Courts Service

Questions (160)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

160. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the closure of courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50912/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy may be 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, which include the provision of accommodation for court sittings.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and have been informed that the Courts Service has been reviewing all aspects of its organisational and operational structures throughout the country with the specific objective of ensuring that the Service can continue to maintain the delivery of front line court services and an appropriate level of service to court users. I understand that no court venue has been singled out for or indeed exempted from the review process. There are significant costs in operating and maintaining an extensive estate of properties around the country, both in terms of the staff who must attend these locations and the cost of maintaining the buildings themselves and providing appropriate facilities in them. In allocating resources the Courts Service must prioritise venues which are regularly used and which have the highest workload.

During the course of 2012 the Courts Service completed a comprehensive review of all venues throughout the country. The purpose of this review was to establish a framework within which venues could be considered for closure taking account of a range of criteria such as caseload, proximity to an alternative venue, physical condition of the building, availability of cells etc. This review identified a range of venues nationwide which based on the criteria applied could be considered for closure subject to a detailed assessment and the preparation of a business case in respect of each identified venue. In this regard, the Courts Service has indicated that the identification of venues as part of the review process will not necessarily mean that the identified venues will close.

I am informed that the Courts Service in considering any venue for closure undertakes an analysis of the costs associated with the holding of court sittings in a venue. This includes an assessment of both operational costs, such as courthouse maintenance and lighting & heating, and travel and subsistence costs in respect of the judiciary, courts staff and Gardaí. The Courts Service has assured me no decision in relation to the future of any court venue will be taken without prior consultation with local interested parties and court users. This consultation process has commenced and the views expressed in that process will be taken into account in the decision making process which will be a matter for the Courts Service Board.

Prison Committals

Questions (161)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

161. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the length of time those in prison for subversive-related crime have spent on remand in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50941/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

It is not possible to provide the information requested by the Deputy regarding the length of time that prisoners in custody for subversive related crime have spent on remand in the past five years, as this would necessitate a manual search of each record to determine when the period of remand commenced, as this may not actually be their committal date, and the nature of the offence. This would require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort and could not be justified where there are other significant demands on resources.

I can however advise that on the 31st October 2013 there were 53 prisoners in custody for subversive related crime that have spent a period of time on remand. Of this 19 prisoners are still currently held on remand. A breakdown of the length of time these prisoners have spent on remand is set out in the following table.

Length of time on remand

Total number of prisoners

Less than 1 Month

11

1 Month to less than 3 Months

6

3 Months to less than 6 Months

18

6 Months to less than 12 Months

17

1 Year to less than 2 Years

0

2 Years to less than 3 Years

1

Total

53

Visa Applications

Questions (162)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

162. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedure to be followed to obtain a visa to come here and study in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50945/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

It is open to a visa required National to make a visa application, for any purpose, the onus resting with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer as to why the visa should be granted. All information that the applicant wishes to have taken into consideration should be included where a visa application is submitted.

Comprehensive information on the visa application process is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie). It should be borne in mind however that the information contained on the website is intended to act as a guideline only. It does not limit the discretion of the Visa Officer in dealing with individual applications. 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.

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.

Visa Applications

Questions (163)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

163. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedure to be followed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare to have their child visit them in this jurisdiction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50948/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

It is open to a visa required National to make a visa application, for any purpose, the onus resting with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer as to why the visa should be granted. All information that the applicant wishes to have taken into consideration should be included where a visa application is submitted.

Comprehensive information on the visa application process is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie). It should be borne in mind however that the information contained on the website is intended to act as a guideline only. It does not limit the discretion of the Visa Officer in dealing with individual applications. 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.

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.

Agriculture Schemes Data

Questions (164)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

164. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to provide the figures from the start of 2013 on the number of farmers in County Kerry who have been written to and informed they are claiming for what is classified as ineligible ground, that is, ground supposedly covered by trees, furze, bushes, rocks, water, roads, sheds and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50911/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The number of letters issued to farmers in Kerry is an ongoing process.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

Questions (165)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

165. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan will receive their disadvantaged areas payment and their single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50949/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As processing of the application of the person named under the 2013 Disadvantaged Area Scheme is now completed, payment is due to issue shortly, directly to the nominated bank account of the person named. With regard to the Single Payment Scheme, as no Single Payment entitlements are held by the person named, no payment is due.

Animal Welfare Bodies

Questions (166)

Finian McGrath

Question:

166. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if there is any support available that may be given to address the issues raised by Dogs Aid. [50950/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Dogs Aid Animal Sanctuary has been recipients of ex-gratia funding from my Department for a number of years. An application for funding has been received for 2013 and while my Department cannot intervene in the operational matters raised, I have asked my officials to take into account the current issues facing Dogs Aid in context of processing this year’s exgratia application.