Garda Operations

Clare Daly

Question:

139. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there has been a recent audit of Garda property seized in the course of arrests or investigation; his views on the security of such seizures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20275/18]

The Deputy will appreciate that the manner in which property is seized by Members of An Garda Síochána during the course of their official duties is an operational issue for the Commissioner, and his management team, and I have no role in such matters.

This notwithstanding I have requested a report from the Garda authorities on this issue and I will contact the Deputy again when the report is to hand.

Garda Operations

Clare Daly

Question:

140. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the protocol regarding the way in which money and drugs seized in investigations are handled, stored and returned to the person from whom they were seized in the event of an unsuccessful prosecution. [20276/18]

I have raised the matter referred to by the Deputy with the Garda Authorities and requested a report on the issue. I will reply to the Deputy when the report is to hand.

Garda National Immigration Bureau

Joe Carey

Question:

141. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to civilianise immigration registration offices nationally following the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service takeover of Garda National Immigration Bureau registration in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20303/18]

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a project to investigate options for the civilianisation of the immigration registration function outside of Dublin commenced this year. This follows on from the successful civilianisation of the Dublin Registration Office and on going work to streamline processes, including the introduction of online appointments systems and the integration of other work streams such as re-entry visa processes.  

As part of this wider project, when options are developed for extension to regional offices, it is planned to commence by way of a pilot project later this year.  The pilot will will inform the plans to civilianise the function nationally.

Departmental Contracts Data

Mick Wallace

Question:

142. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the contracts awarded by his Department or any agency under his remit to a company (details supplied) since March 2011, by year in tabular form; the cost per contract; the basis for each contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20318/18]

I wish to confirm to the Deputy that the information sought cannot be provided in the time allowed. As soon as the information has been collated I will write to the Deputy on the matter.

Legislative Measures

John Curran

Question:

143. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he plans to take to reform legislation to protect front-line gardaí in view of an assault on an unarmed front-line garda in Dublin recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20330/18]

There is specific legislation in place to deal with assaults on emergency workers in front-line positions. The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994, as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2006, provides explicit statutory protection for what are termed “peace officers”, which include members of the Garda Síochána, prison officers, members of the fire brigade, ambulance personnel and members of the Defence Forces.  The Act also covers those working in medical services in hospitals, including doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and others involved in the provision of treatment and care.  Section 19 of the 1994 Act provides that any person who assaults or threatens to assault any of these front-line workers is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to €5,000 or a term of imprisonment of up to 12 months or both, or on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term of up to 7 years or both.  The maximum sentence was increased from 5 years to 7 years under the 2006 Act.   

It is also an offence under the 1994 Act, as amended, to resist, wilfully obstruct or impede a peace officer, or medical staff in a hospital, in the course of carrying out their work.  The penalty on summary conviction for such an offence is a fine of up to €2,500 or imprisonment for a term of up to 6 months or both.  

In addition, in the case of assault causing serious harm, an offender can be prosecuted under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 which deals comprehensively with a wide range of assault provisions, the more serious of which carry heavy penalties.  That Act provides for penalties of up to 5 years in prison for an offence of assault causing harm and for a penalty of life imprisonment for an offence of causing serious harm.  This general law relating to assault has application to all citizens, including front-line emergency workers.  

In conclusion, the law already recognises the need to protect members of the emergency services carrying out their duties and provides strong penalties where offences against front-line workers are committed.  While there are currently no proposals for further legislation in this regard, the situation is kept under review.

Immigration Status

Bernard Durkan

Question:

144. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of a stamp 4 application in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20337/18]

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it has received a request for permission to remain in the State in respect of the person mentioned by the Deputy.

As the Deputy may be aware this case was among a large number of cases held by my Department pending the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment in respect of Luximon and Balchand which were finalised on 24 April 2018.  INIS advise that it may take some time to assess the above mentioned applications and ask that the persons concerned bear with them whilst undertaking this task.

The consideration of the person’s application has not yet been completed and, if further documentation or clarification of any matter related to the application is required from the person concerned, INIS will write to them requesting same. 

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department 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 the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Controls

Bernard Durkan

Question:

145. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the basis on which a person (details supplied) is being held in Dublin Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20339/18]

It would not be appropriate for me to go into the details of the case referred to by the Deputy. I can say however, that the person concerned was refused permission to enter the State on 2 May 2018 and left the State on the same day. He is not the subject of an Irish Deportation Order. 

The following matters pertain in all cases where a person is refused permission to enter the State.

- There are in total twelve (12) grounds on which an immigration officer may refuse to give a permission to enter the State and these are set out at Section 4 (3) of the Immigration Act 2004 (as amended by the International protection Act 2015). While a person may be refused permission to enter the State based on a number of grounds, such refusal need only be based on any one of those grounds. Immigration officers are required to provide a written notice to the person refused entry that sets out the reasons for the decision. In all cases, removals from the State are conducted in accordance with the law. Translation facilities are available where necessary.

- An Immigration Officer before confirming a decision to refuse permission will consult with his or her Supervisor.

- Removals are essentially operational matters for the Garda National Immigration Bureau who work closely with civilian immigration officers on these matters.

- Section 5 of the Immigration Act, 2003 (as amended by the International protection Act, 2015), contains the main provisions dealing with the removal from the State of persons refused leave to land and specifies that a person to whom this section applies may be arrested by an immigration officer or a member of the Garda Síochána and detained in a prescribed place of detention for the purpose of facilitating their removal from the State, which must be as soon as is practicable.

- It is the practice to remove persons from the State on the next available flight or ship.

It should be noted that should any person who has been refused leave to land in the State seek entry to the State at a future point, their application will be assessed on its own merits taking all relevant information into consideration at that time. Their prior immigration history is a matter of record but does not preclude them from seeking permission to enter the State in the future.

Criminal Prosecutions

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

146. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if guidelines are in place with respect to prosecutions in court here for overseas offences; the type of official from the overseas jurisdiction that must testify that the offences are offences in their jurisdictions; the guidelines in this regard; and if none exist, when such guidelines will be put in place. [20399/18]

In any prosecution for an offence committed abroad, where the State has extra-territorial jurisdiction, it is a matter for the prosecution, as in any criminal trial, to adduce evidence proving the elements of the offence.  The form of proof of offences abroad could vary from certificate evidence to personal testimony according to the circumstances of a trial, and I am not aware of any general guidelines in relation to such proofs.

Provision is made in law in some circumstances for such certificate evidence, and I will certainly keep under review the case for further such provision.