Crime Levels

Questions (434)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

434. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps being taken to address reports of ongoing disturbances, assault and theft at a railway station (details supplied) in Dublin 7; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30302/13]

View answer

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.

Data Protection

Questions (435, 461)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

435. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has sought assurances from the Ambassador of the United States of America that the private electronic information of Irish citizens, or citizens of any other country resident here, held in Irish data centres, has not at any stage been intercepted by the intelligence services of the United States; if so, if he will share the response he received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30366/13]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

461. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has sought assurances from the Ambassador of the United States of America that the private information of Irish citizens or citizens of any other country, held in Irish-based data centres of large online service providers operating in the State, has not been intercepted by the intelligence services of the United States; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30367/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 435 and 461 together.

As I have indicated previously I, of course, fully understand the concerns which have arisen here and in other countries in the wake of recent media reports about the PRISM programme. These concerns mainly centre on data privacy rights not being adequately respected. Commissioner Reding and myself raised these concerns with the US Attorney General Eric Holder at the EU-US Ministerial meeting last week. I also raised the matter at a bilateral meeting which I had with Attorney General Holder. At these meetings, the US Attorney General provided clarity on a number of issues, in particular that the information collected and processed relates only to metadata i.e. phone numbers, duration of calls etc, but not the content of calls. He also advised that the data were collected under judicial authority and only where there was a reasonable suspicion of serious crime, such as terrorism or cybersecurity-cybercrime. The courts only allow the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion based on specific facts that the basis of the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organisation. He further stated that Congressional oversight applied to these programmes. It was agreed to set up a working group between the EU side and the US security services to continue dialogue in relation to this matter.

We cannot ignore the very important fact that there is a recognised need to protect our citizens from terrorist threats and dealing with that does require access to certain data. In doing so, however, it is necessary to ensure that the information used is properly obtained and subject to appropriate safeguards. The importance of protecting individual rights to privacy and ensuring respect for individual human rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights was emphasised to the US side. The crucial need to ensure that any security surveillance undertaken is balanced and proportionate was also emphasised as was the need to give essential assurances to non-US citizens on this score. The US authorities have indicated that their practices are proportionate to the threat they are trying to deal with.

We do have, in this country, robust data protection legislation to protect individuals against unwarranted invasion into their privacy. Access to call content is governed by the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993 and may only take place under Ministerial warrant. Access to retained data in this jurisdiction is governed by the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011.

Under the Act access may only be granted following a request to the particular mobile phone company or internet provider in connection with the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of a serious offence, the safeguarding of the security of the State or the saving of human life. The operation of both Acts is subject to judicial oversight and there is a complaints procedure which individuals can avail of if there is a concern that the Acts have been breached in relation to their calls or their data. There are also procedures in place under Mutual Assistance legislation to cover requests to and from other countries for this type of information.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (436)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

436. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the appropriate fee in respect of an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 20; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30053/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The standard certification fee is €950 while a reduced fee of €200 applies in the case of an application made on behalf of a minor or in certain circumstances when the application is made by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen. The parent of the person referred to by the Deputy was granted refugee status and would, in accordance with section 16(g) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 be excluded from payment of the certification fee. However, as the person himself entered the State under the family reunification scheme no such exemption from payment of the certification fee applies.

Residency Permits

Questions (437)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

437. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current or proposed residency status/eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30054/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS that there is no record of a Family Reunification application in respect of the person referred to by the Deputy. I am further informed by INIS that the person referred to as a relative of the person in question by the Deputy is not a refugee and is therefore not entitled to make a Family Reunification application on behalf of the person in question. The person in question currently has no permission to reside in the state and does not fulfil the statutory criteria necessary for naturalisation.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases 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.

Refugee Status Applications

Questions (438)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

438. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current position regarding determination of eligibility for asylum/refugee status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30055/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Applications for refugee status in the State are determined by an independent process comprising the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal which make recommendations to the Minister on whether such status should be granted. If an application for asylum has been made by the person concerned, the Deputy will be aware that it is not the practice to comment on applications which have not completed this process. All applications for refugee status are considered on their individual merits on a case by case basis having regard to the subjective and objective elements of the claim.

Charities Regulation

Questions (439)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

439. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to regulate the practices of charities using street collectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30074/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Public cash collections are regulated under the Street and House to House Collections Act 1962. All public cash collections must be held in accordance with a collection permit granted in respect of that collection under this Act. Under the 1962 Act, a Chief Superintendent may attach to a collection permit granted by him such conditions in relation to the conduct of the collection authorised by the permit as are, in his opinion, necessary or desirable for the maintenance of public order and the prevention of annoyance to the public, including the occupants of houses visited by collectors.

The Charities Act 2009 provides for an integrated system of mandatory registration and proportionate regulation and supervision of the charities sector in Ireland. The various sections of the Charities Act are subject to implementation through commencement orders. Sections that it was possible to commence in advance of the establishment of the Charities Regulatory Authority, as provided for under the Act, have been commenced. The remaining sections, including those relating to the provision for non-cash collections under section 93 of the Charities Act, can only be commenced following the establishment of the Authority.

At present, my Department is examining options for resource efficient ways of making progress towards the objectives of the Charities Act 2009. A public and stakeholder consultation was recently conducted by the Department on the implementation of the Act. Issues covered in the consultation paper included the establishment of a Charities Regulatory Authority; the statutory registration of charities and granting of charitable status; and reporting requirements for registered charities. Additional steps to regulate fundraising practice, including the commencement of section 93, will be considered in the context of the further implementation of the Charities Act.

In addition to these statutory provisions, a growing number of charities have agreed to adhere to voluntary codes of practice on fundraising. These were developed by the charities sector, with Government grant support, through umbrella charities organisation Irish Charities Tax Research Ltd. This type of non-statutory approach can be an effective partner to statutory regulation as it allows best practice to respond to changing methods of fundraising and the changing environments in which charities work.

One of the three 'core principles' upon which the codes of practice are based is that of respect by charities for the rights, dignity and privacy of their supporters, clients and beneficiaries. These codes apply to all types of fundraising, including those that are not currently covered by the statutory permits system, such as non-cash collections and solicitations for support via direct debits. My Department continues to give grant support to this project.

Further information about the codes of practice and a list of all charities that have agreed to be bound by the Codes in their fundraising activities can be obtained from the website of Irish Charities Tax Research limited. at www.ictr.ie.

Charities Regulation

Questions (440)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

440. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide an update on the commencement of the provisions of the Charities Act and the progress of a regulatory system for the charities sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30075/13]

View answer

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 of this consultation. Some 160 submissions, containing much valuable feedback, were received in response to the consultation.

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, the creation of a statutory Register of Charities, and full implementation of the Charities Act 2009.

National Archives

Questions (441)

Finian McGrath

Question:

441. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there are any old files on the political activist Jim Gralton who was deported from here in 1933. [30083/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that according to records in my Department a file relating to Mr. Gralton was released to the National Archives in 2007 under the reference number S/130/33.

Missing Persons Issues

Questions (442, 447)

Clare Daly

Question:

442. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has discussed the missing persons cases (details supplied) with the Garda Commissioner; and if he is satisfied with the progress of these cases. [30093/13]

View answer

Finian McGrath

Question:

447. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide an update on the disappearances of persons (details supplied); and the efforts being made to find them. [30130/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 442 and 447 together.

I am, of course, conscious of the distress and continuing impact on family and friends where a person goes missing. I have received a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the two missing person cases referred to by the Deputies and am assured that the cases remain under active investigation. The cases are the subject of regular review and have featured on "CrimeCall" on a number of occasions with all identified avenues of inquiry being followed up. I would like to reiterate the appeals of the families in question and of the Gardaí to anyone with any information which might be of assistance to come forward.

I am further assured that all incidents where persons have been reported missing remain under investigation until such times as the person is located. The Garda Síochána reviews missing persons cases on a regular basis. The District Officer (Superintendent) in the area where persons have gone missing takes direct responsibility for all investigations and searches carried out. Local investigation teams are appointed by the District Officer and all means necessary, including the services of specialist units, are deployed to assist in these investigations, as considered appropriate. The services of Interpol and Europol can also be availed of during such investigations, if necessary.

The Garda missing persons bureau, which is responsible for all data relating to missing persons, provides expert assistance and advice to District Officers in all high risk missing person cases. The Garda authorities are satisfied that adequate resources, including staff and technology, are in place to deal with this issue and that investigations are carried out in line with best international practice.

Garda Vetting Applications

Questions (443)

Clare Daly

Question:

443. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to alter the vetting legislation which requires the disclosure of court proceedings even when a person has been acquitted. [30094/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 does not require the disclosure of court proceedings where a person has been acquitted. Information which is automatically disclosed under the Act relates only to a person's criminal record which is defined in section 2 as

"(a) a record of the person's convictions, whether within or outside the State, for any criminal offences, together with any ancillary or consequential orders made pursuant to the convictions concerned, or

(b) a record of any prosecutions pending against the person, whether within or outside the State, for any criminal offence, or both;".

It is clear from this definition that information concerning an acquittal cannot be automatically disclosed under the Act. However, information other than criminal records as defined above may be disclosed were it to fall within the definition of specified information in the Act. This is information arising on foot of a Garda investigation of an offence or pursuant to any other function of the Garda Síochána or information giving rise to a concern concerning a particular individual which is received by the Vetting Bureau from one of the organisations listed in Schedule 2 to the Act.

In order to be disclosed the information in question must give rise to a bona fide concern that a person, who is the subject of the vetting application, may harm or put at risk a child or vulnerable person. However, the disclosure of such information is subject to a strict assessment by the Chief Bureau Officer. As part of this assessment the vetting subject is notified in advance of the information concerned and is given the opportunity to make a written submission in relation to that information. In addition, any subsequent decision to disclose the information is open to external appeal.

Court Procedures

Questions (444, 445)

Clare Daly

Question:

444. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will outline in the context of the Digital Audio Recording service, which was implemented in the court system as a way of providing an accurate record of evidence for distribution from CD, DVD and VCR as a method of guaranteeing open and fair justice for everybody in a cost effective manner, the reason these CDs have not been made available to lay litigants; to whom are the recording made available; and the reason the procedure for acquiring these CDs is not shown on the Irish Courts Service website as in other jurisdictions along with an outline of the fee and time limit for request. [30096/13]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

445. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedure for a lay litigant to obtain the CD of a digital audio recording of the proceedings of a case; the person whose responsibility it is to supply these recordings; and the recourse open to them in the absence of the recording being made available. [30097/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 444 and 445 together.

As the Deputy will be aware the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions, and the conduct of any case is a matter entirely for the presiding judge. I can inform the Deputy that relevant rules of the District Court, Circuit Court and Superior Courts (SI Numbers 99/2013, 100/2013 and 101/2013) came into effect on 8 April 2013. The instruments regulate the procedures whereby parties or other persons wishing to have access to records of court proceedings, including audio recordings, may apply to the court concerned for access to such records. The instruments also set out the terms on which such access may be granted. There is nothing to prevent a party to a case applying to the court to access the recording. However, the granting of access and the terms under which such access is granted is a matter for the court. In common with all court rules these instruments are available on the Courts Service website.

Departmental Staff Redeployment

Question No. 447 answered with Question No. 442.

Questions (446)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

446. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will outline in tabular form, the number of officials seconded from his Department to various Embassies, Honorary Consuls and other associated missions by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade around the world on a location-by-location basis; the rank of each official at each location; if he will outline the term length of each secondment; the start date of each current secondment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30106/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The information sought by the Deputy in respect of staff of my Department seconded to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is set out in the following table.

Posts

Grade/Start Date/Term

Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union in Brussels (5 Officers).

Principal Officer (Sept 2010, 3 years + possible 1 year extension),

Assistant Principal (Sept 2010, 3 years +possible 1 year extension),

Assistant Principal (May 2011, 3 years + possible 1 year extension),

Executive Officer (Feb 2011, 2 years + possible 1 year extension),

Clerical Officer (Sept 2011, 2 years + possible 1 year extension).

Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union in Brussels - Temporary assignments for the EU Presidency (10 Officers).

Principal Officer x 3, Assistant Principal x 2, Administrative Officer x 2, Higher Executive Officer x 1, Executive Officer x 2,

Clerical Officer x 1,

All assignments started in Sept 2012 and were for a 10 month period and will conclude at the end of this week.

Permanent Representation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg (1 Officer).

Assistant Principal (Jan 2011, 2 years 6 months).

British-Irish Intergovernmental Secretariat in Belfast (3 Officers).

Principal Officer (Jan 2009, 2 years + possible 1 year extension, further 8 month extension for operational reasons).

Assistant Principal (May 2012, 2 years + possible 1 year extension).

Clerical Officer (Nov 2012, 1 year + possible 1 year extension).

Justice Attaché post in Washington DC (1 Officer).

Assistant Principal (Sept 2012, 2 years + possible 1 year extension).

Visa Office - Abu Dhabi (4 Officers).

Higher Executive Officer (Oct 2010),

Executive Officer (Oct 2010),

Executive Officer (Oct 2010),

Executive Officer (Jan 2011),

All assignments for 2 years + possible 1 year extension.

Visa Office - Abuja (3 Officers).

Higher Executive Officer (Mar 2010),

Executive Officer (May 2010),

Executive Officer (Jan 2012),

All assignments for 2 years + possible 1 year extension.

Visa Office - Ankara (1 Officer).

Executive Officer (Apr 2013, 6 month temporary assignment).

Visa Office - Beijing (3 Officers).

Higher Executive Officer (Oct 2011),

Executive Officer (Sept 2012),

Executive Officer (Jan 2013),

All assignments for 2 years + possible 1 year extension.

Visa Office - London (5 Officers).

Higher Executive Officer (Mar 2012),

Executive Officer (Sept 2010),

Clerical Officer (Feb 2010),

Clerical Officer (July 2010),

Clerical Officer (Feb 2013),

All assignments for 2 years + possible 1 year extension.

Visa Office - Moscow (3 Officers)

Administrative Officer (June 2012),

Executive Officer (Nov 2011),

Executive Officer (Jan 2012),

All assignments for 2 years + possible 1 year extension.

Visa Office - New Delhi (3 Officers).

Executive Officer (July 2011),

Executive Officer (Oct 2011),

Executive Officer (Jan 2012).

All assignments for 2 years + possible 1 year extension.

These officers play an important role in representing the Department abroad. They were selected to serve in these posts through internal selection processes held by my Department.

Question No. 447 answered with Question No. 442.

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

Questions (448)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

448. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the alternative accommodation provision that can be made in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30147/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Reception and Integration Agency, RIA, is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal. The person referred to in the details supplied has not previously applied for a change of accommodation, nor have any medical documents been referred to RIA to support such an application. Applications for transfer to alternative locations should be made by residents via the centre manager or directly to RIA. Where such an application is made on medical grounds, the relevant documents are reviewed and, if necessary, referred to a medical referee for examination. Based on the recommendations of the medical referee, and taking other factors into account, a decision on accommodation need is made. The medical document provided with the details supplied in this question has been referred to the Health Unit at RIA for review and the person referred to will be written to following that review.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases can be made directly to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of which the RIA is a division, by email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specially established for this purpose. This service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained promptly by Oireachtas representatives.

Garda Vetting Applications

Questions (449)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

449. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason significantly incorrect information was sent from the Garda vetting unit to potential employers in County Donegal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal. [30157/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Garda vetting is conducted by the Garda central vetting unit, GCVU, for organisations registered with the Unit for that purpose. The unit processed approximately 328,000 vetting applications on behalf of these organisations in 2012. I am informed by the Garda authorities that checks conducted at the GCVU in respect of the application of the person concerned indicated a number of prosecutorial details in respect of her. Details of these prosecutions were disclosed to the registered organisation in question on 25 January 2013.

On receipt of correspondence questioning the veracity of this information, further enquiries were conducted by the GCVU. It was established that due to an administrative error on the Garda PULSE system, two court outcomes were incorrectly attributed to the person concerned. Following the discovery of this error an amended Garda vetting disclosure was issued to the registered organisation in question on the 15 May 2013 containing the correct details.

Residency Permits

Questions (450)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

450. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding residency in respect of a person (details supplied). [30163/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, that the person concerned submitted an application on 8 April 2013 requesting permission to reside in the State as person of independent means. I am informed by INIS that the application for residency on behalf of the person mentioned by the Deputy is at the final stage. Correspondence issued to the applicant on 18 June 2013 and a reply is still awaited at this point.

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.

Residency Permits

Questions (451)

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

451. Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding an application for residency in the State in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30185/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by officials in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, that the person referred to by the Deputy made an application for a permanent residence card to the EU treaty rights unit on 5 April, 2013. This application is currently under consideration and a decision will issue in the matter shortly.

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.

Prisoner Transfers

Questions (452)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

452. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a prisoner (details supplied) in Castlereagh, County Roscommon, will be moved to a prison closer to their family in Dublin who have had a great deal of difficulty arranging for visits. [30238/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that no transfer request has been received from the person referred to. Applications submitted by prisoners to transfer to an alternate facility within the prison estate are considered taking a number of factors into consideration, including the recommendation of the Prison Governor. As a guiding principle, the Irish Prison Service attempts to place prisoners in the location nearest to their family home and should an application be received from the person in question, it will be considered taking into account appropriate security considerations, behaviour in custody, engagement with services and of course space being available.