Crime Data

Questions (516)

Niall Collins

Question:

516. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide in tabular form a county breakdown of cattle rustling figures in 2010 to 2013, inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5135/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. I have requested the CSO to provide statistics directly to the Deputy.

Stardust Fire

Questions (517)

Finian McGrath

Question:

517. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will respond to the seven issues raised on the Stardust fire tragedy (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5169/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As I have previously indicated, nothing I have seen in the extensive correspondence from the Stardust Victims Committee to date, including the details supplied by the Deputy and the other correspondence circulated recently, would be grounds for my taking a different view to the conclusions set out in the Independent Examination by Mr. Paul Coffey. That is, in the absence of any identified evidence, the most another inquiry could achieve would be another set of hypothetical findings, which would not be in the public interest.

I accept, of course, that some of the victims and their relatives of this dreadful tragedy do not accept the conclusions of the Independent Examination, during which persons were free to make their case to Mr. Coffey, but I would be misleading the Deputy to suggest there are grounds for taking this matter further.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Questions (518)

Seán Kenny

Question:

518. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will instruct the Garda Commissioner to ensure greater attention is directed to an area (details supplied) due to the rise in anti-social behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5177/14]

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.

Road Safety

Questions (519)

Seán Kenny

Question:

519. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of drivers prosecuted for driving while holding a mobile phone in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5178/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have sought a report from the Garda authorities on the information sought by the Deputy. I will be in contact with the Deputy when this information is to hand.

Deportation Orders Data

Questions (520)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

520. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons, and their nationality, who, in 2012 and 2013, after being refused leave to land in Ireland, were subsequently placed on a flight and returned to Istanbul in Turkey; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates and any other locations. [5202/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In all cases, removals from the State, whether in respect of those who are removed on foot of refusal of leave to land decisions at ports of entry or those who are already in the State, are conducted in accordance with the law. Removals are essentially operational matters for the Garda National Immigration Bureau who work closely with officials of my Department in arranging the necessary travel documents and other papers required.

In keeping with standard practice in other jurisdictions, some individuals are escorted to their country of origin or to a connecting hub. Chartered aircraft as well as scheduled commercial aircraft and ferries are used to effect removals. Section 5 of the Immigration Act, 2003 contains the main provisions dealing with the removal from the State of persons refused leave to land and specifies that a person to whom this section applies may be arrested by an immigration officer or a member of the Garda Síochána and detained in a prescribed place of detention for the purpose of facilitating their removal from the State, which must be as soon as is practicable.

In general it is the practice to remove persons from the State on the next available flight or ship. It should be noted by virtue of Section 5(3) of the Immigration Act, 2003, the State has a positive duty to remove a person as soon as practicable. The detention of a person cannot exceed eight weeks in aggregate in accordance with the provisions of Section 5(3)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2003 which states “A person arrested and detained under this section may, subject to subsection (4), be detained only until such time (being as soon as practicable) as he or she is removed from the State in accordance with this section but, in any event, may not be detained for a period exceeding 8 weeks in aggregate”.

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to nationality and all of the locations to which a person refused leave to land was returned is not readily available. In that respect it should be noted that persons arriving into the State from a certain destination may not necessarily be returned to that destination but sent back directly to their country of origin or returned via a hub airport to their point of embarkation.

I can however inform the Deputy that in respect of persons refused leave to land arriving from the locations mentioned the position is the following. In 2012, 117 non-EEA nationals who had arrived from Istanbul, Turkey were refused leave to land 25 of whom were subsequently permitted to enter the State having made an asylum application pursuant to the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended)), 58 non-EEA nationals who had arrived from Dubai, United Arab Emirates were refused leave to land (9 of whom were subsequently permitted to enter the State having made an asylum application), and 123 non-EEA nationals, who had arrived from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, were refused leave to land (21 of whom were subsequently permitted to enter the State having made an asylum application). In 2013, the equivalent figures for persons refused leave to land arriving from Ankara, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were 142, 52 and 167 respectively, of which 37, 5 and 46 persons were subsequently permitted to enter the State having made an application for asylum.

Money Laundering

Questions (521)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

521. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if anti-money laudering obligations of banks are the same for property service providers regulated under the Property Services Regulatory Authority; what constitutes improper conduct which a property service provider must report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5225/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I understand that the Minister for Finance will be answering this question insofar as it relates to the anti-money laundering obligations of banks.

The Property Services Regulatory Authority, which is under the aegis of my Department, was established in April 2012 under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011, and is responsible for controlling and regulating Property Service Providers (i.e. Auctioneers.Estate Agents, Letting Agents and Management Agents). To enable the Authority to exercise its regulatory role, Section 65 of the 2011 Act provides that the Authority "shall, following the receipt of a complaint, or may of its own volition, cause such investigation as it thinks fit to be carried out..." to identify any "improper conduct" which has or is being committed by a Property Services Provider.

A Property Services Provider is a "designated person" for the purposes of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010. To comply with that Act, designated persons are required to have a range of measures in place to ensure that customers are not laundering money or financing terrorism. This includes identifying and verifying the identity of customers and beneficial owners, training their staff, keeping records etc. and making Suspicious Transaction Reports as necessary to An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners.

Under Section 42 of the 2010 Act, where a Property Service Provider knows, suspects or has reasonable grounds to suspect, on the basis of information obtained in the course of business that another person has been or is engaged in money laundering or terrorism financing they are required to make a Suspicious Transaction Report to An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners. All Suspicious Transaction Reports are subsequently investigated as appropriate by the law enforcement authorities to examine any links such transactions may have to any form of criminal activity.

I can further inform the Deputy that it is my intention to confer the relevant powers under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 on the Property Services Regulatory Authority, by way of an order under Section 60 of that Act, to enable that Authority to monitor property service providers for the purpose of securing compliance by such providers under the requirements of the Act. I understand that it is the intention of the Property Services Regulatory Authority, once such powers are delegated, to include as part of its normal regulatory investigations, an examination of how property service providers are complying with their obligations under the 2010 Act.

Citizenship Applications

Questions (522)

James Bannon

Question:

522. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding an application by a person (details supplied) in County Longford who after 40 years of living in Ireland has not received citizenship or a passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5243/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy in 2002. As no response was received to letters issued in 2003, 2004 and 2005 the application was deemed inactive and the case was closed. It is open to the person concerned to lodge a fresh application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended.

Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must: be of full age; be of good character; have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years; intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation; have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows:

(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and

(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

A foreign national who is married to, or is the Civil Partner of, an Irish citizen for at least three years may apply for naturalisation under section 15A of the Irish Naturalisation and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, where they have been continuously resident in the island of Ireland for the year immediately prior to the date of their application and for two out of the four years prior to that year. The marriage or civil partnership must be subsisting and recognised under Irish law. Section 15A provides that the Minister may waive certain conditions for naturalisation if satisfied that the applicant would suffer serious consequences in respect of his or her bodily integrity or liberty if not granted Irish citizenship.

Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, waive some or all of the statutory conditions in certain circumstances i.e. where an applicant is of Irish descent or of Irish associations; where an applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; or where an applicant is a Stateless person within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons.

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.

Garda Promotions

Questions (523)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

523. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will deal with the following matter regarding gardaí (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5267/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Since the Government took office, 88 Sergeants, 40 Inspectors, 53 Superintendents, 17 Chief Superintendents, 4 Assistant Commissioners and 1 Deputy Commissioner have been promoted to their positions. Furthermore, the upper limit of strengths at all ranks from Sergeant to Assistant Commissioner has been agreed with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Garda Commissioner and the Commissioner is in the process of organising and running promotion competitions to fill current and future vacancies.

Asylum Applications

Questions (524)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

524. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the timeframe an application has been under consideration in the case of a person (detail supplied) in Dublin 22; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5277/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As I informed the Deputy in response to Parliamentary Question No. 181 on 23 January last, if the person whose details were supplied has made an application for asylum or subsidiary protection, the position is that it is not the practice to comment on such applications for so long as they are in the protection process.

Asylum Applications

Questions (525)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

525. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the timeframe an application for ayslum in the case of a person (detail supplied) in County Meath has been under consideration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5278/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As I informed the Deputy in response to Parliamentary Question No. 187 on 23 January last, if the person whose details were supplied has made an application for asylum or subsidiary protection, the position is that it is not the practice to comment on such applications for so long as they are in the protection process.

While the median processing time for asylum applications at end 2013 from date of initial application at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner through the appeal stage at the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to a final Ministerial decision was 8 months, some cases can take considerably longer to complete due to, for example, delays arising from medical issues, or because of judicial review proceedings.

Penalty Points System Offences

Questions (526)

Joan Collins

Question:

526. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if any member of the Garda Assistant Commissioner's (details supplied) internal review team investigating the terminations of penalty points, or any member of GSOC, has had penalty points terminated. [5301/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I should point out that staff of the Ombudsman Commission were not involved in the original Garda examination of the allegations and that the Ombudsman Commission's investigation was only initiated when I referred the matter to them on 28 January, 2014 under section 102(5) of the 2005 Act. The investigation, carried out by Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahoney involved a total of 28 staff, including 5 Chief Superintendents and 6 Superintendents. I have no knowledge of whether any of the individuals involved have ever had penalty points terminated. I would point out to the Deputy, however, that the termination of penalty points can, in any event, properly arise under exemptions to the Road Traffic Acts in relation to the use by a member of the Garda Síochána of a vehicle in the performance of his or her duties.

Magdalen Laundries

Questions (527)

Jack Wall

Question:

527. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is covered by the Magdalen redress board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5303/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The McAleese report and the ex gratia scheme recommended by Mr Justice Quirke relate to the 10 Magdalen laundries that operated within the State. As an exceptional measure, the Government decided that the women from two other institutions, St Mary's Training Centre, Stanhope Street and House of Mercy Training School, Summerhill Wexford, should also be included. No other institutions are being included within the scheme. The specific institution referred to by the Deputy was a Mother and Baby Home and these institutions do not come within the remit of my Department and are not included in the ex gratia scheme.

Drug Rehabilitation Clinics

Questions (528)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

528. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his view on the concentration of methadone clinics in the city centre; his views on whether the Garda has sufficient resources to deal with increasing social order issues in the vicinity of these clinics; the number of gardaí assigned to the Temple Bar area; and his plans to increase their resources. [5313/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the deployment of Garda resources. In this regard I am advised that Garda management keep the distribution of resources under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of the considerable overall resources which are available to An Garda Síochána.

Policing in Dublin city centre is focused on targeting anti-social behaviour and public order offences, and measures are in place to address difficulties experienced by local residents and businesses including the designation of certain areas as hotspots for such criminality and with additional high-visibility patrols being directed by local Garda management.

The Dublin City Centre Policing Plan has been operational since June 2013 and includes dedicated high visibility patrols in key commercial and public thoroughfares at times dictated by crime trends, demand led studies and footfall in the areas in question. As part of this Plan, each Friday and Saturday a dedicated Public Order Van is deployed from 11am to 4am. In addition to routine plain clothes patrols, dedicated plain clothes foot patrols are assigned to the Temple Bar area and adjoining streets each Friday and Saturday night under Operation Aughrim. Ongoing consultation is maintained with the Temple Bar Traders association and Dublin Business Improvement District (BID).

More generally, local Garda management engage on an ongoing basis with a wide range of local businesses, community groups and other organisations with a view to addressing the many issues associated with policing a busy city centre with a vibrant night time economy. In particular, the Garda authorities participated in the multi-stakeholder Strategic Response Group (SRG) which published the report ‘A Better City for all’ in June 2012. This Group set out a partnership approach to manage the provision of drug related services, and to address public substance misuse and associated anti-social behaviour in Dublin’s city centre, including through the use of 'Good Neighbour' policies on the part of the clinics in question. The Deputy will appreciate, of course that the development of drug treatment services in the Dublin area would primarily be a matter for my colleague, Alex White TD, Minister for State at the Department of Health, and for the Health Service Executive.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Questions (529)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

529. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the proposed improvements to a Garda station (details supplied) in County Wicklow; if a new station has been proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5316/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The programme of refurbishment of Garda stations is based on accommodation priorities which are established by An Garda Síochána. The programme is advanced in close co-operation with the Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Funding for such works is met from the Vote of the Office of Public Works.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that it is proposed to carry out certain refurbishment works at the station referred to by the Deputy and it is anticipated that these works will commence in the near future. I am also advised by the Garda authorities that there are currently no plans for the provision of a new station at this location.

Tribunals of Inquiry Reports

Questions (530, 531, 532)

Micheál Martin

Question:

530. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he discussed the Smithwick report with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2198/14]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

531. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he discussed the Smithwick inquiry report with Prime Minister Cameron; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53726/13]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

532. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he discussed the Smithwick inquiry report with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53725/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 530 to 532, inclusive, together.

The House will be aware that the Smithwick Tribunal of Inquiry submitted its Final Report to the Clerk of the Dáil on 29 November 2013 and that the report was published on 3 December 2013. On publication of the Tribunal’s report I apologised on the part of the Government to the Breen and Buchanan families for any failings identified in the report on the part of the State or any of its agencies.

I met with Northern Ireland Minister of Justice, David Ford MLA, who is my counterpart on the Northern Ireland Executive on 17 December last and we were joined at that meeting by the Garda Commissioner and the PSNI Chief Constable. We discussed the Tribunal’s findings and cross-Border police co-operation generally. The two police chiefs emphasised that Garda-PSNI co-operation remains close and productive, and is a key element in countering the security and other crime threats which this island faces. On 18 December last I met with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers MP, who is my British Government counterpart with regard to Northern Ireland-related security matters. The Tribunal’s findings formed part of our discussions on a range of security-related matters.

I will bring the Tribunal’s report to the Government for consideration shortly and, in keeping with the normal practice, the Whips will make the necessary arrangements for it to be debated fully by the Oireachtas.

Northern Ireland Issues

Questions (533)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

533. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will issue a reply to the victims of the Omagh bomb and in particular to the issues raised by the report submitted to Government by the Omagh victims' support group in July 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53731/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Omagh Support and Self-Help Group presented to the Irish and British Governments a report which it had compiled setting out certain matters relating to the atrocity at Omagh which it considered to be of concern and calling for a public inquiry. I am currently in the process of finalising a detailed consideration of the matters raised by the Omagh Group insofar as they relate to this State and to the Garda Síochána. I will conclude this process shortly and once I have done so I will communicate directly with the Omagh Group.

The Deputy will be aware, of course, that the British Government has decided that it does not does not propose to hold a public inquiry into certain matters surrounding the Omagh bombing raise by the group. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has stated to the group that she does not believe there are sufficient grounds to justify a further review or inquiry above and beyond those that have already taken place or are ongoing.

Health Services Provision

Questions (534)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

534. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will introduce legislation to provide enhanced medical services to eligible women similar to that available to holders of the Health (Amendment) Act 1996. [53978/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the women who have agreed to participate in the Ex Gratia Scheme will be granted access to a range of public health services once the necessary legislation is in place. The Deputy will also be aware that the Government agreed that I would bring forward in one Bill, in consultation with and on behalf of the relevant Departments, any necessary legislative measures to implement the scheme.

The Deputy will appreciate that the provision of medical services will be done through the Department of Health and the details of exactly what services will be provided have to be fully determined by them. In that context my officials are working with officials in the Department of Health on finalising the drafting of the necessary legislative provisions as quickly as possible. The provisions will be then brought to Government by me and published.

Question No. 535 answered with Question No. 497.

Garda Investigations

Questions (536)

Joan Collins

Question:

536. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will meet with the family of a person (details supplied) to discuss the need for an independent inquiry into the person's murder. [5294/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am aware that there has been considerable correspondence over many years in relation to the tragic case referred to by the Deputy. The matters in question have been the subject of investigation and review by the Gardaí, including a re-examination of the case which took place following contact between the family and a Garda Superintendent from outside the District concerned. The case referred to is also among a number of submissions handed in to my office in October 2013. My Department is concluding its examination of the documentation submitted in this regard and I will be responding to the person concerned in the very near future.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (537)

John Deasy

Question:

537. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the apps his Department or attached agencies have been involved in developing for smartphones and other multimedia devices in the past three years; the cost and the software developer employed in each case. [5463/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Probation Service has developed an application, which is currently being piloted, to allow their community service supervisors to input data from their mobile phones which then integrates with the Service’s case tracking system. The community service supervisors are based on various sites and the data transferred will include their daily site attendance and will allow for more efficient and effective communications between them and the offices to which they report. It is also proposed to utilise this method to transfer health and safety and other important information in a timely and more efficient manner within community service. The software was developed by Bluewave Technology at a cost of €6,365.25

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (538)

Tom Fleming

Question:

538. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will expedite an application for a certificate of naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5477/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the application has entered the final stage of processing and I intend to grant citizenship. A letter has issued to the person referred to by the Deputy asking him to submit the prescribed fee and other documents. When the fee and documentation has been received, the person concerned will be invited in due course to attend a citizenship ceremony, at which he will make a declaration of fidelity to the Irish Nation and loyalty to the State and receive his certificate of 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.