Garda Operations

Questions (413, 414, 415, 416, 421, 422, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 437, 442, 443, 444, 446, 448, 451, 452)

Gerald Nash

Question:

413. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if it is the practice of An Garda Síochána that telephone calls to and from Garda stations are recorded; the legal basis for this practice; when this practice commenced; the number of Garda stations involved in this practice; when this practice was discontinued; the reason the practice was discontinued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15090/14]

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Robert Dowds

Question:

414. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if phone calls made to Garda stations are or have ever been recorded; if this was done in accordance with the law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15098/14]

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Ciara Conway

Question:

415. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if it is the practice of Garda stations nationwide to record incoming and outgoing phone calls; the reason this is so; where the information is stored; the person who has access to it; the length of time for which it is stored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15101/14]

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Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

416. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda stations in County Kerry that had their telephones bugged and-or monitored; the period of time in which these bugs-monitors were in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15107/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

421. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of installing the NICE recording system in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15257/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

422. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality under what Vote and subhead of the Estimates the cost of installing the NICE recording system in or around 2008 was met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15258/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

423. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a tendering or official purchase process used for the installation of the NICE recording system in or around 2008, and under the auspices of what State body was this tendering or purchase process held; the specifics of that tendering process; the specification of the equipment sought; if it involved the installation cost and any ongoing maintenance or operational costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15259/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

424. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of NICE recording systems that were installed; and the Garda station locations in which they were installed in or around 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15260/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

425. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of NICE recording systems purchased in or around 2008; if each of these units have been accounted for having been installed in a Garda station or any other location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15261/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

426. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality during the period of the installation of the NICE recording systems in Garda stations in 2008 under what purchase or contract were these systems installed in any other Government facilities or properties; if he will list those locations and the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15262/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

427. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the staff level in his Department at which approval was given for the purchase and installation of the NICE recording systems in Garda stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15263/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

428. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if ministerial approval was given in or around 2008 for the tendering, purchase and installation of NICE recording systems in Garda stations; if he will provide a copy of any relevant documentation on this approval; if this was brought to his attention by his Department or An Garda Síochána at the time; and if so, the person who was the corresponding official; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15264/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

429. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Defence Forces or any organ thereof, was involved in the installation of the NICE recording systems in Garda stations in or around 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15265/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

430. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a private contractor carried out the installation of the NICE recording systems in Garda stations in or around 2008, and if so, who was that contractor, company or person; if security clearance was required for this work; and for each installation the person responsible in An Garda Síochána or his Department for granting that clearance for each location where a NICE recorder was installed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15266/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

431. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the process in place for the recording, storage and archival of recordings carried out by the NICE recording systems installed in 2008 in Garda stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15267/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

432. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the person in An Garda Síochána or his Department who had responsibility for the oversight and operation of the NICE recording system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15268/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

433. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the information recorded by the NICE system was encrypted or in any way protected; the number of hours of recordings there are; if it is recorded on hard drives, CDs or if he will detail the specific type of digital device; where these devices stored; the person responsible for their safe keeping; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15269/14]

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Clare Daly

Question:

437. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will name the Garda stations that carried out recordings of incoming and outgoing calls from Garda stations. [15295/14]

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Michelle Mulherin

Question:

442. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will identify the Garda stations that had in place a system for the recording of phone calls to and from the station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15339/14]

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Michelle Mulherin

Question:

443. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount it cost to change or upgrade the system for the recording of phone calls to and from Garda stations to a digital system in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15340/14]

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Seán Crowe

Question:

444. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if phone calls in Kildare Garda stations were taped and recorded as reported in the media; and if he will provide a breakdown of the stations that were targeted. [15348/14]

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Gerald Nash

Question:

446. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the practice of recording incoming and outgoing phone calls was carried out in Drogheda Garda station; if he will provide details on the purpose of such a practice; when the practice commenced; when it was discontinued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15377/14]

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Niall Collins

Question:

448. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide an updated statement on his knowledge of the Garda recordings. [15407/14]

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Niall Collins

Question:

451. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the discussions he has had with the Director of Public Prosecutions on the impact of the Garda recordings on future cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15411/14]

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Niall Collins

Question:

452. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the terms of reference for a commission of investigation into the recordings controversy will be completed; the expected timeframe for the investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15417/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 413 to 416, inclusive, 421 to 433, inclusive, 437, 442 to 444, inclusive, 446, 448, 451 and 452 together.

The Government has decided to set up a statutory Commission of Investigation into the recording of telephone calls in certain Garda stations. In this context the Government have agreed that the Commission of Investigation should examine all matters of public concern relating to the issue of taping of conversations in Garda Stations.

The Government have also decided to appoint Mr. Justice Nial Fennelly, currently serving as a Judge of the Supreme Court, as Chair of the Commission of Investigation which is to be established under the 2004 Act. The full terms of reference will be finalised shortly in consultation with Mr. Justice Fennelly.

Accordingly, it would not be appropriate to comment in relation to a number of matters which will be addressed in the context of the establishment of the Commission of Investigation. In relation to the other matters raised, information is still being collated and, insofar as it is possible and appropriate, after the information has been fully collated I will write to the Deputy.

Visa Applications

Questions (417)

Noel Harrington

Question:

417. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the guidelines or statutory instrument that cover the requests for information from applicants for visitor visas by the Irish National Immigration Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15108/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Persons who are not citizens of Ireland and who are not nationals of one of the countries specified in the appropriate schedules of the Immigration Act 2004 (Visas) Order 2012 (S.I. no. 412 of 2012) are required to have a valid Irish visa to land in the State.

In order to issue a visit visa, the deciding Visa Officer must be satisfied that a number of criteria are fulfilled, including that the person concerned has the financial means for the cost of the visit, that they have demonstrated obligations to return to their home country and that they intend to observe the conditions of their visa. Such criteria are a common feature of the vast majority of visa systems worldwide and are necessary to ensure the integrity of the immigration system, the maintenance of public security, public order or public health, the orderly regulation of the labour market or for the purposes of reciprocal immigration arrangements.

Certain standard supporting documents are required for all visa applications. These are advised to the applicant on completion of the online application form. However, on occasion, a Visa Officer may require additional documentation in order to make a determination about whether the visa should be granted. A visa applicant signs a declaration, when completing their visa application, that they understand additional information and/or data may be required and that failure to provide this, if requested, may result in the refusal of the application.

General information in relation to the requirements in relation to visa applications for various purposes is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) at www.inis.gov.ie.

The following revised reply was received on 4 April 2014:

The statutory instrument cited was the Immigration Act 2004 (Visas) Order 2012. It was incorrectly identified as S.I. No. 412 of 2012. The correct number is S.I. No. 417 of 2012.

Crime Data

Questions (418)

Michael McGrath

Question:

418. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 184 of 13 February 2014, if he will provide the information requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15157/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table shows the notional value of counterfeit bank notes seized in the State for the years 2010 to 2013.

These figures correspond with data available from the Central Bank of Ireland.

Notional value of counterfeit bank notes seized in the State for the years 2010 to 2013

-

Year

Notional Value

2013

€289,470

2012

€363,425

2011

€570,450

2010

€940,260

School Curriculum

Questions (419)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

419. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 752 of 25 March 2014 if he will elucidate just what he means by religious schools having to provide full and accurate factual information on the matter to students and the way such a view would impact denominational schools that may hold the view that same-sex marriage does not constitute marriage at all; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15231/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer the Deputy to my answer to Parliamentary Question No. 752 of 25 March 2014 in which I said "As I indicated in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 399 of 11 March 2014, "No school will be obliged to change its religious teachings in relation to marriage. Of course, where a school covers issues relating to civil marriage in its teaching programme, it is to be presumed that it would, in doing this, provide full and accurate factual information on the matter to students."

If a referendum were passed allowing the Oireachtas to legislate for same-sex marriage and if, as a consequence, it became legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in a civil ceremony, it is to be presumed that schools, where this issue arises in teaching programmes, would provide accurate factual information on the changed legal situation. In the same context, denominational schools would continue to be in a position to outline their particular views on this issue.

Crime Prevention

Questions Nos. 421 to 433, inclusive, answered with Question No. 413.

Questions (420)

James Bannon

Question:

420. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the recent incidents of break-ins in Edgeworthstown, County Longford, the discussions he has had with the superintendent on the matter and the action being taken to address the problem by way of additional gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15246/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am, of course, aware of concerns in the community, including Edgeworthstown, about the incidence of crime, and of burglary in particular. These crimes cause deep distress to householders and have a broader impact in terms of fear of crime in the community.

Garda Operation Fiacla remains in force nationally and specific burglary initiatives continue to be implemented in each Garda Region to target suspected offenders. Operation Fiacla has proven to be a robust and effective response to burglary offences and this is borne out by the latest crime statistics published by the Central Statistics Office which show that the rate of burglary has decreased by 7.2% nationally for twelve months ending 31 December 2013. Garda actions to counteract burglary under Operation Fiacla have led to the arrest of 8,344 persons with 4,755 persons being charged as of 28 February 2014 and this underlines the impact being made by Gardaí under the operation.

In so far as the area referred to the Deputy is concerned, as part of the measures which are co-ordinated under Operation Fiacla, Operation Aimsir is in force throughout the Western Region, including Edgeworthstown. It is an intelligence driven operation and includes analysis led policing and patrols to target specific areas and case manage targeted offenders. These arrangements are kept under review and local Garda management closely monitor all trends in the incidence of burglary, with adjustments being made on an ongoing basis to maintain the effective focus of the operation.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of all personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.

However, I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Roscommon/Longford Division on 31 January 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 286. There is also 20 Garda Reserves and 24 Civilians attached to the Roscommon/Longford Division.

The needs of the Roscommon/Longford Division will be fully considered in the next allocation of probationer Gardaí by the Garda Commissioner. It is envisaged that the first batch of new recruits will enter the training college in Templemore later this year and that they will be attested and assigned to Garda stations in early 2015.

Questions Nos. 421 to 433, inclusive, answered with Question No. 413.