Garda Data

David Cullinane

Question:

465. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of full-time equivalent staff attached to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau in each of the years 1996 to 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35940/18]

David Cullinane

Question:

468. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of staff in the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau by position in each of the years 2007 to 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35951/18]

David Cullinane

Question:

469. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of staff in the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau by job title in each of the years 2007 to 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35952/18]

David Cullinane

Question:

470. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of forensic accountants, accountants, lawyers and gardaí in the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau in each of the years 2007 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35953/18]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 465 and 468 to 470, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the distribution of personnel is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Commissioner that Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategies, are continually monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda Resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) was established on 1 September 2016. The Bureau has dedicated expert staff, including professional forensic accountants, to address white collar and other fraud and economic crimes.

I am further informed by the Commissioner that as of 31 July 2018, the latest date for which figures are available there were 73 Gardaí and 14 Garda civilian staff assigned to the GNECB. 

The Commissioner also advises that Garda management within the Bureau are working with local Garda management, at District and Divisional levels, to ensure the necessary tools and training are provided to enable and empower District and Divisional resources to investigate cases of economic crime at that level, with advice and guidance available from within the Bureau. The Bureau is now also placing a greater emphasis on ensuring that economic crime of lesser amounts that are currently reported to the Bureau are assessed and transmitted to District Officers for investigation, with more complex cases, routinely involving significant amounts, being investigated by the Bureau.

For the Deputy’s information I have set out below in the following table, the number of Gardaí by rank and civilians by grade attached to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau as of 31 December 2016, 2017 and on 31 July 2018 the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by the Commissioner.

  Strength Of The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau by rank 2016-2018

Year

CS

SU

IN

SG

GD

TOTAL

2016

1

2

3

11

36

53

2017

1

2

3

17

43

66

2018*

1

2

0

16

54

73

*Up to 31 July 2018

Civilian Strength by grade in the Economic Crime Bureau 2016-2018

YEAR

Accountant Grade 2

Executive Officer

DFO 1

Staff Officer

Clerical Officer

Total

2016

2

1

1

1

11

16

2017

2

1

1

1

11

16

2018*

3

2

9

14

*Up to 31 July 2018

1 District Finance Officer

Garda Expenditure

David Cullinane

Question:

466. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau in each of the years 2007 to 2017 by categories (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35941/18]

David Cullinane

Question:

467. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau in each of the years 2007 to 2017 by pay and non-pay in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35942/18]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 466 and 467 together.

The Deputy will appreciate that, as Accounting Officer, the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the specific information requested and when I receive it, I will write directly to the Deputy.

Questions Nos. 468 to 470, inclusive, answered with Question No. 465.

Garda Recruitment

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

471. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding changing the Irish language requirement for entry to An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35968/18]

As the Deputy will be aware competitions for recruitment to An Garda Síochána are governed by An Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013.

Under the 2013 Regulations, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for recruitment to An Garda Síochána. These Regulations provide that all applicants must have a proven proficiency in two languages, one of which must be Irish or English. This requirement applies without discrimination to all candidates. Such competency may be proven by achieving the relevant grades in an Irish Leaving Certificate or for English or Irish through such assessments as set out by the Public Appointments Service. While two languages are required, applicants who do not possess proficiency in Irish but have a second language will be deemed eligible under the Regulations. However, all Garda trainees are required to partake in and pass Irish while in the Garda College.

The Public Appointments Service (PAS), on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, manages the initial recruitment stages for selection of Garda Trainees and I, as  Minister, have no direct involvement in the matter. I have, however, been informed that PAS, which conducts tests as part of the competitive selection process, carefully considers all requests for reasonable accommodations. In considering such requests, PAS is conscious of the rights of people with disabilities and of the obligations on it to observe those rights and to act in accordance with the provisions of the relevant equality legislation.

I am further advised that in considering requests for reasonable accommodations, PAS has a fundamental duty to ensure it is being fair to all candidates who have entered a particular competition and that the key principle of appointment on merit is being observed. To assist PAS in considering a request for accommodations in a fair and balanced way, its policy is to ask candidates to indicate on their application if they require special accommodations and to submit evidence in support of their request. PAS will consider letters or reports from relevant professionals which clearly indicate the nature of the disability and the type of accommodation(s) that may be relevant to the person. PAS has given additional time to people with dyslexia where they have supporting evidence. However, having made reasonable accommodations, candidates must reach the required standard in order to be considered for further progression in a competition.

I am acutely aware of the need to recruit candidates with the appropriate qualifications to An Garda Síochána, and am committed to ensuring that best practice is followed with regard to any such recruitment. The Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, which began its work in May 2017, is undertaking a comprehensive examination of all aspects of policing including, the appropriate composition, recruitment and training of personnel to ensure the personnel reflect the diversity of Irish society. The Commission is due to report later this month. The report will be considered by Government in due course and decisions taken in relation to its implementation.

Garda Station Opening Hours

Seán Fleming

Question:

472. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the situation in relation to Garda stations that are manned on reduced hours per day or per week; if there is a structure in place in relation to same (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35977/18]

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter.

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the specific information requested and when I receive it, I will write directly to the Deputy.

Visa Applications

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

473. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the average time for decisions in respect of applications for visas lodged with the visa office in Delhi; the reason for the delay in processing these applications; the reason adequate staff resources have not been made available to deal with increased demand for these visas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36003/18]

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the New Delhi Visa Office is currently experiencing high volumes of visa applications due to seasonal demands at this time of year. This is in line with similar trends from previous years and, more generally, points to an increase in visa applications from people wishing to come to Ireland for a whole variety of reasons.

That said, I am informed that business and conference visas are currently being processed within three to ten days. Study visas at this time are being processed within eight weeks. Employment visas are currently within the time-frame of four to six weeks. Visit visas are within a time frame of seven to ten weeks. Processing times for long stay visas invariably take longer and are generally determined by the volume of applications received, the particular merits of individual applications, their complexity, whether the need to investigate or inquire further, and the resources available. 

The Deputy can be assured that every effort is made to keep processing times to a minimum, and a number of measures have been put in place to deal with the expected demand this summer. This includes the assignment of additional staff to help process these applications, and more generally the streamlining of visa processing where possible. The position in this regard continues to be kept under review.

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.

In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to visamail@justice.ie.

Family Reunification Applications

Catherine Murphy

Question:

474. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36010/18]

The Deputy will appreciate that, as the representation has come through her office from a third party and not directly from the applicant themselves, in accordance with relevant data protection provisions, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service is precluded from disclosing information relating to any individual case to a third party. Therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on the case at this time.

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.

Naturalisation Applications

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

475. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons living in Northern Ireland who have been successful in obtaining Irish naturalisation in each of the past five years in tabular form. [36012/18]

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that statistics are not compiled in such a manner as to identify applicants for a certificate of naturalisation by place of residence.  However, officials are currently working on compiling the information requested and I will be in touch with the Deputy as soon as this task has been completed.

Naturalisation Applications

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

476. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the additional supplementary evidence or material required from those living in Northern Ireland that wish to apply for naturalisation. [36013/18]

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. All applications for a certificate of naturalisation are processed and assessed individually in accordance with the provisions of the Act. 

There is specific provision made in the Act in relation to persons resident in the Island of Ireland. Section 15A provides that, where the application is based on being the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen the requirements are, inter alia, that the couple are married or civil partners to each other for a period of at least 3 years and are living together and, immediately before the date of application, have a period of one year's continuous residence in the island of Ireland and, during the preceding four years, have a further period amounting to 2 years (i.e. 3 years in total).

It is also open to an applicant generally to apply under Section16(a) of the 1956 Act where the applicant is of Irish descent or associations. In such cases the Minister may in his absolute discretion waive (any) of the conditions for naturalisation set out under Section 15 of the Act, including residency. The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence of Irish descent or Irish association to the Minister for consideration.

Various documentation is required for applications for citizenship including evidence of age, proof of identity (passport, etc.) as well as proof of residency, such as payslips, bank statements, etc. In relation to proof of lawful residency, for applicants residing in Northern Ireland, such information is required to be obtained from the UK immigration authorities. Similarly, a PSNI report is required for applicants applying from Northern Ireland.

In addition Section 17(b)(ii) of the 1956 Act states that an application for a certificate of naturalisation shall be accompanied by such evidence (including statutory declarations) to vouch the application as the Minister may require.

Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, along with the relevant application forms and guidance notes, is available on the INIS website at ww.inis.gov.ie.   

Naturalisation Certificates

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

477. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons that have been granted naturalisation in each of the past five years. [36014/18]

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the number of persons that have been granted certificates of naturalisation in each of the past five years is as follows:

Year

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Applications Granted (to nearest '00)

24,300

21,100

13,600

10,100

8,200

The figures for 2013 and 2014 reflect the processing of significant number of applications that had built up prior to 2013.

General Data Protection Regulation

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

478. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is considering legislative measures to amend section 30 of the Data Protection Act 2018 in order to retain the spirit of the section and to address the concerns of the European Commission and the Attorney General; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36098/18]

As the Deputy will be aware from the detailed response which I gave to the Deputy's Parliamentary Questions  Nos. 623 and 628 on 24 July last concerning commencement of section 30 of the Data Protection Act 2018, Article 58 of the GDPR already confers a far-reaching power on supervisory authorities such as the Data Protection Commission to order controllers and processors to bring processing operations into compliance with the GDPR's provisions, including the standards and safeguards applicable to the processing of children's personal data. 

Moreover, Article 58 also confers powers on the Data Protection Commission to impose a temporary or definitive limitation, including a ban, on such processing and to impose an administrative fine pursuant to Article 83 in the case of infringements. This means that the possibility of imposing significant administrative fines on controllers and processors in cases of unlawful processing of children's personal data, as foreseen in section 30, already exists without the commencement of, or any amendments to, that section.

As regards possible future changes to existing law, the position is that I have asked my Department to keep application of those provisions of the GDPR and the 2018 Act that relate specifically to the protection of children's personal data under review. Since both the GDPR and the 2018 Act entered into force on 25 May last, it is not possible to say at this early stage whether any changes to the law will be required. 

Garda Investigations

Bernard Durkan

Question:

479. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 167 of 28 June 2018, if the assault of a person (details supplied) has been further investigated; if charges are pending in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36126/18]

The Deputy will appreciate that it is the Garda Commissioner and his management team who are responsible for the investigation of criminal matters and I, as Minister, have no role in this regard.

However, I am advised by the Garda authorities that the incident referred to remains under investigation by An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will appreciate that as this is the subject of an ongoing Garda investigation, I do not propose to comment any further on the matter.

Work Permits Applications

Bernard Durkan

Question:

480. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date with respect to a work permit in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36131/18]

As the Deputy is aware, if an application for International Protection and a related application for permission to access the labour market has been made in the State, for confidentiality reasons, it is not the practice to comment on such applications and the applicant or his legal representative should contact either the Labour Market Access Unit of INIS or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) directly. 

 The Labour Market Access Unit may be contacted either by email to lmauqueries@justice.ie or in writing to INIS Labour Market Access Unit at PO Box 12931, Freepost FDN5264, Dublin 2. The IPAT may be contacted either by email to info@protectionappeals.ie, by telephone at 01 474 8400 (or Lo-Call 1890 201 458), or in writing to Corporate Services Division, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal, 6-7 Hanover Street East, Dublin D02 W320. 

 I am advised by the Labour Market Access Unit that, generally, applications for permission to access the labour market are replied to within one working day of receipt. The correspondence issued clearly sets out the reasons why an application may have been refused.

Garda Vetting Applications

Niamh Smyth

Question:

481. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if Garda vetting applications by persons (details supplied) will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36156/18]

As the Deputy will appreciate, the processing of vetting applications by the Garda National Vetting Bureau is an operational matter for the Garda Authorities and is carried out in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012-2016 and other relevant law. My Department has no role in the processing of individual vetting applications.

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that a vetting application was received for the first person referred to by the Deputy on 21 August 2018. This application was processed and returned to the Registered Organisation on 22 August 2018. I am further informed that a Garda vetting application was received for the second person referred to on 7 February 2018. This application was processed and returned to the Liaison Person in the Registered Organisation on 12 February 2018.

In the circumstances, I would advise the persons concerned to contact the relevant Registered Organisation to ascertain the current status of their applications.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

Lisa Chambers

Question:

482. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay for a person (details supplied) who is awaiting police vetting from England; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36177/18]

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the vetting application in the case to which the Deputy refers in her question relates to a person who is currently in an ongoing process for recruitment to An Garda Síochána. In such cases An Garda Síochána as the recruiting authority can liaise directly with applicants in respect of their progress of the recruitment process.

The Deputy will be aware that in respect of recruitment to An Garda Síochána, given the nature of the employment, checks secondary to vetting are also required to be carried out and these can take some time to be completed. However, I am assured by the Garda Authorities that every effort is made to ensure there is no undue delay in this process being carried out.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Imelda Munster

Question:

483. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the measures in place to deal with and to curb anti-social behaviour on the rail networks, including Iarnród Éireann and the Luas; his plans to introduce additional measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36218/18]

Imelda Munster

Question:

484. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the breakdown of figures of crimes and reported anti-social behaviour on each rail line in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [36219/18]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 483 and 484 together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the allocation of all Garda resources, including personnel, is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I have no direct role in this regard. However, I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continue to monitor all new and emerging crime trends in our communities.

I am advised by An Garda Síochána that Garda management engages extensively with transport operators and a range of regional and local operations have been put in place to address incidents of anti-social behaviour. An Garda Síochána maintains close contact with local and senior management in Irish Rail and other transport providers. Gardaí also have a good working relationship with the public transport services providers and patrols of uniformed and plain-clothes Gardaí, including personnel on foot patrols and other community engagement duties, are routinely employed when deemed appropriate by Garda management.

 Working with communities to tackle public disorder and reduce anti-social behaviour remains a key priority for An Garda Síochána. This approach includes a strong focus on quality of life issues and collaboration with local authorities to help address the causes of anti-social behaviour. There is a range of strong legislative provisions available to An Garda Síochána to combat anti-social behaviour, including provisions under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Acts, the Criminal Damage Act and the Intoxicating Liquor Acts. There are also the incremental provisions contained in the Criminal Justice Act 2006 which provide, in Part 11, for warnings and civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by adults and, in Part 13, which provides for warnings, good behaviour contracts and civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by children.

While An Garda Síochána will continue to tackle this problem head-on, they cannot eradicate the problem of anti-social behaviour alone. Specifically in relation to young offenders, it is also up to us as adults, particularly the parents and guardians, to ensure that children are raised to be respectful and law-abiding. These lessons begin in the home, are further reinforced in our schools and then by society in general. We must all work together to ensure that such behaviour is never normalised and is tackled immediately.  

With regard to the number of anti-social behaviour incidents on the rail networks for the period 2015-2017, I have requested a report from the Garda authorities on this matter and I will contact the Deputies directly when the report is to hand.