Criminal Prosecutions

Questions (678)

Finian McGrath

Question:

678. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding an assault case in respect of a person (details supplied). [22654/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy has been advised in reply to his previous questions, following an investigation of the incident referred to, a person was arrested, charged with assault and convicted following a plea of guilty. The court ordered compensation to be paid to the injured party, and I am advised this was done. As the Deputy is aware, the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions, and it is not open to me to comment on or intervene in any way in the conduct of, or decision in, any individual court case.

The documentation held in my Department contains correspondence received about the case over several years. Where appropriate this correspondence has been referred to the Garda authorities and the position in relation to the case has been set out in replies issued from my Department. My Department does not have any recent correspondence or complaint from the person referred to and I am advised that local Garda management is not aware of any new information in relation to the investigation. Should such a complaint or correspondence be received by my Department, I will take whatever action might be appropriate.

Immigration Status

Questions (679)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

679. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position in respect of the parents of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who is an EU national; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22734/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the persons referred to by the Deputy were granted permission to remain in the State for a period of five years on 24 January, 2014. This permission is based on being the dependant family member of an EU citizen who is resident in the State and in exercise of EU Treaty rights in accordance with the provisions of S.I. No. 656 of 2006 European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) (No. 2) Regulations 2006 as amended (the "Regulations") and Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (the "Directive"). The persons concerned were registered by their local immigration officer with the appropriate endorsement, Stamp No.4 EUFam up to 23/01/2019.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the 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 the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Districts

Questions (680)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

680. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda districts without a Garda Superintendent as of the end of 2013 and to date in 2014. [22771/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is already aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of demographics, crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.

I have however been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Districts without Superintendents on the 31 December 2013 and on the 31 March 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available are as set out in the following table:

31 December 2013

Division

District

Donegal

Milford

Galway

Clifden

Limerick

Roxboro Rd.

Roscommon/Longford

Longford

31 March 2014

Division

District

Donegal

Milford

Galway

Clifden

Limerick

Roxboro Rd.

Roscommon/Longford

Longford

Proposed Legislation

Questions Nos. 682 to 684, inclusive, answered with Question No. 643.

Questions (681)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

681. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 155 of 14 May 2014, if she will respond specifically in relation to last week's judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C 604/12 H. N. v. Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Ireland, Attorney General; if she will be considering introducing a single procedure for international protection by way of statutory instrument or amending legislation in advance of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22834/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 155 of 14 May 2013. In that reply, I stated that I will be reviewing the work done to date in respect of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill in consultation with my officials, following which I will decide on how best to progress the implementation of the Government's priorities, particularly those relating to the establishment of a single application procedure in the area of international protection.

The recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the case of HN C-604/12 arises from a request for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union from the Irish Supreme Court. The Court of Justice ruled that Council Directive 2004/83/EC, the principle of effectiveness and the right to good administration do not preclude a national procedural rule, such as that at issue in the main proceedings before the Irish Supreme Court, under which an application for subsidiary protection may be considered only after an application for refugee status has been refused. While the Court of Justice did add some conditions to its conclusion it does not appear to require Ireland, as a matter of European Union law, to introduce a single procedure for the examination of applications for international protection. Having received the ruling of the Court of Justice on the question raised, it is a matter for the Irish Supreme Court to complete its proceedings in relation to the case of HN.

Questions Nos. 682 to 684, inclusive, answered with Question No. 643.

Garda Retirements

Questions (685)

Michael P. Kitt

Question:

685. Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a garda, who has reached the age of 50 years, is eligible to retire on a full pension, even though the person does not have the full 30 years service (details supplied); if there is an option to purchase the outstanding service; if there are any other options available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22892/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Members of An Garda Síochána who joined the force prior to 1 April 2004 may retire on full pension once they have served for at least 30 years and they have reached 50 years of age. Members of An Garda Síochána who joined the Force on or after 1 April 2004 may retire on full pension once they have served at least 30 years and have reached 55 years of age. In both cases members must retire once they reach 60 years of age.

Members of An Garda Síochána who are over 50 years of age and do not have 30 years service may also avail of a cost neutral early retirement (C.N.E.R.) scheme. Their pension and lumps sums are actuarially reduced depending on their length of service and age at the time of retirement.

Immigration Status

Questions (686)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

686. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current and-or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22913/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

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. The question of leave to remain in the State on humanitarian or compassionate grounds, in the case of persons who fail to secure protection status, would be a matter to be considered under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 in due course.

Private Security Industry Regulation

Questions (687)

Clare Daly

Question:

687. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if it is lawful for a convicted criminal to be issued with a licence to operate a security business; and her plans to change this situation. [22915/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Private Security Authority (PSA), established under the Private Security Services Act 2004, is the regulatory body with responsibility for regulating and licensing the private security industry. The Authority is an independent body under the aegis of my Department.

The vetting of applicants by the Authority is an integral part of the licensing process. In the case of contractor licensing, all directors of a company, the partners in a partnership, all sole traders and any shareholder in a company with a shareholding of 5% or more are vetted, on the Authority's behalf, by An Garda Síochána. All applicants for individual licences also go through the vetting process.

The Authority has developed fit and proper criteria under which the suitability of all applicants is assessed before a determination on a licence is made. I am informed by the Authority that these criteria include a matrix under which convictions are considered. In addition, when deciding whether to grant a licence to a person with a conviction the following matters are taken into consideration.

- nature and seriousness of the offence(s) involved

- the length of time since completion of sentence

- overall interests of the public good

- relationship of the crime to the purpose of requiring a licence

- age of person before and after offence

- conduct of person before and after the offence

- evidence of rehabilitation

Although these criteria are used to assist the Authority in making a decision, it is not bound to them and it may decide, where it deems the conviction renders an applicant unsuitable to hold a licence, to refuse an application.

The fit and proper criteria are continually monitored and validated to ensure that these systems operate as effectively as possible.

Garda Station Opening Hours

Questions (688)

Jack Wall

Question:

688. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will confirm the opening times and personal numbers of Monasterevin Garda station, County Kildare; her plans to increase the number of gardaí based in the station; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22921/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of 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.

I have however been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of Monasterevin Garda Station on 31 March 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 4. Monasterevin Garda Station is open to the public from 10am to 1pm Monday to Sunday and call diversion is in place to Kildare Garda Station. Monasterevin Garda Station forms part of the Kildare Garda District in the Kildare Garda Division. The personnel strength of Kildare Garda District and Division on the same date was 119 and 312, respectfully. There are also 40 Garda Reserves and 28 Civilians attached to Kildare Garda Division.

Resources are further augmented, where necessary, by a number of Garda National Units such as the Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU), the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI), the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and other specialised units.

Banking Sector Investigations

Questions (689)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

689. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding investigations into the banking crisis; the reason there is a delay in jailing bankers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22927/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I share the widespread concern that all of the criminal investigations into the former Anglo-Irish Bank be resolved as soon as possible.

Arising from major investigations carried out by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI) and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), the Director of Public Prosecutions has issued directions that certain individuals be charged with offences relating to the former Anglo-Irish Bank. These investigations were amongst the most complex ever undertaken in the State.

As the Deputy will be aware, the first set of charges came before the courts recently and verdicts were handed down. Other charges are scheduled to come before the Courts, and the question of bringing further charges is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Deputy will appreciate that the setting of court dates is a matter for the courts and that the question of the verdict or sentence in any particular case is not something it would be appropriate for me to comment on. The Deputy will also appreciate, I am sure, that it is important that nothing be said which would risk interfering in any of the forthcoming trials.

Refugee Status Applications

Questions (690)

Michael Lowry

Question:

690. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will confirm the position of her Department with respect to Syrian nationals seeking refugee status here; if priority for refuge will be given to Syrian refugees with family here; if Syrian refugees with family members who are nationalised here have an entitlement to refuge; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22956/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Sections 8 and 9 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) provide that a person who arrives at the frontiers of the State seeking asylum or otherwise indicating an unwillingness to leave the State for fear of persecution shall be given leave to enter the State and may apply to the Minister for a declaration as a refugee and seek the protection of the State. Any person subsequently granted refugee status is entitled to apply for family reunification on behalf of family members under Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended). Similar provisions apply in the case of persons granted subsidiary protection status under European Union (Subsidiary Protection) Regulations 2013.

Under the national asylum procedure, the vast majority of Syrians who have applied for asylum in Ireland since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria in 2011 and whose applications have since been determined, have been declared to be refugees. A total of 71 such applications have been received in the State in the 3 year period March 2011 to end March 2014.

The Deputy might be aware that in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Government has already committed to accept 90 persons displaced by the Syrian conflict under the UNHCR resettlement programme. This will include four serious medical cases whose medical needs cannot be met except through resettlement.

My predecessor also announced in March an immigration based humanitarian admission programme for vulnerable persons affected by this conflict in the region. The Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme (SHAP), which was introduced following an approach by members of the Syrian community in Ireland, focuses on offering temporary Irish residence to vulnerable persons present in Syria, or who have fled from Syria to surrounding countries since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011, and who have close family members residing in the State.

The Programme allows naturalised Irish citizens of Syrian birth and Syrian nationals already lawfully resident in the State to make an application for vulnerable close family members to join them in Ireland on a temporary basis for up to two years. These are persons who are considered by their sponsoring family member present in Ireland to be most at risk. A sponsor may be a single person or the head of a family unit. Persons admitted under the Programme will be entitled to work, establish a business, or invest in the State.

A key condition of the Programme is that these persons should not become a burden on the State. If these family members cannot find employment the onus will be on the sponsors to support them during their time in Ireland.

The final date for submission of applications under the Programme was 30 April 2014. A total of 94 applications were received and they are currently being processed.

This Programme is an additional initiative in response to the crisis in Syria and is without prejudice to other avenues whereby Syrian nationals might lawfully enter the State, such as family reunification for the family members of refugees and persons with subsidiary protection, and UNHCR's resettlement programme.

Dublin-Monaghan Bombings

Questions (691)

Micheál Martin

Question:

691. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she or her Department have examined whether there is any agreement from the justice dimension at EU or international level that would assist with seeking an inquiry into the Dublin-Monaghan bombings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22967/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The atrocities perpetrated against innocent men, women and children in Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974 stand out in our collective memory as particularly bloody episodes in the history of conflict on this island. I know that the resulting pain is still felt by the survivors and the victims' families, despite the passage of 40 years, and our thoughts are with them.

As the House will know the late Mr. Justice Henry Barron carried out a detailed and painstaking inquiry into those awful events and, indeed, other atrocities that took place between 1972 and 1976 in which so many innocent people lost their lives. Related matters were also investigated by a Commission of Investigation carried out by Patrick McEntee SC. While acknowledging co-operation received from the British authorities, both the Barron and McEntee inquiries concluded that they had been limited somewhat by not having access to certain British Government documents which may be relevant to their terms of reference. It is a matter of regret that to date it has not proved possible for access to be made available to such documentation.

This House and Seanad Éireann have unanimously called on the British Government to make this documentation available and the Taoiseach and Tánaiste have raised this issue with the British Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Northern on a number of occasions. It is not apparent that there is an EU or international justice agreement which would be relevant to a case such as this and the question of an EU or international justice agreement does not arise at this point as the Government remain in discussions with the British Government in support of the families' request for access to documentation.

Domestic Violence Incidence

Questions (692)

Anthony Lawlor

Question:

692. Deputy Anthony Lawlor asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the incidence of domestic violence has increased since 2006; the annual figures for domestic violence incidents from 2006 to 2013, inclusive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23002/14]

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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 am advised that the CSO figures are compiled on the basis of the criminal offence identified during a Garda investigation, for example "Assault", whether related to a domestic situation or otherwise. As a consequence the figures requested by the Deputy are not available from the official CSO Crime Statistics.

I am further advised that under the National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence work in relation to the quantification of the incidence of domestic violence is ongoing.