Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (527)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

527. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality following the review by the UN Committee Against Torture where the committee recommends that the State partly take measures to ensure that all persons detained for immigration related reasons are held in facilities that are appropriate to their status, his views on the current situation relating to immigration related detainees; and the plans that have been made to make appropriate facilities available. [10288/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Arrangements for the detention of non-nationals on immigration grounds are a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Under these arrangements persons are generally accommodated in the committal facility for the area in which their case is processed. The detention of non-nationals is subject to judicial oversight which includes recourse to the courts for all detainees. Detention must also be in accordance with national and international law, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights which requires every organ of the State to perform its functions in a manner compatible with the State's obligations under the Convention.

Places of detention are subject to rigorous inspection systems governed by both national and international oversight bodies. The existing international system of inspection operates under the auspices of the Council of Europe Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which Ireland has been a party to since 1989 while the Office of the Inspector of Prisons is responsible for national oversight arrangements.

The Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and All Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, signed by Ireland on 2nd October, 2007, establishes a national and international inspection system for places of detention which is modelled to a significant extent on the Council of Europe Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The Government has approved the drafting of a General Scheme of an Inspection of Places of Detention Bill, which will include provisions to enable ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture. Subject to competing legislative priorities, it is expected that the General Scheme will be completed early this year.