Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues

Questions (193)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

193. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will liaise with the Garda Commissioner to help resolve the problems associated with begging in Dublin city centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53231/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that a policing operation has been established to address organised begging within the Dublin inner city area. Hotspots for the commission of begging offences have been identified and are proactively monitored by Gardaí. The provisions of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2011 are utilised by members of An Garda Síochána to address unlawful begging while the offence of causing or procuring a child to beg is contained in section 247 of the Children Act 2001.

The Deputy will appreciate that the issue of begging is a wider societal problem requiring interagency responses and in this regard a proactive strategy, led by An Garda Síochána, has been developed and is being piloted in Dublin South City, Grafton Street Quarter. The stakeholders involved include Dublin City Council, Business Improvement Districts (BIDS), Health Service Executive (HSE), Dublin Children Services Committee, Pavee Point, Ruhama, Leanbh, ISPCC, as well as well as hostels and drug treatment centres. The work of this group is ongoing and aims to develop longer term solutions which will address the issue of begging other than solely through the criminal justice system.

Legal Aid Application Numbers

Questions (194)

Seán Kyne

Question:

194. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration will be given to establishing a new service similar to that of the Civil Legal Aid Service which would provide support to those who require access to the provision under the personal insolvency legislation but who are unable to fund independent support and advice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53277/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have no plans at present to set up a service along the lines described by the Deputy.

The Personal Insolvency Bill 2012 reflects the standard approach in any insolvency process, that the fees of the personal insolvency practitioner will be paid out of the product of the insolvency.

Domestic Violence Incidence

Questions (195)

Alan Farrell

Question:

195. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the current facilities available if an emergency barring order is required for victims of domestic violence and if there is a requirement to extend this facility; the possibility of revisiting legislation surrounding domestic violence in the near future relating to funding and the extension of protection to persons who are not cohabiting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53282/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Courts Service has advised that emergency sittings of the District Court are arranged regularly all around the country for various purposes, including emergency family law applications. The Courts Service are not aware of any difficulties with emergency sittings in the family law area.

However, the Deputy will be aware that the Government recently approved in principle my proposals for reforms to our courts structures which will, in due course, require the holding of a Constitutional referendum. The proposed reforms are intended, if approved in a referendum, to facilitate the establishment of a new separate Family Courts structure which will streamline family law court processes and make them more efficient and less costly. Considerable work will be necessary to develop these proposals and this has already commenced in my Department. A decision on the timing of the necessary referendum will be made at a later date.

The Programme for Government commitment - to introduce consolidated and reformed domestic violence legislation to address all aspects of domestic violence, threatened violence and intimidation, in a way that provides protection to victims - will be progressed as soon as possible having regard to the need for consultations and the need to dispose of urgent legislative matters in my Department including under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for the State.

Funding for front-line domestic violence services is provided at present by the Health Service Executive for whom the Minister for Health has responsibility. I understand that responsibility for funding these services will transfer to the Child and Family Support Agency when established and that agency will come under the remit of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

Questions (196)

Finian McGrath

Question:

196. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total number of Government special advisers employed in his Department; the total cost of employing these advisers and the cost of employing these advisers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53316/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In my capacity as Minister for Justice and Equality I have appointed two Special Advisors. They are both paid at the Principal Officer standard scale (€80,051 - €98,424).

Garda Investigations

Questions (197)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

197. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will enquire into the case of the Garda Ombudsman appointing a Ballinasloe based Garda to investigate a Gort based Garda; the reason an appeal for the same investigation has not made progress (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53354/12]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is an independent body which was established under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to receive complaints made by members of the public concerning the conduct of members of the Garda Síochána. Complaints fall to be examined in accordance with the provisions of the 2005 Act and any related protocols or agreements.

The Ombudsman Commission is independent of the Minister for Justice and Equality in relation to the operation of its functions. Accordingly, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on any matter which is being examined by the Ombudsman Commission.

Defence Forces Reserve Training

Questions (198)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

198. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Defence in view of his recent announcement of the reorganisation of the Reserve Defence Force and the consequent reduction in the number of RDF units, the criteria that will be used in deciding where the current PDF staff who support RDF units earmarked for discontinuance will be relocated and for his reassurance that considering the wide geographical spread of RDF posts as now re-structured that PDF staff so affected will be given the option of re-locating to their next closest RDF post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53109/12]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The re-organisation of the Reserve Defence Force is a key element of the response to the findings and recommendations of a Value for Money Review of the Reserve Defence Force, which was recently completed and published and which concluded that the current Reserve organisation was not fit for purpose and required radical reform. The central recommendation from the VFM Steering Committee is for the retention of the Reserve with 4,000 personnel spread countrywide to be based in barracks and in 16 other locations. This requires the consolidation of existing Reserve Units throughout the country into a smaller number of full-strength Units. The retention of all locations was not a viable or sustainable option.

A new “Single Force” concept will see PDF Units having Reserve components, rather than a parallel Reserve as at present. Reserve Units within barracks will be supported by their parent PDF Unit and the 16 Units outside of PDF installations will be supported by dedicated full time PDF personnel. This concept offers significant potential advantages in terms of training and development of the Reserve. The initiative of locating Reserve Officers within the Defence Forces command structure will likewise underpin the future of Reserve personnel.

All options to avoid the need for personnel to relocate are being explored as part of the reorganisation process. Personnel are being offered the opportunity for reassignment and every effort is being made to minimise the requirement to relocate. Inevitably, given the scale of the reorganisation, it will be necessary for some staff to move to new locations.

Defence Forces Reorganisation

Questions (199)

Joe Higgins

Question:

199. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Defence if he will consider reversing the decision to move 56 soldiers from McKee Barracks, Dublin, to the Athlone Barracks, County Westmeath, in view of the major difficulties this will pose to their families in terms of housing and schooling. [53140/12]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The implementation of the major reorganisation of the Defence Forces in order to maintain their operational capability is progressing in full consultation with serving personnel and their Representative Associations. All options to avoid the need for personnel to relocate are being explored as part of this process but inevitably, given the scale of the reorganisation, it will be necessary for some staff to move to new locations. The creation of a new two Brigade structure for the Army under the reorganisation has resulted in Combat Support Units being reduced from nine units to six. The Field Engineer companies based in McKee Barracks fall into this category, and the Headquarters element and Field Engineer Company are being relocated to Custume Barracks, Athlone. The 2 Field Artillery Regiment based in McKee Barracks are also relocating as part of this process and consideration is not being given to reversing these operational decisions. However, I understand that a number of vacancies have been offered in Dublin to personnel where units are being relocated.

It is important to restate that the reassignment, promotion and appeals processes are still ongoing and that the numbers of personnel to be mandatorily reassigned remains fluid at this point making it impossible to give final definitive figures at this juncture. All members of the Defence Forces reassigned under the Defence Forces Reorganisation Plan 2012 will be entitled to Change of Station Allowance in circumstances where they meet the qualifying criteria. The Defence Forces Personnel Support Service has a representative in every Barrack or Installation to which personnel are being reassigned and these individuals are in a position, using both internal and external resources to provide the necessary supports to the redeploying personnel and their families if applicable, as was previously provided during recent Barrack closures and redeployments.

Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

Questions (200)

Finian McGrath

Question:

200. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Defence the total number of Government special advisers employed in his Department; the total cost of employing these advisers and the cost of employing these advisers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53309/12]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

I have not appointed any special advisers in my role as Minister for Defence. I have however engaged the services of a personal assistant who assists me in constituency matters. The annual salary attached to this post is €56,060 which is in accordance with Department of Public Expenditure & Reform guidelines concerning Ministerial appointments. Similarly, no special advisers have been appointed by Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D. in his role as Minister of State at the Department of Defence.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

Questions (201)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

201. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding a single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53128/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

During processing of the application concerned under the 2012 Single Payment Scheme, over-claims in respect of three of the land parcels declared were identified. The person named has been written to in order to clarify this matter. The case cannot be advanced until a response has been received.