Garda Reserve

Questions (162)

Seán Kenny

Question:

162. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda reservists allocated to each Garda district in Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23904/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, including Garda reservists, 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 number of Garda reservists attached to each Garda District in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) on 30 April 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as set out in the following table:

Division

District

Reserves

DMR East

Blackrock

10

DunLaoghaire

10

DMR North

Balbriggan

5

Ballymun

22

Coolock

20

Raheny

16

DMR North Central

Bridewell

23

Fitzgibbon Street

23

Store Street

33

DMR South

Crumlin

15

Tallaght

20

Terenure

16

DMR South Central

Donnybrook

18

Kevin Street

23

Pearse Street

38

DMR West

Blanchardstown

31

Clondalkin

12

Lucan

21

Juvenile Offenders

Questions (163)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

163. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current level of supports available to juveniles and young persons leaving the prison system, particularly in the areas of reintegration-rehabilitation, education, employment and residential accommodation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23906/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the deputy that supports available to juveniles and young persons leaving the prison system can arise in a variety of ways under the auspices of the various services provided by my Department. These include the following: supervision, in the form of community return or community support, such supervision is undertaken by the Probation Service; training and rehabilitation within the prison system, for prisoners as a continuing component of their post-release programmes; structured temporary (or early) releases from prison granted for the purpose of undertaking educational and/or training courses or programmes or other rehabilitative opportunities (such as a hostel placement, non-residential placement, participation in a community project, or other support).

A wide variety of agencies are involved in all of these areas - both from the statutory and voluntary sectors. I might also mention that my Department and the Garda Síochána operate youth diversion programmes in urban and rural communities throughout the State which are aimed at diverting those at most risk of offending away from crime and thus intervening before the youths concerned end up either under supervision by the Probation Service or in the prison system.

While the specific focus of the Deputy's Question is the post-release training and rehabilitative services for persons whose sentences have ended, I should also mention that the Prison Service provides to those in custody a wide range of rehabilitative programmes, which have the dual purpose of providing prisoners with purposeful activity while serving their sentences and encouraging them to lead non-offending lives on release.

The development of prisoner programmes forms a central part of the Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan 2012 - 2015. There is a clear commitment in the Strategy to enhance sentence planning through Integrated Sentence Management and the delivery of prison based rehabilitative programmes such as education, work training and resettlement programmes. There is a Guidance Counsellor available to all young persons in prison. This teacher's role is to make contact with outside schools, informal education centres and community training centres. In addition he/she will also liaise with guidance services and social welfare services and be in contact with prison linkage groups and Pathways Education Centres. The Guidance Counsellor advocates on behalf of the prisoner before their release with these educational facilities in the community. This teacher also liaises with other services working with the prisoner to get the best possible placement available on release.

Other areas where there has been significant progress in prison education are in physical education, in the provision of higher education, in the arts and in preparing prisoners for release and supporting their transition to life, and often to education, on the outside. A top priority for the Irish Prison Service is ensuring help for those with reading and writing problems and peer mentoring programmes are currently active in all of our prisons.

As part of a joint initiative between the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service, to address the needs of Young Offenders, education and training specific community return options have been designed for young offenders under the age of 21. A new approach to structured probation supervision of released young offenders is being implemented. In addition, the Irish Prison Service fund the GATE service, whose staff are trained career guidance specialists based in the prisons. Young persons engage with the services Training and Employment Officers (TEO’s) as early as possible prior to release. The GATE Service has been in operation since 2007 and is a joint initiative between the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders (IASIO) and the Irish Prison Service (IPS).

Lastly, I would mention that generally, once a person's prison sentence has ended, there is no enduring obligation on that individual to remain in contact with the agencies of my Department. There are a small number of exceptions to this including sex offenders who may be required to register with their local Garda station and life sentenced prisoners who will be required to remain under supervision by the Probation Service after their release. However, every effort is made to encourage prisoners to avail of the community supports available.

EU Directives

Questions (164, 165, 166)

Niall Collins

Question:

164. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason Ireland has chosen not to take part in the European investigation order directive of the European Parliament and Council regarding the European investigation order 7 March 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23937/14]

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Niall Collins

Question:

165. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Government participated in the Council of the European Union debate on the European investigation order; the reservations that were raised and alterations proposed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23938/14]

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Niall Collins

Question:

166. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Government plans to revisit its decision not to participate in the European investigation order scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23939/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 to 166, inclusive, together.

In 2010, Ireland chose not to opt into the draft European Investigation Order (EIO) proposal on the basis that it was inconsistent with Irish law and practice. We did, however, indicate our willingness to consider the matter further after adoption, subject to the instrument being compatible with Irish law and practice.

The EIO was recently adopted and it is due to come into force in 2017. In this regard, my Department is engaged in consultations with the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Garda authorities to establish whether Ireland might now be in a position to opt in to the instrument. Once these consultations have concluded, the question of opting in to the EIO will be further considered.

Ireland fully participated in the negotiations on the EIO and, indeed, chaired the negotiations on the proposal with the European Parliament during our Presidency of the Council in 2013. Ireland raised a number of issues concerning the proposal including the grounds for non-recognition and non-execution of an EIO and, in particular, the absence from those grounds of a dual criminality provision with regard to certain coercive measures. Finally, it should be noted that Ireland's non-participation in the EIO does not, in any way, affect our rights and obligations to seek and afford mutual legal assistance with reference to existing instruments.

EU Directives

Questions (167)

Niall Collins

Question:

167. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Government had prepared legislation to implement the framework decision on the European Evidence Warrant 2008/978/JHA before the deadline for transposition into national law passed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23940/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Framework Decision on the European Evidence Warrant 2008/978/JHA is being repealed by the European Investigation Order Directive. Although Ireland has not yet made a final decision on whether or not to opt in to that Directive, we will not be preparing legislation to implement the now defunct Framework Decision. Requests for evidence between Ireland and other states will continue to be done in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008. Such matters are not affected by the fact that the European Evidence Warrant Framework Decision is not being implemented.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (168, 169, 170)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

168. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if a special needs assistant will be provided in respect of a child (details supplied) in County Cork when they start preschool later this year. [23731/14]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

169. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the circumstances in which a child may get a special needs assistant for preschool. [23732/14]

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Billy Kelleher

Question:

170. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the circumstances under which a child may get a special needs assistant for preschool. [23756/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 to 170, inclusive, together.

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme, which is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, provides for a free pre-school year to eligible children in the year before they commence primary school. The objective of this scheme is to support early learning in a formal setting in advance of starting school. I understand that certain flexibilities are built into the scheme in an effort to accommodate children with special needs, such as an overage exemption, or waiver, for children with special needs who do not meet the age criteria and the option to avail of the free pre-school year over two years.

The Health Service Executive has no statutory obligation to provide assistant supports for children with special needs wishing to avail of the free pre-school year. However, it works at local level and in partnership with the relevant disability service providers to address individual needs as they arise. This is done, for example, by funding special pre-schools that cater specifically for children with disabilities. In some cases at local level disability services have also facilitated children with disabilities to attend mainstream pre-schools by providing assistant supports where possible.

The HSE’s role in supporting children with disabilities involves it working in close co-operation with the disability service providers that it funds, with the education sector, with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and with the parents and families of the children in question. However, there is a need to strengthen these arrangements. A dedicated Cross-Sectoral Team, comprising representatives of my Department, the HSE, the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs plays a key role in fostering greater collaboration on children’s disability issues and to build on the cross-sectoral working arrangements that are already in place. A sub group of this Cross-Sectoral Team has been set up to examine the issues around the integration of children with disabilities into mainstream pre-school settings, building on previous analysis in this area. Representatives of the Departments of Health, Children and Youth Affairs, Education and Skills, the Health Service Executive and of the City and County Childcare Committees are members of this group and it is chaired by the Department of Health. The issue of supports for children with disabilities in mainstream pre-school settings is being looked by this sub-group. Within this context I have asked the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in respect of the individual case that he has raised.