Prisoner Transfers

Question No. 226 answered with Question No. 220.

Questions (225)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

225. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the prisoner transfer scheme following the Supreme Court judgment in a case (details supplied); if legal clarity on applications by prisoners abroad for transfer here has been sought; when the decision will be made on outstanding applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51577/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

This detailed Supreme Court judgement raised a number of complex issues about the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts and their administration. It indicated that legislative change is required to facilitate the process of transferring prisoners from other States - in particular the UK - to Ireland. My Department is at present finalising a draft scheme of a short Bill to bring forward such changes.  This draft scheme will be brought to Government as soon as possible.

A further judgement in 2018 of the Court of Appeal has a bearing on those applications that were on hold as a result of the complex issues raised by the Supreme Court decision. The outcome is that the statutory scheme provided for in the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts must be implemented, and each application must be considered on its own merits under the existing legislation. All relevant applicants have been informed of this and will be further informed of any developments in their respective cases as they arise. The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot prejudge the outcome of any such application

 I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that there are currently 27 applications being processed. Each application is at a different stage of the application process. All require the collation of a number of detailed reports, e.g. Garda Reports and Probation Service Reports. Therefore it is not possible to give a specific time frame in which a decision can be made in any application, given the complex nature of the information required and the number of external agencies involved in the process.

Question No. 226 answered with Question No. 220.

Garda Civilian Staff Data

Questions (227)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

227. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of non-civilian Garda staff forced to retire due to injury sustained in the performance of official duties in the past ten years to date; the number of civilian Garda staff forced to retire due to injury sustained in the performance of official duties the past ten years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51648/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

 As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána including personnel matters, and I as Minister have no direct role in the matter.

I am informed by the Commissioner that the specific information requested by the Deputy is not readily available and would take a disproportionate amount of staff time and resources to collate and verify. 

I am however, advised by the Garda Commissioner that as of 6 December 2018, 82 Garda members left the force due to medical discharge and 47 Garda staff retired on grounds of ill health over the previous ten years.

Prison Service Staff

Questions (228)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

228. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prison officer staff forced to retire due to injury sustained in the performance of official duties in each the past 25 years to date; the location of each prison the officer last worked in; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51649/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Acting Director General of the Irish Prison Service that employees can voluntarily apply for retirement on the grounds of ill health in the event that the Chief Medical Officer finds them incapable on medical grounds of regular and effective service, due to a current ongoing medical condition that is likely to be permanent.  This procedure is governed by the Department of Finance circular 22/07 which sets out the procedure to be followed, either on the initiative of the employee or of the Department.  I am further advised that it is extremely rare that a Government Department would initiate ill health retirement.

The Irish Prison Service commenced the recording of the relevant data in 2009 and is in a position to provide details from then until now. During that time, approximately 54 employees retired on grounds of ill health as a direct result of a recognised injury on duty. The information requested in relation to prison location is being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy in the coming days.

The following revised reply was received on 18 December 2018

I am advised by the Acting Director General of the Irish Prison Service that ill-health retirement is governed by the Department of Finance circular 22/07 which sets out the procedure to be followed, either on the initiative of the employee or of the Department.

The Irish Prison Service commenced the recording of the relevant data in 2006. In the intervening time, 172 employees have retired on grounds of ill health and of that, 13 as a direct result of a recognised injury on duty.

The location in which the 13 Officers worked is as follows:

Year, Number, Location

2006, 2 -1 Cork, 1 Portlaoise

2007, 0

2008, 1, Midlands

2009, 1, Prison Service Escort Corp

2010 to 2014, 0

2015, 2 - 1 Limerick, 1 Midlands

2016, 3 - 1 Cork, 1 Mountjoy, Prison Service Escort Corp

2017, 2 - 1 Castlerea, 1 Portlaoise

2018, 2, Cork

Prison Service Data

Questions (229)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

229. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications from his Department to the Departments of Finance and or Public Expenditure and Reform for injury warrants in respect of prison officers since 1994; the date of the most recent application for same; the number of applications that were granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51650/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Matters relating to Injury Warrants come within the responsibility of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The Civil Service Injury Warrants are a series of statutory instruments made under the Superannuation Acts. They provide additional benefits over and above normal pension entitlements, to or in respect of officers who, through no fault of their own, are killed or injured in the performance of their duties. The injury must be attributable to the nature of their duties.

I am advised by the Acting Director General of the Irish Prison Service that the Irish Prison Service commenced using electronic recording of staff data in late 1990s and since then there have been 4 former employees who applied for an annual allowance under the Injury Warrants regulations. All 4 applications were refused. I am further advised that the most recent application was received in August 2017.

Leave to Remain

Questions (230)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

230. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of an application for renewal of permission to remain in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51694/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned has applied for the renewal of their permission to remain which expired on 20 November 2018. That application is under consideration at present. Such applications are examined having regard for, among other things, the relevant applicant’s compliance with the conditions attaching to their earlier permission to remain which include; that they have obeyed the laws of the State; that they have not become involved in criminal activity; that they have made every effort to gain employment and not be a burden on the State and that they have resided continuously in the State.

Once a decision has been made on this application – to renew or to refuse to renew their permission to remain – this decision will be conveyed in writing.

 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.

Residency Permits

Questions (231)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

231. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider the regularisation of residency in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51712/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it would appear both persons' presence in the State may be unlawful as neither appear to have a current permission to reside in the State.

The Deputy will appreciate that, under the relevant provisions of the Immigration Act, 2004, a non-national may not be in the State other than within the terms of a permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality. In order to allow for a full examination of the circumstances of the individuals concerned, they should write to Unit 2, Domestic Residence and Permissions Division, INIS, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 and provide a detailed account and documentary evidence of their personal circumstances since their arrival in this State. 

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.

Refugee Status Appeals

Questions (232)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

232. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a person (details supplied) will receive contact with regard to their successful appeal for refugee status as advised in correspondence sent to them by the International Protection Appeal Tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51734/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that if an application for International Protection has been made in the State, for confidentiality reasons it is not the practice to comment on it. Under Section 26 of the International Protection Act 2015, it is an offence to identify an international protection applicant. The offence is punishable by summary conviction to a Class A fine or a term of imprisonment of 12 months or both. In this case, I cannot comment on the details supplied by the Deputy.

Queries in relation to the status of individual 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.

Citizenship Applications

Questions (233)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

233. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a decision is expected to be made with respect to an application by a person (details supplied) for Irish citizenship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51747/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the processing of the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy is ongoing. On completion of the necessary processing the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements, not only within the State but also at European Union level, and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process. 

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. The nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process.  In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time. 

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 Vetting Legislation

Questions (234)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

234. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider reviewing and amending the Garda vetting process to change to a situation in which those who are Garda vetted will receive a Garda vetting certificate which can be produced for each organisation rather than requiring an applicant to seek Garda vetting a number of times in which they are involved with a number of organisations; the reason Garda vetting cannot be used for more than one organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51774/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that the primary purpose of the employment vetting carried out by the Garda National Vetting Bureau is to seek to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults and it is carried out by An Garda Síochána primarily in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012-2016 and is, as I am sure you will agree, a very important task which must be done thoroughly and correctly.

The current system relating to Garda Vetting is delivered in a standard format to each organisation seeking Garda Vetting and this methodology is in line with good practice internationally. Vetting checks are conducted by the Vetting Bureau for each new application received to ensure that the most recent data available is taken into account. This is because once there has been any significant lapse of time between one employment and another, the original vetting disclosure must be reviewed to take account of any changes in information, such as more recent criminal convictions.

Furthermore, the Data Protection Acts require that any sensitive personal data which employers use in regard to their employees must be current, accurate and up-to-date. Importantly, the general non-transferability and contemporaneous nature of the current process also helps to protect against the risk of fraud or forgery in the process.

Each relevant organisation develops its own policy in relation to the assessment of disclosures received from the Garda National Vetting Bureau.  Policies can vary between different organisations and in that regard, what is acceptable to one organisation may not be acceptable to another. 

However, the Deputy will wish to know that the Act provides for the sharing of vetting disclosures in certain circumstances by registered organisations; a facility which is of assistance in the health and education sectors, for example, in reducing the need for multiple vetting applications.

Section 12(3)(A) of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 (as amended) provides that two or more relevant organisations can enter into a joint written agreement in relation to the employment, contracting, permitting or placement of a person to undertake relevant work or activities, thereby providing for only one of the organisations being required to conduct vetting in respect of that person.

In general, the vetting process is working well and I understand that there are no backlogs or delays in Garda Vetting at present. This efficiency has been achieved by the deployment of the e-vetting system which facilitates the on-line processing of applications for vetting from registered organisations. The e-Vetting system is available to all registered organisations and the Garda Authorities are ready to assist those organisations who are not yet using the e-Vetting system to do so.  

The current turnaround time for vetting applications submitted by organisations utilising the eVetting system is 5 working days for over 85% of applications received. Individual applicants can track the process of their application online using the eVetting Tracking System, details of which are contained in the email received by applicants when completing their application online.

Garda Vetting Applications

Questions (235)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

235. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the wait time for Garda vetting for a teacher. [51778/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that the primary purpose of the employment vetting carried out by the National Vetting Bureau is to seek to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.  It is carried out by An Garda Síochána primarily in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012-2016 and is, as I am sure you will agree, a very important task which must be done thoroughly and correctly. My Department has no role in the processing of individual vetting applications.  

I have been informed by the Garda Authorities that the Vetting Bureau works to ensure that the processing time for vetting applications is kept to the minimum necessary in order to ensure that the statutory obligation to receive a vetting disclosure, prior to permitting any person to undertake relevant work or activities on behalf of an organisation, can be facilitated without undue delay.

All Garda vetting applications are processed on a first-come, first serve basis in chronological order from date of receipt. This is with a view to observing equity and fairness in respect of all vetting subjects.  

In respect of certain applications, it is necessary for the Vetting Bureau to conduct further enquiries, for example to confirm information provided by the applicant with external bodies. The time required to receive such information may be outside of the control of the Vetting Bureau. In such instances, processing times may be significantly longer than the general average.  

In general, the vetting process is working well and I understand that there are no backlogs or delays in Garda Vetting at present.  

This efficiency has been achieved by the deployment of the e-vetting system which facilitates the on-line processing of applications for vetting from registered organisations.  

The current turnaround time for vetting applications submitted by organisations utilising the eVetting system is 5 working days for over 85% of applications received.

Individual applicants can track the process of their application online using the eVetting Tracking System, details of which are contained in the email received by applicants when completing their application online.

Garda Data

Questions (236)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

236. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of vehicles seized for having no insurance in the Garda R and J districts, respectively to date in 2018; the number of those vehicles that were crushed or sold off; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51782/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have requested a report from An Garda Síochána in relation to the statistics sought by the Deputy, and I will be in contact with the Deputy directly on receipt of this report.

Brexit Issues

Questions (237)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

237. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has formally met with his UK counterpart to discuss Brexit and its impact on east-west trade reciprocal arrangements and all other Brexit related matters that fall within the remit of his Department; the number of times they have formally met to discuss Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51891/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, whilst the Department of Justice and Equality have no role in east-west trade, I meet regularly with my counterparts in the UK Government as part of the ongoing engagement my Department has with the UK to support cooperation on justice-related issues. The exit of the UK from the EU provides the context for this ongoing engagement, but the issues discussed are broader subjects of shared interest.

Since I became Minister in June 2017 I have had nine meetings with UK Ministers, as well as other interactions including telephone calls and letters.

By way of example, in the last six months, in the margins of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) meeting in Dublin on 2 November 2018, I held a brief bilateral with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley MP, where I took the opportunity to express the Government’s position on ongoing Brexit issues.

I met with UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP and Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke MP in the margins of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 11 and 12 October 2018.

At the BIIGC meeting in London on 25 July 2018, I, along with the Tánaiste, met with Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington MP and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley MP. We discussed overall progress towards implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy framework, the security situation and stressed the need for bilateral co-operation to be maintained and, where possible, strengthened following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

On 25 July 2018 I had a bilateral meeting with the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP, in London, where we discussed the evolving threats from organised crime and international terrorism and noted challenges arising from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. We also further asserted the commitment of both Governments to maintaining the Common Travel Area. 

In the margins of JHA Councils I met with Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke MP on 26 January 2018, Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP on 7 December 2017 and Minister of State for Immigration Brandon Lewis MP on 14 September 2017.

I can also inform the Deputy that I met with UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP, Justice Secretary David Lidington MP and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire MP, in London on 11 October 2017 where we discussed the close co-operation between Ireland and the UK on justice, immigration and security issues.  

These meetings form part of the regular engagement my Department has with our counterparts in the UK to support ongoing cooperation on these important issues.

Naturalisation Certificates

Questions (238)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

238. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of certificates of Irish naturalisation that have been revoked in each of the years 2013 to 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form; the reasons for such revocations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51931/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The legal basis for revocation of citizenship is set-out in  section 19 (1) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, which provides that the Minister may revoke a certificate of naturalisation if he is satisfied -

(a) that the issue of the certificate was procured by fraud, misrepresentation whether innocent or fraudulent, or concealment of material facts or circumstances, or

(b) that the person to whom it was granted has, by any overt act, shown himself to have failed in his duty of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, or

(c) that (except in the case of a certificate of naturalisation which is issued to a person of Irish descent or associations) the person to whom it is granted has been ordinarily resident outside the State or, in the case of an application for a certificate of naturalisation granted under section 15A, resident outside the island of Ireland (otherwise than in the public service) for a continuous period of seven years and without reasonable excuse has not during that period registered annually in the prescribed manner his name and a declaration of his intention to retain Irish citizenship with an Irish diplomatic mission or consular office or with the Minister, or

(d) that the person to whom it is granted is also, under the law of a country at war with the State, a citizen of that country, or

(e) that the person to whom it is granted has by any voluntary act, other than marriage or entry into a civil partnership, acquired another citizenship. 

For the period referred to by the Deputy a total of 5 revocations have taken place arising from voluntary revocation or information coming to light regarding identity. 

However, I am conscious of the need to consider other cases and in that regard a Committee of Enquiry into Revocations has been established which will consider individual cases under the Act and make a recommendation to me for final decision. The Committee has recently commenced their work and have started to examine its first cases.

Direct Provision Data

Questions (239, 240, 241, 242, 243)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

239. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of refugees staying in a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51939/18]

View answer

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

240. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons admitted to each direct provision centre in 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018; and the length of time these persons have remained within the system. [51940/18]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

241. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons living in direct provision in the Newbridge centre in County Kildare in each of the years 2011 to 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51941/18]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

242. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons under 18 years of age living in direct provision in the Newbridge centre in County Kildare in each of the years 2011 to 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51942/18]

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Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

243. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of children, women and men resident in a location (details supplied). [51943/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 to 243, inclusive, together.

  The number of persons residing in the Hazel Hotel as of 25th November 2018 is 118.

The number of persons living in the Eyre Powell centre in Newbridge, Kildare from 2011 to 2018 is detailed below.

Year

No. of residents

Residents under 18

2011

73

17

2012

81

21

2013

70

21

2014

81

19

2015

71

13

2016

67

5

2017

82

6

2018 (November 25th 2018)

83

8

The total number of children, women and men living in the Eyre Powell centre in Newbridge, Kildare as of 25th November 2018 is detailed below:

Total no. of residents - 84

No of female residents - 29

No of male residents - 46

No of children - 8

It is important to note that not all of those who apply for international protection choose to reside in accommodation provided by the Reception and Integration Agency and that there are also people residing in accommodation that are no longer in the protection process (such as those that have received international protection status or have Deportation Orders issued against them and are obliged to remove themselves from the State). 

 The historical information provided in relation to the years 2011 – 2016 is taken from the Annual Reports of the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department which are available on their website www.ria.gov.ie under the ‘publications’ heading. The 2017 Annual Report of RIA has not been published yet and, therefore, the figures provided for that year have been taken from the monthly report for December 2017 which is also publicly available on the RIA website.

The link below details the total number of persons residing in each accommodation centre provided by the Reception and Integration Agency in 2016 and 2017 and the length of time spent in the centre. This data is compiled on an annual basis and has not yet been finalised for 2018.

Duration of Stay