Written Questions Nos. 257 to 269

Immigration Status

Bernard Durkan

Question:

257. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2145/14]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the person referred to has no entitlement to residency. As outlined in a number of previous Dail replies in this matter the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order following a comprehensive and thorough examination of his asylum claim and a detailed examination of the representations he submitted for consideration under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended).

The effect of a Deportation Order is that the person concerned must leave the state and remain thereafter outside the State. The enforcement of Deportation Orders is an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Status

Bernard Durkan

Question:

258. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality notwithstanding his replies to previous parliamentary questions, the procedure to be followed in order to regularise the residency of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 who is anxious to comply with all necessary regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2146/14]

As stated in my letter which issued to the Deputy on 31 October 2013, the person mentioned, who is now over the age of 18, should make an application in his own right and present the circumstances of his case. I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the General Immigration Division of INIS has still not received an application from this person.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Status

Bernard Durkan

Question:

259. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status and procedure to be followed in respect of long-term residency and eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2147/14]

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person referred to by the Deputy was granted Long Term Residency in October 2013 for a period of five years.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended. There is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's question.

Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must:

- be of full age;

-be of good character;

- have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years;

- intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation;

- have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows—

(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and

(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

A foreign national who is married to, or is the civil partner of, an Irish citizen for at least three years may apply for naturalisation under section 15A of the Irish Naturalisation and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, where they have been continuously resident in the island of Ireland for the year immediately prior to the date of their application and for two out of the four years prior to that year. The marriage or civil partnership must be subsisting and recognised under Irish law. Section 15A provides that the Minister may waive certain conditions for naturalisation if satisfied that criteria as set out in the Act have been met.

Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, waive some or all of the statutory conditions in certain circumstances i.e. where an applicant is of Irish descent or of Irish associations; where an applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; or where an applicant is a Stateless person within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Status

Bernard Durkan

Question:

260. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding residency status and-or eligibility for consideration for naturalisation or updated stamp 4 in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2148/14]

This applicant arrived in the State and applied for asylum on 12 June 2008. His application was refused on 30 April 2010, per recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, and this recommendation was affirmed by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

The applicant subsequently submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection under the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (Statutory Instrument No. 518 of 2006) on 18 May 2010. This application was considered, however, it was determined that the applicant is not a person eligible for subsidiary protection, and the applicant was notified of this determination on 6 April 2011.

Judicial Review proceedings were taken by the applicant in the High Court in order to challenge the refusal of his Subsidiary Protection application, on 4 July 2011. These proceedings, bearing the record number 2011 533/JR, were dismissed, per Judgment of Mr Justice Cross delivered on 23 March 2012.

Representations were submitted by the applicant and considered under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act (as amended). A Deportation Order was subsequently made in respect of this applicant on 18 April 2013.

Further Judicial Review proceedings were initiated on 14 May 2013, challenging the decision to make a Deportation Order in respect of this applicant and accordingly, as this matter is sub judice, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.

Immigration Status

Bernard Durkan

Question:

261. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current or expected position in regard to the determination of eligibility for residency or stamp 4 update in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2149/14]

The person concerned applied for asylum in the State on 2 December, 2009. An interview under section 11 of the Refugee Act took place in relation to the person concerned with the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and a report pursuant to section 13(1) of the Refugee Act, 1996 was compiled on 10 March, 2010 and recommended that the person concerned be refused a declaration of refugee status. The person concerned was informed of this recommendation by letter dated 10 March, 2010. An oral hearing of the Refuge Appeals Tribunal in relation to the person concerned was held on 26 May, 2010 and a decision refusing the appeal issued on 30 June, 2010. A letter was sent to the person concerned from the Department dated 20 August, 2010 informing him that it was proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. The letter outlined the three options open to the person concerned, one being to make written representations to the Minister under Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) setting out the reasons as to why a Deportation Order should not be made. He was also informed that he was entitled to make an application for Subsidiary Protection. An application for Subsidiary Protection was subsequently made on 6th September 2010, together with representations pursuant to Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999. Following consideration of these applications Subsidiary Protection was refused on 1st April 2011. A Deportation Order was made in respect of the person concerned on 15th July, 2011.

Judicial Review proceedings were instituted challenging both these decisions on 11 August, 2011. These proceedings are still ongoing. Accordingly, as the matter is sub judice, I do not propose to comment further.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Question No. 262 answered with Question No. 239.

Irish Language

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

263. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated number and percentage of civil servants who are competent to carry out their duties through the medium of Irish and English in his Department; his views on whether this number is adequate; his plans to increase this number and percentage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2632/14]

My Department has over 50 members of staff on a panel of officials who are available to deal with queries in Irish from members of the public. This number has been more than adequate to date to meet the demand for such services - despite its broad range of functional areas. Recent work in the context of my Department developing a workforce planning framework has confirmed that that number is adequate.

The Department also has a full-time Irish translator, who is principally engaged in the translation of Rules of Court to Irish.

Since 2006, with the commencement of its inaugural Irish Language Scheme, my Department has run 23 in-house Irish courses, both written and oral, tailored for members of staff. These courses were run, concurrently in some cases, by Gaeleagras, Gaelchultúr and the IPA, in the Department’s offices in both Dublin and Killarney. In addition, my Department also supports members of staff who wish to do Irish courses outside of the Department.

Departmental Expenditure

Niall Collins

Question:

264. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Defence if he will detail, in tabular form, the total photography costs for his Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the list of occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1849/14]

The total costs for photography paid by the Department in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 to date is set out in the folowing table.

Date

Occasion

Company

Cost

25/3/2011

Ministerial File Portrait Package

Maxwell Photography

€393.25 (Including VAT)

9/11/2011

Launch of Winter Ready Campaign

Maxwell Photography

€849.42 (Including VAT)

21/11/2012

Launch of Winter Ready Campaign

Fennell Photography

€116.85 (including VAT)

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, following an EU-level advertised procurement process, has established a Framework Agreement comprising five firms for the provision of photography services. The Framework was established in February 2012 and is open for use by all Government Departments and Offices. My Department avails of this Framework Agreement for photography needs.

I am satisfied that the usage and costs incurred in the hiring of photographers represents value for money. I remain committed to an overall policy of reducing costs and maximising efficiencies.

Public Relations Contracts Data

Niall Collins

Question:

265. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Defence if he will detail, in tabular form, the use of external public relations firms employed by his Department since coming to office; the list of uses of the external public relations firm; his internal Department policy regarding employing external groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1863/14]

My Department has not incurred any expenditure on external public relations or communications consultants since I took office in March 2011. In this period, the Defence Forces engaged the services of one external communications company, The Communications Clinic, to provide training. The cost of the training was €2,775.

Public Service Reform Plan Update

Simon Harris

Question:

266. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Defence the number of quangos, State agencies or organisations under the remit of his Department that have been merged, reformed or abolished since 2011; the details of each of these measures in tabular form; the cost saving or service delivery improvement which has resulted; how many more he expects to be merged, reformed or abolished and the timeline for same; if he will provide a full list of all agencies and organisations under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1974/14]

The bodies under the aegis of my Department when the Government took office were the Civil Defence Board, the Board of Coiste an Asgard and the Army Pensions Board.

The Civil Defence Board was identified in the Public Service Reform Plan as a body to be abolished and legislation was passed by the Oireachtas in December 2012 for the dissolution of the Board. Its functions transferred back to the Department of Defence from 1 January 2013. The annual savings of almost €60,000 in running costs have been re-allocated to support the 4,500 active volunteers in Civil Defence nationwide.

Coiste an Asgard was the company set up to manage the National Sail Training Scheme. In September 2008, the company’s sail training vessel ‘Asgard II’ sank in the Bay of Biscay. In December 2009, the previous Government announced that the National Sail Training Scheme was to be discontinued and the funding for 2010 was cancelled. Up to and including 2009, the company had been receiving funding from the National Lottery of approximately €800,000 per annum. The formal wind up of the Company including voluntary strike off with the Companies Registration Office was completed in early 2013.

There are no plans to merge or abolish the Army Pensions Board.

Overseas Missions

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

267. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Defence the number of overseas missions at present that involve military personnel; the number of these under the auspices of the UN; the location of each mission; the number of these that involve the EU or NATO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1994/14]

As of 01 January 2014, Ireland is contributing approximately 412 Defence Forces personnel to 14 different missions throughout the world. Full details of all personnel currently serving overseas are listed in the tabular statement attached.

The main overseas missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 209 personnel, including the Deputy Force Commander, and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) with 118 Defence Forces personnel including four (4) personnel at the Mission Headquarters at Camp Faouar on the Golan Heights in Syria.

Other missions in which Defence Forces personnel are currently deployed are the EU Training Mission (EUTM) Somalia with seven (7) personnel, including the Mission Commander; the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) with eight (8) personnel; the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina with seven (7) personnel who are based at mission headquarters in Sarajevo; the NATO-led international security presence (KFOR) in Kosovo with twelve (12) personnel based in the mission Headquarters; and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan with seven (7) personnel who are based in the mission Headquarters in Kabul and four (4) personnel deployed for service with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in South Sudan. Ireland also contributes 25 observers and staff to various United Nations and OSCE missions and 15 other personnel to staff appointments at UN, EU and OSCE headquarters.

The current contribution of some 412 personnel to overseas missions reflects the Government’s continued commitment to our responsibilities in the area of international peace and security.

MEMBERS OF THE PERMANENT DEFENCE FORCE SERVING OVERSEAS AS OF 01 JANUARY 2014

1.

UN MISSIONS

UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) HQ

16

UNIFIL 43rd Infantry Group

185

UNIFIL Sector West HQ

8

UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation) Israel & Syria

13

MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara)

3

MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo)

4

UNOCI (United Nations Mission in Ivory Coast)

2

UNDOF (United Nations Disengagement Observer Force) Golan Heights Syria

118

UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service) South Sudan

4

TOTAL

353

UN MANDATED MISSIONS

EUFOR (EU led Operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina)

7

EUTM Somalia (EU led Training Mission)

7

EUTM Mali (EU led Training Mission)

8

KFOR (International Security Presence in Kosovo) HQ

12

ISAF (International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan)

7

TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING WITH UN MISSIONS

394

2.

ORGANISATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)

OSCE Mission to Bosnia & Herzegovina

2

OSCE Mission in Belgrade – Serbia

1

Staff Officer, High Level Planning Group Vienna

1

TOTAL NUMBER OF PERSONNEL SERVING OSCE

4

3.

EU MILITARY STAFF

Brussels

5

4.

MILITARY REPRESENTATIVES/ADVISERS/STAFF

Military Adviser, Permanent Mission to UN, New York

1

Military Adviser Irish delegation to OSCE, Vienna

1

Military Representative to EU (Brussels)

3

Liaison Office of Ireland, NATO/PfP (Brussels)

2

EU OHQ Operation Althea, Mons, Belgium

1

Irish Liaison Officer to SHAPE & Military Co-Op Division, Mons, Belgium

1

TOTAL NUMBER OF DEFENCE FORCES PERSONNEL SERVING OVERSEAS

412

Departmental Expenditure

John Deasy

Question:

268. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide details of each allocation from his Department’s expenditure budget to registered charities in each of the past three years. [2098/14]

The accompanying table outlines the annual amounts paid by the Department to registered charities since 2011:

YEAR

ORGANISATIONAL/BODY

ORGANISATIONAL/BODY

ORGANISATIONAL/BODY

-

Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women (ONE)

Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA)

The Irish Red Cross Society

2011

€40,000

€10,000

€951,000

2012

€40,000

€10,000

€869,000

2013

€40,000

€10,000

€869,000

Both the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women (O.N.E.) and Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA) are registered as charitable organisations (CHY 13868 and CHY 10066 respectively). A condition of the grants/subventions to ONE and IUNVA is the annual submission of audited accounts to the Department.

The Irish Red Cross Society (CHY 3950) is an independent statute based charitable organisation with full power to manage its own affairs. This grant is provided as a contribution towards the salary and administration costs of running the Society's headquarters, and it also includes the Government’s annual contribution of €130,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross. A report on how the annual grant is utilised by the Society is provided to my Department each year.

Irish Language

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

269. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Defence the estimated number and percentage of civil servants who are competent to carry out their duties through the medium of Irish and English in his Department; his views on whether this number is adequate; his plans to increase this number and percentage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2626/14]

The Department of Defence complies fully with the provisions of the Official Language Act, 2003. The Department has limited interaction with the general public and, consequently, has a low demand for services through the medium of the Irish language. As provided for in its current and previous Irish Language Schemes, the Department draws from a pool of personnel which has been established on a voluntary basis to assist the Branches of the Department in providing services through the medium of Irish and to address customer interaction if required.

There are currently nine (9) personnel in the pool who have volunteered to assist with the provision of services through Irish and this has proved adequate to meet the needs arising. The pool of volunteers is kept under ongoing review. This was reviewed most recently in the preparation of the Department’s draft third Irish Language Scheme which is currently being considered by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.