Writtens Answers Nos. 298-315

Visa Applications

Bernard Durkan

Question:

298. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in determination of a visa application in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36997/14]

The visa application referred to by the Deputy was received in the Dublin visa office on 16th September 2014. The application is currently being examined and a decision will be issued shortly.

As advised on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie) it is recommended that visa applicants apply for their visas eight weeks before the intended date of travel.

Queries in relation to general immigration matters may be made directly to INIS by e-mail 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 INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

Niall Collins

Question:

299. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the suitability of Mount Trenchard, County Limerick, as an asylum seeker accommodation centre; the reasons for the discontinued use of Mount Trenchard as an accommodation centre in 2006 and its subsequent resumption of services in 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37014/14]

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is responsible for the accommodation of protection applicants in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal. Direct provision provides for full board accommodation supports while a final decision is awaited by a person on their protection or any related leave to remain application. Currently, 4,326 persons are residing in 34 asylum accommodation centres under contract to RIA.

Mount Trenchard accommodation centre in Foynes, Co. Limerick first opened in March 2005 with a capacity for 100 persons. This was in response to a rapid rise in the number of persons requiring accommodation. At that time, there were over 8,000 persons residing in RIA accommodation. Within a number of months, that number declined to just over 4,800. This decline was mostly attributable to the revised arrangements applicable to the non-EEA national parents of Irish born children born in the State before 1 January, 2005 - more commonly known as the IBC/05 Scheme. RIA is a demand led organisation and must match as closely as possible its capacity requirements in line with the ebb and flow of those requiring accommodation. The fall in numbers being accommodated meant a concomitant closure of a number of accommodation centres, of which Mount Trenchard was one.

When the numbers of persons requiring accommodation began to increase again in mid to late 2006, it was necessary for RIA to increase its accommodation capacity. Mount Trenchard was one of five centres that opened in early 2007 to accommodate this increase and it now has a capacity for 55 persons. I am advised by RIA that the continued operation of Mount Trenchard is, along with every other centre, kept constantly under review.

Citizenship Applications

Bernard Durkan

Question:

300. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in determination of an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37036/14]

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a valid application for a certificate of naturalisation has been received from the person referred to by the Deputy.

The application is being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence. A letter was issued to the person concerned on 9 June 2014 requesting certain information. The person concerned provided some of the requested information. A further letter has been issued requesting the outstanding information. When all of the requested information has been provided the case will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

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.

Citizenship Applications

James Bannon

Question:

301. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (Details supplied) in County Longford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37091/14]

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that this application is being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. While most cases are now generally processed within six months, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

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.

Crime Prevention

Terence Flanagan

Question:

302. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the discussions she has had with An Garda Síochána regarding the increase in knife crime in Dublin and the ways of addressing this problem; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37113/14]

I can assure the Deputy that I am in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner in relation to a wide range of crime and policing concerns, including knife and other violent crime.

A comprehensive and robust legal framework is in place with respect to knife crime including heavy penalties for breaches of the laws concerned. In recent years the maximum penalty for possessing a knife in a public place without good reason or lawful authority has been increased from one to five years, and An Garda Síochána also now have an extended power of search without warrant in relation to knives and offensive weapons.

At an operational level, An Garda Síochána pro-actively target public disorder and anti-social behaviour, including knife related crime through the strategic deployment of Garda resources. In this regard, areas identified as public order hot-spots by local Garda management are the subject of additional foot and mobile patrols. In addition, Detective Units and Divisional Crime Task Forces may be utilised to provide a high visibility presence in areas such as late night bars, clubs etc, particularly when people are exiting, to deter and detect anti-social behaviour and possible altercations. However, it should be noted that many knife crimes occur in domestic settings and often with a degree of spontaneity, which increases the challenges for preventative policing and enforcement.

In relation to the investigation of specific knife-related crimes, I am assured that all appropriate resources, including any necessary technical and forensic facilities are employed by An Garda Síochána to secure detections and identify perpetrators of these crimes.

In addition to these enforcement measures, An Garda Síochána are involved in a number of awareness measures relating to knife crime, and I understand that the Garda Schools Programme is utilised to include talks on knives and other weapons for secondary school pupils, emphasising the dangers involved and the need for care, vigilance and social responsibility.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Niall Collins

Question:

303. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the works in a Garda station (details supplied) in County Meath; her position in relation to this Garda station; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37120/14]

The programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda stations is based on accommodation priorities which are established by An Garda Síochána. The programme is advanced in close co-operation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.

In that context, I am informed by the Garda authorities that maintenance work is currently being carried out at the station referred to by the Deputy as part of the Office of Public Works ongoing programme of maintenance.

Road Traffic Offences

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

304. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol from May 2014 to date; the number of these drivers whose blood alcohol level did not exceed 100 mg and who were served with fixed-charge notices; and of those served with fixed-charge notices for having a blood alcohol level not exceeding 100 mg if she will provide the number of drivers who paid the fixed-charge notice and accepted the other associated penalties under the Road Traffic Act 2010. [37163/14]

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Asylum Applications

Thomas Pringle

Question:

305. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons who have sought asylum in the State for each of the past five years including this year to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37186/14]

The number of asylum applications received in each of the last five years was 2,689 in 2009, 1,939 in 2010, 1,290 in 2011, 956 in 2012, and 946 in 2013. These figures are publically available on the website of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, www.orac.ie. To end of August 2014, a total of 854 applications have been made.

There has been a 40% increase in asylum applications in 2014 to date compared with the same period last year.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

Shane Ross

Question:

306. Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if guardians ad litem require Garda clearance; if not, the reason; and the person that has responsibility for the regulation of guardians ad litem, the Child and Family Agency or the court appointing the guardian. [37190/14]

Guardians ad Litem should have Garda clearance in view of the sensitive role that they undertake with children. My Department is currently working with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and with the Courts Service to ensure that all Guardians ad Litem have up-to-date Garda clearance. Separately, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is preparing proposals for consideration by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs regarding the reform of Guardian ad Litem services in proceedings arising under the Child Care Act 1991. The issue of Garda vetting of Guardians ad Litem will be reviewed in this context.

Road Safety

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

307. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she is examining a means of improving co-operation between An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the area of the enforcement of road traffic laws, including the monitoring of a sentence imposed on a driver in the courts in one jurisdiction where the driver concerned is living in the other jurisdiction. [37193/14]

The Deputy will appreciate that road safety policy, including in the context of cooperation with the Northern Ireland authorities is the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. In that regard, the mutual recognition of driving disqualifications between Ireland and the UK, in respect of certain road traffic offences, came into effect from 28 January 2010. There is of course close cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI on a wide range of policing matters, including road traffic enforcement.

Road Traffic Offences

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

308. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 490 of 24 June 2014, the actions that were taken against the 59 drivers detected with a blood alcohol level not exceeding 80 mg per 100 ml of blood who did not pay the fine included in the fixed-charge notices served on them during the period November 2011 to 9 May 2014. [37194/14]

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Road Traffic Offences

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

309. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 490 of 24 June 2014, the actions that were taken against the 81 drivers detected with a blood alcohol level that exceeded 80 mg but did not exceed 100 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood who did not pay the fine included in the fixed-charge notices served on them during the period November 2011 to 9 May 2014. [37195/14]

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Road Traffic Offences

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

310. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol from May 2014 to date; the number of these drivers whose blood alcohol level did not exceed 80 mg and who were served with fixed-charge notices; and of those served with fixed-charge notices the number of drivers who paid the fixed-charge notice and accepted the other associated penalties under the Road Traffic Act 2010. [37196/14]

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Departmental Agencies

Seán Kyne

Question:

311. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide in tabular form all of the State agencies, bodies, organisations and working groups under her Department's remit; the core duties and functions of same; the number of staff at same; the budget of each for 2013 and proposed budget for 2014; the date of establishment of the agencies or organisations; and the legislation, primary or otherwise, from which they derive their powers. [37209/14]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in tabular form. I wish to advise the Deputy that I have not provided details of any appeal boards in my response as they are but part of the broad process/function of their main agency.

Name

Core duties and functions

Number of staff

Budget 2013

(€)(M)

Budget 2014

(€)(M)

Date of establishment

Legislation

Awareness Raising and Training Working Group

Facilitate the implementation of the National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat the Trafficking of Human Beings in Ireland

Composed of representatives from Government, non-Government and International organisations

The budget of this body is provided as required by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit

The budget of this body is provided as required by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit

2008

N/A

National Referral Mechanism Working Group

As above

As above

-

-

2008

N/A

Sexual Exploitation Working Group

As above

As above

-

-

2008

N/A

Labour Exploitation Working Group

As above

As above

-

-

2008

N/A

Child Trafficking Working Group

As above

As above

-

-

2008

N/A

Office of the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland

The Board of the Charity Commissioners is mandated under the Charities Acts, 1961 and 1973 to provide services to trustees of charities and to carry out the intentions of persons making donations and bequests to charity.

6

.360

.355

1845

Charities Acts, 1961 and 1973

The Irish Film Classification Office

To examine and certify all cinema films and videos/DVDs distributed in Ireland. To provide the public, and parents in particular, with a modern and dependable system of classification.

7 FTE

(Full Time Equivalents)

.700

.700

July 1923

Censorship of Films Act 1923

Censorship of Films Amendment Acts, 1930, 1970 and 1992

Video Recordings Act 1989

Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

To protect the individual’s right to data privacy by enabling people to know, and to exercise control over, how their personal information is used, in accordance with the Data Protection Acts and related legislation.

29.03 FTE

1.74

1.89

July 1988

Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003.

European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Privacy and Electronic Communications) Regulations 2011.

Property Registration Authority

To provide a system of registration of title (ownership) to land which is comprehensively and readily accessible.

To manage and control the Land Registry and the Registry of Deeds and to operate the Ground Rents Scheme.

498 FTE

31.2

30.1

November 2006

Registration of Title Act 1964

Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) (No. 2) Act 1978

Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006

Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009

Land Registration Rules 2013

Registration of Deeds Rules in 2008, 2009 and 2013.

Property Services Regulatory Authority

To control, supervise and regulate Property Services Providers (i.e. Auctioneers/Estate Agents, Letting Agents and Management Agents);

To operate a comprehensive licensing and complaints system in respect of Property Services Providers;

To establish and maintain a Commercial Leases Database and Public Registers of Property Sales Prices and Licensed Property Services Providers.

17.1 FTE

.832

1.07

April 2012

Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011.

Insolvency Service of Ireland

To restore insolvent debtors to solvency in a fair, transparent and equitable way.

88.2 FTE

7.40

7.20

March 2013

Personal Insolvency Act 2012

Bankruptcy Act 1988

The Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 (Part 7)

Companies (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013

Courts Service

The role of the Courts Service is to manage and administer the Courts. The functions as set out in the Courts Service Act, 1998, are to:

a) Manage the Courts

b) Provide support services for the judges

c) Provide information on the Courts system to the public

d) Provide, manage and maintain Court buildings and

e) Provide facilities for users of the Courts.

910.86 FTE

Gross Budget:

105

Net Expenditure Budget (less appropriations-in- aid): 58

Gross Budget: 105

Net Expenditure Budget (less appropriations-in- aid): 58

November 1999

Courts Service Act 1998

Working Group on Efficiency Measures in the Criminal Justice System (Circuit and District Courts)

The Working Group on Efficiency Measures in the Criminal Justice System (Circuit and District Courts) was established at the request of the Chief Justice and previous Minister for Justice and Equality. The Group has as its remit the identification of efficiencies and cost reduction measures across the Justice sector as a whole.

The Group is chaired by the Department of Justice and Equality and comprises members of the judiciary and senior representatives of the Courts Service, an Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service, the Probation Service, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Office of the Attorney General and the Legal Aid Board.

There are no costs, additional resources or legislation associated with the Group. No member of the Group is in receipt of any additional fee or payment.

There are no costs, additional resources or legislation associated with the Group. No member of the Group is in receipt of any additional fee or payment.

November 2011

N/A

Legal Aid Board

Provision of legal aid and advice to persons of modest means. The Board holds responsibility for the following schemes:

(i) The Garda Station Legal Advice Revised Scheme

(ii) The Legal Aid-Custody Issues Scheme

(iii) The Criminal Assets Bureau Ad-hoc Legal Aid Scheme

(iv) Family Mediation Service

(v) Service for Asylum Seekers

373 (FTE)

Grant-in-Aid: 33.759

Grant-in-Aid: 32.574

Established in an administrative capacity in 1979 and was placed on a statutory footing under the Civil Legal Act, 1995.

Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995 (as amended).

Criminal Assets Bureau .

Section 4 and 5 of the CAB Act (as amended) set out the statutory objectives and functions of the Bureau which is primarily to identify and deprive the assets, wherever situated, of persons which derive or are suspected to derive, directly or indirectly, from criminal conduct.

71

6.455

7.037

The Bureau was established in 1996 by the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996.

The Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996/2005

The Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2005

All Revenue Legislation, but principally the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997

All Social Welfare Legislation - primarily the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005

Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains (ICLVR)

The Independent Commission for the Location of Victims' Remains was established by an intergovernmental agreement between the Irish and British Governments, signed on 27 April, 1999.

The purpose of the Commission is to facilitate the location of the remains of victims of paramilitary violence (The Disappeared), who were murdered and buried in secret arising from the conflict in Northern Ireland.

1

.419

.611

April 1999

Criminal Justice (Location of Victims’ Remains) Act 1999

Private Security Authority (PSA)

The Private Security Authority (PSA) is, an independent agency and the regulatory body with responsibility for regulating and licensing the private security industry.

32 (FTE)

2.254

2.234

Late 2004

Private Security Services Acts 2004 and 2011 and associated Regulations.

Criminal Law Codification Advisory Committee

(currently inactive)

To oversee the development of a programme for the codification of the criminal law.

None

Nil

Nil

February 2007

Part 14 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006

National Disability Authority

The principal function of the National Disability Authority is to advise the Minister for Justice and Equality regarding issues of policy and practice relating to disability and to act as a central national body which will assist the Minister in the coordination and development of policy in relation to persons with disabilities.

30.9 FTE

4.133

3.884

June 2000

The National Disability Authority Act 1999 (as amended by the Disability Act 2005).

Human Rights Commission

(HRC)

The Human Rights Commission was established to promote and protect the human rights of everyone in Ireland under the Irish Constitution and under international agreements, treaties and conventions to which Ireland is a party.

The staff number for the HRC at the end of 2013, was 6 plus 3 on career break.

4.34

N/A

(see Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission below)

2000

Human Rights Commission Act, 2000

The Equality Authority.

The Equality Authority is an independent body set up under the Employment Equality Act 1998 and replaced the Employment Equality agency. The Employment Equality Act, 1998 and the Equal Status Act, 2000 outlaw discrimination in employment, vocational training, advertising, collective agreements, the provision of goods and services and other opportunities to which the general public generally have access on nine distinct grounds.These are gender; civil status; family status; age; disability; race; sexual orientation, religious belief; and membership of the the Traveller Community.

The staff number at the end of 2013 was 22. The current staff number for the Equality Authority is 28. This figure includes 9 staff redeployed during 2014 in preparation for the merger of The Equality Authority with the Irish Human Rights Commission.

2.984

N/A

(see Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission below)

October 1999

Employment Equality Act, 1998

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC)

Legislation to merge the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority into the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) was passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas was signed by the President on 27th July, 2014.

The functions of the Commission are as set out in section 10 of the Act and includes the following:

(a) to protect and promote human rights and equality,

(b) to encourage the development of a culture of respect for human rights, equality,

and intercultural understanding in the State,

(c) to promote understanding and awareness of the importance of human rights and

equality in the State,

(d) to encourage good practice in intercultural relations, to promote tolerance and

acceptance of diversity in the State and respect for the freedom and dignity of

each person, and

(e) to work towards the elimination of human rights abuses, discrimination and

prohibited conduct.

(f) to provide information to the public in relation to human rights and equality generally,

(g) to keep under review the adequacy and effectiveness of law and practice in the

State relating to the protection of human rights and equality.

In the context of the merger of the HRC and the Equality Authority an Employment Control Framework of 47 has been provided for the IHREC.

N/A

6.3

July 2014

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.

Forensic Science Ireland (FSI)

(Eolaíocht Fhóiréinseach Éireann

To provide a service of scientific examinations to aid Garda investigations and verifiable results for use in Criminal trials.

87.2

8.27

8.61

First established as State Forensic Science Lab in 1975.

Given new legal status as Forensic Science Ireland in 2014.

Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act, 2014

An Garda Síochána

Provide policing and security services for the State as detailed in Section 7 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

12,905 members of An Garda Síochána as at the 31st July 2014.

There are approx 14,500 including Garda and Civilian employees.

1.46bn *

* Post supplementary estimates

1.34bn

Established following the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the Dublin Metropolitan Police merged with An Garda Síochána in 1925.

Numerous enactments including the the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

Garda Síochána Inspectorate

Examination of the effectiveness of the resources available to the Garda Síochána with regards to best international practice.

12

.970

1.002

July 2006

Garda Síochána Act 2005 Part 5

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC)

The objectives and functions of GSOC are as specified in section 67 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005 (as amended).

79.6 (FTE)

8.131

7.924

December 2005

Garda Síochána Act, 2005 (as amended)

Garda Síochána Complaints Board

The principal functions of the Garda Síochána Complaints Board were to generally supervise investigations into complaints by members of the public against members of An Garda Síochána and to adjudicate upon such complaints as provided for under the Garda Síochána (Complaints) Act, 1986.

Following the establishment of GSOC the Garda Síochána Complaints Board’s mandate is now complete. The Department is currently arranging the repeal of the Garda Síochána (Complaints) Act, 1986, which will bring the Board’s existence to an end.

2

Pay:

.177

Non-Pay:.

018

Pay:

.092

Non-Pay:

.018

April 1987

Garda Síochána (Complaints) Act, 1986

Advisory Committee on Garda Interviewing of Suspects

(Smyth Committee)

The Terms of Reference for the Committee are to keep the adequacy of the law, practice and procedure relating to the interviewing of suspects detained in Garda custody under review, taking into account evolving international best practice, and to advise the Minister and the Garda Commissioner on any changes that may be necessary.

9

No allocated budget

No allocated budget

July 2010

The sixth report of the Morris Tribunal, published in 2008, included a recommendation that a Committee be established to oversee policy on interviews in Garda custody and to consider any changes in the law or practice as required.

Task force on the Second Report of the Convention on the Constitution

To examine issues arising from the Second Report of the Convention on the Constitution.

2 staff of the Gender Equality Division provide a secretariat to the task force as part of their duties.

None

None

October 2013

None

Monitoring Committee of the National Women's Strategy 2007-2016

Monitoring the implementation of the Strategy

As part of their duties, 3 staff of the Gender Equality Division provide a secretariat to the committee as needed.

None

None

April 2007

None

Office of Refugee Applications Commissioner

To investigate applications from persons seeking a declaration of refugee status or subsidiary protection and to issue appropriate recommendations to the Minister;

To investigate applications by refugees to allow family members to enter and reside in the State and to report to the Minister on such applications.

The budget and staffing of ORAC is included in the overall budget and staffing allocation for the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

-

-

November 2000

Refugee Act 1996 (as amended)

Refugee Appeals Tribunal

To consider and decide appeals against recommendations of the Refugee Applications Commissioner that applicants should not be declared to be refugees or persons entitled to subsidiary protection and to make appropriate recommendations to the Minister.

The budget and staffing of RAT is included in the overall budget and staffing allocation for the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

-

-

November 2000

Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended)

Audit committee

The role of the Departmental Audit Committee is as follows:

(i) A source of independent advice to Accounting Officers;

(ii) Review the plans and reports of the Internal Audit Unit and quality assure the service provided by the Unit;

(iii) Assess whether appropriate action is taken to deal with key issues identified by the Internal Audit Unit and in external audit reports;

(iv) Examine and monitor the implementation of the Department’s risk management strategy;

(v) Facilitate improvements in internal audit and internal control through the exchange of information between (ia Departments/Offices and (b) between the private and public sectors.

5 representatives (4 external and one internal)

.369

.385

2004

N/A

Interdepartmental Working Group on Refugee Resettlement

Oversee and Co-ordinate the Refugee Resettlement Programme

3 members of Department of Justice and Equality staff and staff from other Government Departments

Drawn from existing resources

Drawn from existing resources

2006

N/A

Cross Departmental Working Group

on Migrant Integration

Review Ireland's Strategy on Migrant Integration

4 members of Department of Justice and Equality staff and staff from other Government Departments

N/A

Drawn from existing resources

March 2014

N/A

Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board

The Board is a statutory, independent body whose function is to review the detention of patients at the Central Mental Hospital.

3 Departmental support staff

4 Board Members

.397

.396

September 2006

Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006

Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2010

Irish Prison Service

Providing safe and secure custody, dignity of care and rehabilitation to prisoners for safer communities

3271 FTE

Not including 120.45 HQ staff which are DoJ staff

329

325

Operates as an Executive Agency of the Department of Justice and Equality

N/A

Inspector of Prisons

The key role assigned to the Inspector is to carry out regular inspections of the 14 Prisons in the State and to present his report(s) on each institution inspected as well as an Annual Report to the Minister for Justice and Equality.

5

.388

.382

May 2007

The Office of the Inspector of Prisons is a statutory, independent office established under the Prisons Act, 2007.

Parole Board

The Board's principal function is to advise the Minister for Justice and Equality in relation to the administration of long-term prison sentences.

5 Departmental support staff

12 Board Members

.338

.335

April 2001

The Parole Board, which replaced the Sentence Review Group, was established on an administrative basis in April 2001.

Probation Service

The role of the Probation Service is to contribute to public safety by the management of community sanctions and measures, the effective assessment and management of offenders and by facilitating the re-integration of ex-offenders.

395

38.12

37.30

1 January 1908

Operates as an Executive Agency of the Department of Justice and Equality

Probation of Offenders Act, 1907

National Traveller Monitoring and Advisory Committee (NTMAC)

To give concentrated attention to achieving greater progress for Travellers with a specific remit to advise on policy in relation to the Traveller Community.

Both the National Traveller Monitoring and Advisory Committee (NTMAC) and the High Level Group on Traveller Issues (HLG) are supported by the Traveller Policy Division of the Department of Justice and Equality which participates in and provides a secretariat service to both groups. NTMAC is chaired by Mr Joe Horan, an independent chairperson and includes membership from four national Traveller organisations along with a number of prominent individual Traveller representatives, Senior Officials from relevant Government Departments and agencies, and private sector interests. The HLG is chaired by the Minister for State for Equality issues and includes membership from relevant Government Departments and agencies, and reports to the Senior Officials Group on Social Policy.

N/A

N/A

March 2007

N/A

High Level Group on Traveller Issues

To ensure that the relevant statutory agencies involved in providing the full range of services to Travellers, focus on improving the integrated practical delivery of such services and to report to the Senior Officials group on Social Policy.

See above

N/A

N/A

December 2003

N/A

Logan Report Implementation Group

To report to the Minister for Justice and Equality by the end of the year on how the recommendations in the Logan Report are being implemented.

The Logan Report identifies a range of steps that need to be taken, including detailed issues that need to be addressed within An Garda Síochána and the HSE/Child and Family Agency and others, as well as wider issues that relate to how public services generally engage with members of the Roma community. An Implementation Group was established, chaired by the Department of Justice and Equality and comprising members from relevant Government Departments and agencies, which is supported by the Traveller Policy Division of the Department which participates in and provides a secretariat service.

N/A

Traveller Policy Division Budget Allocation for 2014:

.305

September 2014

N/A

Child Abuse

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

312. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the position regarding the investigation into a child abuse case (details supplied); the reason for the delay in forwarding the information from the Health Service Executive and Tusla to the person concerned. [36771/14]

I have requested the information from the Child and Family Agency and I will revert to the Deputy when this information is to hand.

Child Care Services Provision

Mary Mitchell O'Connor

Question:

313. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the position regarding cases where payments are made to a provider but then inadvertently withdrawn before the child becomes ineligible on age grounds; if the payments may be claimed or applied retrospectively, if the child is attending a preschool that is registered with the scheme; if a child is moved from one child care provider to another, the way his Department ensures the payments continue, assuming the child is in the correct age cohort and the school is registered with the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36848/14]

Children are eligible to avail of the free pre-school year under the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme when they are aged more than 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months at 1 September in the relevant year.

The general procedure in relation to capitation payments under the ECCE programme for children who move from one childcare provider to another was outlined in my Dáil reply to the Deputy on the 17th September 2014. I understand that the Early Years Policies and Programmes Unit in my Department has since provided a detailed response directly to your office in relation to the procedures that apply to the specific issue that is of concern to you. This Unit will provide further clarification on this matter if required.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Finian McGrath

Question:

314. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he will clarify the terms of reference for the inquiry into the mother and baby homes and if the terms of reference will include other inquiries into related institutions which have been deemed as having numerous deficiencies (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36954/14]

This Government is committed to establishing an effective Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes in accordance with the Motion passed by this House on the 11th June.

Considerable progress has been achieved to date, including the publication of the Inter-Departmental Group’s Report on the 16th July and the announcement that Judge Yvonne Murphy will Chair this independent statutory investigation. Discussions are being advanced with my Government colleagues and the Attorney General with a view to finalising our deliberations on the terms of reference in early course. It is my intention to bring a Memorandum to Government as quickly as possible setting out the proposed Terms of Reference and to return to the Houses with a draft order to establish the Commission.

Given the breadth and complexity of the issues involved, as evidenced from the Inter-Departmental Group's report, it is clear that precise terms of reference are required to ensure the Commission is set up on the most sound footing possible. The investigation needs to be broad enough and inclusive enough to give us an understanding of the issues but precise enough to facilitate completion in a timely and cost effective way.

More generally, our approach should have regard to the facts established through recent inquiries into related institutions, and the general experience gained in conducting similar investigations into matters of public importance. Establishing an investigation which is capable of delivering on public expectations and effectively addressing these important matters in a sensitive and timely manner must be our primary concern.

This is a complex task and, at this critical stage in the process to establish a Commission, it is appropriate to take the necessary time for detailed consultation and drafting. I am planning to have further engagement with a number of stakeholders in the coming weeks in order to update them on the emerging issues and to seek their further views as matters progress. To do otherwise would not be in the best interests of the mothers and children most concerned or serve the wider public interest.

Homelessness Strategy

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

315. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the actions he has undertaken to tackle youth homelessness. [36456/14]

My Department commissioned the Centre for Effective Services (CES) to undertake a review of the implementation of the Youth Homelessness Strategy, 2001 to establish the extent that the strategy has been successful and to identify any blockages or challenges to its implementation. The report found that there have been significant improvements in the service response to homelessness of children and this has contributed to a decrease in the number of children presenting to services as being homeless.

It should of course be noted that policy responsibility for homeless young people, insofar as it extends to my Department, relates to children under 18 and any child welfare and protection concerns that may arise in the context of the Child Care Act 1991. Young people who are homeless, either singly or as part of a family unit and not falling within this category are the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and local authorities. Young people who were formerly in the care of the State and presently in receipt of aftercare services will, as part of this support, have their accommodation needs identified.

Children under 16 who present as being homeless to emergency services are taken into care. Children aged 16 and 17 may be taken into care, or provided a service under Section 5 of the Child Care Act 1991. Such children are typically more challenging to care for as they may be out of school; have experienced neglect and serious family discord; problematic drug use; have mental health or learning difficulties. These children often wish to be only involved with peers and they may be less inclined to engage with social work services. Services need to provide early and flexible options to engage with these children and to support them beyond their 18th birthday.

Aftercare is the planning and support put in place to meet the needs of a young person who is leaving statutory care at 18 years of age, to assist him/her in making the transition to independent living. The children most vulnerable to homelessness as care leavers are those leaving residential care or short term foster care placements. Children, who come into care late, in their mid to late teens, may not have developed the relationships with staff or aftercare workers that helps them achieve positive outcomes. It is essential that these young people have an opportunity to develop a relationship with a dedicated aftercare worker who will work with them to identify their needs and ensure that services are in place to help provide them with the stability and support they need.

Furthermore, as the Deputy will be aware, it has been decided to strengthen the legislative provisions regarding aftercare. This is in response to concerns that there was insufficient focus in this area and that such planning was not taking place on a properly structured and consistent basis.

The prioritisation of services for young people receiving aftercare is considered in the context of the statutory and administrative criteria and rules relating to State provision of services and the requirement of all State bodies to provide services in accordance with resources available to them. The Agency and officials of the DCYA have been and continue to explore these matters further with the relevant Departments and agencies, on a bi-lateral basis, to continue to support the improvement of aftercare for this vulnerable cohort.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, at its sitting on 1 April, considered the draft aftercare provisions. The Committee’s report on the Bill was made available to the Department in mid-July and is currently under consideration, prior to refining the text of the provisions in conjunction with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.