Commercial Leases Database

Questions (489)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

489. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 823 of 6 November 2012, if he will confirm that the commercial leases database will be published by 31 March 2013; the information that will be available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9769/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Section 87 of the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 provides that the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) shall maintain and establish a database relating to commercial property leases. Section 87 further provides that the database shall, in respect of each relevant commercial lease which is in force, contain the following information: the address and description of the commercial property the subject of the lease; the date of the lease of the property; the term of years of the lease; the rent payable in respect of the property, and certain particulars to be provided to the PSRA in accordance with Section 88 of the 2011 Act. I am advised by the Authority that work on the preparation of the Database is ongoing with the aim of publishing the Database by the end of March 2013.

Garda Expenditure

Questions (490)

Joe McHugh

Question:

490. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost to the State in 2012 of posting payslips to members of An Garda Síochána; the number of gardaí who are not paid via paypath; the number of gardaí who do not have access to internal email; if he envisages reform in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9794/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

All Garda members are paid by way of electronic funds transfer and the total cost of providing payslips for the members concerned in 2012 was €277,235. This figure includes a postage expenditure of €178,323. I have been informed that it is planned to introduce an online payslip facility for Garda members in 2013 which will eliminate that cost. I also understand from the Garda authorities that all Garda members have an internal e-mail account.

National Substance Misuse Strategy

Questions (491, 522)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

491. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will give statutory effect to Section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 which provides for the structural separation of alcohol products from other products in supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol stations and any other licensed premises which are deemed to be mixed-trading; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9843/13]

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Robert Troy

Question:

522. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will give statutory effect to Section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act (2008) which provides for the structural separation of alcohol products from other products in supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol stations and any other licensed premises which are deemed to be mixed trading; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10215/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 491 and 522 together.

The Report of the Steering Group on a National Substance Misuse Strategy which was published last year contains a broad range of recommendations which seek to address the negative consequences of alcohol misuse and alcohol-related harm in this country. The Department of Health is developing an Action Plan for submission to the Government in response to the Report's recommendations. Future arrangements for the display and sale of alcohol in mixed trading outlets such as supermarkets and convenience stores will be considered by the Government in the context of that Action Plan.

Road Safety Statistics

Questions (492)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

492. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 130 of 7 February 2012, the Garda districts that are still operating a system of forming an opinion at the scene of a RTC in view of the fact that in previous information supplied in that Parliamentary Question it was stated that in 2012 there was no testing in nine fatal collisions and 52 serious injury collisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9858/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities on the matters raised by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly when the report is to hand.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (493)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

493. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide in tabular form, the number of new Garda vehicles that were provided by division and district during the years 2008, 2009 and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9890/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In the time available it has not been possible for the Garda authorities to supply the information requested by the Deputy. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Legal Aid Service Reform

Questions (494)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

494. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to the topical debate issue of 15 December 2011, the need to tackle growing waiting list for persons requiring free civil legal services from law centres and to consider charging recipients of criminal legal aid, and considering the report of the Task Force on Cost Reductions on Criminal Legal Aid, the status of the examination of the introduction of an application fee for criminal legal aid that was to be undertaken by his Department officials in consultation with the Legal Aid Board and the Office of the Attorney General, completion of which was expected in the second half of 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9903/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to inform the Deputy that under the terms of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995, as passed by the Oireachtas, the Legal Aid Board is independent in the operation of its functions and decisions on individual cases are a matter for the Board. The Board prioritises certain categories of cases and these cases will receive an immediate or near immediate service. The main categories of case types that are prioritised are public law child care cases, child abduction cases and domestic violence cases. In addition, the Board has been piloting a triage approach to service delivery and this approach is operative in a number of law centres. The pilot is in response to lengthening waiting times. The aim of the triage approach is that every applicant gets to see a solicitor within a period of one month for the purpose of getting legal advice (consultations are broadly limited to 45 minutes). If the applicant requires further services they remain on the waiting list. There is or has been a backlog of applicants to be seen for triage purposes hence it is taking time to reduce the waiting time for such an appointment to one month.

The Board is taking other steps in an effort to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery including introducing a new case management system in its law centres, integrating its mediation and legal services, integrating its Refugee Legal Service into the general law centre service delivery model and maintaining a high level of usage of private solicitors for family law cases in the District Court. The reality is that the Board must live within its budget and is subject to the public service recruitment moratorium (there is a very limited derogation). Demand for the Board's services has increased significantly since the downturn in the economy. There was a 10% drop in demand at the general law centres in 2012 compared to 2011. However, demand in 2011 was 93% greater than it was in 2006. The capacity to provide a meaningful service is a priority for the Board. In 2013, the Board will examine other options in an effort to enable legal services to be provided promptly to those most in need of them.

In relation to Criminal Legal Aid, total expenditure for 2012 came to €50.5 million, a reduction of 10% over the 2011 figure of €56.1 million. This reduction in the annual expenditure is the largest ever recorded and represents a fall of approximately €10 million, or 16%, over the peak recorded in 2009. As the Scheme is demand led it is difficult to predict and control expenditure because it depends on the number of criminal cases coming before the courts. The Task Force on Cost Reductions on Criminal Legal Aid identified a range of measures which could potentially contribute to costs reductions in this area. As I stated in the Topical Issues debate referred to in the Deputy's question, a requirement on applicants to make an initial payment could give rise to constitutional difficulties and difficulties arising from the European Convention on Human Rights. It would not be feasible to introduce arrangements which give rise to further administrative expense and demands on resources for no real benefit. A new Criminal Legal Aid Bill is planned to update and strengthen the system of granting legal aid including transferring responsibility for the administration of the Scheme to the Legal Aid Board. Consideration is being given to including in the Bill provisions to, inter alia, regulate better the taking of statements of means, increase the sanction for false declarations, allow the Board to verify the means of applicants and to prosecute cases of abuse. Provision to give power to the Legal Aid Board to recover the costs of criminal legal aid or to make application to a court to revoke a criminal legal aid certificate are also under consideration. These provisions must have regard to a person's rights to the presumption of innocence, to a fair trial and to be given legal aid, where appropriate. I hope it will be possible to publish the Bill during the course of this year.

Courts Service

Questions (495, 496)

Joan Collins

Question:

495. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total amount spent on outsourced security services in the Court Services for 2012; and if he will provide details of the companies providing these services. [9910/13]

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Joan Collins

Question:

496. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total amount spent on outsourced cleaning services in the Court Services for 2012; and if he will provide details of the companies providing these services.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9911/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 495 and 496 together.

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions, including the provision and maintenance of accommodation for court sittings. I have had inquiries made in order to be of assistance to the Deputy. I have been informed by the Courts Service that expenditure in 2012 on outsourced security and cleaning services on all court venues, excluding the Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice Complex, was as set out in the following tables:

Security Services (2012 expenditure)

G4S Secure Solutions (IRE) Ltd

€940,981

Pinnacle Security Group

€22,772

Synergy Security Solutions Ltd

€5,874

Securikey Limited

€1,839

Screen Guard Ireland Ltd

€1,073

S-Security Group Ltd

€610

Morbury Ltd T/A Top Security

€572

Total Expenditure

€973,721

Cleaning Services (2012 expenditure)

G4S Support Services (Ireland) Ltd

€1,011,039

Grosvenor Cleaning Services Ltd

€286,543

OCS One Complete Solution Ltd

€237,708

Payments to County Councils

€43,279

The Cleaning Corporation Ltd

€20,594

Emerald Facility Services

€15,384

Noonan Services Group

€12,979

Albert Maintenance Services

€5,512

Martin Reilly

€4,872

Navscan Property Services Ltd

€792

Garvin Cleaning

€454

Woods Environmental Services,

€170

Ever Kleen

€141

Reflections Cleaning Services

€50

Total Expenditure

€1,639,517

The county council payments refers to payments to various county councils in relation to cleaning costs. Security and cleaning services for the Criminal Courts of Justice are provided as part of the overall PPP contract and form part of the monthly unitary payment charge of approximately €21.4 million (including VAT) per annum over a 25-year period. The PPP payment includes provision for structural maintenance and operation of certain services within the Criminal Courts of Justice.

Garda Expenditure

Questions (497)

Joan Collins

Question:

497. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total amount spent on outsourced security services in the Garda civilian section for 2012; and if he will provide details of the companies providing these services. [9912/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

In the time available it has not been possible for the Garda authorities to supply the information requested by the Deputy. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Garda Expenditure

Questions (498)

Joan Collins

Question:

498. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total amount spent on outsourced cleaning services in the Garda civilian section for 2012; and if he will provide details of the companies providing these services. [9913/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote. In that context, I am informed by the Garda authorities that their financial records do not distinguish between cleaning services provided in respect of premises occupied by civilian staff and other premises utilised by the Force. In the circumstances, the information sought by the Deputy is not readily available and the Garda authorities have advised that the extraction of the relevant data would require a disproportionate amount of Garda resources.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (499)

Willie Penrose

Question:

499. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the Civil Court of Appeal, which has been promised for the past two years, will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9927/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Government has approved, in principle, the holding of a referendum to allow, inter alia, for the establishment of a new Court of Appeal and for the drafting of the necessary legislative scheme. Work to this end is progressing in my Department. While the precise timing of a referendum is a matter for the Government to decide in due course, the intention is that it will be held on the same day as at least one other referendum.