Thursday, 6 December 2018

Questions (125)

Mick Wallace


125. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 20 of 17 October 2018, the meaning of the reactivation of all existing applications for repatriation under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act 1995 in practical terms for UK prisoners depending on their sentence type in view of the fact that the applications are likely to lapse without the required legislative changes to the Act; his views on whether the reactivations may raise false expectations of prisoners and their families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51271/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts 1995 to 1997 give effect to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons 1983. The Deputy will also be aware that there have been a number of recent Court judgements which have implications for transferring prisoners from other States to Ireland. These judgements raised a number of complex issues about the legislation and its administration, indicating that legislative change is required. The practical effect and implications of the judgements resulted in applications for transfer from other States to Ireland being placed on hold pending the necessary legislative changes. My Department is at present finalising a draft scheme of a Bill to bring forward such changes. This draft scheme will be brought to Government as soon as possible.

However the Court of Appeal decision in the case of M.McK v The Minister for Justice and Equality [2016] IEHC 208, clarified that the Minister should ultimately consider each application on its own merits and give detailed reasoning for the decision reached. The judgment also concludes that the Minister cannot fail to implement legislation through prolonged inactivity of a statutory scheme such as the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts.

As such, what is meant by reactivation is that each application will be considered on its own merits. I cannot prejudge the outcome of any such application. All relevant applicants have been informed of this reactivation and will be further informed of any developments in their respective cases as they arise.