Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 180.

Rights of Way

Questions (185)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

185. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will clarify the basis on which the legal representatives of Kildare County Council have informed persons (details supplied) in County Kildare to the effect that rights in respect of access by way of public road to their property is being restricted notwithstanding the fact they have enjoyed such rights and entitlements since the 1970s; if it is recognised the situation emerging seriously undermines their ability to enjoy the full amenities of their property and any future sale of the said properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32462/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, I am not in a position to interpret the law or to provide advice on a particular case in response to a Parliamentary Question. Moreover, on the basis of the information provided, the matter does not appear to come within my field of responsibility as Minister for Justice and Equality.

Juvenile Offenders

Questions (186)

Michael McNamara

Question:

186. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when all teenage offenders will be taken out of St Patrick's Institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32479/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that on today's date I have announced Government approval for my plans regarding the future accommodation of prisoners currently detained at St Patrick's Institution.

In line with the recommendation of the Inspector of Prisons and in order to effect the changes necessary in regime and culture and to ensure the safe and secure custody, I am satisfied that the complete closure of St. Patrick’s and the dispersal of all prisoners is now required. Pending the development of new facilities in Oberstown in mid 2014, for which the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs has responsibility, this will in the interim involve the transfer of all 17 year olds currently serving a sentence in St. Patrick’s Institution to a dedicated Unit in Wheatfield Prison and the transfer of the 18 to 20 year old population to Wheatfield also.

Arrangements will also be put in place for the transfer of prison staff to other institutions. With the full co-operation and support of everyone involved, it is anticipated that this can be achieved within 6 months. A dedicated Project Board has been established by the Irish Prison Service to oversee this transition.

Juvenile Offenders

Questions (187)

Michael McNamara

Question:

187. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when extra specialised training should be offered to staff in facilities housing juvenile offenders, when extra personnel trained to deal with young offenders will be employed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32480/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service (IPS) that the University of Ulster has been successful in a recent tender to develop a programme to illustrate the benefits of positive communication, cover the main theories of communication, personality, child development and stress reduction in order to equip Irish Prison Service staff with the skills they need to de-escalate stressful and aggressive interactions, particularly those involving the young people in their care.

I have announced today my plans regarding the future accommodation of prisoners currently detained at St Patrick's Institution.

In line with the recommendation of the Inspector of Prisons and in order to effect the changes necessary in regime and culture and to ensure the safe and secure custody, I am satisfied that the complete closure of St. Patrick’s and the dispersal of all prisoners is now required. Pending the development of new facilities in Oberstown in mid 2014, for which the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs has responsibility, this will in the interim involve the transfer of all 17 year olds currently serving a sentence in St. Patrick’s Institution to a dedicated Unit in Wheatfield Prison and the transfer of the 18 to 20 year old population to Wheatfield also.

Arrangements will also be put in place for the transfer of prison staff to other institutions. With the full co-operation and support of everyone involved, it is anticipated that this can be achieved within 6 months. A dedicated Project Board has been established by the Irish Prison Service to oversee this transition. A Project Board and team have been put in place to manage the transition of young offenders from St. Patrick’s Institution to Wheatfield Prison and the selection and training of staff will be given priority.

Garda Vetting Process

Questions (188, 189)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

188. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person should receive confirmation when he or she has passed the vetting process by the Garda central vetting unit; if a person may request the confirmation from the employer or organisation that requires the Garda vetting; if a person may request a certificate or other comparable form of confirmation of vetting from the central vetting unit to prove he or she has passed Garda vetting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32489/13]

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Andrew Doyle

Question:

189. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps that have been taken to date on the setting of up an the e-vetting system; the way the process would work for both approved employers/organisations and persons to be vetted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32490/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 188 and 189 together.

The function of the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) is to conduct Garda vetting checks in respect of persons on whose behalf vetting applications have been submitted by organisations registered with the Unit for that purpose.

The role of the GCVU is not to deem any individual to have "passed the vetting process". Its role is to provide a vetting service to registered organisations who employ or engage persons to work with children or vulnerable adults. The disclosure is made to the organisation to enable it to decide on the suitability of the person and the function of deciding whether an individual is suitable to work in a registered organisation rests within each registered organisation and not the GCVU.

Each time a new vetting application is received, a full vetting check is conducted to ensure that the most recent data available is taken into account. Non-transferability and the contemporaneous nature of the vetting protects against the risk of fraud or forgery and is a guarantee of the integrity of the vetting service. It also affords the registered organisation the facility to assess suitability based on the most up to date information available on the applicant.

It is open to any individual to request from any organisation, including an employer, a copy of any personal data held about them, including data contained in a Garda vetting disclosure.

The possibility of introducing an e-vetting system has been assessed and the Garda authorities are now in the process of developing a system which will enable vetting applications to be submitted electronically through a secure web service. In addition, the system will facilitate the checking and monitoring of applications. The relevant work is being pursued on a priority basis and it will be completed as quickly as possible.

Prison Committals

Questions (190)

Michael McGrath

Question:

190. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in the situation where a person receives a custodial sentence and in the absence of a specific direction for the judge, the person who decides in which prison the convicted person will serve his or her sentence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32524/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am to inform the Deputy that in the absence of a specific prison on the committal warrant, designated prisons are associated with specific areas of the country. For example, all male persons committed to prison on remand, pending trial or under sentence of imprisonment or otherwise from any court in the county of Cork, the county borough of Cork, the county of Kerry, the county of Waterford or the county borough of Waterford are committed to Cork Prison unless otherwise stated. Other areas are associated to other prisons on a similar basis.

A guiding principle in the placement of prisoners is that they are detained in an institution as near to their homes as possible to facilitate visits from relatives and friends. Accommodation near their home, however, may not always be possible. For example, female prisoners can only be accommodated in the Dóchas Centre on the Mountjoy Campus in Dublin or in Limerick Prison. Pressures of space and security considerations are also taken into account, as is the need to keep certain prisoners apart from the general population for their own safety.

When a prisoner is committed to prison the management of the prisoner's sentence and any transfers take place on foot of administrative decisions made on my behalf. Every effort is made to balance the needs of the prisoner and the aim of providing an effective rehabilitative environment for as many prisoners as possible. In order to maximise the effectiveness of prison programmes, prisoners may move between different prisons at various points in their sentence.

Other common reasons for prisoner movements include court appearances, disruptive behaviour, conflict with other prisoners, to participate in a particular training or educational course, to assist in reintegration or to alleviate overcrowding. Factors taken into account include length of sentence, nature of offence, medical needs, drug dependency, behaviour while in custody, the age of the prisoner, previous criminal record, engagement with the various services and the availability of accommodation.