Prisoner Data

Questions (141, 142, 143)

Clare Daly

Question:

141. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoner on prisoner assaults in each prison in total in 2013 and between January and June 2014; the number of prisoners on staff assaults in each prison in total in 2013 and between January amd June 2014. [28662/14]

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Clare Daly

Question:

142. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners on prisoner assaults in each prison in total in 2013; the number of prisoner on staff assaults in each prison in total in 2013; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28663/14]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

143. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoner on prisoner assaults in each prison in total in 2014; the number of prisoner on staff assaults in each prison in total in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28664/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 141 to 143, inclusive, together.

The information requested by the Deputy on the number of prisoner on prisoner assaults and prisoner on staff assaults for 2013 is set out in the table below.

Prison/Place of Detention

Number of Prisoner on Prisoner Assaults by prison 2013

Number of Prisoner Assaults on Staff by prison 2013

Arbour Hill

7

0

Castlerea

103

12

Cloverhill

76

12

Cork

30

8

Dóchas Centre

21

7

Limerick

31

5

Loughan House

0

0

Midlands

88

7

Mountjoy (Male)

107

34

St.Patrick's Institution

57

49

Portlaoise

5

3

Shelton Abbey

0

0

Training Unit

0

0

Wheatfield

77

10

PSEC

2

7

Total

604

154

No level of inter prisoner violence or assaults on staff is acceptable. Every effort is made by prison staff and management to limit the scope of acts of violence. However, no regime can completely eliminate the possibility of violent incidents happening in a prison setting where a large number of dangerous and violent offenders are being held. As the Deputy can see from the figures there were 758 incidents of violence recorded in prisons during 2013 and this includes very minor incidents. This amounts to an average of 2.1 incidents per day among a population of approximately 4,000.

The Irish Prison Service has successfully introduced a number of measures across the prison estate such as, hand-held metal detectors, netting over prison yards, boss chairs and security screening machines to detect and prevent weapons from entering the prison to limit the scope of acts of violence.

In addition, new prisoner programmes have been introduced such as the Incentivised Regimes policy which provides for a differentiation of privileges between prisoners according to their level of engagement with services and quality of behaviour. The objective is to provide tangible incentives to prisoners to participate in structured activities and to reinforce good behaviour, leading to a safer and more secure environment. As a result, I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the figures for 2013 represent an 8% decrease on the 2012 total of 822 (715 prisoner on prisoner and 107 prisoner on staff).

I can advise the deputy that the number of prisoner on prisoner assaults and the number of prisoners on staff assaults in each prison for January to June 2014 is not readily available and requires a manual examination of records. The Information is being collated by the Irish Prison Service and I will forward a reply to the Deputy as soon possible.

Prison Committals

Questions (144)

Finian McGrath

Question:

144. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding conditions in Limerick prison (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28665/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that as of Monday 30 June 2014, there was a total of 30 women in custody in Limerick Prison. The Deputy will be aware that the primary role of the Irish Prison Service is the provision of safe and secure custody for prisoners. The Deputy will also be aware that the Prison Service must accept all persons committed by the courts into custody and does not have the option of refusing committals. A business case for the modernisation of prison facilities in Limerick Prison is currently being drafted by the Irish Prison Service. Part of the proposed redevelopment includes the provision of high quality prison accommodation for female prisoners with capacity for approximately 50 individual cells and 8 custodial apartments.

The Irish 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.

On 6 March 2014 the IPS published a Women’s Strategy entitled "An Effective Response to Women Who Offend". The Women’s Strategy sets out how the Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service will work together, as well as with other statutory, community and voluntary sector partners, to provide women-focused interventions to help reduce offending, improve opportunities for reintegration and to improve outcomes more generally. This co-operative approach is a direct result of the Joint Strategy published last year which aims to deliver more effective offender management.

Garda Recruitment

Questions (145)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

145. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to fill vacancies at the rank of superintendent and chief superintendent in the near future. [28669/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions and Districts, the various Garda national units and of course Garda Headquarters. 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. This necessary ongoing flexibility in the distribution of personnel means that it is not feasible to identify specific vacancies within specific areas of the Force.

At a national level, sanction has been given by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for a maximum strength in each rank. The agreed strengths for ranks above Garda rank are given in the table below, together with current actual strength (as of the end of April 2014). Where current actual strength is below the approved maximum strength, it is the Garda Commissioner who will make the necessary arrangements to have the balance of posts filled through promotion competitions.

Recent promotion competitions were held to fill vacancies at the ranks of Inspector and Sergeant respectively. It is expected that appointments from these panels will be made in the very near future.

Rank

Actual strength

Approved max. strength

**COMMISSIONER

1

1

***D/COMMISSIONER

0

2

A/COMMISSIONER

8

9*

C/SUPERINTENDENT

42

45

SUPERINTENDENT

147

166

INSPECTOR

263

300

SERGEANT

1,832

2,000

* to be reduced to 8 on the appointment in 2014 of an Executive Director of Human Resources and People Management

** acting Commissioner

***D/Commissioner is Acting Commissioner

Legislative Measures

Questions (146)

Clare Daly

Question:

146. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the legislation and regulations relating to when gardaí may prosecute cases in the courts; and her plans to change same. [28704/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The prosecution of offences by members of the Garda Síochána is regulated generally by section 8 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Section 8 requires that the institution and conduct of any prosecution by a member of the Garda Síochána is done in compliance with the directions of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The general directions issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions to the Garda Síochána under section 8 are available on the Director's website www.dppireland.ie.

There are no plans to amend section 8 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

Direct Provision Data

Questions (147)

Clare Daly

Question:

147. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide a breakdown of the number of persons who have been held in direct provision centres for more than five years, categorised by centre and the number of years. [28705/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is responsible for the voluntary accommodation of protection applicants in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal. Direct provision provides for full board accommodation supports while a final decision is awaited by a person on their protection or any related leave to remain application.

As at 8 June 2014, there were 4,353 persons availing of direct provision accommodation in 34 centres under contract to the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department.

The detailed statistical analysis sought by the Deputy for the year ending 31 December, 2013 is provided in RIA's 2013 Annual Report which is published on its website - www.ria.gov.ie

National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan

Questions (148)

Finian McGrath

Question:

148. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding Ireland's national disability strategy and Ireland's stance on the UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities. [28711/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In line with the Programme for Government commitment a National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan (NDSIP) was published in July 2013 following significant consultation and consideration between relevant Government Departments and representatives of a broad range of disability organisations. This Plan sets out the practical measures that will be taken to advance the National Disability Strategy over the period 2013 to 2015.

In addition to the ongoing implementation of the actions being undertaken by the relevant Government Departments, two new initiatives are currently being progressed. These are the drafting of a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities and a review of the Implementation Plan with respect to how it addresses the needs of people with autism.

A draft framework for the Employment Strategy was issued for consultation with all relevant stakeholders in August. Work is ongoing to finalise this Strategy.

I have also requested the NDA to examine how the Implementation Plan reflects the needs of people with autism. The NDA, as part of that examination, engaged in a consultation exercise with autism stakeholders and examined existing service provision across relevant departments for people with disabilities. The outcome of this process is being examined at present.

The Government intends to proceed to ratification of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. As the Deputy may be aware, Ireland does not become party to treaties until it is first in a position to comply with the obligations imposed by them, including the amendment of domestic law as necessary.

An interdepartmental committee on the Convention is reviewing the remaining legislative and administrative actions required to enable ratification. As part of its work programme, the committee has identified issues to be considered by various Departments and examination of these issues is ongoing. At the request of the committee, the National Disability Authority, the lead statutory agency for the sector, has also assisted in assessing remaining requirements for ratification to ensure that all outstanding issues will be comprehensively addressed.

For my Department, one of the key requirements is the enactment of capacity legislation. The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a Bill in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill, published on 17 July 2013, provides a series of options to support people with impaired capacity to make decisions and exercise their basic rights in line with the principles of the UN Convention. It undertakes a comprehensive reform of existing legislation governing capacity. The Bill will go to Committee Stage shortly. The enactment of this legislation is one of the core elements of the remaining work to be completed to enable ratification by the State of the UN Convention.

Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (149)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

149. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if and when determination of eligibility for a medical card will be completed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28562/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.

Medicinal Products Availability

Questions (150)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

150. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Health if the drug beta feron will be made available on the Health Service Executive community drug scheme for multiple sclerosis sufferers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28566/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for the administration of the primary care schemes, therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Departmental Reports

Questions (151)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

151. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health further to his obligations under Part 3 section 20(4) to (7) of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, if such a report has been written; the date on which he will publish same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28567/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Deputy may wish to note that, as the Act was commenced on 1st January 2014, the first annual report covering its operation will be published in June 2015.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (152)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

152. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health if the Health service Executive has a full stock of BCG vaccinations to ensure there is no interruption to the vaccination service in County Meath as has happened in Dublin west; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28569/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a services matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for a direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospitals Building Programme

Questions (153)

Dan Neville

Question:

153. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the replacement of the Central Mental Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28571/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service issue this question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (154)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

154. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare in view of the decision of 17 June 2014, regarding discretionary medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28573/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

In the context of the Government's decision to develop a policy framework for providing eligibility for health services on the basis of medical conditions, the Government recently announced that a medical card or GP visit card is to be issued to a person, with a serious illness, whose discretionary card was refused renewal since the centralisation of medical card assessments.

If the medical card or GP visit card to which the Deputy refers was awarded by way of discretion and was refused renewal in the period from 1 July 2011 to 31 May 2014 following the completion of an eligibility review, a card will issue by the HSE.

The HSE has commenced issuing letters to the persons concerned and this process should be concluded by the first two weeks of July. No action is required on the part of those affected as the HSE will be in contact. If people do not hear from the HSE by mid July, they should contact the HSE on its Lo-Call contact number: 1890 25 29 19. These individuals will be able to access medical card and GP visit card services in the normal manner when they have been advised by the HSE that their medical card or GP visit card is active.

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine the specific query raised and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Card Applications

Questions (155)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

155. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Galway may expect to receive a decision on their medical card considering that they are seriously ill in hospital and applied for the medical card in February of this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28578/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.

Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Questions (156)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

156. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the reason for the delay in a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 receiving an artificial leg replacement; and when they can expect to receive it [28579/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Beds Data

Questions (157, 159, 164)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

157. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health the number of beds that were made available to Mayo oncology patients at Galway University Hospital, centre of excellence for cancer treatment for each of the past five years to date in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28582/14]

View answer

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

159. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health the number of oncology beds available at Galway University Hospital, centre of excellence for cancer treatment for each of the past five years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28587/14]

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Michelle Mulherin

Question:

164. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health the average waiting times for each of the past five years to date for Mayo oncology patients awaiting a hospital bed for treatment at Galway University Hospital, centre of excellence for cancer treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28593/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 157, 159 and 164 together.

The Deputy's questions relates to service delivery matters and accordingly I have asked the HSE to respond directly to her.

Accident and Emergency Department Waiting Times

Question No. 159 answered with Question No. 157.

Questions (158)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

158. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Health if he will provide the figures for patients on trolleys at the emergency department, Galway University Hospital for each of the past five years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28585/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

In relation to the detailed information requested by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to her directly.

Question No. 159 answered with Question No. 157.

Health Services Expenditure

Questions (160)

Finian McGrath

Question:

160. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if his Chief Medical Officer will correct the evidence he gave to the health committee in December 2013 that the annual cost of smoking to the health budget is €664 million when the Irish Cancer Society recently stated that the cost is €2 billion; if the parliamentary record will be corrected on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28589/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Chief Medical Officer was quoting from a European Union Study - DG Sanco report entitled "A Study on liability and the health costs of smoking” for all EU countries.

The figures outlined in that report are as follows:

Health expenditure on smoking attributable diseases - 498 million

Productivity losses due to absenteeism - 15 million

Long-term incapacity caused by smoking attributable illnesses - 151 million

These figures total to 664 million. Given that the Chief Medical Officer was quoting from a published EU study there is no requirement to correct the parliamentary record.