE0487

Listowel Swo

12 The Square

Whole

0

81,263.24

Office

Kerry

Listowel

LSE1298

Listowel Revenue Office

Old Mill Road

Whole

1140

244,923.70

Office

Kerry

Tralee

LSE0715

Tralee Prob And Wel Service

7 Ashe Street

Part

128.48

35,000.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Kerry

Tralee

LSE0721

Tralee Greenview Office

3 Greenview Terrace

Whole

108.98

20,500.00

Office

Kerry

Tralee

LSE0723

Tralee Garda Training Centre

Market Place Main Street

Part

90.75

18,000.00

Office

Kerry

Tralee

LSE0725

Tralee Education Office

The Monastery Clounalour, Oakpark

Whole

371.61

69,000.00

Office

Kerry

Tralee

LSE0726

Tralee Education Office

The Monastery Clounalour, Oakpark

Whole

371.61

34,500.00

Office

Kildare

Athy

LSE0030

Athy Swo

Hibernian House, Leinster Street

Part

81.29

12,500.00

Office

Kildare

Athy

LSE1308

Athy Revenue Temp Decent Off

Unit 4 & 5, Athy Business Campus

Whole

1269.14

231,553.95

Office

Kildare

Kildare

LSE1428

Kildare Heritage Office

Station Road

Part

148.42

20,761.00

Office

Kildare

Maynooth

LSE0960

Maynooth Agriculture Office

Block B, Maynooth Business Park

Whole

4866.1

940,625.68

Office

Kildare

Naas

LSE0550

Naas Agric Off – Poplar House

Poplar House, Poplar Square

Part

557.5

95,696.00

Office

Kildare

Naas

LSE0552

Naas Swo – Rathasker Square

Unit 2 Rathasker Square, Kilcullen Road

Part

106.84

23,000.00

Office

Kildare

Naas

LSE0553

Naas Agric Off Spring Garden Hse

Spring Garden House, Sallins Road

Part

193.4

41,000.00

Office

Kildare

Naas

LSE0554

Naas Vehicle Registration Office

St David’s House, North Main Street

Part

144

38,000.00

Office

Kildare

Naas

LSE1022

Naas Gov Office

Maudlins Hall, Dublin Road

Whole

1343.37

254,034.00

Office

Kildare

Naas

LSE1211

Willow Hse Millennium Pk Block 6

Block 6, Willow House, Millennium Park

Part

607.48

119,163.00

Office

Kildare

Newbridge

LSE0573

Newbridge Swo – Henry Street

Henry Street

Part

106.84

20,500.00

Office

Laois

Portarlington

LSE1254

Portarlington Decentral Office

Data Protection Commissioners, Station Road

Part

457.38

73,500.00

Office

Laois

Portlaoise

LSE1013

Portlaoise DAF Appeals Office

Kilminchy Court

Whole

612.05

83,259.00

Office

Laois

Portlaoise

LSE1136

Portlaoise Agric Office Eircom

Knockmay

Part

1323.82

191,000.00

Office

Laois

Portlaoise

LSE1214

Portlaoise Grattan Business Cent

Grattan Business Centre, Dublin Road

Whole

1479.08

264,640.00

Office

Laois

Portlaoise

LSE1237

Portlaoise Grattan House

Grattan Business Centre,

Part

306.58

46,860.00

Office

Laois

Portlaoise

LSE1429

Portlaoise Grattan House

Grattan Business Centre,

Part

405.52

75,000.00

Office

Leitrim

Ballinamore

LSE0035

Ballinamore Swo

Main Street

Part

85.5

12,220.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Leitrim

Carrick On Shannon

LSE1295

Carrick-On-Shannon Dcnt Swo

Whole

3716

800,000.00

Office

Limerick

Kilmallock

LSE1032

Kilmallock Swo

Charleville Road

Whole

51.87

12,000.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE0460

Limerick Revenue Office

River House, Charlotte Quay

Whole

3307.24

615,000.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE0476

Limerick Swo – Plassey

International Business Park, Plassey

Part

269.41

42,050.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE0483

Limerick Driving Test Centre

Woodview Shopping Centre, Moylish

Part

60.2

15,000.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE0978

Limerick Education Office

Rosbrien Road, Punches Cross

Whole

1432.77

255,000.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE1069

Limerick Prob/Welfare Service

Theatre Court 1st & 2nd Floors, Lower Mallow St

Part

258.5

45,262.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE1070

Limerick Prob/Welfare Service

Theatre Court 1st & 2nd Floors, Lower Mallow St

Part

258.5

45,262.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE1150

Limerick Gov Off Houston Hall

Houston Hall, Raheen Business Park

Part

2669.64

373,568.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE1220

Limerick Estuary House

First Floor, Henry Street

Part

492

68,771.00

Office

Limerick

Limerick

LSE1422

Limerick Temp. Decent. Office

4th And 5th Floor, 106/108 O’Connell St

Part

853.69

128,694.00

Office

Limerick

Newcastle West

LSE0979

Newcastle West Prob/Wel Office

Churchtown Road

Whole

305.48

39,613.16

Office

Longford

Longford

LSE0488

Longford Vehicle Reg Off

Richmond Street

Whole

83.61

12,825.00

Office

Longford

Moyne

LSE0021

Moyne Wildlife Office

Longford Road

Whole

113.6

13,205.28

Office

Louth

Ardee

LSE0016

Ardee Swo

William Street

Part

33.45

14,000.00

Office

Louth

Drogheda

LSE0261

Drogheda Prob & Wel Serv

23 Laurence Street

Part

260.68

66,000.00

Office

Louth

Drogheda

LSE0976

Drogheda Education Office

C C O House, Industrial Estate

Whole

343.74

70,089.52

Office

Louth

Drogheda

LSE1173

Drogheda Swo Singleton House

Singleton House, Laurence Street

Part

257

70,533.00

Office

Louth

Dundalk

LSE0270

Dundalk Gov Off Brook St

Brook Street, Ardee Road

Whole

277.58

35,000.00

Office

Louth

Dundalk

LSE0273

Dundalk Gov Off Earl Hse

Earl House, 13-14 Earl Street

Whole

1487.36

177,763.33

Office

Louth

Dundalk

LSE1206

Dundalk Education Office

Dundalk Institute Of Technology, Dublin Road

Part

66

13,860.00

Office

Mayo

Castlebar

LSE0124

Castlebar Swo – Humbert Mall

Humbert Mall

Part

371.6

67,500.00

Office

Mayo

Castlebar

LSE0123

Castlebar Dtc

Mitchells Gaa Club Mchale Park

Part

51.65

11,500.00

Office

Mayo

Castlebar

LSE0126

Castlebar Nat Ed Physch Serv

Thomas Street

Part

139.35

23,000.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Mayo

Castlebar

LSE1063

Castlebar Prob/Welfare Service

Unit 10, N5 Business Retail Park

Part

355.45

38,259.80

Office

Mayo

Claremorris

LSE0158

Claremorris Agriculture Office

St Colman’s Credit Union, The Square

Part

264.2

37,000.00

Office

Mayo

Claremorris

LSE1281

Claremorris Temp Decent Off

Unit 20, Lakeside Retail Park

Whole

797.93

68,712.00

Office

Meath

Kells

LSE0416

Kells Swo

Headfort Place

Part

55.74

18,500.00

Office

Meath

Navan

LSE0968

Navan Swo

Kennedy Road

Part

938.78

230,000.00

Office

Meath

Navan

LSE1162

Navan Gov Off Athlumney

Athlumney, Kilcairn

Whole

3217.67

575,000.00

Office

Meath

Navan

LSE1435

Navan Revenue Abbey Mall

Abbey Road

Part

2672.63

575,360.00

Office

Meath

Navan

LSE1427

Navan Athlumney House

Atulumney House

Whole

2744.38

439,921.00

Office

Meath

Trim

LSE1048

Trim Ncse

Mill Street

Whole

407.17

87,645.60

Office

Meath

Trim

LSE1272

Scurlockstown Temp Opw Office

Unit 1, Scurlockstown, Business Park

Whole

381.58

67,752.06

Office

Monaghan

Ballybay

LSE0043

Ballybay Dist Veterinary Office

7 Main Street

Whole

139.35

11,427.64

Office

Monaghan

Ballybay

LSE0044

Ballybay Livestock Office

Main Street

Whole

517

42,000.00

Office

Monaghan

Carrickmacross

LSE0116

Carrickmacross Swo

Ardee Road

Part

174.56

27,000.00

Office

Monaghan

Castleblayney

LSE1219

Castleblaney Credit Union House

Credit Union House, Main Street

Part

70.3

14,250.00

Office

Offaly

Tullamore

LSE1280

Tullamore Swo Castle Buildings

Office Suite 1 & 2 Castle Builds, Tara Street

Part

1247.14

204,044.80

Office

Roscommon

Roscommon

LSE0629

Roscommon Vehicle Reg Office

Castle Street

Whole

120.77

13,713.17

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE0665

Sligo Gov Off-Westward Town Cntr

Westward Town Centre, Bridge Street

Part

174.19

31,000.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE0666

Sligo Gov Off-Westward Town Cntr

Westward Town Centre, Bridge Street

Part

187.28

34,752.73

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE0667

Sligo Gov Off-Westward Town Cntr

Westward Town Centre, Bridge Street

Part

281.95

53,250.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE0668

Sligo Gov Off-Westward Town Cntr

Westward Town Centre, Bridge Street

Part

209.03

42,260.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE0659

Sligo Vehicle Reg Off

Unit 2, Customs House Quay

Whole

72.7

15,000.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE0663

Sligo Garda Welfare Office

4 Lower Pearse Road

Part

61.3

11,732.38

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE0657

Sligo SCFA Office

Waterfront House, Bridge Street

Part

800

194,600.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE1215

Sligo SCFA Office

Waterfront House, Bridge Street

Part

146

32,000.00

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Sligo

Sligo

LSE1026

Sligo Driving Test Centre

Carrowgobbadagh, Carraroe

Whole

126

109,220.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE1224

Marino House

Finisklin Business Park

Part

350

57,642.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE1444

Marino House

Finisklin Business Park

Part

349.9

57,640.15

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE1424

Lough Arrow Field Study Centre

Ballinafad

Part

311

33,430.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE1297

Beulah Building

Finisklin Road

Part

722.6

124,448.00

Office

Sligo

Sligo

LSE1442

Beulah Building

Finisklin Road

Part

539.14

92,848.00

Office

Sligo

Tubbercurry

LSE1225

Tubbercurry Temp CRGA Office

Main Street

Whole

753.71

86,755.00

Office

Tipperary

Clonmel

LSE0175

Clonmel Gov Off Harbour Hse

Harbour House, Nelson Street/New Quay

Part

1614.86

275,000.00

Office

Tipperary

Roscrea

LSE0634

Roscrea Swo

The Malthouse, Valley Place

Part

72.5

16,506.60

Office

Tipperary

Roscrea

LSE1061

Roscrea Civil Defence Office

Enterprise Hse, Benamore Bus Pk., Dublin Road

Whole

1876.89

178,825.00

Office

Tipperary

Roscrea

LSE1071

Roscrea Civil Defence Office

Enterprise Hse, Benamore Bus Pk., Dublin Road

Whole

8094

25,000.00

Office

Tipperary

Thurles

LSE0702

Thurles Gov Offices – Acc House

Acc House, Liberty Square

Part

148.83

10,157.90

Office

Tipperary

Thurles

LSE0706

Thurles Justice Welfare Office

Teach An Chuinne, Parnell Street

Part

74.32

10,729.29

Office

Tipperary

Thurles

LSE1185

Tipp Technology Park Unit F2

Units F2, A6 & A7, Tipperary Technology Park

Part

376

64,736.00

Office

Tipperary

Thurles

LSE1304

Thurles Garda Fines Office

Parnell Street, Thurles

Part

1235.53

186,186.00

Office

Tipperary

Tipperary

LSE1178

Tipperary Justice Office

Tipperary Technology Park, Rosanna Road

Part

502.61

108,200.00

Office

Waterford

Dungarvan

LSE0285

Dungarvan Gov Off Civic Bldgs

Civic Offices

Part

548.17

81,806.68

Office

Waterford

Waterford

LSE0757

Waterford Dtc

Unit 23, Tramore Business Park

Part

144.92

13,967.12

Office

Waterford

Waterford

LSE1028

Waterford Gov Off-Johnstown

Johnstown Industrial Estate, Johnstown

Whole

1095.97

117,968.00

Office

Waterford

Waterford

LSE1440

Waterford RSA Test Centre

Unit 7a1 & A2, Six Cross Roads Bus Park

Part

350

40,000.00

Office

Westmeath

Athlone

LSE0026

Athlone Dtc

Unit 8 Mccormack Centre

Part

74.32

17,370.04

Office

Westmeath

Athlone

LSE1075

Athlone Prob/Wel The Cresent

The Cresent, Ballymahon Road

Part

613.14

110,472.00

Office

Westmeath

Mullingar

LSE0546

Mullingar Vehicle Reg Office

Spout Well Lane

Part

74.32

14,500.00

Office

Westmeath

Mullingar

LSE0542

Mullingar Prob & Wel Serv

Friars Mill Road

Part

195.09

26,664.50

Office

County

Location

Lease Code

Building Name

Address

Leased

Net Lett Sqm

Rent Pa

Type

Westmeath

Mullingar

LSE0994

Mullingar Gov Offices

Friars Mill Road

Whole

908.6

186,309.00

Office

Wexford

Enniscorthy

LSE1138

Enniscorthy Swo Portsmouth Hse

Unit 9, Portsmouth House, Templeshannon

Whole

181.16

25,000.00

Office

Wexford

Rosslare Harbour

LSE0637

Rosslare Harbour Veh Reg Office

Rosslare Harbour

Part

696.77

90,000.00

Office

Wexford

Wexford

LSE0999

Wexford Education Office

3rd Flr, Bushel House, Cornmarket

Part

443

95,316.60

Office

Wexford

Wexford

LSE1288

Wexford Temp Decent Off Dehlg

Unit 1a, Ardcavan Business Park

Whole

580

75,000.00

Office

Wicklow

Arklow

LSE0017

Arklow Prob & Welfare Serv

Wexford Road

Part

185.8

19,046.07

Office

Wicklow

Bray

LSE0095

Bray Swo – The Esplanade

The Esplanade

Part

275.45

48,942.05

Office

Wicklow

Bray

LSE0096

Bray Swo – The Esplanade

The Esplanade

Part

246.19

43,742.48

Office

Wicklow

Bray

LSE1449

Block D Bray Civic Centre

Cualann Centre, Co.Wicklow

Part

1865.65

471,541.36

Office

Wicklow

Wicklow

LSE0768

Wicklow Gov Off Murrough

The Murrough

Part

739.58

123,926.44

Office

Tax Code.

Mary Upton

Question:

103 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance if he will review the decision of the Revenue Commissioners to require a person (details supplied) in County Galway to discharge the tax liability of their overseas landlord in circumstances in which this person is a recipient of rent supplement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47582/08]

Mary Upton

Question:

104 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance his plans to reform the practice of the Revenue Commissioners in situations in which a tenant is paying rent to an overseas landlord, in order that there is direct contact from the Revenue Commissioners with the landlord and that the tenant is not penalised for failing to discharge the landlord’s tax obligations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47583/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103 and 104 together.

The operation and impact of tax law as it applies to the legal obligation on a tenant, who pays rent to a non-resident landlord, to deduct income tax from the rental payments is monitored and reviewed on an ongoing basis as part of the normal work of my Department and the Revenue Commissioners.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the withholding of tax on rental income by tenants of non-resident landlords acts to promote greater compliance and deter evasion in this area, having regard to the obvious risk factors associated with non-resident taxpayers. The provision also ensures that a minimum tax payment is made by such landlords which might not be the case if the provision were removed.

The Revenue Commissioners accept that this provision might not be well known to some tenants and as a consequence could give rise to some practical difficulties. In recognition of this, where a tenant acts in good faith and is genuinely unaware of the obligation to deduct tax or of the residence status of the landlord, Revenue will only seek to apply the legislation from a current date. There is no question of such tenants being penalised for past failures to withhold tax from rental payments. This practical approach is reflected in Revenue's operational instructions in this area. In this context Revenue are prepared to review the specific case outlined by the Deputy. If the person forwards details of the assessment to Gerard Moyles, Customer Services, Galway County District, he will be pleased to assist. He can be contacted at 091535952 or by email at gmoyles@revenue.ie.

On the general issue raised by the Deputy there are a number of factors that need careful consideration, not least to protect the Exchequer from loss of revenue through tax evasion. The removal of the obligation to withhold tax would create a situation where it would be easy for non-resident landlords to evade tax. Revenue would have no way of recovering the tax due as Revenue would not be in a position to force such non-residents to make a tax return and to declare their income.

I have to ensure that Irish income tax is capable of being collected and, having consulted with the Revenue Commissioners and considered the matter, I am of the view that the current position, whereby tenants operate a withholding tax on such rental payments coupled with the Revenue practice of accepting the good faith of tenants who were genuinely unaware of their responsibilities or of the residency status of their landlords, remains the most effective approach in this area. An alternative arrangement that would avoid opening up opportunities for tax evasion simply does not present itself at present.

Financial Services Regulation.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

105 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the arrangements in place to ensure that banks who are availing of the bank guarantee scheme pass on ECB interest rate reductions in full to customers; the monitoring there is of such activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47585/08]

The decision on whether a bank operating in Ireland passes on ECB interest rate cuts to customers is a commercial decision for the individual banks concerned. While my Department monitors the impact of changes in mortgage interest rates on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), it has no direct function in relation to the individual bank decisions on the matter.

However, as the Deputy will be aware, I have publicly indicated that I expect banks to pass on funding cost reductions to their customers, including in particular to those purchasing properties on variable mortgages and to small and medium-sized enterprises. This is important to help support sustainable growth and employment along with the maintenance of price stability.

My Department will be working closely with the Financial Regulator to ensure that those institutions covered by the bank guarantee scheme do not pass on the costs of the bank guarantee to their customers in an unwarranted manner. However, it must be borne in mind that banks primarily borrow not from the ECB but from the interbank market, where spreads have been significantly above ECB rates over the last year. All covered institutions have to date passed ECB interest rate reductions to their customers in full. While two credit institutions have indicated that they will not be passing on the full amount of the recent interest rate cut to their customers, these are not covered by the guarantee scheme.

Food Safety Authority.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

106 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of prosecutions made since 2002 to date in 2008 in each county in which people have been selling off imported meat products as guaranteed Irish products; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47430/08]

Responsibility for the enforcement of labelling legislation rests with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and its official agents, which include the Health Service Executive, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Local Authorities.

I am informed that the prosecution data received by the FSAI from its official agencies indicates the legislation against which the prosecution was taken, but does not necessarily identify the specific offence under that legislation (e.g. mislabelling with regards to origin). Furthermore, the FSAI does not collate data on prosecutions by county.

I have asked the Chief Executive Officer of the FSAI to identify and to forward, directly to the Deputy, details on those prosecutions, relating to mislabelling of country of origin.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

107 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will appoint one person to oversee all policy on the implementation of food safety; if the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and her Department will have their competences merged to ensure against future food scares; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47533/08]

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is responsible for ensuring that food produced and marketed in Ireland meets the highest standard of safety and hygiene possible. It ensures that food complies with national and EU legislation and, where appropriate, with the provisions of codes of good practice.works closely with my Department and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The current food safety system was introduced following the various crises that beset the European food industry in the 1990s. I believe that this approach has served Ireland well. Some of the major achievements since this restructuring include a dramatic decline in the numbers of BSE cases in the national herd which is largely due to the strict enforcement of food safety controls throughout the food chain, an increase in the number of food premises that have put in place food safety management system based on the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point systems (HACCP) as required by law and the reduction of salt in processed foods which has been achieved through working in partnership with industry.

The efficiency and robustness of this system has been acknowledged by international experts. In 2008, the FSAI was awarded the World Health Organisation's Food Safety Award, a testimony to its excellent international reputation and a validation of the strong performance of the Irish food safety system. In addition, there was widespread favourable response to the speed and efficiency with which the three organisations dealt with the recent pork incident. French Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier welcomed Ireland's actions, stating that Ireland "reacted very rapidly". Androulla Vassilou, the European commissioner for public health, expressed satisfaction with Ireland's actions. Domestically, industry representatives welcomed the quick response from the Irish food safety system.

Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.

Michael McGrath

Question:

108 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application under the nursing home charges repayment scheme for a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [47256/08]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has responsibility for administering the health repayment scheme in conjunction with the appointed scheme administrator KPMG McCann Fitzgerald.

The Scheme Administrator provides in respect of each individual rejection an explanation as to the reason why a claim is being rejected. The Health (Repayment Scheme) Act 2006 provides the framework for lodging appeals under the health repayment scheme. A person who wishes to appeal the decision of the scheme administrator to reject a claim must do so in writing within the statutory 28 day period for appeal following receipt of the decision under the scheme.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Question:

109 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [47259/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Vaccination Programme.

Denis Naughten

Question:

110 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to the Health Service Executive response to Question No. 167 of 10 July 2008, the number of children who have been vaccinated to date in each hospital or in each primary community and continuing centre area since the policy change of 1 October 2008, in the areas concerned; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47283/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.

Denis Naughten

Question:

111 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Question No. 327 of 8 July 2008, the position regarding the issue of interest owing to long-stay patients and the recommendations and conclusion as a result of these meetings; the estimate of the value of interest which is owed to patients; when repayment will commence: the cost of the administration of this repayment programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47284/08]

The HSE plans to commence the actual payment of interest retained on funds invested since 2005 in early 2009.

All interest to be repaid since 2005 is retained in the PPP Fund as unallocated income and is available for distribution. The HSE will incur some administrative costs in making these repayments, which the HSE are currently establishing.

The HSE is also finalising a proposal to repay any interest owed as a result of interest retained by former Health Boards prior to 2005. When agreed, the HSE will then be in a position to commence making necessary repayments.

Food Safety Authority.

Denis Naughten

Question:

112 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of inspections performed by environmental health officers on restaurants in 2007 and 2008; the number planned for 2009; the number of premises in breach of the beef labelling laws in each year concerned; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47292/08]

Responsibility for the enforcement of food safety and food labelling legislation rests with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and its official agents, which include Health Service Executive and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

I have been informed by the FSAI, that in 2007 the Health Service Executive recorded 48,597 inspections across all premises under their supervision. In the retail and service sectors 11,692 and 32,909 inspections took place respectively. During the course of these inspections, 1,500 infringements of general labelling and presentation legislation were recorded by Environmental Health Officers.

In the first six months of 2008, in excess of 17,500 programmed inspections took place. The projected number of inspections for 2009 has not yet been finalised.

I have also been advised by the FSAI that while inspection information relating specifically to beef labelling legislation infringements is not currently identifiable, it is intended to compile this information for 2008. I understand that the number of inspections and follow-up actions taken in cases of non-compliance with the Health (Country of Origin of Beef) Regulations, 2006 will be compiled for 2008. I have asked the Chief Executive Officer of the FSAI to identify and to forward, directly to the Deputy, details on the non-compliances with the aforementioned regulations for 2008.

Health Services.

Michael McGrath

Question:

113 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if funding is available for a capital project (details supplied) in County Cork. [47298/08]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

114 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the procurement procedures in the primary care procurement programme for primary care centres nationwide (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47299/08]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

115 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [47300/08]

The supply of drugs, medicines and appliances is a service matter and therefore this matter has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

116 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the help available for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47301/08]

The supply of drugs, medicines and appliances is a service matter and therefore this matter has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

117 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will make a statement on concerns raised by retired teachers and other pensioners over 70 years who will lose their medical card entitlements in March 2009; her views on whether only 5% of pensioners will be affected by this public policy change and that citizens over 80 years are also losing an earlier entitlement at age 80 years to a full medical card. [47331/08]

The objective of the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme is to ensure that the medical card benefit is available to those who are unable without undue hardship, to meet the cost of health services for themselves and their dependants. I am satisfied that the Government decision to remove automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons aged 70 or over with effect from 1st January 2009 is an effective measure to ensure that public health funding is used to help those most in need.

Under the Health Act 2008, which passed all stages in the Oireachtas and was signed into law on 12th December 2008, automatic entitlement to a medical card for persons aged 70 and over will end on 31st December 2008, and with effect from 1st January, 2009, the income thresholds for entitlement to a medical card for those aged 70 and over will be €700 (gross) per week (€36,500 per year) for a single person and €1,400 (gross) per week (€73,000 per year) for a couple. Persons whose income is above the specified thresholds will have until 2nd March 2009 to advise the Health Service Executive that their income is above those limits. After that date, their medical card will no longer be valid.

Under the new arrangements, it is estimated that approximately 5% (20,000) of the current medical card holders aged 70 and over will no longer qualify for a medical card. The 5% estimate was based on the best available information from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the EU wide survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), which is conducted by the CSO to obtain information on the income and living conditions of different types of households. These EU-SILC tables have been made available to Opposition parties.

In relation to the issue raised by the Deputy that persons over 80 years of age had an earlier entitlement to a medical card, I wish to clarify that Section 1 of the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2001 provided a statutory entitlement to persons aged 70 and over to a medical card, regardless of income, with effect from 1st July 2001. Persons aged 80 and over did not have a statutory entitlement to a medical card prior to that date.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

118 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will include phase 3C of Naas General Hospital in the final 2009 Health Service Executive Capital Plan. [47346/08]

In drawing up its capital programme, the Health Service Executive is required to prioritise the capital infrastructure projects to be progressed within its overall capital funding allocation under the National Development Plan, taking account of the NDP targets for division of capital investment between the Acute and Primary, Community & Continuing Care pillars.

The Executive is currently revising its proposed Capital Plan for the remainder of the NDP in the context of funding notified as part of Budget 2009 and changes in construction costs. I have requested that proposals be submitted to my Department as soon as possible for consideration and approval in the normal way. Details on individual projects will be made available when the Capital Plan is approved.

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

119 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children and adults awaiting assessment for occupational therapy in County Kildare. [47347/08]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Service Staff.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

120 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of vacant posts in community occupational therapy in County Kildare. [47348/08]

Almost 130,000 people work full-time in our public health services. In recent years, the Government's ongoing high level of investment in health has achieved and maintained significant increases in the numbers of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals employed in the public health services. The Government has also invested heavily in the education and training of such personnel in order to secure a good supply of graduates to provide for the healthcare needs of the population into the future.

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

121 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of vacant public health nurse positions in County Kildare. [47349/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

122 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons receiving home care packages in County Kildare; the number on the waiting list for home care packages in County Kildare; and the number of people awaiting assessment for home care packages in County Kildare. [47355/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

123 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of people in County Kildare awaiting admission to a long-term bed in public nursing homes in County Kildare and their circumstances be it in acute hospital beds, living at home and so on. [47356/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Service Staff.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

124 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of permanent speech and language therapists in Kildare/west Wicklow; the number of temporary speech and language therapists; and the number of vacancies for posts in the Kildare/west Wicklow service. [47361/08]

Almost 130,000 people work full-time in our public health services. In recent years, the Government's ongoing high level of investment in health has achieved and maintained significant increases in the numbers of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals employed in the public health services. The Government has also invested heavily in the education and training of such personnel in order to secure a good supply of graduates to provide for the healthcare needs of the population into the future.

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

125 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children awaiting orthodontic treatment in County Kildare; and the number of orthodontists working in the service. [47362/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

126 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the waiting times for hearing tests for children in County Kildare in Newbridge and Tallaght Health Centres. [47364/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Mental Health Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

127 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the costs incurred by a person who is a patient at a psychiatric unit on a medium stay basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47374/08]

As this is a service matter the question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Finian McGrath

Question:

128 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9. [47409/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Service Inquiries.

Joe Costello

Question:

129 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she will take arising out of the medical report on a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 which concluded that there was gross negligence in nursing care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47440/08]

My Department has referred the report supplied by the Deputy to the Health Service Executive for appropriate action.

The case referred to is currently with the Coroner and as such the hospital concerned is precluded from making any comment at this point. I am advised that the relevant hospital consultant met with the family last July to discuss the matter.

Health Services.

David Stanton

Question:

130 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount spent by her Department and the Health Service Executive in arranging, securing and purchasing treatment abroad for patients other than those treated through the National Treatment Purchase Fund in the past five years respectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47450/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

David Stanton

Question:

131 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children her policy regarding the expansion of thrombolysis treatment availability to stroke patients across the country; the percentage of stroke patients who have access to this treatment; the locations at which this treatment is available; her efforts to reach the World Health Organisation target of treating 10% of patients with thrombolysis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47451/08]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

David Stanton

Question:

132 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children if the report from the working group who are devising a national action plan for rehabilitation services has been completed; if she or the Health Service Executive have received a copy of same; and the action that she will take as a result. [47452/08]

The Department of Health and Children and the Health Service Executive (HSE) are embarking on the development of a national policy/strategy for the provision of Rehabilitation Services. A Working Group was established in July 2008 to develop the policy/strategy.

The Working Group consists of key stakeholders and experts in the field of rehabilitation and is chaired by James O'Grady, Policy Advisor to the Office for Disability and Mental Health. Its Terms of Reference are to consider the rehabilitation needs at acute and community levels of people at all stages of the lifecycle with static and progressive neurological conditions; traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury; and other physically disabling conditions who may benefit from medical, psychological and/or social rehabilitation service provision.

The objectives of this process are the development of an appropriate policy framework; a strategy for service provision; and a preferred model of care. A report describing same will be prepared by the Working Group for submission to the Secretary General of the Department of Health and Children and the CEO of the Health Service Executive.

The Working Group has met on three occasions to date and will complete its work in the first half of 2009. To assist and inform this process an invitation has been issued to all interested organisations and individuals to make submissions to the Working Group. The closing date for receipt of submissions is Monday 26th January 2009.

Health Service Staff.

James Reilly

Question:

133 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff appointed to date including details of the type and location of each post of the 52 infection prevention and control posts approved in the latter half of 2006; the number of staff who have yet to be recruited including details of the type and location of each post; when this recruitment process will be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47466/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Accommodation.

James Reilly

Question:

134 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if the 14 fast-tracked single room beds for people with cystic fibrosis have been completed; if the full complement of 14 beds are operational; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47467/08]

I have identified the need to improve services for persons with cystic fibrosis as a priority in the Estimates process over recent years. Since 2006, additional revenue funding of €6.78m has been allocated to the Health Service Executive (HSE) to develop services for patients with cystic fibrosis.

I asked the HSE to place a particular focus on the development of services at St. Vincent's Hospital, the National Adult Tertiary Centre for the treatment of persons with cystic fibrosis, where concerns had been raised regarding the need to improve facilities. A number of capital projects have been completed at the hospital and further developments are in progress. My Department has asked the Executive to respond directly to the Deputy on the specific issues raised.

Departmental Expenditure.

James Reilly

Question:

135 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the estimate provided by the Health Service Executive as part of the 2009 estimates process, to her Department and the Department of Finance, of the cost of delivering the existing level of service in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47468/08]

The gross current allocation in 2009 for the Health Service Executive (HSE) is €14,791m, an increase of €454m or 3.2% on the 2008 provision. The objective set by the Government for the HSE is to maintain services in both hospital and community settings and to expand certain services, in particular cancer services and services for children with disabilities. These objectives are reflected in the Executive's Service Plan which I approved last week.

In the course of the discussions which were carried out between the HSE, my Department and the Department of Finance, the HSE identified a range of issues which gave rise to service pressures and which would have to be addressed in the context of the Estimates for the Executive in 2009. These were additional costs arising from demographic changes, increasing costs in relation to community schemes and in particular community drug services, additional pay costs, inflation, the full year cost of developments initiated in 2008 and the cost of implementing service developments deferred in 2008.

The Estimate for the HSE was determined against the background of very challenging circumstances facing the Public Finances. In this context my Department and the HSE identified a range of measures that the HSE had to undertake in order to maintain existing services and provide for developments in accordance with the Government's priorities while operating within the level of funding allocated by the Government. These included additional income generation, containing the cost of demand led schemes, reducing overhead costs and the further implementation of value for money initiatives.

Mental Health Services.

James Reilly

Question:

136 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of child and adolescent mental health teams established to date; the number of teams that have the full staff complement as recommended in A Vision for Change; the number of teams that do not have a full staff complement as recommended in A Vision for Change; the staff and staff vacancies within each team; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47469/08]

James Reilly

Question:

137 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will publish the Waiting List Report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services which was completed by the HSE in 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47470/08]

James Reilly

Question:

138 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of child adolescents on psychiatric waiting lists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47471/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 136 to 138, inclusive, together.

As this is a service matter the question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Hospital Accommodation.

James Reilly

Question:

139 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of bed days lost at each hospital due to delayed discharges at each hospital here in the year 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47472/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Services.

James Reilly

Question:

140 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of day cases and inpatient procedures cancelled in 2007; the number of day cases and inpatient procedures cancelled in 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47473/08]

The National Hospitals Office of the HSE is responsible for the collection and publication of performance data on acute hospitals nationally including information on cancellation rates. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the Executive for direct reply.

Long-Term Illness Scheme.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

141 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children if it is the intention of her Department or the Health Service Executive to add myasthenia gravis to the list of qualifying conditions for the long term illness scheme; the supports available to sufferers of the condition; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47482/08]

Under the 1970 Health Act, the Health Service Executive may arrange for the supply, without charge, of medicines and medical and surgical appliances to people with specified conditions, for the treatment of that condition, through the Long Term Illness Scheme (LTI). The LTI does not cover GP fees or hospital co-payments. The conditions are: mental handicap, mental illness (for people under 16 only), phenylketonuria, cystic fibrosis, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, haemophilia, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophies, parkinsonism, conditions arising from thalidomide and acute leukaemia. There are currently no plans to extend the list of eligible conditions.

Food Poverty.

Mary Upton

Question:

142 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she has taken to tackle food poverty; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47495/08]

Mary Upton

Question:

159 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the actions that have been taken to tackle food poverty and the progress that has been made to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47581/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 159 together.

Food poverty is usually defined as an inability to obtain an adequate, nutritious diet, because of lack of money, physical difficulty in getting to and from suitable shops, lack of equipment or cooking skills, and linguistic or cultural barriers. It will be appreciated, therefore, that tackling food poverty involves a range of Government Departments and Agencies.

Poor diet and nutrition is a major cause of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and type — 2 diabetes. My Department is currently finalising a National Nutrition Policy, which, while addressing the nutritional needs of the whole population, will also deal with the issue of food poverty.

Already, a number of actions have been undertaken at community level by the Health Service Executive. The HSE has worked with the Local Authorities and other groups to address the environmental factors that contribute to food poverty and obesity by developing food co-ops in disadvantaged areas. The HSE has also provided funding for the Food Poverty project Healthy Food for All which is being undertaken by a number of agencies, including St. Vincent de Paul, Combat Poverty and Safefood.

Obesity Levels.

Mary Upton

Question:

143 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the specific targets or commitments she has taken to tackle the rising levels of obesity here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47497/08]

Mary Upton

Question:

144 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress on implementing the recommendations of the National Task Force on Obesity; the amount of funding that has been dedicated towards reducing obesity here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47498/08]

Mary Upton

Question:

157 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress on implementing the recommendations of the National Task Force on Obesity; the amount of funding that has been dedicated towards reducing obesity here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47578/08]

Mary Upton

Question:

158 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the specific targets or commitments she has taken to tackle the rising levels of obesity here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47579/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 143, 144, 157 and 158 together.

Implementation of the report of the National Taskforce on Obesity (NTFO) is ongoing. By its nature, implementation of many of the recommendations was going to take place in the medium term with some of the actions more long-term. A survey by the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre on the implementation of the NTFO Report shows that there has been action and progress on 60% of the recommendations. There is considerable evidence of action and delivery at local and community level.

Since becoming Minister of State with responsibility for Health Promotion, I have made tackling obesity one of my key priorities. In order to give a new impetus to this issue I am currently in the process of conducting a series of bilateral discussions with relevant Departments with regard to the implementation of the recommendations of the Taskforce.

I am also in the process of establishing a multi-sectoral group representative of key Government Departments, Non-Governmental Organisations and other key experts to oversee implementation of the Task Force's recommendations. Its first task will be to report before next Easter on the progress to date in the implementation of the report of the Task Force. I intend to Chair this Group and the first meeting will take place in January.

At Department of Health and Children level, a key recommendation of the Taskforce was the development of a National Nutrition Policy. My Department is currently finalising this policy, which will provide strategic direction on nutrition for the next ten years. The target group is young people, 0-18 years, and the priority actions are intended to reduce obesity and food poverty. The Cardiovascular Health Policy Group, due to report early next year, will be advising on measures to tackle lifestyle issues like obesity at population level as well as in the primary care setting. My Department, through the EU High Level Group on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, is also playing an advocacy role within the EU to reform policies relating to healthy eating. Specifically the Group has set targets for the reduction of salt in foods, on which work has already commenced. The next stage will be setting targets for a reduction in sugar and fats in food.

The HSE established a Working Group to implement the health related recommendations of the report of the NTFO. The working group has developed a framework for Action on Obesity. Among the actions already taken are: the development of specialist hospital services for the treatment of obesity; the development of obesity management programme for overweight children in the midland region; funded clinical management services in Loughlinstown, Crumlin and Galway; ongoing media campaign ‘Little Steps Go a Long Way'. A sum of €3 million has been allocated to the HSE to fund obesity prevention and treatment programmes. This is in addition to HSE spending on health promotion activities.

My Department has been actively involved with other Government Departments in pursuing the implementation of the key recommendations of the NTFO with the result that a range of initiatives are being taken by various Government Departments and Agencies. These include: working with the Department and the Department of Education and Science on the development of Healthy Eating Guidelines for pre-schools and primary schools. Appropriate healthy eating training by community dieticians with preschool and primary school staff is currently underway. Guidelines for post-primary schools will be published shortly; working with the Department of Social & Family Affairs on drawing up literature for healthy food choices for the school food programme; liaising with the Department of Agriculture and Food who are leading out on the EU Fruit and Vegetable Scheme. This scheme will build on the "Food Dudes" Programme. There will also be consultation with the Department of Transport on their Sustainable Travel and Transport Action Plan which contains proposals for the development of a National Cycling Policy framework and the promotion of cycling and walking.

Hospital Services.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

145 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the average cost of a total hip replacement and total knee replacement in public hospitals. [47535/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

146 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the average cost of a total hip replacement and total knee replacement in private hospitals under the National Treatment Purchase Fund. [47536/08]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

147 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of total hip replacements and total knee replacements which have been subcontracted out to private hospitals under the National Treatment Purchase Fund. [47537/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 146 and 147 together.

As the Deputy's question relates to the operation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, my Department has asked the Chief Executive of the Fund to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the information requested.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

148 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the extra cost to the Exchequer to subcontract total hip replacements and total knee replacements to private hospitals under the National Treatment Purchase Fund. [47538/08]

The prices paid to private hospitals by the NTPF for particular procedures are not directly comparable with the costs of similar procedures in the public hospitals. HSE casemix data indicates the cost of treating groups of patients with similar conditions, not the cost of individual procedures. Furthermore, the prices paid by the NTPF in the private hospital sector are for a full package of care, including pre- and post-operative treatment as required.

Nonetheless HSE casemix cost data is one of the comparators used by the NTPF in the course of its dealings with private hospitals in order to achieve competitive rates. Other reference points used include estimated insurers' prices, consultant costs based on the insurers' schedules of fees and the prices proposed by peer hospitals for similar work. With the information available from these sources, the NTPF enters into a negotiating process on individual pricing proposals and seeks to conclude a service agreement with a given private hospital for the provision of the required service. On occasion, the NTPF has declined to agree prices with hospitals where it has been not been satisfied that value for money would be achieved.

The financial statements of the Fund are subject to audit by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) on an annual basis. The Committee of Public Accounts, in its recent Third Interim Report on the 2006 Report of the C&AG on Expenditure in the Health Services, noted that the C&AG had access to information about the prices paid by the NTPF for procedures undertaken in private hospitals and that this information should not be disclosed on the basis that the publication of commercially sensitive information would affect the negotiating position of NTPF and, as a result, its capacity to deliver value for money. The Committee noted also that the C&AG has agreed to carry out a review of these areas as part of his continuing audit of the NTPF's expenditure.

I wish to assure the Deputy that I am committed to ensuring that the NTPF achieves maximum value for money so that as many public patients as possible can benefit from treatment through the Fund. Value for money will continue to be the subject of attention in the context of my Department's oversight and monitoring role in relation to the NTPF.

Health Services.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

149 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of one community based residential detox bed per patient per day; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47540/08]

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

150 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of one medical detox bed per patient per day; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47541/08]

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

151 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of methadone treatment for one patient per month; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47542/08]

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

152 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of employing one trained addiction counsellor per year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47543/08]

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

153 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of running one cocaine clinic per year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47544/08]

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Asylum Support Services.

Denis Naughten

Question:

154 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the budget of the separated children seeking asylum unit within the Health Service Executive; the number of staff employed and their grades and professions; the budget for 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47554/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Denis Naughten

Question:

155 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of places in each hostel for separated children seeking asylum; the number of places occupied in each facility; the corresponding number of places allocated to a child but unoccupied; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47555/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

James Reilly

Question:

156 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a Health Service Executive company (details supplied) is charging means tested clients private fees and donations over and above the fee it has contracted with the HSE for homecare services; if this practice is approved by her Department; if it is legal in view of the fact that the company has been contracted and remunerated by the HSE to provide those services; if her attention has further been drawn to other companies or service providers of homecare services engaging in such practices; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47562/08]

The legislation relating to the provision of home care services is Section 60 and 61 of the Health Act 1970.

Section 60, which relates primarily to nursing services for those with full eligibility, prescribes the provision of relevant services without charge. Section 61 relates to "arrangements to assist in the maintenance at home" and covers, for example, Home-Help services. This Section allows the CEO of a Health Board, now the Health Service Executive, to determine charges, and includes provision for any directions given by the Minister. No such directions have been made to-date. It is understood that, in practice, the Executive does not apply charges for services envisaged under Section 61 but that, in certain cases, voluntary agencies funded by the Executive may receive contributions by agreement with individuals.

My colleague, the Minister for Health and Children, is not familiar with the particular operational issue raised by the Deputy. In the circumstances, and as this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

Questions Nos. 157 and 158 answered with Question No. 143.
Question No. 159 answered with Question No. 142.

Hospital Accommodation.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

160 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the Health Service Executive has not responded to Parliamentary Question No. 188 of 10 July 2008 in view of the fact that in a reply to a follow-up question dated 24 September 2008 it was indicated that this information was being finalised and in a further follow up question dated 5 November 2008 it was stated that the reply would be forwarded shortly; the reason for the delay; and if she will ensure the question is replied to without further delay. [47588/08]

My Department has been in communication with the Health Service Executive in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy. Over recent months, the Executive has been undertaking significant work on the complex task of compiling, and evaluating the quality of, data on bed numbers in public acute hospitals. This work is nearing completion, which will allow the response to the Deputy to be finalised.

Hospital Services.

James Reilly

Question:

161 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to purchase a spinal monitoring machine for Tallaght Hospital Dublin which they do not currently have; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47594/08]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

162 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children the cancer services which will be provided at Waterford Regional Hospital; the accommodation which will be provided; the staff which will be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47644/08]

Brian O'Shea

Question:

163 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children if the centre of excellence for cancer care to be provided at Waterford Regional Hospital will adequately provide for the needs of patients from the south east region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47645/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 163 together.

As these are service matters they has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Departmental Staff.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

164 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the number of staff allowed to be hired by his Department; if the Department of Finance has communicated concerns over staffing policy in his Department; if his Department has complained to the Department of Finance regarding finance to fill vacancies in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47314/08]

My Department has been discussing with the Department of Finance the application of measures announced by the Minister for Finance in the recent budget to reduce payroll costs across the public service. As part of these discussions this Department has identified a number of priority vacancies which it considers essential to fill at this time, and the two Departments are currently exploring how these can be accommodated within the context of achieving a payroll reduction in 2009.

Road Safety.

Denis Naughten

Question:

165 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport if in view of an Act (details supplied) he will provide funding and instruct local authorities to grit busy regional and local roads during poor weather; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47291/08]

I refer the Deputy to the response to PQ number 46117/08 of 16th December 2008. The position remains unchanged.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

166 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the function of the Minister of State with special responsibility for road safety within his Department in view of the fact that all functions relating to road safety have been transferred to the Road Safety Authority under extensive primary and secondary legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47305/08]

As well as my responsibilities in the Maritime sector which includes Maritime Transport, Marine Safety and the Irish Coast Guard, I also have responsibility for the road safety functions within the Department, which includes the Road Traffic Acts, corporate governance of the Road Safety Authority and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, and the making of secondary legislation on issues such as driver testing and licensing, vehicle standards and the regulation of traffic.

Departmental Staff.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

167 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the number of staff assigned to work for the Minister of State in his Department; the budget the Minister of State has at his control; the number of meetings he has had with the Road Safety Authority since being appointed; the legislation he has specifically introduced since his appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47306/08]

As Minister of State for Transport, I have responsibility for Road Safety and Maritime affairs, with a total capital budget of approximately €87 million (capital and current) and covering approximately 180 staff and nearly 1000 volunteer staff (Irish Coast Guard).

The number of staff assigned to work for me directly in the Department are as follows:

1 Private Secretary;

2 Executive officers;

2 Clerical officers.

Since my appointment as Minister of State for Transport, I have met with senior management of all the relevant agencies under my control as required from time to time to address matters of particular pertinence for a given agency.

The legislation I have brought forward since my appointment is set out below.

Maritime Transport.

The Harbours (Amendment) Bill 2008 was published in July 2008 and is currently at Committee Stage in the Seanad. The primary purpose of the Bill is to give effect to certain aspects of the Government's Ports Policy Statement, launched in 2005.

Harbour Rates (Tralee and Fenit Pier and Harbour) Order, 2008 S.I. No. 360 of 2008

Harbours Act 1996 (River Moy Commissioners) Transfer Order 2008 S.I. No. 387 of 2008.

Maritime Safety

Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) (Countries of Acceptance) Order 2008 (S.I. No. 553 of 2008)

Sea Pollution (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 372 of 2008)

Road Safety

Road Traffic and Transport Bill, which is currently being drafted is expected to be published early next year.

Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) Regulations 2008. (S.I. No. 471 of 2008)

Departmental Strategy Statements.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

168 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the action he plans to take to address the long-term planning deficit within his Department; the structural changes that will be imposed in order to free up senior management time and resources for long term planning and setting strategic direction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47307/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

169 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport his views on whether the work of his Department is hindered by its lack of long-term planning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47308/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

170 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the way he will address the lack of communication between senior management in his Department with lower grades of management; the action he has ordered to correct this criticism as outlined in the organisational review programme report of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47309/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

171 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport his views on the criticism of many transport agencies that his Department fails to set and clarify strategy across the transport sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47310/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

172 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport his views on the criticism of the organisational review programme that his Department’s relationship with some of the transport agencies is poor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47311/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

173 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport his views on the situation in which there appears to be little consensus within his Department regarding whether users of services of agencies are customers of his Department and regarding his Department’s role in respect of these service users and that some staff in his Department hold the view that monitoring of services provided by agencies is a matter for the agencies alone while others think his Department has a responsibility in ensuring independent monitoring of agency services; if he will clarify the situation; the actions he has taken to inform staff of the correct position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47312/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

180 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the effect the issue of underperformance is having on general staff morale within his Department; the action contained within the new strategy to deal with staff underperformance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47320/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 to 173, inclusive, and 180 together.

The issues raised by the Deputy have been identified in the Report of the Organisational Review Programme as areas that need to be addressed. In response to the findings of the ORP my Department has prepared an action plan that was published with the Report and includes the actions that are intended to address the issues raised.

Departmental Agencies.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

174 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if his Department has the capacity to monitor independently the output and services of the agencies under his Department; if he has the relevant expert staff available in his Department to access and report on the activities of all the transport agencies properly; the number of staff assigned to this task; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47313/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

175 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport his views on his Department’s access to information held by agencies under his Department and on whether systems are adequate to retrieve and share information between his Department and its agencies. [47315/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

181 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if he is satisfied that his Department receives enough information from its agencies and State-owned transport companies to develop proper policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47321/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174, 175 and 181 together.

I believe my Department has a very good working relationship with its agencies and that arrangements for access to and sharing of information between the Department and its agencies are working well. However, in order to further enhance this relationship, I wrote to the Chairpersons of the State agencies under my remit last month announcing the introduction of a new approach to corporate governance. This new initiative is aimed at:

Providing a clearer mandate to each of our State agencies and enhancing my Department's monitoring of their performance;

Ensuring continuing compliance by agencies with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies; and

Ensuring that more regular and structured engagement takes place at Ministerial and senior management level with all agencies, as a means of reviewing performance and ensuring that the Department's objectives are being met.

My Department has over 100 experienced officers working in those divisions that have a role in monitoring our State agencies. In addition, my Department has its own in-house financial, legal and other specialist advisors who can be called upon for their expertise and advice as and when required.

I am satisfied, therefore, within the constraints imposed on my Department by Public Service pay and personnel policy that it is as effectively accessing, monitoring and reporting on the activities of the agencies under its remit.

Departmental Communications.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

176 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if he is satisfied that communication lines between his Department and local authority level are adequate to properly advance the agenda of aligning transport, spatial and land use policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47316/08]

My Department, along with the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and the local authorities around the country, has long recognised the importance of integrating transport, spatial and land use policies.

Good lines of communication at several levels are obviously essential to ensure that this happens. I am satisfied that such communications are currently in place.

My Department is working closely with Local Authorities in a number of ways in promoting integrated Land Use and Transportation Planning. My officials have frequent contact with the relevant local authorities in the NSS Gateways which currently have land use and transport strategies in place. For example, my Department, through the Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP) Steering Group and through bilateral meetings with the Cork local authorities has inputted extensively to the recent update of the CASP.

In addition, I myself, and my officials, have met with the City and County Managers Association (CCMA) about the preparation of integrated transport and land use plans for the NSS Gateways and Hubs which currently do not have land use and transport strategies in place.

In addition, I have made provision in the DTA Act for close alignment of transport and spatial planning for the Greater Dublin Area. On a broader strategic level my officials have been working very closely with the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in ensuring that the proposed Sustainable Travel and Transport Action Plan addresses greater integration of these issues. Furthermore, the CCMA was represented on the Interdepartmental Working Group which oversaw the draft Action Plan.

Departmental Staff.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

177 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the number of staff in his Department assigned to media monitoring duties; and the changes he has introduced to tackle the issue of poor time management of his Department’s staff in responding to media articles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47317/08]

The Press Office in my Department comprises of four staff. The Press Office is responsible for the management and dissemination of information to the media.

A press cutting service is provided by one officer assigned on a part time basis and assisted by two others on a part time rota basis. Media monitoring services relate to the daily review of media sources and the occasional purchase of transcripts.

While I recognise the need for delivery of the Departments message to our customers and stakeholders through the media, the priority must be on the delivery of the services rather than servicing the media.

Departmental Reports.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

178 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the number of internal audit reports which have been completed within his Department since 2004; the breakdown of each section within his Department that they covered; if the reports led to disciplinary action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47318/08]

I can advise the Deputy that 42 internal audit reports have been completed by my Department's Internal Audit Unit since 2004, details of which are appended to this reply.

I am advised that no disciplinary action has been taken against any employee of my Department as a consequence of a recommendation contained in an Internal Audit Report.

APPENDIX

Completed Audit Reports 2004-2008

2004

Roads (EU Audit) — M1 Cloghran-Lissenhall (Stage 2) Project

Roads (EU Audit) — M1 Lissenhall-Balbriggan Project

Roads (EU Audit)- M50 South Eastern Motorway (Stage 2) Project

Public Transport (EU Audit)- Heuston Terminal & South West Rail Corridor Development (Stage 1) Project

Road Haulage Division

2005

Audit of IT Financial Systems

CIE Payments of capital and safety grants

Finance Unit Processing of Payments

General controls over bank accounts

Procurement Audit — Administrative Budget for Procurement

Road Haulage Payments System

Road Policy Division — Approval and Payment of Capital Grants to NRA

RPA Investment Division approval and payment of capital grants to RPA

2006

Driver Testing Section — Audit of cash receipts in respect of driver testing fees

Driver Licensing Section and Finance Unit — Audit of recoupment of driver licensing expenses from the Local Government Fund

CIE — Public Service Obligation Payments (Non-Capital)

EU Audit — ESIOP National Public Transport Services Measure

Payments to Regional Airports (Non-Capital)

DTO- Traffic Management Measures (Capital)

Bus Licensing -System for processing of licenses and handling of fees

Receipt of fees in respect of National Toll Roads

Audit of European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) expenditure

Arrangements for approval and payment of overtime

Audit of Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Contract

EU Audit — ESIOP National Roads Measure

2007

Audit of the system of selection and payment of a representative sample of subhead A7 (consultants / contractors)

Audit of the system for processing of subscriptions to Eurocontrol and recoupment of subscriptions from the Irish Aviation Authority.

Audit of the system for processing of administration payments and expenses to the National Roads Authority.

Audit of the system for Maintenance of the Systems Dossier.

Cohesion Fund — Systems-Based Audit of the Ennis Bypass Project.

Review of Integration of Maritime Functions into the Department of Transport.

Systems-Based Audit of the Fixed Asset Register.

Control & Management of Stores in the Irish Coastguard.

Comparative review of compliance with Code of Practice on the Governance of State Bodies.

Review of Public Procurement Practices.

2008

Regional Airports — Capital Expenditure Grant Scheme

Review of arrangements for maintenance of Risk Management System

Audit of the system for payment of capital grants to RPA

Audit of system for management and maintenance of the Flexible Working Hours system

Audit of system for processing grants for non-national roads

Audit of Payroll — staff joining / leaving

Audit of the system for processing payments under the Rural Transport Programme

Departmental Staff.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

179 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if he is satisfied with the performance management and development system process in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47319/08]

The performance management and development system has been implemented in my Department, with the fully integrated performance development model linking the process to the awarding of increments, higher scale posts and promotion posts operating from 1 January 2007.

A Competency Framework has been developed for staff and a performance management and development system calendar set out for staff within which each phase of the process takes place on an annual basis. The identification of staff training and development needs is also an integral part of the performance management and development system and enables my Department to meet formal staff training needs in a structured way.

The system is operated in my Department in accordance with the guidelines.

Question No. 180 answered with Question No. 168.
Question No. 181 answered with Question No. 174.

Public Transport.

Joan Burton

Question:

182 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport the position in respect of the proposed route change for the number 37 bus in Dublin 15; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this route change will, in effect, replace the existing 237 service which currently operates that route, taking in Blanchardstown town centre; the way the proposed new 37 route is judged to be in competition with a private operator in view of the fact that it is replacing the existing 237 route; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that a range of much needed bus service improvements are being held up until the location of the new terminus for the 37 bus is resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47334/08]

My Department received a proposal from Dublin Bus for revised services on Route 37 on 1st May 2008. Following an examination of the proposal, which included consultation with Dublin Bus, my Department deemed that the proposal would give rise to competition with an existing licensed service. Accordingly, my Department advised Dublin Bus on 9th June, 2008 that an application in accordance with Section 25 of the Transport Act, 1958 was required should the Company wish to pursue the introduction of the change. Dublin Bus subsequently submitted in July a revised proposal for this route. This revised proposal raised certain concerns of a legal nature from a competition point of view which have only been clarified in recent days. The application is now being processed and a decision in the matter can be expected shortly.

Rail Network.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

183 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Transport further to Parliamentary Question No. 254 of 10 July 2008, if there has been further progress. [47353/08]

I understand from Iarnród Éireann that discussions are ongoing with the relevant local authorities on the removal of level crossings on the Maynooth line.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

184 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will publish a report (details supplied) on the Shannon Airport rail link; the reason this report has not been published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47398/08]

I understand from Iarnród Éireann that a feasibility study for a Shannon Rail Link was completed in February 2007 and was made widely available through the Steering Group overseeing the study which included representatives of local authorities and local development interests, including the Shannon Rail Partnership.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

185 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will confirm that major reports have been carried out and completed into the western rail corridor and the Mullingar-Athlone rail line; if these reports were undertaken by outside consultants or by his Department; when he will publish these reports; the reason he has not published them to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47399/08]

The Report of the Expert Working Group on the Western Rail Corridor (chaired by Mr. Pat McCann) is available on my Department's website. Other reports, including Limerick-Galway Service Development — Business Case and the Audit of Business Case for re-introduction Ennis to Athenry, relating to the Western Rail Corridor are also available on my Department's website. I understand that the Midland Railway Action Group prepared some time ago a report on the re-opening of the Mullingar — Athlone railway line. The publication of this report is a matter for the Action Group.

Consultancy Contracts.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

186 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding all contracts for the years 2004, 2005, and 2006 with consultants in respect of the preparation of reports of any kind; the name of the consultants; the cost for each report; if he will provide this information in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47456/08]

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the following table.

Consultant

Year

Cost

Report

Status of Report

Fitzpatrick Associates

2006

59,532

Discussion Paper on Rural Public Transport

Published

IBM

2006

72650

IT Strategy Project for theDepartment of Transport

IBM delivered a 3-year strategy, which was adopted by the Management Board.

Change Management Training

2006

93,230.50

Review and Redesign of Driver Tester training programme

Finalised

Goodbody Economic Consultants

October 2005

30,000

Economic Evaluation of the Government Strategy for Road Safety, 1998-2002

Yes

SWOV

Published as part of the Government’s Road Safety Strategy Sept 2004

Part of overall cost of report

Progress Report on Road Safety Strategy 1998-2002

Yes

Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Published on 30 July 2006

Included in Supervision Services Contract with Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Mid-term Review of the National Car Test Service

Implementation is a matter for the Road Safety Authority

Farrell Grant Sparks

15 April 2005 (Completed)

59,019

Report on an appropriate organisational structure for the Driver Testing and Standards Authority(Now Road Safety Authority)

Yes

Boreham Consulting Engineers

29 July 2005 (Completed)

51,639

Risk assessment of conducting truck, bus and motorcycle driving tests at one location.

Implementation is a matter for the Road Safety Authority

Hay Group Ireland (Consultants)

2006

26,620

To make recommendations on the appropriate remuneration for senior positions in the proposed Dublin Transport Authority.

Completed

Matheson Ormsby Prentice (Consultants)

2006

13,255

To provide legal advice in respect of the Dublin Transport Authority Bill.

Completed

Matheson Ormsby Prentice (Consultants)

2006

26,630

To provide legal advice in respect of the Dublin Transport Authority Bill.

Completed

Deloitte & Touche

2004

12,100

Audit of the Heuston Terminal & South West Rail Corridor (Stage 1) project

Completed

Crowleys

2005

10,059

Audit of Road Haulage Division — Cash receipts in respect of road transport licence fees

Completed

Consultant

Year

Cost

Report

Status of Report

Crowleys

2005

14,850

Audit of Driver Testing Section — cash receipts in respect of driver testing fees

Completed

Mazars

2005

15,000

Audit of IT financial systems

Completed

Crowleys

2005

11,159

Audit of Driver Licensing Section & Finance Unit — Recoupment of Driver Licensing expenses from the Local Government Fund

Completed

Mazars

2005

9,680

Audit of ESIOP National Roads Measure

Completed

Crowleys

2005

18,208

Audit of Finance Unit-processing of payments

Completed

Mazars

2006

9,680

Audit of National Roads Measure

Completed

Helm Corporation Ltd

2006

7,260

Audit of Personnel/Finance Division-Overtime

Completed

Helm Corporation Ltd

2006

19,360

Audit of Irish Coast Guard-Search & rescue Helicopter Contracts

Completed

Drury Communications Ltd

2006

27,683.40

Information & Communications Strategy for Transport 21

Completed. Implementation ongoing.

Aspen Connect & Tekenable

2006

8,863.25

Report on the viability of an information technology solution to an Information Centre required under an EU Motor Insurance Directive

Information.

Goodbody Economic Consultants

2006

16,316.85

Appraisal of Cherrywood Luas extension and assessment of Methodology of evaluating impact of proposed Luas cross — city link on bus services

Completed

Indecon

2005

107,125

Update Evaluation of the Economic and Social Infrastructure Operational Programme (ESIOP) 2000-06

Completed

LECG Ltd

2006

35,965.73

Work relating to the Competition Authority investigation into access to Dublin Airport infrastructure

Complete

INDECON (Ireland)

2006

101,970.04

Capital Expenditure Grant Scheme Review for regional airports

Complete

Boyd Creed Sweet

2006

157,300.00

Verification Process for Terminal 2

Complete

Consultant

Year

Cost

Report

Status of Report

C.C Fisher associates

2006

85,000 inc VAT

Evaluation of projects for Irelands unit load capacity to 2014 and beyond

Completed

Staveley & Partners.

July 2004

35,348.00

Report on the Delays and Cost Overruns on the N11 Glen of the Downs Road Improvement Project

Completed August 2005

Watson Wyatt (Actuaries and Benefit Consultants) and O’Donnell Sweeney Solicitors

2004

95,686.80

Review of CIE Pension arrangements

Report completed

Atkins Consultancy

2004

154,298.80

Fares Study- to provide advice on an appropriate fares system for Dublin e.g. (zonal, distance based on rebated fares) and related issues regarding integration of fares on different modes e.g. bus and rail

Report completed

Booz Allen Hamilton

2006

98,494.000

Expenditure Review on CIÉ Subvention

Completed

Mott McDonald

2004

24,332

Safety review of Iarnród Éireann’s rolling stock procurement and safety acceptance

Completed

Lloyd’s Register Rail

2004

24,847

Mid-term safety review of Iarnród Éireann’s DASH project

Completed

Mr. Dom Hegarty, Inspector to the Public Inquiry

2004

8,048

Report of the Public Inquiry into the Kilkenny Railway Order application

Completed

Goodbody Economic Consultants

2004

40,815

Appraisal of a number of public transport project business cases

Completed

Mr. James Connolly, SC, Inspector to the Public Inquiry

2006

45,375

Report of the Public Inquiry into the Kildare Route Railway Order application

Completed

Moore Stephens

2006

4,235.00

Financial Audit of cohesion funded rail network track & signalling project

Completed 2007

Caplin Meehan

2007

14,217.50

Goldman Sachs

2004

36,300 incl vat

Examination of Ownership Options regarding Aer Lingus

Published in 2004

AIB Capital Markets/UBS/ Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer/ William Fry Solicitors

2005

287,730 incl vat

Report to recommend an appropriate transaction structure for Aer Lingus

Completed 22 December 2005

John Malone Consulting

2005

5445 incl vat

Process Auditor for selection of advisors

Completed Sept. 2005

Consultant

Year

Cost

Report

Status of Report

Richard Hooper

2005

10,900

Advice in connection with the selection of advisors re Aer Lingus IPO

Completed 2005

Mercer Human resource Consulting

2006

13,602 incl vat

Actuarial advice in relation to Aer Lingus pension schemes

Report fed into Aer Lingus IPO process

Environmental Resources Management (ERM)

2004

39,746

Public Safety Zones at Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports

Completed

Booz, Allen, Hamilton

2004

114,466

Safety Audit of Irish Aviation Authority

Completed

Environmental Resources Management (ERM)

2005

6,799

Public Safety Zones at Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports (see 2004 ERM Report above)

Completed

RPS Group

2004

495,571

Pavement Condition Study Report &Pavement Management Systems Review Report

Both reports published in December 2004

RPS Group

2005

64,290

Pavement Condition Study Report &Pavement Management Systems Review Report

Both reports published in December 2004

Public Transport.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

187 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport the amount of funding from his Department to Dublin Bus per year for the past ten years; the number of buses that were provided under this funding per year for the past ten years; the number of buses that were promised under the current and previous national development plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47457/08]

Since 1997 Dublin Bus has purchased 1,295 new buses. 718 of these buses were funded, partially and/or fully, by the Exchequer. Details of this funding are set out in the following table:

Year

Amount of Funding

Fully funded or partially funded bus purchases

€m

1999

27.11

150

2000

16.82

118

2001

11.74

45

2002

14.79

53

2003

32*

2004

2005

5.25

20

2006

24.56

100

2007

21.34

100

2008

17.73

100

Total

139.34

718

*Buses ordered in 2002 and delivered in 2003.

The 2000-2006 NDP, through the economic and Social Infrastructure Operational Programme, envisaged a 28% increase in the capacity of the Dublin Bus Fleet. The capacity (seated and standing) of the fleet has increased by over 30% over the period 2000-2008. The current NDP provides, through Transport 21, for a significant expansion in bus services in the Greater Dublin Area. Over the period 2006-2008 grants totalling €62 m have been paid to Dublin Bus towards the cost of 100 additional and 200 replacement buses. The position regarding the funding of further additional buses will be reviewed in light of the outcome of the cost and efficiency review currently being finalised.

Departmental Agencies.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

188 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if he has full confidence in the chairman of the Dublin Port Company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47489/08]

I do not consider it appropriate to comment on the performance of individual directors of State companies in this manner.

Brian Hayes

Question:

189 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the discussions that have been taking place between his Department and CIÉ in view of the financial difficulties facing CIÉ; if he expects services to be reduced or jobs to be lost in CIÉ; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47503/08]

The 2009 Exchequer subvention to CIÉ will be €313.279 million, an increase of 1.5% on the 2008 figure. During the course of the Estimates discussions, my Department had discussions with the Department of Finance and with CIÉ in relation to the overall financial position of the CIÉ operating companies, Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann. The Chairman and Chief Executive of each of the companies also briefed me on the financial outlook on 1st December.

CIÉ are projecting an operating deficit of €39.5 million for 2008 after Exchequer subvention, compared to an operating deficit of €1.47 million in 2007. This significant deterioration in the financial position of CIÉ is due in the main to loses in revenue due to a drop in demand for services and increases in costs, particularly fuel costs in the earlier part of this year. The outlook for 2009 is for a further deterioration in the group's financial situation in the absence of corrective measure.

It is a matter for the CIÉ group of companies to secure operational efficiencies and to reduce costs so as to maintain services at the highest level possible. I have requested that, in deciding on service reductions to maintain rail services, peak-time bus services, and bus services to developing areas. Service reductions should be a last resort in their efforts to maintain financial stability.

Light Rail Project.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

190 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the budget provided for metro north in 2009; and the aspects of the project which will proceed in 2009. [47516/08]

Metro North is being delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). In January of this year, the Government approved the funding structure for the Metro North PPP, including an Exchequer provision for advance works ahead of the main PPP contract and a capital contribution during construction.

Good progress is being made in the delivery of Metro North. The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) lodged copies of the Railway Order application for Metro North with An Bórd Pleanála in September 2008. In addition, the RPA continues to make good progress on the PPP tender process for Metro North. Receipt of tenders is now required by 6 February 2009. I have allocated in excess of €200m to the RPA to progress Luas and Metro projects, including Metro North, in 2009. The amount of expenditure on Metro North in 2009 is contingent on the grant of an enforceable railway order.

Public Transport.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

191 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport his decision in respect of the request by CIÉ for an increase in fares. [47517/08]

I approved, on the 3rd December, an average 10% increase in CIE fares.

Garda Deployment.

Finian McGrath

Question:

192 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will support a matter (details supplied). [47260/08]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the location referred to by the Deputy is in Clontarf Garda Sub-District. Local Garda management is aware of the difficulties being experienced by residents in the area concerned. A member of the local Community Policing Unit is allocated to this area and regularly attends meetings with local community groups. Any issues raised are attended to.

The area is subject as directed by local Garda management to regular patrols by uniform and plain clothes units, including the Community Policing Unit. Patrols are supplemented by the District Garda Mountain Bike Unit, Detective and Drugs Units, the Divisional Crime Task Force and the Traffic Corps. Current policing policy in the area is predicated on the prevention of crime, including crimes of violence against persons and property, the prevention of public order offences and the maintenance of an environment conducive to the improvement of the quality of life of the residents. This strategy is, and will continue to be, central to the delivery of the policing service in this area.

Residency Permits.

Niall Collins

Question:

193 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will provide assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [47270/08]

I am advised by officials in the Long Term Residency Section of my Department that a decision was made in the case of the person referred to on the 17 November 2008. A copy of this letter has now re-issued to him as requested by the Deputy.

Prisoner Transfers.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

194 Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the fact that five Irish women (details supplied) serving prison sentences in the United Kingdom may be due for release on remission in late January 2009 with electronic tagging for the remainder of their sentence; if his Department, through the Irish Prison Service, will negotiate with the UK authorities to allow the remainder of these sentences to be served in custody here as an alternative to the arrangement proposed by the UK Probation Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47272/08]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the 1983 Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons provides a mechanism for enabling the transfer of sentenced prisoners from the United Kingdom to Ireland. It is provided for in legislation in this State by way of the Transfer of Sentence Persons Acts, 1995 and 1997 and all applications for transfer are subject to a three way consent mechanism; that of the applicant, the sentencing state and the receiving state.

Applications under the Convention have not been received in my Department from the persons concerned and should they now wish to apply they may do so through their prison Governor. However, the Deputy may wish to note that Article 3 of the Convention which sets out the conditions for a transfer, states that all applicants must have a minimum of 6 months of their sentence left to serve at the time of application.

Deportation Orders.

Denis Naughten

Question:

195 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will furnish details of costs (details supplied); the breakdown of these costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47276/08]

The deportation of illegal immigrants and refused asylum seekers is costly, particularly to distant countries such as Nigeria, China, etc. In most cases removals are carried out using commercial flights which usually involves transit through other European airports as Ireland does not have direct flights to most of the countries of return. In addition, most flights have to be booked at short notice very near the date of departure which involves higher costs than if booked well in advance.

In considering the costs of deportations, the considerable expense arising from the continued presence in the State of persons who are the subject of deportation orders has to be taken into account. These costs include social welfare costs, direct provision costs, and detention costs in certain cases. While it is important to keep deportation costs to a minimum, not to remove persons refused permission to remain in the State would call into question the integrity of the entire immigration system. This would leave this country open to further illegal immigration and even more expense to taxpayers.

There are two main categories of repatriation charter flights. Smaller charters are organised to remove disruptive deportees that commercial airlines will not take on account of previous disruptive behaviour on board aircraft. Bigger charters are organised to return larger numbers of deportees in a more efficient way than using scheduled flights. It should be stated that Ireland does not have direct flights to the destinations where these charters have taken place. The alternative to chartering is transiting through hub European airports involving longer transfer times, more inconvenience to deportees and the attendant risk of deportees absconding in transit.

The use of charter flights, including joint charters shared by two or more countries, is accepted and used widely across the European Union as an effective and efficient means of returning persons illegally present on the territories of member States following individual consideration of their cases. The European Council of Ministers adopted a decision in April 2004 facilitating the greater use of joint repatriation flights as a means of demonstrating solidarity among member States, increasing the rate of returns and making more effective use of resources. The implications for State resources and the integrity of the asylum and immigration processes are plain to see should deported persons have been allowed to remain in the State. This factor must always be offset against the seemingly high cost of charter operations.

Set out in the following table are the statistics requested by the Deputy.

Destination

Date

Number deported

Cost

Ghana (Commercial/scheduled flight)

14 August 2006

1

5,824

Ghana (Charter flight)

11 March 2008

1*

151,900

*The individual in question was a violent criminal who had served a prison sentence for drugs offences and was considered a security risk by the Garda National Immigration Bureau.The removal of this individual by charter became necessary after 3 attempts to remove him on commercial flights failed due to his violent behaviour. On one occasion a member of An Garda Siochana was assaulted.

Denis Naughten

Question:

196 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost of each deportation which has taken place in the past 12 months and the number of persons involved in each case; if another EU country was involved in any deportation of persons in conjunction with the authorities here; the breakdown of costs between the member states; the steps which are being taken to reduce costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47286/08]

The deportation costs provided as follows refer to the deportation of either illegal immigrants or persons refused refugee status in the State. The vast majority of the removals involved persons who were refused refugee status in the State.

Set out in the following table are the cost of removals of persons subject to Deportation Orders over a 12 month period by scheduled/commercial flights for deportees and their Garda escorts.

Year

Number deported

Cost (Euros) of scheduled/commercial flight removals

2007 (November and December)

65

145,577

2008 (January until October)

76

212,437

The figures provided do not include the cost of overtime or subsistence payments for Garda escorts.

Set out in the following table are the cost of removals of persons subject to Deportation Orders over a 12 month period by charter flights for deportees and their Garda escorts.

Charter flights (November 2007 until end of October 2008)

Destination

Date

Number deported

Cost

Nigeria

4 December 2007

8

206,400

Ghana

11 March 2008

1

151,900

Nigeria (FRONTEX) — lead by Holland

24 June 2008

8

32,720

*Nigeria (FRONTEX) — lead by the State

22 July 2008

6

291,900

Nigeria (FRONTEX) — lead by Austria

21 August 2008

4

38,240

*72,000 to be re-imbursed from participating countries.

The deportation of illegal immigrants and refused asylum seekers is costly, particularly to distant countries such as Nigeria, China, etc. In most cases removals are carried out using commercial flights which usually involves transit through other European airports as Ireland does not have direct flights to most of the countries of return. In addition, most flights have to be booked at short notice very near the date of departure which involves higher costs than if booked well in advance.

In considering the costs of deportations, the considerable expense arising from the continued presence in the State of persons who are the subject of deportation orders has to be taken into account. These costs include social welfare costs, direct provision costs, and detention costs in certain cases. While it is important to keep deportation costs to a minimum, not to remove persons refused permission to remain in the State would call into question the integrity of the entire immigration system. This would leave this country open to further illegal immigration and even more expense to taxpayers.

There are two main categories of repatriation charter flights. Smaller charters are organised to remove disruptive deportees that commercial airlines will not take on account of previous disruptive behaviour on board aircraft. Bigger charters are organised to return larger numbers of deportees in a more efficient way than using schedule flights. It should be stated that Ireland does not have direct flights to the destinations where these charters have taken place. The alternative to chartering is transiting through hub European airports involving longer transfer times, more inconvenience to deportees and the attendant risk of deportees absconding in transit.

The use of charter flights, including joint charters shared by two or more countries, is accepted and used widely across the European Union as an effective and efficient means of returning persons illegally present on the territories of member States following individual consideration of their cases. The European Council of Ministers adopted a decision in April 2004 facilitating the greater use of joint repatriation flights as a means of demonstrating solidarity among member States, increasing the rate of returns and making more effective use of resources. The implications for State resources and the integrity of the asylum and immigration processes are plain to see should deported persons have been allowed to remain in the State. This factor must always be offset against the seemingly high cost of charter operations.

Authorities in Member States responsible for returns are increasing their cooperation. The main reasons for this are, inter alia, greater dialogue with third countries on migration issues and increased joint return operations involving a number of Member States and greater use of Member States of transit for return. Co-operation between the authorities responsible is in many cases a prerequisite for the successful completion of return operations. Article 9(1) of Council Regulation No 2007/2004 of 26 October 2004 establishing FRONTEX (OJ L 349, 25.11.2004, p. 1) stipulates that, subject to the Community return policy, the Agency is to provide the necessary assistance for organising joint return operations by Member States. In accordance with the Commission communication of 19 July 2006 on policy priorities in the fight against illegal immigration of third-country nationals, "FRONTEX will provide the necessary assistance for organising and coordinating the joint return operations". Ireland first participated in a FRONTEX operation in June of this year as indicated in the table above.

It is well established that an effective deportation process is a necessary element of an Immigration system. The lack of an effective means to deport persons not granted permission to remain in the State would call into question the integrity of the entire immigration and asylum laws. Failure to enforce deportation orders in the case of disruptive behaviour would produce two inevitable outcomes. Firstly, it would send a clear signal that deportation can be avoided by simply being disruptive. Secondly, disruptive behaviour by deportees on scheduled flights would become the norm, leading to concerns for the safety of passengers and staff on aircraft and cause further difficulties for the Gardaí in the already problematic task of enforcing deportation orders.

Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Denis Naughten

Question:

197 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal; the dates of their appointment; and the remuneration paid to each of them in each of the years since their appointment. [47287/08]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out at Tables 1 to 3. The Refugee Appeals Tribunal has been in operation since November 2000 and is currently comprised of a full time Chairperson and 35 part-time Members.

Table 1 — Current Members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal

Name

Date of Initial Appointment

1. Eamonn Cahill, SC

20/11/00

2. Eamonn Barnes, BL

20/11/00

3. Donal Egan, BL

20/11/00

4. Patrick Hurley, Solr

20/11/00

5. Bernadette Cronin, SC

20/11/00

6. Michael O’Kennedy, SC

05/06/02

7. Olive Brennan, BL

30/04/03

8. Michelle O’Gorman, BL

17/07/01

9. David Andrews, SC

05/06/02

10. Ben Garvey, BL

26/09/01

11. Joseph Barnes, BL

23/05/02

12. Paul A. McGarry, BL

21/01/02

13. Bruce St. John Blake, Solr

22/02/02

14. Denis Linehan, Solr

04/03/02

15. Anne Tait, Solr

12/03/02

16.John Hayes, Solr

12/03/02

17. Bernard McCabe, BL

12/01/04

18. Ricardo Dourado, BL

12/01/04

19. Elizabeth O’Brien, BL

12/01/04

20. Susan Nolan, Solr

08/03/04

21. Samantha Cruess Callaghan, BL

10/03/04

22. Margaret Levey, BL

10/06/04

23. Judy Blake, BL

20/12/04

24. Sean Deegan, BL

20/12/04

25. David Goldberg, SC

20/01/05

26. Majella Twomey, BL

04/07/07

27. Laura MacKenna, BL

04/07/07

28. Conor Gallagher, BL

04/07/07

29. Paul Christopher, BL

28/11/07

30. Brendan Gogarty, BL

28/11/07

31. Fergus O’Connor, BL

28/11/07

32. Paul Gormley, BL

28/11/07

33. Nehru Morgan Pillay, BL

08/04/08

34. Emma Toal, BL

02/05/08

35. Sean Bellew, BL

31/08/08

Table 2 — Remuneration Paid to Current Members 2001-2004

Tribunal Member

2001

2002

2003

2004

E. Cahill, SC

63,606.44

156,198.20

109,653.81

112,766.23

E. Barnes, BL

26,603.34

62,862.19

41,708.73

62,472.95

D. Egan, BL

42,708.91

88,588.34

116,315.44

94,588.18

P. Hurley, Solr

21,410.32

129,783.23

90,941.02

116,573.67

B. Cronin, SC

36,878.27

156,103.38

129,799.58

128,348.96

M. O’Kennedy, SC

14,335.84

87,196.92

81,333.21

O. Brennan, BL

19,097.45

124,841.03

M. O’Gorman, BL

4,670.10

70,907.88

76,735.48

86,734.64

D. Andrews, SC

18,582.94

55,638.86

93,865.54

B. Garvey, BL

2,285.53

95,831.50

155,416.31

194,085.88

J. Barnes, BL

2,025.29

10,049.07

28,957.16

9,550.58

P. McGarry, BL

47,116.53

82,419.55

57,781.16

B. St. John Blake, Solr

18,503.08

56,366.67

40,357.96

D. Linehan, Solr

20,887.44

57,422.99

131,848.88

A. Tait, Solr

15,611.24

45,345.36

22,391.66

J. Hayes, Solr

49,837.87

82,385.41

54,719.25

B. McCabe, BL

35,397.98

R. Dourado, BL

20,698.90

E. O’Brien, BL

54,094.90

S. Nolan, Solr

17,130.24

S. Cruess Callaghan, BL

17,600.68

M. Levey, BL

11,792.07

J. Blake, BL

0.00

S. Deegan, BL

0.00

Table 3 — Remuneration Paid to Current Members 2005-2008

Tribunal Member

2005

2006

2007

2008

E. Cahill, SC

81,353.44

39,926.67

44,155.24

55,564.41

E. Barnes, BL

27,621.64

20,014.64

3,021.75

8,167.05

D. Egan, BL

46,941.39

32,340.28

13,571.90

8,130.75

P. Hurley, Solr

88,851.57

44,608.27

20,012.65

46,505.90

B. Cronin, SC

92,817.33

25,061.53

3,938.25

9,262.10

M. O’Kennedy, SC

67,065.77

51,959.23

9,576.85

14,955.15

O. Brennan, BL

98,112.90

92,093.10

64,621.81

68,351.06

M. O’Gorman, BL

99,540.67

73,984.85

113,488.88

160,222.10

D. Andrews, SC

100,627.26

63,273.63

64,462.60

80,694.75

B. Garvey, BL

101,548.69

72,852.19

113,170.12

103,262.05

J. Barnes, BL

1,417.53

P. McGarry, BL

46,931.07

30,256.05

10,817.25

10,275.85

B. St. John Blake, Solr

49,210.77

10,710.79

762.00

4,431.25

D. Linehan, Solr

65,597.15

35,017.40

40,595.50

41,420.50

A. Tait, Solr

36,839.06

13,125.40

4,374.15

2,813.10

J. Hayes, Solr

47,853.73

13,567.67

7,538.15

11,579.25

B. McCabe, BL

52,391.82

60,370.47

102,940.60

109,148.85

R. Dourado, BL

33,563.63

29,264.17

18,204.15

24,814.25

E. O’Brien, BL

100,390.72

99,335.56

103,414.40

86,204.21

S. Nolan, Solr

37,590.42

31,648.62

20,309.55

27,448.40

S. Cruess Callaghan, BL

34,465.07

19,215.41

13,848.15

13,630.50

M. Levey, BL

57,270.54

38,907.41

58,848.20

81,273.30

J. Blake, BL

15,645.33

7,389.03

4,746.00

8,599.70

S. Deegan, BL

6,508.01

14,274.00

3,871.50

7,552.50

D. Goldberg, SC

9,542.10

10,884.76

19,081.40

18,049.80

M. Twomey, BL

1,772.50

29,974.20

L. MacKenna, BL

1,772.50

19,786.00

C. Gallagher, BL

1,781.65

15,783.70

P. Christopher, BL

7,719.50

B. Gogarty, BL

952.50

F. O’Connor, BL

13,551.55

P. Gormley, BL

6,566.75

N. Morgan Pillay, BL

11,549.00

E. Toal, BL

2,011.25

S. Bellew, BL

0.00

Garda Deployment.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

198 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the breakdown in relation to the number of gardaí in Garda stations (detail supplied) for the years 2002 to date in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47303/08]

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of Raheny, Coolock, Howth and Malahide Garda Stations on 31 December 2002 to 2007 and on 30 November 2008, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as set out in the table:

Station

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

30/11/08

Raheny

64

60

66

59

69

68

71

Coolock

84

87

84

88

98

117

118

Howth

41

42

44

49

42

42

40

Malahide

43

40

40

40

45

46

45

The Portmarnock area forms part of the Malahide Sub-District.

It is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner to allocate personnel throughout the Force taking everything into account. The situation will be kept under review and when additional personnel next become available the allocation of Gardaí to these stations will be fully considered by the Commissioner within the overall context of policing requirements throughout the country.

Garda Reserve.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

199 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the function of members of the Garda Reserve; the number of members stationed at Garda stations (details supplied); if he has satisfied himself with the effectiveness of the Garda Reserve; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47304/08]

I believe that the establishment of the Garda Reserve is one of the most progressive innovations in policing in Ireland in recent years . It has strengthened the links between An Garda Síochána and local communities and is a source of local support and knowledge. Full-time and Reserve members are working well together and I believe that the positive impacts made since the establishment of the Reserve in late 2006 bode well for the future of the force.

The duties of a Reserve Garda are as follows: Station duty, other than the care and custody of prisoners; Assistant to the Station Orderly; Communications room duty, to include monitoring CCTV; Foot patrol, accompanied by a member of the permanent Garda Service; Static security duty; Road traffic checkpoint duties, accompanied by a full-time member; Duty at the outer cordon of major events such as festivals and major sporting events; Assisting in the event of accidents, fires and major emergencies; Giving evidence in court; Community/ Neighbourhood Policing.

The powers of Reserve Gardaí are as follows: Under the Road Traffic Act 1961/2006: they can demand production of driving licence in accordance with Section 40 of the Road Traffic Act 1961/2006; they can demand production of a certificate of insurance or exemption in accordance with Section 69 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961/2006; they can regulate traffic movement in accordance with Section 91 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961/2006; they can require a person driving a vehicle in a public place to stop in accordance with Section 109 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961/2006.

Power of arrest without warrant under: Section 40 (4)(a) & (b) Road Traffic Act, 1961/2006; Section 69(5) Road Traffic Act, 1961/2006; Section 109 Road Traffic Act, 1961/2006; Section 4(3) of the Criminal Law Act 1997 (power of arrest for an ‘arrestable offence')

14 Garda Reserve members are attached to the stations referred to by the Deputy as follows:

Garda Station

Number of Reserve Gardaí

Raheny

4

Coolock

6

Howth

3

Malahide

1

Question No. 200 answered with Question No. 70.

Crime Levels.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

201 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the headline crime statistics for the Carlow-Kildare division for the third quarter for 2008. [47345/08]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

208 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the headline crime figures in 2008 at Whitehall, Santry, Ballymun and Finglas Garda stations. [47511/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 201 and 208 together.

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose.

I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputies directly to them.

Garda Stations.

Finian McGrath

Question:

202 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will support a matter (details supplied). [47408/08]

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that Clontarf Garda Station covers the Marino and Fairview area referred to by the Deputy. The personnel strength of Clontarf Garda Station on 30 November 2008, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 81, of which 6 are Community Gardaí. One member of the Community Policing Unit is specifically allocated to the Marino and Fairview areas and regularly attends meetings with various residents and local business groups.

I have been further informed by the Garda Commissioner that the areas referred to are subject to regular patrols by uniform and plain-clothes units. Patrols are supplemented by the District Garda Mountain Bike Unit, Detective and Drugs Units, Divisional Crime Task Force and Traffic Corps personnel.

Clontarf Garda Station forms part of the DMR Northern Division. The personnel strength of the JLO's, Traffic Corps and Drugs Unit attached to the DMR Northern Division on 30 November 2008 was as set out in the table:

Station

30 November 2008

JLO’s

11

Traffic Corps

20

Drugs Unit

26

It is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner to allocate personnel throughout the Force taking everything into account. The situation will be kept under review and when additional personnel next become available the allocation of Gardaí will be fully considered by the Commissioner within the overall context of policing requirements throughout the country.

Garda Deployment.

Brian Hayes

Question:

203 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí who will be devoted to community policing in the Dublin region by the end of December 2008; the number at the end of December 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47504/08]

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Community Gardaí in the Dublin Metropolitan Region on 31 December 2007 and on 30 November 2008, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as set out in the table:

Division

31/12/07

30/11/08

DMR South Central

70

64

DMR North Central

70

71

DMR North

69

66

DMR East

55

41

DMR South

48

54

DMR West

86

87

Total

398

383

As with any large organisation, on any given day, the overall strength of the organisation may fluctuate due, for example, to retirements, resignations etc. Specifically, the reduction in Community Gardaí in the DMR Division is as a result of the re-alignment of the Bray District to the Wicklow Division. It is the responsibility of the Garda Divisional Officer to allocate personnel within his or her Division taking everything into account. Notwithstanding this, all Gardaí have responsibility, inter alia, to deal with Community Policing issues as and when they arise.

It is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner to allocate personnel throughout the Force taking everything into account. The situation will be kept under review and when additional personnel next become available the allocation of Community Gardaí will be fully considered by the Commissioner within the overall context of policing requirements throughout the country.

Question No. 204 answered with Question No. 41.

Garda Strength.

Brian Hayes

Question:

205 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí operational in Dublin 1 and Dublin 3 by the end of 2008; the same details for end of 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47507/08]

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of Store Street, Fitzgibbon Street and Clontarf Garda Stations, which are located in the postal districts referred to by the Deputy, as at 31 December 2007 and 30 November 2008, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as set out as follows:

Station/Postcode

31/12/2007

30/11/2008

Store Street (Dublin 1)

296

308

Fitzgibbon Street (Dublin 1)

117

117

Clontarf (Dublin 3)

71

81

Resources are further augmented by a number of Garda Divisional and National Units including the Garda National Drugs Unit, National Bureau of Criminal Investigations (NBCI), Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and other specialised units.

As the Deputy will be aware, it is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner to allocate personnel throughout the Force. In doing this he takes into account all relevant factors, including factors such as population, crime rates and trends as well as operational priorities.

Garda Operations.

Brian Hayes

Question:

206 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prosecutions that have been made due to the confiscation of mobile phones in prisons here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47508/08]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose.

I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Prison Service.

Brian Hayes

Question:

207 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount of money that was spent on the installation of equipment to cut out the smuggling of mobile phones into prisons here; the number of Irish prisons in which this equipment was operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47510/08]

I presume the Deputy is referring to the new security measures introduced to prevent the smuggling of contraband (including mobile phones) into prisons.

A programme of works, intended to improve security in all prisons is nearing completion. These measures are aimed at eliminating the supply of contraband, including mobile phones, drugs, weapons and other miscellaneous items to prisoners by means of improved searching and detection procedures. To date, the programme has been implemented in ten prisons.

The works involved include a variety of measures including physical adjustments to the entrance and reception areas of prisons as well as the installation of specialist detection equipment.

The total cost of the project in all prisons, to date, will amount to approximately €6.2 million including VAT.

As a separate project, specialist equipment to block mobile phone signals has been installed in the Midlands prisons on a trial basis.

Question No. 208 answered with Question No. 201.

Citizenship Applications.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

209 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 156 of 11 December 2008, the reason the information received by the person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 under the Freedom of Information Act 1997 does not provide the reason for refusing their application for naturalisation; if he will re-issue these reasons in writing to the person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47539/08]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question 156 of 11 December, 2008. As stated in that response, the individual in question submitted a request under the FOI Act for records held by my Department in this matter and a decision on that request was communicated to him on 25 November, 2008. If, following an examination of the copy of his case file, the individual considers that my decision has been based on incorrect or incomplete information, it is open to him to seek a review of that decision.

Departmental Staff.

Denis Naughten

Question:

210 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if further to commitments given at parliamentary committees (details supplied), he will furnish details of staff vacancies in the immigration area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47553/08]

I would refer the Deputy to my Reply to his previous Question in this regard on 8 July 2008. I remain satisfied that these areas are adequately resourced to meet the many challenges they face.

Visa Applications.

Denis Naughten

Question:

211 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of student visas issued annually; the number revoked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47557/08]

The last full year for which figures are available is 2007. In that year 4849 ‘Study' visas were approved. There is no record of any ‘Study' visas having been revoked during that period.

Court Procedures.

Billy Timmins

Question:

212 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47595/08]

I have no function as Minister in determining the status of a particular marriage. It is open to either party to seek a court declaration under section 29 of the Family Law Act 1995 as to the status of the marriage.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

213 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in regard to family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47607/08]

I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that the person referred to by the Deputy made a Family Reunification application in April 2003 in respect of his wife and that a decision issued in respect of this application in May 2004.

I am further informed by the Immigration Division that there is no record of a Family Reunification application in respect of the brother of the person in question.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

214 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47608/08]

I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that the person in question made a Family Reunification/Permission to Remain application on behalf of her husband in April 2007. The application was forwarded to the Refugee Applications Commissioner for investigation as required under Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. This investigation has been completed and the Commissioner has forwarded a report to my Department. This application will be considered by my Department and a decision will issue in due course.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

215 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47609/08]

It is not the practice to comment in detail on individual asylum applications.

As the Deputy will be aware, applications for refugee status in the State are determined by an independent process comprising the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted.

A final decision on each application is made following receipt of the recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, as appropriate.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

216 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47610/08]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Questions No. 859 of Thursday 10 July 2008, No. 172 of Thursday 26 June 2008, No. 531 of Thursday 17 April 2008, No. 202 of Thursday, 10 April 2008 and No. 225 of Thursday, 3 April 2008 and the written Replies to those Questions.

The person concerned arrived in the State on 12 September 2006 and applied for asylum. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 14 February 2008, and by amended letter dated 4 April 2008, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the Subsidiary Protection application is refused, the case file of the person concerned, including all representations submitted, will then be considered under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. When this latter consideration has been completed, the case file of the person concerned is passed to me for decision.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

217 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47611/08]

It is not the practice to comment in detail on individual asylum applications.

As the Deputy will be aware, applications for refugee status in the State are determined by an independent process comprising the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted.

A final decision on each application is made following receipt of the recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, as appropriate.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

218 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47612/08]

I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that an application by the person concerned for residence in the State on the basis of his marriage to an EU National was approved on 9 July 2007.

This permission was revoked on 1 December 2008 when it subsequently came to light that the person concerned had divorced from the EU National during the time the original application was being considered.

The person concerned was given the opportunity to make submissions as to why permission to remain should be granted. Correspondence received from the applicant's legal representatives in this respect is currently being considered.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

219 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47613/08]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the person concerned was granted permission to remain in the State in September 2000, under the arrangements then in place for the parents of Irish citizen children. The permission granted is currently valid until 12 June 2009.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

220 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47614/08]

Officials in the Citizenship Section of my Department inform me that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

221 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47615/08]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 1 September 2004. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 9 September 2005, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations were submitted on behalf of the person concerned at that time.

The person concerned has also submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006) and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the Subsidiary Protection application is refused, the case file of the person concerned, including all representations submitted, will then be considered under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. When this latter consideration has been completed, the case file of the person concerned is passed to me for decision.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

222 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47616/08]

It is not the practice to comment in detail on individual asylum applications.

As the Deputy will be aware, applications for refugee status in the State are determined by an independent process comprising the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted.

A final decision on each application is made following receipt of the recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, as appropriate.

Asylum Support Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

223 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if permission will be given to relocate to alternative accommodation on humanitarian grounds in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47617/08]

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers in accordance with the Government policy of dispersal and direct provision. The majority of accommodation provided by the RIA is in the form of direct provision whereby residents avail of full board accommodation and ancillary services. Such accommodation centres are required to take into account any specific dietary requirements which a resident may have. A very limited supply of self-catering accommodation is available, generally for serious medical and special needs cases and certain other target groups.

The person referred to in the details supplied by the Deputy applied for asylum on 30 March 2007. This person's son also applied for asylum on the same date. Both persons are currently accommodated at Atlantic House accommodation centre at Tramore, Co. Waterford. This person made a request for a transfer to self-catering earlier in 2008. The request was refused at that time after consideration by the RIA. Due to grounds set out in support of a transfer to alternative accommodation, the RIA will refer the case to a medical referee for consideration and respond directly to the asylum seeker as soon as practicable.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

224 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47618/08]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 31 March 2006 on her own behalf and on behalf of her two children. Her asylum application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 16 June 2007, that the Minister proposed to make Deportation Orders in respect of her and her children. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of Deportation Orders or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she and her children should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. This communication also advised the person concerned of her entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the Subsidiary Protection application is refused, the case file of the person concerned, including all representations submitted, will then be considered under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. When this latter consideration has been completed, the case file of the person concerned is passed to me for decision.

Deportation Orders.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

225 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review on humanitarian grounds the deportation order in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47619/08]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 26 August 2005 and applied for asylum on 29 August 2005. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 31 March 2006, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State i.e. why she should not be deported.

Her case was then examined under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended, and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended, on the Prohibition of Refoulement. Consideration was given to representations submitted on her behalf by her legal representative for permission to remain in the State. On 25 November 2008, I refused permission to remain temporarily in the State and instead signed a Deportation Order in respect of her. Notice of this order was served by registered post requiring the person concerned to present herself at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 on Tuesday 6 January 2009 in order to make travel arrangements for her removal from the State.

I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum and for temporary leave to remain in the State, together with all refoulement issues, were fairly and comprehensively examined and, as such, the decision to deport her is justified. The effect of the Deportation Order is that the person concerned must leave the State and remain thereafter out of the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is an operational matter for the GNIB.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

226 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in the matter of the appeal taken in respect of the residency decision in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47620/08]

It is not the practice to comment in detail on individual asylum applications.

As the Deputy will be aware, applications for refugee status in the State are determined by an independent process comprising the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted.

A final decision on each application is made following receipt of the recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, as appropriate.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

227 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47621/08]

It is not the practice to comment in detail on individual asylum applications. As the Deputy will be aware, applications for refugee status in the State are determined by an independent process comprising the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted.

A final decision on each application is made following receipt of the recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, as appropriate.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

228 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47622/08]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 136 of Thursday, 9 October 2008, and the written Reply to that Question. The person concerned applied for asylum on 2 June 2005. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner. The person concerned was notified of his entitlement to appeal this determination to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal but chose to not do so.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 13 January 2006, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of submitting written representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned.

The person concerned later submitted an application to be re-admitted to the asylum process in accordance with the provisions of Section 17(7) of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended). Following consideration of this application, a decision was made to refuse the application.

On 10 October 2006, regulations known as the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I No 518 of 2006) came into force. The person concerned was notified of his entitlement to submit an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations. The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State and, following consideration of this application, it was determined that the person concerned was not eligible for Subsidiary Protection in the State. The person concerned was notified of this decision by letter dated 21 August 2008.

The case file of the person concerned, including all representations submitted, now falls to be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. When this consideration has been completed, the case file of the person concerned is passed to me for decision.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

229 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in the matter of the application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47623/08]

An application for a certificate of naturalisation for the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Section of my Department in September 2006. Officials in that Section inform me that processing of the application has commenced and the file will be forwarded to me for a decision in the coming months.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

230 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if special consideration in the matter of residency will be given on health and humanitarian grounds in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47624/08]

It is not the practice to comment in detail on individual asylum applications.

As the Deputy will be aware, applications for refugee status in the State are determined by an independent process comprising the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted.

A final decision on each application is made following receipt of the recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, as appropriate.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

231 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected position in regard to citizenship or family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47625/08]

An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Section of my Department in June 2007. Officials inform me that a letter requesting further information was sent to the applicant's solicitor on the 10 December 2008. Further processing of the application will commence once the documentation requested has been received.

Officials in the Family Reunification Section of my Department inform me that there is no record of a Family Reunification application from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question.

Visa Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

232 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will consider family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47626/08]

I refer the Deputy to my Reply to Parliamentary Question No. 160 of 19 June 2008. It is open to all non-nationals who are resident outside the State, and who are visa required to apply to their nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate for the appropriate visa. Each visa application is considered on its individual merits the onus resting with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer as to why the visa should be granted.

Comprehensive information when making a visa application is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service www.inis.gov.ie

Deportation Orders.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

233 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 128 of 20 November 2008, if he will revoke the deportation order on the basis of failure of their legal representative to respond within the specified time in view of the fact that the circumstances have changed through no fault of a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47627/08]

I would refer the Deputy to my detailed Reply to his recent Parliamentary Question, No. 128 of Thursday, 20 November 2008, in this matter. As stated in that Reply, the latest representations submitted on behalf of the person concerned are being treated as an application for revocation of the existing deportation orders as provided for under Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended). This application is under consideration at present. When a decision has been made on that application, that decision, and the consequences of that decision, will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

In relation to the alleged failure of the previous legal representative of the person concerned to respond to an invitation to submit fresh representations within an agreed timeframe, it would have to be assumed that all the facts or circumstances which the person concerned would wish to have considered vis a vis her application to remain in the State are now before my Department for consideration.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

234 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47628/08]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 154 of Thursday 26th June 2008, and the written Reply to that Question. The person concerned arrived in the State on 24 June 2003 and applied for asylum. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 18 May 2005, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations were submitted by the person concerned at that time.

On 26 July 2005, the Minister signed a Deportation Order in respect of the person concerned. Notice of this Order was served by registered post. This communication advised the person concerned of the legal requirement that she ‘present' herself at the Offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) on 18 August 2005 in order to make arrangements for her deportation from the State. The person concerned ‘presented' on this occasion but failed to ‘present' on a subsequent occasion and was therefore classified as a person evading deportation. This position continued to obtain until May 2008 when the legal representative of the person concerned enquired into the possible entitlement of the person concerned to make an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State. Arising from this enquiry, and in accordance with the Minister's discretion under Regulation 4(2) of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006, the person concerned was allowed to submit an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State which she duly did. This application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

The person concerned remains the subject of a valid Deportation Order. However, the Deputy may be assured that this Order will not be enforced pending the determination of the Subsidiary Protection application.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

235 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress in the citizenship application in the name of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47629/08]

An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Section of my Department in December 2007. Officials in that Section are currently processing applications received in mid 2007. Applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. However, I understand that the person concerned is a refugee. In accordance with the Government's obligations under the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, every effort is made to ensure that applications from persons with refugee status are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

236 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress in the residency application in the name of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47630/08]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 204 of Thursday, 2 October 2008, and the written Reply to that Question.

The person concerned applied for asylum on 1 December 2004. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 31 January 2006, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State.

Representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned and these representations will be fully considered, under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement, before the file is passed to me for decision.

Question No. 237 answered with Question No. 67

Prisoner Releases.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

238 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prisoners given early release in each of the past 12 months to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47632/08]

I am informed that the gathering of the information requested would require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort and could not be justified in current circumstances where there are other significant demands on resources.

Temporary/early release arrangements operate similarly to a system of parole, which is a feature of prison systems worldwide. They are an important vehicle for re-integrating an offender into the community in a planned way. The generally accepted view is that the risk to the community is reduced by planned re-integration of offenders compared with their return to the community on the completion of their full sentence. Each case is examined on its own merits and the safety of the public is paramount when decisions are made. In addition, all releases are subject to conditions, which in the vast majority of cases include a requirement to report on a regular basis to the offender's Garda Station. Of course, any offender who breaches his or her conditions may be arrested and returned to prison immediately by the Gardaí.

Prison Accommodation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

239 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prison spaces currently available; the number of prisoners in prison; the number on early release; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47633/08]

I wish to inform the Deputy that as of 16 December, 2008 there were 3,611 permanent beds available in the prison system. On the same day there were 3,656 prisoners in custody. In addition there were 453 persons on temporary release.

Most of our prisons are currently operating at close to or slightly in excess of their bed capacity. It is the case that there has been a consistent increase in the total prisoner population over recent years. This situation is particularly apparent over the past 12 months during which time the total number in custody has increased by approximately 280. The provision of an extra 1,300 prison places in recent years had largely addressed the issue of overcrowding which had become a chronic problem for the prison system. However, it is my view that the continuation of the current capital programme is essential if overcrowding is not to become a major problem again in the near future.

It has to be acknowledged that the Irish Prison Service must accept all prisoners committed by the Courts. Figures show, over the past 12 years, the numbers in custody have increased by 65% and the numbers on temporary release have decreased by 34%. Current developments will provide an extra 400 prison spaces by summer 2009 by means of: a new remand block in Castlerea Prison which will accommodate approximately 100 prisoners which is due to be completed in early 2009; a new block in Portlaoise Prison which will accommodate approximately 150 prisoners which is due to open in the coming months; a new block in Wheatfield Prison which will accommodate 150 prisoners which is due to be completed in the summer of 2009.

Most recently over 30 extra spaces have been made available at the open centre at Shelton Abbey and a further 40 spaces have been made available at the open centre at Loughan House. It should also be borne in mind that our prisons have contingency plans in place whereby they can accommodate numbers above their ideal working capacity.

These new developments will see the prison service through to the opening of the prison complex at Thornton Hall. Quite clearly the Government and the Irish Prison Service have anticipated the demand for prison spaces and have acted accordingly. The Irish Prison Service capital programme will also ensure the elimination of the unacceptable practice of slopping out and will effectively complete the modernisation of the prison estate. The Irish prison estate will be comparable to best international practice in terms of accommodation and facilities and services for the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners back into society. This will put the Irish Prison Service in good stead for the 21st century.

Crime Levels.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

240 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of persons allegedly involved in gun crime including murder who have received bail in the past 12 months; if such persons have re-offended while on bail; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47634/08]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose.

I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Question No. 241 answered with Question No. 71.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

242 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost of a gangland hit at the present time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47636/08]

I wish to advise the Deputy that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the cost of what the Deputy refers to as a "gangland hit". As I am sure the Deputy will agree, the placing of a contract on anyone's life is a reprehensible and cowardly act. As such it is incumbent on all members of society to fully assist Gardaí with their investigations into such activities and to provide information which may assist them in solving crimes such as that identified by the Deputy.

The placing of a contract on a person's life is a wholly illegal activity and as such it is subject to the full investigative efforts of An Garda Siochána's and the full rigours of the law. The Garda authorities attach the highest priority to combating and preventing all murders including those resulting from organised crime and the activities of criminal gangs.

Organised criminal gangs operating in this jurisdiction are targeted on an ongoing basis by specialist units of An Garda Síochána, under the remit of the Assistant Commissioner, National Support Service. These include the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Drugs Unit, the Organised Crime Unit and the Criminal Assets Bureau.

An allocation of €21 million has been ring-fenced in the Garda Budget 2009 for Operation Anvil which commenced in May 2005 in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) and was extended countrywide in 2006. The primary focus of Operation Anvil is the disruption of serious and organised criminal activity. To date under Operation Anvil and other Garda operations/initiatives, Gardaí have seized over 1,200 firearms within the DMR. Operations outside the DMR have led to the recovery of 983 firearms.

The Organised Crime Unit is now established on a permanent basis and specifically targets those suspected of involvement in organised crime and drug trafficking, including the importation, sale, and supply of drugs. This unit works in association with other specialist units including the Criminal Assets Bureau, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, and the Garda National Drugs Unit,

To date the Organised Crime Unit has participated in numerous intelligence-led operations which have resulted in the arrest and prosecution of several high-profile criminals. Operations have also resulted in the seizure of drugs with an estimated street value of almost €50m and the confiscation of approx. 230 firearms. An Garda Síochána remains fully committed to targeting violent crime and to using its resources to pursue those who engage in or facilitate persons involved in such activity.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

243 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if an estimate has been undertaken to identify the number of weapons available for gangland killings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47637/08]

As the Deputy will appreciate, given the covert nature of the criminal activity referred to in his Parliamentary Question it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the number of firearms available to those involved in criminal activity. An Garda Síochána will continue to tackle the issue of illegal guns, particularly through Operation Anvil under which about 2,200 guns have been recovered. The Deputy will also be aware that I have announced proposals in relation to the banning of licensing of hand guns.

Crime Prevention.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

244 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action he proposes to take against persons carrying illegally held handguns having particular regard to his concern at the number of legally held and registered handguns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47638/08]

A wide range of provisions to combat gun crime were introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 2006. That Act introduced mandatory minimum sentences of between five and ten years for certain firearms offences, including possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, possession of a firearm with criminal intent, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of a firearm while hijacking a vehicle, use of a firearm to resist arrest and a new offence of altering a firearm.

Since my appointment I have expressed concern at the number of handguns which have been licensed here in recent years. I am aware that the vast majority of licensed firearms holders pursue their interests legitimately. I am conscious too that many of them deeply resent any connection that is made to the issue of licensed handguns in the context of our crime problem. But as Justice Minister I cannot avoid the reality that the overall number of weapons in circulation and the type of those weapons can add to a gun culture. Indeed the issue of handguns was highlighted by Mr Justice Peter Charleton in a judgement during the summer when he said that a reasonable person is entitled to feel alarmed at the proliferation of handguns.

As the Deputy is no doubt aware, my proposals for reform in this area include a ban on issuing new licenses for handguns, although there will be limited exceptions in relation to Olympic sports. Those who have licenses already can, when they are due for renewal, apply to have them renewed under a new licensing procedure where the safety of the community will be paramount. Together with the Garda Commissioner I will keep under annual review the outcome of the licensing procedure and, if the outcome leaves a situation which still poses an unacceptable risk to the community, I will use new powers to ban particular types of firearm. My proposals will be given legislative form in the Criminal justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which I will bring before the House early in the new year.

It is important to stress that these proposals will not impinge on the vast majority of licensed firearms holders. While any inconvenience caused to those who will be affected by the proposals is, of course, regretted I am satisfied that my proposals are in the public interest.

Crime Levels.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

245 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the extent to which persons on bail have subsequently offended while on bail; if many have re-offended more than once; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47639/08]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose.

I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Crime Prevention.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

246 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action he proposes to take to combat the rise in drug associated crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47640/08]

As the Deputy is aware, the legislation introduced by the Government to tackle serious drug trafficking in Section 27 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 (as amended by the Criminal Justice Acts 1999, 2006 and 2007), provides for mandatory minimum sentences of not less than 10 years imprisonment for individuals convicted of a first offence under sections 15A and/or 15B of that Act. The provisions of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996 were recently renewed by my Department and provide the Gardaí with strong powers of detention in relation to persons suspected of drug trafficking offences.

The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, under the stewardship of Minister of State Mr. John Curran, T.D., is the lead Government Department with responsibility for coordinating the implementation of the current National Drugs Strategy. That Department is currently in the process of developing a new strategy for the years 2009 to 2016. This work is being led by a steering group with representatives from the relevant Government Departments and Agencies and with representation from the community and voluntary sectors. Both my Department and An Garda Síochána are represented on this group. The Government is determined that the new Strategy will facilitate the tackling of the illicit drugs problem in a comprehensive and effective way.

I am advised that An Garda Síochána proactively targets the activities of criminal organisations involved in drug associated crime, including the importation, sale and supply of drugs. The Gardaí also conduct targeted operations against individuals and organisations operating within this jurisdiction with known links to international criminals, including Irish nationals based abroad. There continues to be very strong cooperation between the Gardaí and the Revenue Commissioners (Customs) under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding to investigate persons suspected of being involved in international drug-trafficking.

The Criminal Assets Bureau works closely with the Garda National Drug Unit. A dedicated unit within the Garda National Drugs Unit has been established to liaise with the Criminal Assets Bureau to target in particular those criminals and criminal groupings believed to be deriving profits and assets from drug-related criminal activity. The Bureau liaises and works with the Divisional Criminal Assets Profilers in each Garda Division throughout the country in implementing the statutory remit of the Bureau.

Other Units, operating under the direction of the Assistant Commissioner, National Support Services, also target those suspected of being involved in the importation, sale and supply of drugs. These include:

the Garda National Drugs Unit which is responsible for targeting networks involved in the sale and distribution of illegal drugs;

the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation which is responsible for the investigation of individuals and organisations involved in Money Laundering;

the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation which is responsible for investigating the activities of organised criminal networks;

the Organised Crime Unit which has a specific remit of targeting those suspected of involvement in organised crime, including drug trafficking, importation, sale and supply.

These units are supported by other units and agencies as necessary.

At a local level Divisional and District Drug Units have been established with the specific remit of targeting individuals engaged in the sale and distribution of drugs to local communities. These units are supported by local resources and supplemented by National Units as and when required.

International cooperation is also crucial in tackling drug crime. This work is greatly facilitated by the work of Garda liaison officers based in London, Paris, the Hague, Madrid, Europol and Interpol Headquarters and now also at the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (Narcotics) in Lisbon. An Garda Síochána exchanges strategic and operational intelligence with other law enforcement agencies, including Interpol and Europol, in accordance with legislative and operational protocols. Gardaí also assist international law enforcement agencies who are conducting investigations with suspected involvement by Irish nationals, through the Mutual Assistance Agreement in criminal matters.

The hugely successful Operation Seabight which was a recent coordinated effort by An Garda Síochána, the Customs Service, and the Naval Service working in conjunction with our European partners at the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (Narcotics) in Lisbon is further evidence of inroads being made against those involved in this form of criminality.

The Garda authorities advise that in addition to the considerable volumes of drugs continuing to be seized, significant impact has been made over the last eighteen months by arresting and prosecuting a number of major players involved in drug trafficking through the importation, sale and distribution of drugs. A significant number of crime gangs involved in this type of criminal activity have been disrupted and dismantled.

Senior management in An Garda Síochána are keeping the situation under review to ensure an effective law enforcement response is in place to tackle the drugs problem.

Citizenship Applications.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

247 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a decision will be made on the application by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry for naturalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47641/08]

An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Section of my Department in December 2007.

Officials in that Section inform me that the application is at an advanced stage of processing and the file will be forwarded to me for a decision in due course.

Irish Unity.

Finian McGrath

Question:

248 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his position on Irish unity and independence. [47261/08]

The Programme for Government makes clear that, following on the significant political progress of recent years, the Government is committed to further steps towards peace and unity in our country.

The Government's position in this regard is rooted in the Good Friday Agreement which recognises that it is for the people of the island of Ireland, by agreement, to determine their political future, and commits both the Irish and British Governments to give full effect to their decision. This was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of the people of this island, North and South, in the referenda held in May 1998.

Consistent with this approach the Government has worked determinedly to secure the fullest possible implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and to promote lasting reconciliation between the main traditions on this island. This has been underpinned by a comprehensive programme of cross-border cooperation, including effective collaboration within the framework of the North South Ministerial Council, as well as strengthened efforts to tackle sectarianism, recognizing that mutual tolerance and respect are the essential underpinning of a new relationship among all those who share the island of Ireland.

Prisoner Transfers.

Martin Ferris

Question:

249 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has made representations for a person (details supplied) to be repatriated to a prison here. [47406/08]

Applications for prisoner transfer under the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons or the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act, 1995, are a matter for the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

My Department has responsibility for the provision of consular assistance to Irish citizens outside the State. In this regard, the Department maintains regular contact with the person in question through the Embassy in London, including through visits, the most recent of which was at the end of November.

Employment Rights.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

250 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the legal guarantees he is seeking in respect of workers rights in the context of the Lisbon treaty. [47410/08]

Ensuring protection for the rights of workers is a central concern of the Government. The development of European policy and practice, as reflected in EU law, has been hugely positive for Irish and European workers. Directives cover a range of issues and rights, including equal pay for men and women; parental leave; maternity leave; the organisation of working time; equal access to men and women to employment and vocational training; equal treatment in social security; minimum health and safety requirements in the workplace; part-time workers; fixed-term work; and equal treatment in respect of racial or ethnic origin.

As the Deputy will be aware, last month the Government and social partners ratified a series of commitments aimed at legislating in the area of collective bargaining and trade union recognition by June 2009.

In addition, the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights represent a significant advance with regard to the rights of workers, not least in respect of the operation of collective bargaining. Other rights covered include workers' right to information and consultation within the business, free access to placement services, to protection in the event of unjustified dismissal, to fair and just working conditions, a prohibition on child labour and the protection of young people at work, rights of parental leave and to social security and assistance.

This was recognised by both the Executive of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the European Trade Union Confederation when they decided to lend their support to the Lisbon Treaty.

In its meeting of 11/12 December, the European Council carefully noted the concerns of the Irish people as presented by the Taoiseach, and as set out in Annex 1 to the Council Conclusions. It agreed that "all of the concerns set out in the said statement shall be addressed to the mutual satisfaction of Ireland and the other Member States".

A number of social issues, including social progress and the protection of workers' rights, were included in the Taoiseach's statement. The European Council agreed that, in addressing these concerns, it would confirm the high importance attached by the Union to these matters.

In the months ahead, the Government will be working with our EU partners and with the EU institutions in order to give to effect to the commitments contained in the European Council conclusions, including in relation to workers' rights.

Overseas Development Aid.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

251 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the percentage of both Ireland’s total official development assistance, and that spent only by his Department in both of the years 2006 and 2007 that is dedicated to supporting education in the developing world. [47474/08]

Education is a key component of Ireland's Overseas Development Aid programme. This is reflected in the White Paper on Irish Aid, which states that: "Education is the primary vehicle by which economically and socially marginalised adults and children can lift themselves out of poverty".

In 2006, total Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) amounted to approximately €814 million, of which €595.4 million was administered by my Department through Irish Aid. €51 million of this was spent on a wide range of education projects and programmes across the aid programme. This represents approximately 6% of total ODA and 9% of the Irish Aid budget.

In 2007, total ODA amounted to €870.8 million, of which €725.7 million was administered by Irish Aid. €70.4 million of this was spent on education, representing approximately 8% of total ODA and 10% of the Irish Aid budget.

Funding for education is delivered through a number of channels, including direct support to Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Ministries of Education and missionaries as well as multilateral agencies and global initiatives. Support to education encompasses assistance which is designed to put in place sustainable education systems, through support for teacher training, provision of textbooks and teaching materials, school construction and the development of curricula.

Our assistance also enables Ministries of Education to provide quality education with a focus on child centred learning for the increasing numbers of children attending schools. The main focus is on primary education, including support for girls' education and also strengthening the role of the education sector. Our assistance also enables Ministries of Education to provide quality education with a focus on child centred learning for the increasing numbers of children attending schools. The main focus is on primary education, including support for girls' education and also strengthening the role of the education sector in responding to HIV and AIDS. Support is also provided, where appropriate, to second and third level institutions.

Departmental Staff.

Billy Timmins

Question:

252 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the grades and number of staff currently in Irish Aid in Limerick; the number of those who moved from Irish Aid in Dublin; if they came from outside of Irish Aid, the areas they came from; the number of personnel and their grades who currently remain in Irish Aid in Dublin; when Limerick will have its full compliment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47597/08]

Under the Government's decentralisation programme announced in 2003 the Development Co-operation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs has decentralised to Limerick. The Division is the Headquarters of Irish Aid.

124 staff have moved into the new Headquarters building in Limerick. A breakdown of grades is provided in the table. Of those in Limerick, 78 were in Irish Aid in Dublin immediately before transferring to Limerick, 12 were in other Divisions of the Department of Foreign Affairs, 12 were recruited for direct assignment to Limerick and 22 joined Irish Aid in Limerick from provincial locations. At this stage a total of 21 staff remain in Irish Aid in Dublin. A number of additional staff assignments to Limerick will take place in the New Year.

Grade Breakdown

Staff currently in Limerick

124

Assistant Secretary

1

Counsellor/Principal Officer

9

Principal Development Specialist

1

First Secretary

9

Assistant Principal

14

Accountant Grade 1

2

Accountant Grade 2

2

Senior Development Specialist

10

Development Specialist

14

Higher Executive Officer

12

Third Secretary

5

Executive Officer

16

Staff Officer

2

Clerical Officer

25

Services Officer

2

Staff currently in Dublin

21

Assistant Secretary

1

Counsellor/Principal Officer

2

First Secretary

3

Assistant Principal

2

Senior Development Specialist

2

Development Specialist

2

Higher Executive Officer

2

Executive Officer

2

Clerical Officer

5

Departmental Expenditure.

Michael Ring

Question:

253 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the average cost per head of receptions hosted (details supplied); and if he will provide the information in tabular form. [47600/08]

Michael Ring

Question:

254 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the nature of each event, the cost paid in respect of each event, the number of guests at each event and the companies to which money was paid (details supplied); and if he will provide the information in tabular form. [47601/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 253 and 254 together.

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Receptions hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Ministers of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs, June 2007-Present

Date

Event

Host

Total Cost

No. of Guests

Cost per Person

Caterer

26/09/2007

Unveiling of bust of Mr. Frank Aiken, former Minister for Foreign Affairs

Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

3,791.91

80

47.40

Corporate Cuisine

24/10/2007

Reception for Cooperation And Working Together

Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

1,716.80

100

17.17

Amitan

31/10/2007

Reception for the Irish Exporters Association commemorating the 50 year trade relationship between Ireland and Japan

Mr. Dick Roche T.D., Minister of State for EuropeanAffairs

1,098.77

80

13.73

Amitan

30/11/2007

World Aids Day

Mr. Michael Kitt T.D. Minister of State forOverseas Development

1,620.82

85

19.07

Amitan

22/01/2008

Opening of Irish Aid Centre, O’Connell St., Dublin

Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs & Mr. Michael Kitt T.D.Minister of State for Overseas Development

8,523

450

18.94

Amitan

23/01/2008

Launch of the Consular Services Charter

Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

1,994.90

100

19.95

Amitan

14/02/2008

Reception for Mr. Salih Mahmoud Osman, Winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize 2007 for Freedom of Thought

Mr. Dick Roche T.D., Minister of State for European Affairs

911.63

50

18.23

Amitan

15/02/2008

Reception for the Participants of UCD Seminar on Europe

Mr. Dick Roche T.D., Minister of State for European Affairs

1,053.09

60

17.55

Amitan

27/03/2008

Reception on the occasion of the Middle Power Initiative, Article VI Forum, Dublin

Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

1,824.07

100

18.24

Amitan

08/04/2008

Reception to mark the 40th Anniversary of Concern

Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

4,303.86

250

17.22

Amitan

Receptions hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Ministers of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs, June 2007-Present —continued

Date

Event

Host

Total Cost

No. of Guests

Cost per Person

Caterer

14/04/2008

Signing of Double Taxation Agreement between Ireland and Macedonia

Mr. Dick Roche T.D., Minister of State for European Affairs

41.95

6

6.99

Wine only from Departmental Stock

23/05/2008

Africa Day

Mr. Peter Power T.D., Minister of State for Overseas Development

3,485.26

200

17.43

Amitan

17/06/2008

Launch with Burma Action Ireland of the Burma Human Rights Report “Bullets in the Alms Bowl”

Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

2,289.13

100

22.89

Brambles

18/06/2008

Reception for the Diplomatic Corps

Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

2,007.14

80

25.09

Brambles

23/06/2008

Launch of Consular Services initiative

Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

1558.33

80

19.48

The Imperial Hotel, Cork

06/10/2008

Global Partners Forum on Children Affected by HIV & AIDS

Mr. Peter Power T.D., Minister of State for Overseas Development

4,043.78

200

20.21

Brambles

22/10/2008

Launch of the publication “Coming Home”

Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

3,251.39

150

21.68

Brambles

05/11/2008

Launch of International Fund for Ireland publication

Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

3,648.55

200

18.24

Amitan

18/11/2008

Joint reception with Dublin Chamber of Commerce for business leaders and the diplomatic corps

Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

3,949.80

150

26.33

Egans

25/11/2008

Reception to mark the publication of Volume VI of “Documents in Irish Foreign Policy”

Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs

4,017.24

250

16.06

Amitan

Swimming Pool Projects.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

255 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism when he will announce a new round of grants under the local authority swimming pool programme. [47365/08]

Because of the current budgetary constraints, it is not intended to launch a new round of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme at this time. The matter will be reviewed again in 2009.

Departmental Property.

Joe McHugh

Question:

256 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the address and size in square feet of every building or premises in this State that is being rented or leased by his Department; the cost to the State of each of these rents or leases in 2007; if he will provide this information on a county basis; and if he will produce the information in tabular form. [47569/08]

The OPW are responsible for the acquisition of and costs relating to the temporary and permanent accommodation occupied by the Department in 2007. Therefore the cost of these rents or leases do not fall within the Department's Vote.

Sports Funding.

Mary Upton

Question:

257 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on whether the decision to cut funding to the Irish Sports Council and to sport in general despite the fact that obesity levels here are quickly rising was a short-term money saving exercise which will have a significant impact on the nation’s health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47580/08]

The Deputy will be aware that in addressing the public financial challenges all areas of expenditure have been examined and the budget of the ISC has been impacted following this process. Nevertheless the huge social and economic benefits of sport are acknowledged by this Government and are reflected in the unprecedented level of Government funding for sport over the last number of years. Since 2000 more than €307m has been allocated to the Irish Sports Council (ISC). The allocation in 2009 is over €53m, an increase of more than 300% on the 2000 funding level of €13m. While there is a reduction on the 2008 allocation, I am confident that the 2009 allocation will be sufficient to support the work of the ISC in maintaining existing programmes and building on recent significant progress in all areas.

I understand that my colleague, the Minister for State with responsibility for Health Promotion, Ms Mary Wallace TD has made it one of her key priorities to address the issue of overweight and obesity.

National Drugs Strategy.

Brian Hayes

Question:

258 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the cuts planned for local drugs task forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47509/08]

This year, the budget for community-based initiatives in the Local and Regional Drugs Task Force areas, including funding for new cocaine and rehabilitation measures introduced during the year, will come to nearly €34.8m. Funding for 2009 is approximately €34.6m, which is a minor reduction of 0.5% on the 2008 allocation from my Department.

Departmental Property.

Joe McHugh

Question:

259 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the address and size in square feet of every building or premises in this State that is being rented or leased by his Department; the cost to the State of each of these rents or leases in 2007; if he will provide this information on a county basis; and if he will produce the information in tabular form. [47571/08]

The bulk of my Department's staff is based at the following locations. In addition, my Department has a small number of inspectors based at other government offices across the country.

County

Address

Dublin

43-49 Mespil Road, Dublin 4

Galway

Na Forbacha

Sligo

Teeling Street, Tubbercurry

Kerry

Government Buildings, Spa Road, Tralee

Donegal

Pairc Ghnó, Bun Beag

Mayo

Achill Sound, Achill

As the Deputy will be aware, the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for State property matters, including the renting and leasing of premises on behalf of Departments. The specific details sought by the Deputy in relation to the premises, which the OPW is renting on behalf of my Department, are therefore a matter for that Office.

Pension Provisions.

Joan Burton

Question:

260 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she is taking steps to ensure that private sector defined benefit pension schemes can meet their funding requirements; if she proposes to make changes to the regulations governing such funds; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47342/08]

The Pensions Act provides for a minimum Funding Standard which defined benefit pension schemes must meet on an ongoing basis. Generally speaking, the Standard requires that schemes maintain sufficient assets to enable them to discharge accrued liabilities in the event of a scheme winding up. Where schemes do not satisfy the Funding Standard the sponsors/trustees must submit a funding proposal to the Pensions Board to restore full funding within three years. The Pensions Board can allow a scheme up to ten years to meet the standard in certain circumstances.

In 2007, 81% of defined benefit schemes reporting to the Pensions Board passed the Funding Standard. Most of those schemes failing the test had a funding proposal in place. It is expected that the number of schemes failing the funding standard will increase significantly in the coming year. However, the extent of the problem will not be fully apparent until schemes carry out end of year actuarial assessments and report the results to the Pensions Board as required under the Pensions Act.

In recognition of the current market difficulties and the difficult decisions that pension schemes will face, the Government has put in place short-term measures to ease the pressure on schemes. It has been agreed with the Pensions Board that an additional six months will be allowed for trustees to prepare funding proposals.

This will mean that schemes will have 18 months to review the situation with sponsoring employers and to formulate proposals for recovery.

The Government is working with the Pensions Board, representative organisations and the social partners to find ways to ease the pressure on schemes by striking a balance between the long-term nature of pension savings and the need to ensure short-term security of accrued benefits. As outlined, it has already taken some short-term measures in this area. The long-term response to the situation is being considered in the context of the Green Paper on Pensions and any changes proposed will be announced in the context of the overall framework for pensions which the Government will announce in the near future.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

261 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of applications for supplementary welfare allowance in 2006, 2007 and to date in 2008. [47424/08]

The supplementary welfare allowance scheme is administered by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive on behalf of the Department. Statistics are not held on the number of people who applied for payments under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme. The scheme is delivered locally by community welfare officers who interview claimants when they first present to enquire about possible entitlements under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme. Claim details are recorded electronically only in cases where it is established that a claim is payable under the scheme. The following tabular statement shows the number of recipients of supplementary welfare allowance and the total number of exceptional needs payments from 2006 to date:

Basic SWA

Rent Supplement

Mortgage Interest Supplements

Other Supplements**

2006

25,330

59,861

3,424

18,495

2007

27,379

59,726

4,111

17,744

2008*

34,397

72,840

7,839

17,035

*At 12 December 2008.

**Includes Diet, Travel, etc.

Total Number of Exceptional Needs Payments, 2006 to Date

Year

Payments

2006

224,738

2007

234,933

2008***

250,078

***To 12 December 2008.

Family Support Services.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

262 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a family resource centre was promised for the Ballinfoyle area of County Galway; if this remains the intention; and if it will be in the 2009 Estimates. [47475/08]

The Department is committed to supporting families and values the role that the Family Resource Centres play in communities all over the country. Funding from the Family Support Agency helps with staffing and equipping these centres. By the end of 2008, the number of Family Resource Centres will have expanded from an original 10 to 107 nationwide. The funding for the Programme increased from €317,000 in 1994 to nearly €19 million in 2008. In the context of the National Development Plan, it was intended to expand the number of Family Resource Centres by up to 6 centres this year and to provide some existing ones with additional staff. The organisation referred to by the Deputy is one of the projects that have applied for inclusion in the Family Resource Centre Programme and that meet the criteria.

However, as part of the Government's collective approach to controlling short-term expenditure in the interests of Ireland's future prosperity, with the exception of two new FRCs, one in Killeshandra, Co. Cavan and one in Duiska, Galway City, no other Family Resource Centres will open in 2008 or 2009. It will also not be possible to increase the staffing complement of the existing centres. Government support for family services will however remain strong. Last year, additional staff were funded for 40 Family Resource Centres. Also in June I approved counselling grants of almost €11 million to 600 voluntary and community groups supporting families nationwide.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Joe Costello

Question:

263 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if her attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47257/08]

Eligibility for a fuel allowance is subject to a means test and other conditions. A person may have a combined household income of up to €100.00 per week over and above the maximum rate of State Pension (Contributory) or savings/investments of up to €58,000 and still qualify for fuel allowance. The person concerned is in receipt of a State Pension (Contributory) at the maximum rate of €241.00 per week including €10.00 per week Over 80 Allowance and Living Alone Allowance of €7.70. He also has income of over €100.00 per week from a private pension. As this amount is in excess of the income limit allowable for eligibility to a fuel allowance, his application was disallowed and he was notified accordingly. It is not possible to waive the requirements for qualification to Fuel Allowance on an individual basis.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

264 Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the fact that persons (details supplied) in County Wexford have been refused supplementary welfare allowance pending a decision on jobseeker’s benefit; if she will ensure that they receive funding to enable them to sustain themselves and their two dependant children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47271/08]

The supplementary welfare allowance scheme is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive. The Executive has advised that one of the people concerned has made an application for a basic weekly payment of supplementary welfare allowance pending a decision on a claim for Jobseeker's allowance. The Executive has further advised that a decision will be made on her application for supplementary welfare allowance as soon as the Executive receive evidence of her spouse's income from self employment. The person concerned has also made an application for rent supplement. However, payment of a rent supplement is excluded in legislation where a person or their spouse/partner is in full-time employment.

Departmental Agencies.

Joan Burton

Question:

265 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the budgeted expenditure for the Money, Advice and Budgeting Service for each of the past five years; the number of staff and advisers employed by MABS; the average and the longest waiting period for people availing of the service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47335/08]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

267 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number, in whole-time equivalent terms, of MABS personnel in each of the past three years. [47425/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 265 and 267 together.

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is the main Government funded service which provides assistance to people who are over-indebted and need help and advice in coping with debt problems. There are 53 independent companies with voluntary boards of management operating the local services throughout the country. There are currently 246 money advice staff equating to 218.3 whole time equivalents employed to provide the MABS services. In 2008 almost €18 million has been provided to fund the service. All MABS Companies operate an appointment system for meeting clients. Information is not available on the MABSIS on the waiting times for appointments at different offices. However, in all cases, clients with urgent difficulties are dealt with promptly. Less urgent cases are referred to the MABS National Telephone Helpline, 1890 382438 available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and to the MABS website www.mabs.ie available 24 hours for immediate assistance with budgeting and money management issues.

Tables 1 and 2 detail the amount of funding allocated to MABS in each year since 2004 and the whole time equivalent staffing levels for the last three years.

Table 1: MABS Funding 2004 to 2008

Year

Funding

2004

11,401,000

2005

13,620,000

2006

16,416,000

2007

17,670,000

2008

17,950,000

Table 2: MABS Staff ‘WTEs' 2006 to 2008 (i.e. Whole Time Equivalents)

Year

Total

2006

202.2

2007

217.3

2008

218.3

Social Welfare Benefits.

Joan Burton

Question:

266 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of people in receipt of mortgage payment assistance; the number expected to avail of such assistance in 2009; the average and longest time that passes between application for such assistance and the first payment; the conditions for the receipt of such assistance; if people must be unemployed in order to receive such assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47336/08]

The supplementary welfare allowance scheme provides for a supplement to be paid in respect of mortgage interest to any person in the State whose means are insufficient to meet their needs. The scheme is administered by the community welfare service of the Health Service Executive on behalf of the Department. The purpose of mortgage interest supplement is to provide short term income support to eligible people who are unable to meet their mortgage interest repayments in respect of a house which is their sole place of residence. The supplement assists with the interest portion of the mortgage repayments only. In general a person may be entitled to a mortgage interest supplement provided that:

s/he is habitually resident in