National Traveller-Roma Integration Strategy

Questions (142)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

142. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if the consultation process on the national Traveller and Roma inclusion strategy has concluded; if she has submitted the draft strategy to the Government; and the date on which the new strategy will be published. [36143/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can confirm that the public consultation component of the process to develop a new National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy to improve the situation for the Traveller and Roma communities in Ireland has been completed. Phase 1 (identification of key themes for the new Strategy) and Phase 2 (identification and agreement of high level objectives under each agreed theme) of that consultation process have been completed. The consultation process of the final phase, Phase 3 (identification of detailed actions to achieve each agreed objective, with associated time-scales, key performance indicators, institutional responsibilities and monitoring arrangements), has now been completed. I am due to meet with the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy Steering Group in the coming weeks with a view to finalising the new National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy shortly.

Direct Provision Data

Questions (143)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

143. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons in direct provision centres in each of the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36160/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The numbers of persons residing in State provided accommodation at the end of each of the past twelve months is set out in the following table.

Month

Numbers of persons residing in State provided accommodation

October 2016

4,272

September 2016

4,209

August 2016

4,203

July 2016

4,208

June 2016

4,284

May 2016

4,282

April 2016

4,371

March 2016

4,461

February 2016

4,521

January 2016

4,587

December 2015

4,696

November 2015

4,705

As can be seen from the table, there has been a headline reduction of 433 persons residing in State provided accommodation since this time last year. It should be pointed out that this table does not reflect the overall numbers of persons leaving State provided accommodation as there is a constant ebb and flow as people leave State provided accommodation and new protection applicants avail of accommodation. In this regard, approximately 1,900 persons have left State provided accommodation between January and end of October 2016. Some have done so because they have been granted permission to remain in the State and some may have done so for personal reasons - there is no obligation on any person to remain in State provided accommodation.

Garda Deployment

Questions (144)

Joan Burton

Question:

144. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each Garda division on 31 October 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36171/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that in regard to the deployment of Garda personnel, a distribution model is used which takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trends and the policing needs of each individual Garda Division. Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategy, are continually monitored and reviewed. It is the responsibility of the Divisional Officer to allocate personnel within his/her Division.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Appointments will also be made to the Garda Reserve of approximately 300.

Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 will require some 3,200 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next four years in addition to the 1,200 that will have been recruited by the end of this year since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. This is an ambitious target and will require a continuous pipeline of suitable candidates. I am pleased to say that the recruitment campaign launched by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Commissioner last September, the second campaign this year, again received a strong response. Since the reopening of the Garda College, 679 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide.

The following below sets out the strength of each Garda Division, as on the 31 October 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available.

GARDA STRENGTH BY DIVISION OCTOBER 2016

DIVISION

TOTAL

DMR South Central

620

DMR North Central

604

DMR NORTH

674

DMR EAST

362

DMR SOUTH

541

DMR WEST

672

Waterford

278

Wexford

259

Tipperary

360

Kilkenny/Carlow

296

Cork City

645

Cork North

297

Cork West

280

Kerry

298

Limerick

549

Donegal

384

Cavan/Monaghan

318

Sligo/Leitrim

293

Louth

302

Clare

293

Mayo

300

Galway

565

Roscommon/Longford

300

Westmeath

243

Meath

289

Kildare

307

Laois/Offaly

294

Wicklow

303

TOTAL

10,926

Garda Deployment

Questions (145, 146)

Joan Burton

Question:

145. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí that transferred into the Kildare division from other Garda divisions in 2014, 2015 and to date in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36172/16]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

146. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí that transferred out of the Kildare division to other Garda divisions in 2014, 2015 and to date in 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36173/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 145 and 146 together.

I have requested the information sought by the Deputy from the Garda Commissioner and I will forward this information directly to the Deputy when it is to hand.

Garda Civilian Staff Data

Questions (147)

Joan Burton

Question:

147. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of civilians in the Garda workforce in each Garda division on 31 October 2016. [36174/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Commissioner is responsible for the recruitment and distribution of personnel including civilian staff in An Garda Síochána and I, as Minister, have no direct role in these matters. Garda management keeps such matters under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I am informed that there are currently in the region of 2,000 civilians undertaking administrative and technical duties within An Garda Síochána. On Budget day I announced that the Government has approved my proposal that by 2021 the overall Garda workforce should comprise a total of 21,000 personnel; to include 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Garda Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. 4,000 civilians will effectively double the current figure of civilians undertaking administrative and technical duties within An Garda Síochána and represents a medium term target of 20% civilians by 2021. This will bring An Garda Síochána, currently with 14% civilians, more into line with international norms and ensure that trained Gardaí are not engaging in administrative and technical duties which could be done by suitably qualified civilian staff. The Garda Inspectorate, in its 2015 report "Changing Policing in Ireland" has estimated that there may be up to 1,250 Gardaí currently in such posts and the Government’s plan aims to return as many of these Gardaí as possible to front-line duties over the next five years. With this in mind, the Garda Commissioner, in conjunction with the Policing Authority, has been requested to identify posts suitable for redeployment by the end of the year and to prepare a 5 year plan for reaching the 20% medium term target.

The recruitment and appointment of up to 500 civilians provided for in Budget 2017 will facilitate the Garda Commissioner in addressing capacity and critical skills gaps across the organisation including in corporate supports, change management, human resources and financial management at the national, regional and Divisional level. These appointments will make an important contribution to the delivery of the ambitious reform agenda set out in the Commissioner's Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 and will facilitate deeper civilianisation in the coming years.

I have provided a breakdown of the detailed information requested in relation to the number of civilians in each Garda Division on the 31 October 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, for the record. Apart from the posts listed below, there are more than another 1,000 civilian staff undertaking other administrative and technical duties within An Garda Síochána as civilianisation enables the establishment or expansion of some vital services which are wholly or largely provided by civilian staff – including the Garda National Immigration Bureau, the Garda Information Service Centre, the Garda Central Vetting Unit, the Fixed Charge Processing Office, and the civilianisation of the call taking function in the Command and Control Centre.

CIVILIAN STRENGTH OCTOBER 2016

DIVISION

TOTAL

DMR South Central

28

DMR North Central

38

DMR NORTH

43

DMR EAST

23

DMR SOUTH

34

DMR WEST

48

Waterford

28

Wexford

28

Tipperary

36

Kilkenny/Carlow

30

Cork City

58

Cork North

28

Cork West

24

Kerry

34

Limerick

51

Donegal

31

Cavan/Monaghan

37

Sligo/Leitrim

25

Louth

23

Clare

31

Mayo

34

Galway

46

Roscommon/Longford

27

Westmeath

21

Meath

27

Kildare

29

Laois/Offaly

22

Wicklow

23

TOTAL

907

Garda Reserve

Questions (148)

Joan Burton

Question:

148. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the present strength of the Garda Reserve by Garda division on 31 October 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36175/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including Garda Reserves, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the number of Garda Reserves by Garda Division on 30 September 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, is as set out in the following table.

The strength of the Reserve has fallen in recent years from a peak of 1,164 in 2013 to 756 currently. The fall-off arises from a range of factors, not least the lifting of the moratorium on recruitment of trainee Gardaí which has affected Reserve numbers in two ways - firstly over 160 serving Reserves have successfully applied to become trainee Gardaí, and secondly, resources in both An Garda Síochána and in the Public Appointment Service have been focused on delivering an accelerated programme of recruitment of full time members of An Garda Síochána. I am sure that the Deputy will agree, notwithstanding the very valuable contribution of Reserve members throughout the country, that it was the right decision, with finite resources, to prioritise the running of recruitment campaigns to replenish the full-time ranks of An Garda Síochána over the last two years.

Now that the recruitment process for trainee Gardaí is bedded down and a continuous pipeline of successful applicants is in place to ensure ongoing recruitment, there is the capacity in the system to commence work on the development of multi-annual plan to increase the Reserve numbers to 2,000 over the next five years in line the commitment in the Programme for Government. Achieving this will require in the order of 300 new Reserves to be recruited and trained annually. This will be significant undertaking and it is important that the processes around it are efficient and effective as possible. With this in mind the Commissioner is examining how the recruitment should be done - centrally as has been the case to date or more locally - and also how the training can best be delivered. The expectation at this stage is that we will see new reserves entering An Garda Síochána mid next year.

The Garda Reserve performs policing duties as determined by the Garda Commissioner, while accompanied by full time Gardaí. The role is to provide local patrols and participate in crime prevention initiatives targeted at specific local problem areas. Reserve members are also involved in policing major incidents and events, and in providing other operational support to full time Gardaí. In recent years the Garda Commissioner has conferred further powers on reserve members under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 and the Road Traffic Act 1961 and has also decided that they should carry out more duties including the serving of summonses, and the issuing of Fixed Charge Penalty Notices where offences are detected.

In the context of the planned expansion of the Reserve it is important that consideration is given to optimising its use. I am informed by the Commissioner that the Garda Reserve Management Office is currently undertaking an audit of the experience and skills of Reserves which, when completed, will assist Garda management in considering the future role to be played by the Reserve including whether additional powers should be conferred on Reserve members.

Reserve Gardaí by Garda Division 30/09/2016

Division

Total

D.M.R. South Central

51

DMR North Central

45

DMR NORTH

52

DMR EAST

16

DMR SOUTH

31

DMR WEST

35

Waterford

26

Wexford

25

Tipperary

24

Kilkenny/Carlow

27

Cork City

53

Cork North

17

Cork West

13

Kerry

25

Limerick

42

Donegal

22

Cavan/Monaghan

14

Sligo/Leitrim

24

Louth

33

Clare

7

Mayo

25

Galway

36

Roscommon/Longford

11

Westmeath

14

Meath

22

Kildare

23

Laois/Offaly

22

Wicklow

21

Total

756

Community Policing

Questions (149)

Joan Burton

Question:

149. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of community gardaí by Garda division on 31 October 2016. [36176/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including Community Gardaí, among the various Garda Divisions and Districts and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I have been informed that as of the 30 September 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, there were 740 Community Gardaí assigned to Garda Divisions throughout the country. The specific information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. It provides a means of recognising that every community – both urban and rural – has its own concerns and expectations. In this regard I welcome the strong emphasis placed by the Commissioner's Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 on further developing and supporting the community policing ethos of the organisation so that Gardaí spend more time in the community, gaining public confidence and trust and providing a greater sense of security. Proposed initiatives include the establishment of local Community Policing Teams (CPTs) headed by an Inspector and made up of Gardaí from across a range of areas to proactively work with the community to prevent and detect crime; and the establishment of Community Safety Fora in every District comprising local Gardaí, local communities and key stakeholders.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Appointments will also be made to the Garda Reserve of approximately 300.

Taking account of projected retirements, reaching a strength of 15,000 will require some 3,200 new Garda members to be recruited on a phased basis over the next four years in addition to the 1,200 that will have been recruited by the end of this year since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014. This is an ambitious target and will require a continuous pipeline of suitable candidates. I am pleased to say that the recruitment campaign launched by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Commissioner last September, the second campaign this year, again received a strong response.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College, 679 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána bringing the Garda strength to around the 13,000 mark by year end. It is expected that Community Policing and all other Garda activities, will undoubtedly benefit from these resources now coming on stream.

COMMUNITY GARDAÍ SEPTEMBER 2016

-

COMMUNITY GARDAÍ SEPTEMBER 2016

DIVISION

TOTAL

DMR South Central

33

DMR North Central

104

DMR NORTH

53

DMR EAST

30

DMR SOUTH

39

DMR WEST

58

Waterford

44

Wexford

8

Tipperary

72

Kilkenny/Carlow

90

Cork City

24

Cork North

8

Cork West

5

Kerry

7

Limerick

45

Donegal

22

Cavan/Monaghan

4

Sligo/Leitrim

8

Louth

16

Clare

6

Mayo

3

Galway

14

Roscommon/Longford

8

Westmeath

10

Meath

10

Kildare

0

Laois/Offaly

4

Wicklow

15

TOTAL

740

Brexit Issues

Questions (150)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

150. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if a Brexit sub-committee has been established in her Department; if so, when the sub-committee was convened; the number of times the sub-committee has met; the number of members on the sub-committee; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36208/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

A Departmental committee was established in April 2016 to examine issues which may impact on the Department's areas of responsibility following a UK vote to leave the EU. The committee is chaired by an Assistant Secretary and consists of nine members from across relevant Divisions within the Department. The committee, as a whole, has met three times to date - 28 April, 1 July and 13 September. There is also regular ongoing engagement between relevant Divisions within the Department, coordinated by the Department's International Policy Division. Weekly progress updates are provided to the Department's Management Board on the analysis and preparations underway.

In addition, the Department chairs and is represented on a number of sectoral Brexit workgroups established by the Department of the Taoiseach to provide key sectoral or thematic advices to the Cabinet Committee on Brexit and to the Government.

Departmental Properties

Questions (151)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

151. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the details of vacant sites, properties and land owned by her Department or by bodies and agencies under the aegis of her Department, in the Dublin City Council area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36225/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by my Department that there is a 0.29 acre site at South Circular Road, Islandbridge, Dublin 8 that is currently the property of the Irish Prison Service. This site is in the process of being transferred to Dublin City Council.

Garda Accommodation

Questions (152, 153)

Joan Burton

Question:

152. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the Garda intelligence headquarters, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2, was recently sold to a REIT that wishes to redevelop the complex; if suitable accommodation has been secured for the staff; the length of time it will take to relocate these offices; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36240/16]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

153. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of staff accommodated in the Garda intelligence headquarters, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2; her plans to accommodate its offices in future in view of the recent sale of the building to a REIT that plans to redevelop the building; if new suitable accommodation has been secured for the staff; the length of time it will take to relocate these offices; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36241/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 and 153 together.

The Deputy will be aware that the programme of replacement of Garda accommodation around the country is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close co-operation with the Office of Public Works, which has primary responsibility for the provision of Garda accommodation and I, as Minster, have no direct role in these matters.

The position remains as outlined in my response to Parliamentary Questions No. 52 and 55 of 29 September 2016, wherein I indicated that there are some 1,000 members of staff located in the complex and that matters relating to the leases of the complex are at present before the Courts. In the circumstances, the Deputy will appreciate it is not appropriate for me to comment further on the matter.

Deportation Orders

Questions (154)

Willie Penrose

Question:

154. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality when a decision will be made by her Department on a deportation order (details supplied) in the context of the correspondence and additional information provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36257/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned was deported from the State on 13th July, 2016 on foot of a valid Deportation Order which was made on 25th September, 2015. As the Deputy will be aware, the consequence of a Deportation Order is that the person named on the Order must leave the State and remain out of the State.

Representations were received from the person concerned, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), requesting that the Deportation Order be revoked.

A representative of the INIS wrote to the legal representative of the person concerned on 4th November, 2016 requesting clarification on certain matters relating to the case of the person concerned. I am advised that a reply was received in the INIS late on Monday, 21st November, 2016. The documentation submitted, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be considered in detail before a decision is taken to 'affirm' or to 'revoke' the existing Deportation Order. Once such a decision has been made, this will be notified in writing. In the meantime, the Deportation Order remains valid and in place.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department 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 Promotions

Questions (155)

Michael McGrath

Question:

155. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she plans to proceed with the appointment of those Garda inspectors who have been selected for promotion and who are currently waiting on the list for promotion to the rank of superintendent. [36273/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Government is determined that there is no undue delay filling critical vacancies in An Garda Síochána and will ensure that An Garda Síochána has a leadership team that can address the serious challenges that the Garda Síochána faces every day in maintaining law and order.

The Department of Justice was notified of 3 vacancies in September and since then a further 5 vacancies arose. These have been mainly voluntary retirements and therefore were not anticipated. As a result, there were 8 vacancies in the senior ranks up until today.

The Government has taken action today to rectify that. I can inform the Deputy that the Government has, today, approved my proposals to fill the existing vacancies and the consequential vacancies arising on foot of these appointments within the agreed strength of the Employment Control Framework. The Government has made one appointment to the rank of Assistant Commissioner, three appointments to Chief Superintendent and seven to Superintendent. The Garda Commissioner and the Policing Authority were consulted in relation to this matter.

The Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 makes provision for the Policing Authority to appoint persons to the senior ranks of An Garda Síochána. The establishment of the Authority represents one of the most significant and progressive reforms to the sector over recent years and the Government is committed to the Authority assuming its functions in relation to senior appointments as soon as practicable. The relevant provision will be commenced once amendments to the Regulations governing promotions within An Garda Síochána have been made by Government. The intention is to bring the Regulations to Government for approval in December and that the Authority will take over the appointment function by 1 January. Once this is done it will be a matter for the Authority to undertake its own selection competitions for appointments to these ranks.

EU Issues

Questions (156, 158, 159)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

156. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 195 of 16 September 2016, the timeframe for the implementation of the European travel information and authorisation system; the anticipated impact on the non-border provisions of the Schengen acquis states of Ireland and the UK; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36347/16]

View answer

Declan Breathnach

Question:

158. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the correspondence her Department has had with the EU migration commissioner, Dimitris Avrampolous, in regard to the impact of the European travel information and authorisation system in view of Brexit with regard to Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36349/16]

View answer

Declan Breathnach

Question:

159. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if her Department has re-assessed the impact of the European travel information and authorisation system in view of Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36350/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 156, 158 and 159 together.

The European Commission published its proposals for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) on 16th November, 2016. The system is being introduced in order to ensure a balance between mobility and security concerns for the legal entry into the Schengen area for persons who travel visa free.

The ETIAS will be an automated IT system which facilitates the processing of applications from the persons concerned travelling to the Schengen Area. It will gather information on travellers to allow for advance immigration and security checks. The ETIAS will apply to all visa-exempt third country nationals including airport transit passengers and family members of a Union citizen who do not hold a residence permit. The ETIAS does not apply to EU citizens which, of course, includes Irish nationals. In addition, ETIAS will not apply to recognised refugees or stateless persons. Where applicable, carriers will have to check that their passengers have a valid ETIAS travel authorisation before allowing them to board.

Initial discussion of the proposed Regulation establishing the ETIAS took place at the JHA Council on 18th November, 2016 with the Commission presenting an outline of the proposal. This proposal builds upon the measures in the Schengen acquis that concern the crossing of borders and in which Ireland (and the UK) do not participate. Therefore, Ireland are not taking part in the adoption of this Regulation and are not bound by it or subject to its application.

It is expected that ETIAS will be operational by 2020. In relation to the implications, if any, of this proposal in the context of BREXIT, it would be premature to speculate on this specific issue in advance of the negotiation process that will take place following the UK's formal notification that it intends to leave the EU. The matter will be kept under review in that context.

EU Issues

Questions Nos. 158 and 159 answered with Question No. 156.

Questions (157)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

157. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of her Department's interactions with the European Border and Coast Guard and the eu-LISA agency; if Department or other State body personnel have been seconded to those agencies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36348/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The EU Regulation which establishes the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG formerly FRONTEX) constitutes a development of provisions of the Schengen acquis in which Ireland does not take part, in accordance with Council Decision 2002/192/EC; Ireland is therefore not bound by the Regulation or subject to its application.

However, Article 51 of the Regulation provides for operational cooperation with Ireland and the United Kingdom on specific activities including the organisation of returns. Ireland may request to participate in specific activities of the EBCG and any such request is reviewed by the ECBG management board who decide on such requests. Provision is made in the Regulation on information exchanges between EBCG and Ireland related to the activities in which Ireland takes part. Ireland is invited to the meetings of the Management Board of the EBCG and is currently represented on the board by Chief Superintendent, Garda National Immigration Bureau.

The European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) is responsible for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the fields of justice and home affairs under Title V of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, in particular the Schengen Information System (SIS II), the Visa Information System (VIS) and the Eurodac system. Ireland attends meetings of the Management Board of the agency and is represented by An Garda Síochána at Superintendent level. My Department, the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and An Garda Síochána have interacted with the eu-Lisa agency in relation to the recent project to update Ireland's national Eurodac systems (bio-metric database for comparing fingerprints) as required by our participation in the Eurodac Regulation (EU) No.603/2013 (recast).

Questions Nos. 158 and 159 answered with Question No. 156.

Coroners Service

Questions (160)

Gerry Adams

Question:

160. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 323 of 17 February 2015 and 160 of 13 October 2015, the status of the Garda review that she stated was nearing completion in March 2015; if the Garda review has been completed; if not, the estimated completion date; the length of time this Garda review has been ongoing; if the gardaí met with the family (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36353/16]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have sought an up to date report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matters referred to and will contact the Deputy directly when this information is to hand.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

Before addressing the particular issues involved, I want to underline that I very much appreciate that the family in question are dealing with a very distressing situation as a result of their bereavement.

The Deputy will recall from my reply to your Parliamentary Question No. 160 of 13 October 2015 that the Garda authorities had advised that the review of the case in question had been completed, the solicitors for the family in question had been notified and that it was intended to arrange a meeting with family members. I am further advised by the Garda authorities that the Garda review did not uncover any additional relevant information in relation to the case. The conclusion reached by the State Pathologist in the case was that the deceased died from natural causes.

I also understand that the investigating officers in this case are available to meet with the family of the deceased to discuss further the findings of the review or any other relevant aspects of the case.

Betting Licences Data

Questions (161)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

161. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the amount of excise duty payable on the initial grant of a remote bookmaker’s licence and a remote betting intermediary’s licence collected by the Revenue Commissioners broken down by licence-holders for 2015 and to date in 2016, in tabular form; the amount paid; the number that opted for the equal split payment method for their excise payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35756/16]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the following table sets out the details requested. 

Licence Category

Duty Payable

No. of Licences issued 2015

No. opting for split payment facility

Total Receipts 2015

No. Of Licences Issued  2016 (to date)

No. opting for split  payment facility

Total Receipts 2016 (to date)

Remote Bookmaker's Licence

10,000

32

6

290,000

20

4

225,000

Remote Betting Intermediary's Licence

10,000

8

1

75,000

4

3

40,000

Lists of current licence holders are published on the Revenue website at: http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/excise/index.html

Tax Code

Questions (162)

Micheál Martin

Question:

162. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance the reason it was decided to commence the help-to-buy scheme on 19 July 2016 in view of the fact that the tax year begins on 1 January; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35879/16]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The commencement date for the Help to Buy scheme of 19 July 2016 was chosen as it was the date of the launch of 'Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness', in which the development of such a scheme for inclusion in the Budget was initially announced. The intention to backdate this tax incentive to this date was announced at that time with a view to avoiding any potential interruption in house sales, by purchasers who may otherwise have deferred purchases, pending the commencement of the incentive.

It is not unusual for legislative changes to the tax code to come into effect on dates other than the 1st of January. This can occur when for example, State Aid approval is received from the European Commission, or to commence a change with immediate effect, such as certain Budget day changes. In this case, the date of the commencement was the date when individuals first would have become aware that the Government would be bringing forward an incentive, and it could have affected purchasing decisions.

Tax Code

Questions (163)

Clare Daly

Question:

163. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue that has been lost to the Exchequer as a result of measures (details supplied). [35920/16]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the 2015 Budget increases to the Income Tax standard rate band thresholds and the reduction in the higher Income Tax rate from 41% to 40% generated an estimated first and full year cost to the Exchequer of €292 million and €405 million respectively. Due to the nature of the interaction between the two Income Tax components within this package, it is not possible to identify the specific cost of the increase to the income tax thresholds. These estimated costs were published in the 2015 Budget Book.

Regarding Budget 2016, the estimated first and full year costs to the Exchequer from the changes to employers' PRSI threshold were in the order of €6 million and €7 million respectively. The estimated first and full year costs to the Exchequer from the changes in the threshold, rates and bands related to Universal Social Charge (USC) were in the order of €561 million and €772 million respectively.

In relation to the cuts to Capital Gains Tax, it is assumed the Deputy is referring to the revised Entrepreneur Relief announced in Budget 2016. I am advised by Revenue that the estimated cost of the introduction of this relief was estimated at that time at €25m and €27m on a first and full year basis respectively as published in the 2016 Budget Book.

Regarding Budget 2017, the estimated first and full year costs to the Exchequer from the changes in USC rates and bands were in the order of €335 million and €390 million respectively. The estimated first and full year cost to the Exchequer from the increase in the Earned Income Credit from €550 to €950 is in the order of €33 million and €58 million respectively. In relation to Capital Acquisition Tax inheritance tax changes, it is assumed the Deputy is referring to the increase in thresholds. The estimated cost of these changes was estimated at the time to be in the region of €22 million on a first year basis. These estimated costs were published in the 2017 Budget Book.