Visa Applications

Questions (526)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

526. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application for a working visa by a person (details supplied). [13401/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have been informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned applied on 13/10/2017 for a residence card as a family member of an EU citizen under the provisions of the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015 and Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. They stated at that time that they were the spouse of a citizen of Romania.

This application was refused on 13/04/2018 as the Minister was not satisfied that the EU citizen in this case was exercising their EU Treaty Rights in the State through employment, self-employment, the pursuit of a course of study, involuntary unemployment, or the possession of sufficient resources in accordance with Regulation 6(3) of the 2015 Regulations.

The person concerned requested a review of that decision on 16/05/2018 and that application is currently under consideration. INIS confirm that they have received further documentation from the person concerned in respect of their review, and they will correspond with the applicant should further information be required.

Applications are dealt with in strict chronological order, and a decision will issue to the person concerned in due course. Although it is not possible at the present time to provide a definitive date by which a determination will be made in this case, there will be no avoidable delay in completing same.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachteas 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 INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Wards of Court

Questions (527)

Bríd Smith

Question:

527. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for delays within the Office of Wards of Court which are impacting on the purchases of properties. [13422/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the High Court has jurisdiction in wards of court matters and management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions under the Courts Service Act 1998.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had inquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that the President of the High Court is responsible for the affairs of each ward of court. This includes responsibility for the decision whether to purchase or sell property on behalf of a ward of court. In most cases the purchase of house property arises for wards who have specialised needs relating to their welfare and accommodation.

The Courts Service has advised that there is no significant delay in the processing of applications for purchase of property on behalf of wards of court. All applications are examined promptly and the proposed order prepared for examination by the President of the High Court. The President examines such proposals on a weekly basis. If there is any urgency to the matter the proposal is processed immediately by the case officer and the President will make himself available at short notice to deal with the application.

The Courts Service has further advised that when it is proposed to purchase a property, the Wards of Court Office will usually require an independent valuation and other relevant documentation such as an occupational therapist's report either confirming that the accommodation is suitable for the ward's needs or setting out the improvements or alterations which are required to make the property suitable. That application is put to the President of the High Court for his decision. A Court Order is drafted, approved and signed to allow the ward's guardian or committee to complete the purchase on the ward's behalf. As a result of these necessary procedures, it may take some weeks to approve the purchase of a property on behalf of a ward.

European Border and Coast Guard Agency

Questions (528)

Joan Burton

Question:

528. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Frontex officers working with An Garda Síochána or bodies under the aegis of his Department; and the number that will be working with those organisations after 29 March 2019. [13448/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of the Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard.

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.

As the Deputy will be aware Frontex is the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. It was established in 2005 and has its headquarters in Warsaw, Poland. Frontex is tasked with border control of the European Schengen Associated Countries .

I am informed by the Commissioner that there are no Frontex Officers working directly with An Garda Síochána, however, members of An Garda Síochána attached to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) regularly participate in Frontex-coordinated operations and exercises with other EU Member States.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal

Questions (529)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

529. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 231 of 4 December 2018, when he will provide the assessment of the caseload of the tribunal which he requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13467/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the assessment of the caseload of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal is currently underway and I have been informed that it will be finalised by the end of April 2019. I will provide a further update to the Deputy at that point.

Garda Data

Questions (530)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

530. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the resources available to the National Economic Crime Bureau; the personnel strength of the bureau by rank and civilian grade; the number of external expert consultants on retainer or engaged by the bureau in the past three years; the number of cases the bureau has closed off in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13474/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the distribution of personnel is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Commissioner that Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategies, are continually monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda Resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) (formerly the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation) was established on 1 September 2016. The Bureau has dedicated expert staff, including professional forensic accountants, to address white collar and other fraud and economic crimes, and includes the restructured Garda Cyber Crime Bureau, the Money-laundering Investigation Unit and a new Foreign Bribery and Corruption Unit.

I am further informed by the Commissioner that as of 31 January 2019, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 63 Garda and 17 Garda civilian staff assigned to the GNECB.

The Commissioner also advises that Garda management within the Bureau are working with local Garda management, at District and Divisional levels, to ensure the necessary tools and training are provided to enable and empower District and Divisional resources to investigate cases of economic crime at that level, with advice and guidance available from within the Bureau. The Bureau is now also placing a greater emphasis on ensuring that economic crime of lesser amounts that are currently reported to the Bureau are assessed and transmitted to District Officers for investigation, with more complex cases, routinely involving significant amounts, being investigated by the Bureau.

For the Deputy’s information I have set out in tabular form the number of Gardaí by rank and civilians by grade attached to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau as of 31 January 2019 the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by the Commissioner.

I have requested the information sought by the Deputy from the Garda Commissioner in relation to the number of external expert consultants on retainer or engaged by the bureau in the past three years and the number of cases the bureau has closed off in the past five years, I will write to the Deputy on receipt of same.

Strength Of The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau by rank - formerly Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation

Year

CS

SU

IN

SG

GD

TOTAL

2019

1

1

3

11

47

63

*Up to 31 January 2019

Civilian Strength by grade in the Economic Crime Bureau – formerly Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation

Year

Accountant Grade 2

Executive Officer

Clerical Officer

Total

2019

3

3

11

17

*Up to 31 January 2019

Data Retention

Questions (531)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

531. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the communications (retention of data) Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13478/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

In October 2017 the Government approved my proposals for a revision of existing data retention legislation to take account of evolving ECJ jurisprudence in this area.

Drafting of the Communications (Data Retention and Disclosure) Bill is well advanced and I would expect to be in a position to publish the Bill later this year.

Garda Expenditure

Questions (532)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

532. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 114 of 14 February 2019, the amount of the €249,924 paid to a company (details supplied) for consultancy services rendered to An Garda Síochána that related to VAT and to expenses incurred, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13483/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for An Garda Síochána and is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, as well as for the effective and efficient use of resources.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the amount of €249,924 paid to the company referred to by the Deputy was comprised of the following elements:

Administration & Business

Amount

Fee

€195,881

Taxable Expenses

€7,309

VAT @ 23%

€46,734

Total

€249,924

Alcohol Sales

Questions (533)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

533. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of special exemption orders granted since 2008 to date in tabular form; his plans to amend the legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13519/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, which include the provision of information on the courts system.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had inquiries made and the Courts Service has provided information regarding the number of Special Exemption Orders granted from 2008 to 2017. The Courts Service has advised that statistics for 2018 are not yet available and are currently being compiled.

Special Exemption Orders 2008 - 2017

Year

Total

2008

78,711

2009

64,011

2010

64,878

2011

53,837

2012

48,363

2013

45,869

2014

42,118

2015

41,889

2016

39,978

2017

39,843

While I have no immediate plans to amend the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018, my Department keeps the operation of the law in this area under ongoing review.

Liquor Licence Data

Questions (534)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

534. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of publican's licences (ordinary) theatre licences granted since 2008 to date in tabular form; his plans to amend the legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13520/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the issue in question is a matter for the Minister for Finance I would direct the Deputy to that Department.

Interdepartmental Working Groups

Questions (535)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

535. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the working groups currently established in his Department; the focus of their work; the membership composition of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13570/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The document in the following link provides information on 52 Groups established under the auspices of my Department, each of which comes within the terms of the Deputy’s question.

The information provided includes material on groups meeting in different formats, with titles such as Working Group, Steering Group, Interdepartmental Group, Advisory Group, Steering Committee etc. The Groups are generally either Chaired or co-chaired by Officials of my Department and in certain cases by Minister of State Stanton or Minister of State McGrath, or by suitable external persons, in which case the Secretariat to the Group is provided by my Department.

In general, the groups work in support of the programme for government and/or to advance the strategic objectives as set out in my Department's Strategy Statement 2016-2019. Further information on the particular focus of the groups, including relevant sub-groups, and on membership, is set out in the following document.

Working Groups

Student Visas Applications

Questions (536)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

536. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 671 of 11 September 2017 and 568 of 7 November 2017, the number of type 2 and 2A visas issued by An Garda Síochána in the north Dublin Garda division in those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13579/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Garda Commissioner that Section 9, of the Immigration Act 2004, states, all non-EEA nationals must register at their local registration district office when intending to reside in the State for more than three months. The Registration District Office for the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) is located at 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

I am further advised that the information provided for registration is recorded on the Garda National Immigration Bureau Information System (GNIB IS). However, unlike the Garda PULSE System, there is no separate categorisation of DMR Garda Districts/Stations on GNIB IS; therefore, each person is recorded as residing in the DMR only.

Consequently, the figures requested in relation to the number of Type 2 and 2A visas issued in the North Dublin Garda Division are not readily available. Moreover, the process of retrieving same would require all Type 2 and type 2A registrations processed at the Registration District Office, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 to be individually examined to ascertain what Garda Division the respective address provided refers to. The number of such registrations is significant, totalling in excess of 200,000, and could only be obtained through a disproportionate expenditure of Garda time and limited resources relative to the information sought.

Crime Data

Questions (537)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

537. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 583 of 16 January 2018, the number of bicycles reported stolen in the Dublin region in 2017; the number retrieved; the number claimed by members of the public; the number in Garda stations throughout Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13585/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the attached table outlines the number of bicycles stolen and the number of bicycles recovered in the Dublin area for the years in question.

I am further advised that it was not possible for An Garda Síochána to reliably determine if a bicycle had been returned to the owner or if a bicycle is being stored at a Garda station.

Reported Year

Bicycles Stolen

Bicycles Recovered

2016

4436

367

2017

4365

335

2018

3929

286

Garda Recruitment

Questions (538)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

538. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 275 of 24 April 2018, when the post of the head of training and development within An Garda Síochána will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13586/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, on 18 December 2018, the Government endorsed the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland and accepted all of its 157 key recommendations. At that time, I also published a High Level Implementation Plan, ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, which sets out the approach to the implementation of the Commission recommendations over the next four years. Implementation is being overseen by a dedicated programme office in the Department of the Taoiseach, as recommended by the Commission.

The Implementation Plan identifies a number of actions to be taken forward by An Garda Síochána in 2019, including the appointment of a Director of Learning and Development in the fourth quarter.

Garda Data

Questions (539)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

539. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 241 of 3 July 2018, the number of vehicles seized for having no tax in An Garda Síochána R District in 2017 and 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13587/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I apologise for the ongoing delay in issuing a response to Question No. 241 of 3 July 2018, however, as you know, such data is not held by my Department.

I have, again, requested an urgent response from An Garda Síochána and my officials will forward this information to you directly, as soon as it is received.

Immigration Data

Questions (540)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

540. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 330 of 10 July 2018, the number of persons refused permission to enter the State via Dublin Airport and Dublin Port; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13588/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The following tables set out the figures for those refused to land in Dublin Airport and Port. In relation to Dublin Airport it should be noted that passenger numbers processed through the Airport have also significantly increased in the period concerned. 

Number of persons refused permission to enter the State via Dublin Airport

Year

Total

2015

1654

2016

2032

2017

2296

2018

4001

Number of persons refused permission to enter the State via Dublin Port

Year

Total

2015

152

2016

142

2017

166

2018

120

Immigration Controls

Questions (541)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

541. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if exit checks are carried out on passengers who leave here through ports and airports; if he has made use of the European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/38/EC; and if so, the number of occasions. [13631/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to inform the Deputy that there are no routine exit checks on persons leaving the State. On occasion, immigration officers in response to particular operational requirements relating to the protection of our borders, including the protection of the Common Travel Area, have undertaken exit checks in accordance with the Immigration Act 2004. However, such checks occur infrequently.

In relation to the use of the European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/38/EC, this Directive applies to free movement for EU/EEA nationals and their qualifying family members and thus it applies to the entry and residence in the State of those persons entitled to avail of the Directive.

It is not feasible to provide a figure for the number of times it is applied as, for example, the many millions of EU/EEA national visitors who enter the State each year are not recorded for immigration purposes nor do EU/EEA nationals resident in the State require to register for immigration purposes. (It should be noted that qualifying non EU/EEA family members of an EU/EEA national resident in the State do have a registration requirement).

Immigration Policy

Questions (542)

Alan Kelly

Question:

542. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there has been a change in the visa policies and procedures rules for ministers of faith from various different denominations coming here from outside the State. [13640/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that revised procedures for persons wishing to travel to Ireland as Ministers of Religion were introduced on 30 April 2018.

These provide for a preclearance process to facilitate and streamline entry to the State and apply to both visa and non-visa required non-EEA nationals. One of the key objectives of the revised procedures is to provide certainty to applicants prior to their arrival and make their immigration process as straightforward as possible both at the port of entry and on registration of their immigration permission once in the State.

Under the Minister for Religion permission, qualifying religious personnel are permitted to enter and remain in the State for up to three years, where there is a demonstrated need for their services and subject to compliance with all other immigration requirements that apply in individual cases.

Full details of the scheme is available on the INIS website at http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/minister-of-religion-permission.

Courts Service Properties

Questions (543)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

543. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the plans of the Courts Service for the two or three storey over basement red brick buildings at a location (details supplied) that appears to have been vacant since the last century. [13641/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had inquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that the two buildings referred to by the Deputy accommodated the traffic courts until approximately 1997 when the business was transferred on health and safety grounds to an alternative location. The buildings have been vacant since then and are in poor condition.

The Courts Service has advised that during 2019 it will undertake a nationwide condition survey of the buildings in its property portfolio to ascertain their condition and to quantify the works and expenditure necessary to bring any buildings which are identified as being below standard up to an acceptable condition. I am informed that the former traffic court buildings will be included in this survey and that it is anticipated that the extent of the works required to return these two buildings to a safe and acceptable standard will be significant. Once the result of the survey is known the Courts Service will be better placed to consider the future role of both buildings.

Misuse of Drugs

Questions (544)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

544. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 159 of 9 October 2018, for which no reply was received, the measures being taken to address dealing and distribution of crack cocaine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13652/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that I have requested a report from the Garda Authorities in relation to this matter and I will further advise in regard to his question when the report is to hand.

The continued disruption of the supply of all illicit drugs, including crack cocaine, remains a priority for An Garda Síochána and the other state agencies tasked with responsibilities in this regard. An Garda Síochána remains resolute in its determination to act against those within society who pose a significant threat to the welfare and well-being of our citizens and the communities they serve. A core focus of the work carried out by An Garda Síochána is aimed at tackling drug distribution and organised crime.

Road Traffic Offences Data

Questions (545)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

545. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 163 of 9 October 2018, for which no reply was received, the number of persons charged with selling off-road vehicles including scramblers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13653/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I apologise for the ongoing delay in issuing a response to question 163 of 9 October 2018; however, as you know, such data is not held by my Department.

I have, again, requested an urgent response from An Garda Síochána and my officials will forward this information to you directly, as soon as it is received.

Garda Warrants

Questions (546, 565)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

546. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 271 of 13 November 2018, for which no reply was received, the number of warrants issued in the past six months that were executed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13656/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

565. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of bench warrants outstanding in the R and J districts of An Garda Síochána as of 15 March 2019; the number of bench warrants outstanding for a period of 12 months; the steps being taken to reduce the number of outstanding bench warrants in the districts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13911/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 546 and 565 together.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that, as of 15 March 2019, the number of bench warrants outstanding in the Coolock (R) District was 2,222. The number of bench warrants outstanding for 12 months or longer was 1,473.

I am further advised that 749 bench warrants arrived at Coolock Garda Station between 15 March 2018 and 15 March 2019. In the same period, 494 bench warrants were executed, 10 were cancelled and 595 attempted warrant executions took place.

In respect to the Raheny (J) District, there are currently 609 live bench warrants. Of these, 215 have been issued in the past 12 months.

I am informed that there are initiatives ongoing in the Coolock District to increase the level of bench warrant execution. Criminals are identified through the criminal intelligence office which then issues District bulletins. All of these suspects are routinely checked for live warrants, and when required, added to operational target lists.

I have requested the full year figures of bench warrants issued and executed from the Garda authorities and I will contact the Deputy directly when this information is to hand.

Garda Data

Questions (547)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

547. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 236 of 11 December 2018, for which no reply was received, the number of vehicles seized for having no insurance in the Garda R and J districts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13660/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I apologise for the ongoing delay in issuing a response to question 236 of 11 December 2018, however, as you know, such data is not held by my Department.

I have, again, requested an urgent response from An Garda Síochána and my officials will forward this information to you directly, as soon as it is received.