Anti-Social Behaviour

Questions (177)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

177. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the reasons given by gardaí for issuing ASBOS, behaviour warnings and good behaviour contracts from 2010 to date in 2013 in the Dublin region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20923/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Part 11 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, which provides for civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by adults, was commenced on 1 January 2007. Part 13 of the Act, which relates to anti-social behaviour by children, was commenced on 1 March 2007. These provisions set out an incremental procedure for addressing anti-social behaviour by adults and children. With regard to children, these range from a warning from a member of An Garda Síochána, to a good behaviour contract involving the child and his or her parents or guardian, to referral to the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme and finally to the making of a behaviour order by the Children Court. With regard to adults, they include a warning and the making of a civil order by the court.

The Act provides that a person behaves in an anti-social manner if the person causes or, in the circumstances, is likely to cause, to one or more persons who are not of the same household as the person harassment, significant or persistent alarm, distress, fear or intimidation or significant or persistent impairment of their use or enjoyment of their property.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that it would require a disproportionate expenditure of Garda time and resources to identify and precisely categorise the types of incidents for which behaviour warnings, good behaviour contracts, behaviour orders and civil orders are issued. However, my understanding is that the majority of situations which give rise to behaviour warnings or orders appear to arise from public order type incidents.

Garda Strength

Questions (178)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

178. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which an increase in Garda numbers is required to bring the strength of the force up to the level comparable with best international practice and or other EU jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20928/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

There is no mathematical formula for determining the optimum strength of the Garda Síochána, or indeed any police force. Instead, it is a matter of Government policy, taking into account all the relevant factors such as population and the crime rate, as well of course as the availability of resources.

Nor is it a straightforward matter to compare police strength in different jurisdictions. EUROSTAT, the statistical office of the European Commission, maintains statistics on police strength in the European Union, but direct comparisons using these figures are difficult to make. In order to make any proper comparison, account would have to be taken of any differences in police function. For example, the Garda Síochána is not only the national police force, but also provides the national security and intelligence service, as well as an immigration service. In other jurisdictions these functions are discharged by separate agencies.

Charities Regulation

Questions (179)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

179. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if and when all sections of the 2009 Charities Act will be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20929/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Charities Act 2009 was designed to support and enhance public trust in charities by providing for the statutory registration and regulation of charities operating in Ireland by an independent Charities Regulatory Authority.

The decision was taken in 2011, because of the urgent need to make savings in Government expenditure, to defer full implementation of the Charities Act. This decision was taken for financial reasons and it has remained Government policy to provide for the implementation of the Charities Act 2009.

My Department has therefore examined methods of how best to implement the Charities Act in the current financial climate. As part of this process, in January of this year I published for consultation outline proposals for implementing key provisions of the Act. The consultation document invited the views of stakeholders and members of the public on proposals for the implementation of the Act on a phased and low cost basis. I was very pleased with the outcome to this consultation. Some 160 submissions, containing much valuable feedback, were received in response.

My Department is currently reviewing the submissions received and I look forward to publishing the results in due course and a further indication of the Government's timeframe for the introduction of an operational Charities Regulatory Authority and full implementation of the Charities Act 2009.

Garda Divisional Headquarters

Questions (180)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

180. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide an update in the building plans for (details supplied); when he expects progress to be made; if the project has gone to tender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20959/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The provision of three new Garda Divisional Headquarters was included in the special Government stimulus package announced in July 2012. It is intended that these projects will be delivered by means of a Public Private Partnership and work is being undertaken by the relevant agencies in the light of the Government announcement.

As the arrangements to be put in place for Public Private Partnerships are complex, it is not possible at this stage to indicate when the specific elements of the projects will be completed. However, I can assure the Deputy that they are being treated as a priority.

Garda Vetting Applications

Questions (181)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

181. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 901 of 16 April 2013, if he will arrange for the vetting application to be expedited in view of the fact that the applicant has been through the process several times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20987/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer further to Parliamentary Question No. 901 of 16 April 2013.

I am now informed by the Garda authorities that the vetting application on behalf of the individual referred to by the Deputy was processed and returned to the registered organisation concerned on 16 April 2013.

Prison Visiting Committees Issues

Questions (182)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

182. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position on the make-up of prison visiting committees; if he will provide a breakdown of the numbers of people on each committee of each prison; the number of vacancies on each committee at present; the procedure in place for vacancies to be filled; the remuneration for each committee member from 2007 to 2012; if he is considering the future of prison visiting committees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20990/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Visiting Committee members are appointed for a period of three years by the Minister for Justice and Equality under the Prisons (Visiting Committees) Act 1925 and Prisons (Visiting Committees) Order 1925. There are fourteen Prison Visiting Committees in existence - one for each institution.

Each Visiting Committee comprises no more than six members, and only suitable people with appropriate qualifications and a genuine interest in prison issues are appointed. There are currently 25 vacancies which I am in the process of filling, details of which are set out in the table below.

Unfortunately it is not possible to provide the figures for the remuneration for each committee member from 2007 to 2012 as this would require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort to prepare and could not be justified in the current circumstances where there are other significant demands on resources. However I can inform the Deputy that a per diem payment at a current rate of €142.50 per visit or meeting, which is subject to tax is paid to Visiting Committee members. The following table sets out the total expenditure paid out to the Visiting Committees over each of the past six years.

Year

Total Annual Payments

2007

€ 254,400.00

2008

€262,650.00

2009

€250.350.00

2010

€269,849.50

2011

€214,249.30

2012

€143,457.80

The Government has approved the drafting of a General Scheme of an Inspection of Places of Detention Bill, which will include provisions to make Visiting Committees more effective, while they continue their role of visiting prisons, meeting with prisoners, and liaising on their behalf with prison authorities. A link will be established between the Visiting Committees and the Inspector of Prisons. As part of these plans, it is intended to expand the role of the Inspector of Prisons. I believe this will greatly enhance the Inspector's independent oversight of the prison system.

Subject to competing legislative priorities, it is expected that the General Scheme will be published this year. When work on preparation of the General Scheme has been completed, I will be seeking Government approval for its publication to facilitate a consultation process in advance of drafting and publication of the Bill.

LIST OF CURRENT PRISON VISITING COMMITTEE VACANCIES 1st May 2013

Prison / Place of Detention

Current membership

Vacancies

Arbour Hill

5

1

Castlerea

3

3

Cloverhill

2

4

Cork

4

2

Dóchas

5

1

Limerick

5

1

Loughan House

6

0

Midlands

3

3

Mountjoy

4

2

Portlaoise

3

3

Shelton Abbey

4

2

St. Patrick's

5

1

Training Unit

5

1

Wheatfield

5

1

TOTAL

59

25

Garda Stations Closures

Questions (183)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

183. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if will give an assurance that there are no plans to discontinue the use of Santry Garda station as a Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21045/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Commissioner's Policing Plan for 2013 sets out details for the closure of 100 Garda stations throughout the country. Santry Garda Stations was not listed for closure.

While the Policing plans for 2014 and 2015 have not yet been prepared, I understand, from discussions with the Garda Commissioner, that the current consolidation process will be largely completed by the end of this year and it seems unlikely at this point in time that there will be any further station closures in 2014 and 2015.

Family Reunification Appplications

Questions (184)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

184. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if and when family reunification can be arranged or approved in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; if the necessary arrangements can be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21053/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Based on the information supplied by the Deputy, I am informed by officials in my Department that they can find no record of a current visa application for a family member of the person in question. When completing an on-line visa application the applicant is assigned a unique visa transaction number. If the Deputy could provide this number to officials in the Visa Office, I will arrange for an update on the case to be provided. If a visa application has not been submitted by the person concerned, it is open to them to make a visa application on-line through the following link: https://www.visas.inis.gov.ie. Comprehensive information on the visa application process is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie).

Queries in relation to general immigration matters may be made directly to INIS 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 INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Deportation Orders

Questions (185)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

185. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress if any made to date in the determination of entitlement to long-term residency or naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21054/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer the Deputy to my detailed reply to his earlier Parliamentary Question, PQ No. 241 of Tuesday, 27th March 2013 - copied beneath. The position is unchanged since then.

The person concerned is a failed asylum applicant. Arising from the refusal of her asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 27th February, 2009, that the then Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the then Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against her. In addition, she was notified of her entitlement to apply for subsidiary protection in accordance with the provisions of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned initiated judicial review proceedings in the High Court, challenging the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal in her case. As these proceedings are ongoing, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the case of the person concerned at this time.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS 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.