Law Reform Commission Reports

Questions (155)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

155. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the possible legislative changes to jury composition here in view of the Law Reform Commission's Report on jury service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21619/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, I have welcomed the Law Reform Commission's recently published report on Jury Service which includes an examination of the law concerning how individuals are selected for jury service and follows on from the Commission's 2010 Consultation Paper. The Report contains 56 recommendations covering a broad range of issues relating to jury service together with a draft bill which will be fully considered in my Department. A number of the recommendations have cost implications which will require careful evaluation in the current economic climate.

Court Staff

Questions (156)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

156. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will outline the role of the Master of the High Court; the way a person is appointed to the position; the salary of the position; the length of the term of office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21624/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Master of the High Court is appointed by Government under Section 3(3) of the Court Officers Act 1926 which also specifies that the Master holds office at the pleasure of the Government and can serve to age 70.

The powers and jurisdiction of this quasi judicial office are set out in the Courts Acts and Rules of Court and relate mainly to administrative and procedural matters which are required to be dealt with prior to a full hearing in the High Court. The salary is currently €156,241.

Citizenship Applications

Questions (157)

Derek Nolan

Question:

157. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding an application for citizenship in respect of a person (details supplied); the time-frame for conclusion of the same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21664/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The person concerned made an application for residency in the State on the basis of being the spouse of an EU National who was exercising her EU Treaty Rights in this State on 31 March, 2010. This application was refused and the person concerned was notified to this effect by letter dated 29 September 2010. The refusal decision was subsequently reviewed and the initial refusal decision was upheld and the person concerned was informed by letter dated 21 March 2011.

On 18 November, 2011 the person concerned submitted an application for Zambrano. All representations submitted, including those relating to the possible relevance of the Zambrano Judgement to the case, will be considered before a final decision is made. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

The case of the person concerned is amongst many to be considered at present and it is not possible to provide a specific indication as to when this case will be finalised.

The Deputy should note that as the person concerned has no current right of residency in the State, he would not be in a position to meet the lawful residency criteria applicable to persons applying to my Department for a Certificate of Naturalisation.

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.

Garda Operations

Questions (158)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

158. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if Gardaí are required to issue a receipt upon seizing assets which may be used in a court case at a later date; the minimum requirements for such a receipt; if any such receipt must include date, place of seizure, estimated value and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21665/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Illegal Moneylenders

Questions (159)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

159. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if proposals to deal with illegal money lending in Ireland and persons involved in such practices will be regulated in any forthcoming legislation sponsored by him coming before the Houses of the Oireachtas in the next number of months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21668/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the regulation of money lending in this jurisdiction is provided for by way of a number of pieces of statutory legislation.

Legislative provisions relating to the regulation of money lending are provided for in the Consumer Credit Act 1995, which is the responsibility of the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Under the 1995 Act, unlicensed money lending is an offence. Persons who engage in money lending and who do not hold the necessary licence granted by the Central Bank are committing an offence under section 98 of the Act.

The regulation of licensed money lending is a matter primarily for my colleague the Minister for Finance. Under the provisions of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2003 the Central Bank of Ireland is designated the competent authority in this jurisdiction with regard to licensed money lending activity.

There are also a number of provisions in the criminal law which may be of relevance in particular circumstances, for example, sections 10 and 11 of the Non-fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997 and section 17 the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 provide for offences relating to harassment, extortion and demanding money with menaces.

While consideration of any proposed legislative change in relation to the regulation of money lending would primarily be a matter for my colleague Minister Bruton, insofar as my Department has a role in this area and in the context of the investigation of illegal money lending, I have previously indicated to the House that I will consider any proposals which might be made in aid of the investigation of such offences.

My Department has also written to the Garda Commissioner to ascertain if there are any further improvements that could be made to the legislative framework in this area which might be of assistance to An Garda Síochána in the investigation of such offences.

Of course, I would also encourage those who may have information concerning the operation of unlicensed money lenders in particular circumstances to make that information available to An Garda Síochána who will take all measures open to them to enforce the law in this area.

Civil Partnership Legislation

Questions (160)

Peter Mathews

Question:

160. Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he intends to extend the civil partnership legislation to incorporate (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21676/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have no plans to extend the civil partnership legislation to couples other than same-sex couples who choose to register their partnership, nor to extend the cohabitant provisions to familial pairs or groupings. I do not consider civil partnership to be an appropriate means of addressing the possible needs of the very disparate range of "non-conjugal" cohabitants as it imposes a very high level of mutual responsibility and obligation on the parties to it. The redress scheme, for instance, separately provided for in part 15 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, allows a qualified cohabitant, at the end of the relationship, to seek maintenance from the other, or a pension adjustment order or property adjustment order. Where the relationship ends on death, a qualified cohabitant may seek provision from the estate of the deceased cohabitant. Imposing such a default scheme on relationships based on family ties or friendship would be an unwarranted interference in those relationships and into the autonomy of each of the parties.

Internet Safety Issues

Questions (161)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

161. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the action he will take against websites that promote harmful and unhealthy behaviour such as promoting anorexia and bulimia and other eating disorders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21695/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the internet is global in reach and that, as a consequence, there is very limited scope for regulation by national authorities. National authorities may act only in very specific instances, most notably in relation to sites carrying child pornography.

The Office for Internet Safety in my Department addresses a range of internet safety issues. Its focus is on child pornography and cyberbullying. Its efforts are directed primarily towards information dissemination and awareness raising. It also has oversight of Hotline.ie, the confidential service that receives reports of suspected illegal content and, where appropriate, arranges to have such content removed. I regret that I am not in a position to comment on the specific matters mentioned by the Deputy as they are matters for my colleague, the Minister for Health.