Ministerial Responsibilities

Questions (434)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

434. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 179 of 6 March 2014, and bearing in mind the operation of the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993, if he will expand on his statement that the reason it was considered more appropriate to transfer his powers was due to the wider relationship which the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces has vis-à-vis the Minister for Defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15273/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that further to Parliamentary Question No. 179 of 6 March 2014, the reason why it was considered more appropriate to transfer my powers as Minister for Justice and Equality, rather than my powers as Minister for Defence, was due to the formal legal relationship that the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces has with the Minister for Defence. This relationship is governed by Section 13 of the 1954 Defence Act as amended by Section 4 of the 1998 Defence (Amendment) Act. To provide in law for an arrangement whereby the Chief of Staff would be directly responsible to another Minister would have added further and unnecessary complexity to the revised process.

Garda Investigations

Questions (435)

Billy Timmins

Question:

435. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 552 of 19 November 2013, if he has received the information from the Garda authorities with regard to the specific matters raised; if so, whether he will forward it to this Deputy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15281/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As I have previously said, Chief Officer Stack was a dedicated and committed servant of the Irish State and a loyal husband and father. His murder was not only a tragedy for his family but an attack on the foundations of this State.

The murder of Chief Officer Stack is the subject of a review by the Garda Síochána Serious Crime Review Team and a number of meetings have taken place between members of the Stack family and the investigation team.

The most recent such meeting took place in January 2014 at which a full discussion concerning a range of aspects of the investigation occurred. Family members were provided with as much information as possible bearing in mind that this is still an active investigation.

The Deputy will appreciate therefore that I am constrained in the level of detail I can provide at this stage. With regard to the specific matters raised by the Deputy in Parliamentary Question No. 552 of 19 November 2013, I have been advised by the Garda authorities that these issues will be fully addressed by the Investigation Team in their report at the conclusion of this investigation.

In light of this I think it would be best to await the outcome of the Garda review.

Penalty Points System Investigation

Question No. 437 answered with Question No. 413.

Questions (436)

Clare Daly

Question:

436. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the precautions in place to protect the PULSE system to ensure that no records can be destroyed in relation to penalty points that were cancelled. [15294/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is no deletion facility provided in the PULSE system. Accordingly it is not possible for any records relating to fixed charge penalty point offences, cancelled or otherwise, to be deleted from the system.

Question No. 437 answered with Question No. 413.

Probate Applications

Questions (438, 439)

Ciara Conway

Question:

438. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm the current waiting period for the grant of probate in Waterford court; the reasons for this delay; the measures being taken to tackle the waiting period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15314/14]

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Ciara Conway

Question:

439. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide, in tabular form, the current waiting period in weeks for the granting of probate in each county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15315/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 438 and 439 together.

The Probate Office is an office of the High Court and management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which, as the Deputy will be aware, is independent in exercising its functions under the Courts Service Act 1998. However, I have asked the Courts Service for the information in the detailed format sought by the Deputy and I will write to her directly as soon as it is to hand.

Firearms Licences

Questions (440)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

440. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 580 of 18 January 2014, when a response will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15331/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer the Deputy to a letter issued to him on the 31st of March 2014 in relation to this matter, which states the following:

I refer further to your Parliamentary Question No. 580 of 18 February 2014 and the details supplied therein. It would be inappropriate to comment as the issues raised were before the courts and have been the subject of court decision and I cannot intervene in how court proceedings are conducted or on the outcome of those proceedings. However, I can advise that under Section 32 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006, which inserted a new Section 4 into the Firearms Act 1925, an issuing person shall not grant a firearm certificate unless satisfied the applicant complies with a number of conditions referred to in the Section including good reason, that the applicant can possess, use and carry the firearm without danger to the public safety or security or the peace, is not disentitled, has provided secure accommodation for the firearm, referees, medical enquiries etc.

Each application for a firearm certificate requires the issuing person to consider a wide range of factors prior to making a final decision and further information may be required from the applicant in some cases. I can further advise that the licensing of firearms is an operational matter and each application is judged on its own individual merits and the decision on whether, or not, to grant a firearm certificate rests solely with the issuing person. The decision of the issuing person cannot be fettered in any way and I have no role in the matter. However, applicants, who have been refused and are dissatisfied with the decision of an issuing person, have recourse to appeal that decision to the District Court, in accordance with the provisions of section 15A of the Firearms Act 1925, as inserted by section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.

Witness Intimidation

Questions Nos. 442 to 444, inclusive, answered with Question No. 413.

Questions (441)

Finian McGrath

Question:

441. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the case of a person (details supplied). [15336/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

First and foremost I would urge any person who is a victim or a witness to crime including any form of threatening behaviour or intimidation to report the matter to An Garda Síochána.

In this regard I am informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána will in line with its obligations take appropriate steps in dealing with such cases.

In particular in addressing such matters An Garda Síochána has a framework in place for the analysis of threat related information and the designation of appropriate action to be taken by all parties.

Under this framework An Garda Síochána will liaise with the people involved in advising of the nature of the threat made against them and the risk determined. In terms of deciding on appropriate levels of Garda attention or protection, consideration is given to the specific nature of the threat and the measures necessary to mitigate the risk.

Furthermore, Garda Divisional Crime Prevention Officers are trained in the delivery of crime prevention advice across a wide range of areas to people at any risk of criminal threat. These officers can provide advice on increasing personal security or any other crime prevention matter. They also assess a person's risk and can recommend security measures to suit each situation and level of risk. A list of these Crime Prevention Officers is available on www.garda.ie.

In addition, a number of general crime prevention leaflets are also available on the Garda website which provide advice on a range of topics from personal to home security.

Finally I can assure the Deputy that upon the reporting to the Gardaí of any activity of the type referred to by him that An Garda Síochána will act resolutely in dealing with it and will provide support as appropriate to those who may be experiencing such intimidation.

Questions Nos. 442 to 444, inclusive, answered with Question No. 413.

Money Laundering

Question No. 446 answered with Question No. 413.

Questions (445)

Clare Daly

Question:

445. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 430 of 2014, if he will describe the qualifications held by the two AML officials he has tasked with the oversight of what is a national network of trust service providers, including most if not all of the major Irish law firms; and the way the self-regulation of this sector is appropriate. [15354/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Under section 63 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, it is the function of a State Competent Authority to effectively monitor designated persons and take measures that are reasonably necessary for the purpose of securing compliance by those designated persons with the specified requirements in relation to money laundering and terrorist financing. To give effect to the role of the Competent Authority under the Act, the Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit was established in my Department and two authorised officers were appointed under section 72 of the Act in 2011. Authorised officers inspect a number of categories of businesses for compliance with the requirements of the Act including high value cash traders, private member gaming clubs and trust or company service providers.

I can inform the Deputy that the authorised officers were appointed by way of a competitive process within the Department and I am satisfied that authorised officers have the skills and competencies required to discharge the functions associated with the post.

My role as State Competent Authority relates only to those aspects of business which are relevant to the anti-money laundering requirements of the Act including such matters as the exercise by the businesses concerned of customer due diligence and the application by the businesses of anti-money laundering policies and processes. I have no role in relation to any other question pertaining to regulation that might arise in this context.

Question No. 446 answered with Question No. 413.