Witness Intimidation

Questions (273)

Clare Daly

Question:

273. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 217 and 219 of 2 April 2019, the reason the information sought is not readily available in view of the fact that such information was produced in response to Parliamentary Question No. 35 of 23 June 2011. [16565/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As outlined in my recent response to the Deputy, the information being sought about numbers of prosecutions relating to jurors or witness intimidation is not available within my Department. 

The Deputy will appreciate that the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the compilation and publication of the recorded crime statistics in Ireland.  However, this function does not extend to the collection of prosecution data, which is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecution. That Office operates independently of me and my Department.   

However, in the absence of any official statistics, and as indicated in my previous reply, I have requested a report from the Garda authorities regarding proceedings taken for the offence in question and I will contact the Deputy directly once these figures are to hand. 

Notwithstanding the above, if a member of the public has any concerns in relation to the intimidation of jurors or witnesses, I would strongly encourage them to contact An Garda Síochána as soon as possible. I can assure the Deputy that Gardaí will be on hand to provide appropriate advice about how best to proceed in those circumstances. Alternatively, Gardaí can be contacted by using the Garda Confidential Line, Tel: 1800 666 111. The Garda Confidential Line provides a ready means of reporting crimes to Gardaí anonymously.

Prison Service Data

Questions (274)

Clare Daly

Question:

274. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 102 of 21 February 2019, when a reply will be issued. [16625/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

A reply to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question No. 102 of 21 February 2019 issued on 8 April. The substance of the reply is repeated below for the sake of clarity. In my original response I had indicated that the information requested was not recorded centrally and that I had asked my officials in the Irish Prison Service to examine relevant information collated at Governor level, with a view to making further information available to the Deputy. 

The table below reflects the number of times Gardaí were called or requested to attend a prison for assaults and other offences which were considered a criminal matter. As there is currently no central register to record the requested information, it is not possible to quantify with absolute certainty the accuracy of these records.

Establishment

2016 

2017

2018

2019 to date

Total

Shelton Abbey

Nil

Nil

1

Nil

1

Loughan House

1

Nil

1

Nil

 2

Cloverhill

24

33

88

11

156 

Midlands

25

37

34

10

106 

Arbour Hill

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

 Nil

Mountjoy (Male)

131

118

126

17

 392

Castlerea

102

89

73

11

275

Wheatfield

31

77

179

13

300 

Cork

28

72

55

1

 156

Mountjoy (Female) Prison

17

2

9

5

33

Limerick

35

29

42

15

121 

Portlaoise

27

45

39

4

 115

Under Statutory Instrument no 11 of 2013 (amendment to the Prison Rules), prisons are obliged to collate the reporting of complaints of a criminal offence (Rule 57A) to the Gardaí and I am informed by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that an instruction has been issued to all Governors reminding them of their obligations.

Garda Data

Questions (275, 276)

Joan Burton

Question:

275. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí and community police stationed at Blanchardstown Garda station, Dublin 15; the comparable figures for each of the past eight years; the number of gardaí that have retired from the station; the number of retired gardaí that have yet to be replaced at the station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16627/19]

View answer

Joan Burton

Question:

276. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of senior gardaí allocated to community policing duties in Blanchardstown Garda station, Dublin 15 at present and for each of the past eight years; the number of gardaí with the rank of sergeant, inspector, chief inspector and superintendent that have been allocated specifically to community policing duties for each of the past eight years in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16628/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 275 and 276 together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who 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. 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.

The Garda strength of the DMR West Division, including Blanchardstown Garda Station, from 2009 to 28 February 2019 as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the following link.

Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána as it recognises that every community, either urban or rural, has its own concerns and expectations. The role of a community Garda is not a specialist role in An Garda Síochána; rather it is the case that all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in carrying out their duties. The official categorisation of Community Garda simply refers to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others. It is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her having regard to the profile of the area and its specific needs.

The information in relation to the Community Garda Strength by rank  in Blanchardstown Garda Station and the overall strength on  the 28 February 2019, the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by  the Garda Commissioner are as set out in the attached table.  

In relation to retirements, the following table outlines the number of members who retired from Blanchardstown Garda station in each year since 2011, as of the 5th April, 2019. Retirements include Voluntary, Compulsory and Cost Neutral Early Retirement. I can assure the Deputy that departures are kept under continuous review and the level of recruitment is adjusted as necessary in order to maintain the desired strength.

Year

No.

2011

3

2012

4

2013

3

2014

2

2015

1

2016

1

2017

0

2018

0

2019

0

Total

14

I am informed by the 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. Where a deficiency in resources is identified the matter is considered fully and addressed accordingly.

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link below

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures.

COMMUNITY GARDAÍ BLANCHARDSTOWN GARDA STATION

YEAR

INSPECTOR

SERGEANT

GARDA

TOTAL

2011

2

22

24

2012

2

18

20

2013

2

14

16

2014

1

14

15

2015

1

12

13

2016

1

10

11

2017

0

15

15

2018

1

13

14

2019*

1

12

13

*As of 28 February 2019

OVERALL COMMUNITY GARDAÍ STRENGTH 2011 -2019*

YEAR

INSPECTOR

SERGEANT

GARDA

TOTAL

2011

5

125

982

1112

2012

2

117

915

1034

2013

2

110

827

939

2014

2

89

761

852

2015

5

84

718

807

2016

4

78

636

718

2017

4

67

605

676

2018

6

79

610

695

2019*

9

83

618

710

*As of 28 February 2019

Total : means all those Gardaí at a station all of whom have community policing as an inherent part of their role.

Community Gardaí : are those with the official categorisation and are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities including giving talks to schools, community groups and others.

Commencement of Legislation

Questions (277)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

277. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16720/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides a modern statutory framework to support decision-making by adults with capacity difficulties. The Act was signed into law on 30 December 2015 but has not yet been fully commenced.  New administrative processes and support measures, including the setting up of the Decision Support Service within the Mental Health Commission (a body under the Department of Health), must be put in place before the substantive provisions of the Act can be commenced.

A number of provisions of the 2015 Act were commenced in October 2016 in order to progress the setting up of the Decision Support Service. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 515 of 2016), brought Part 1 (Preliminary and General) and Part 9 (Director of the Decision Support Service) of the Act, other than sections 3, 4 and 7 in Part 1 and sections 96 and 102 and Chapter 3 in Part 9, into operation on 17 October 2016. These provisions were brought into operation in order to enable the recruitment of the Director of the Decision Support Service.

The commencement of Part 8 of the Act, which provides a legislative framework for advance healthcare directives, is a matter for the Minister for Health.  The Minister for Health, under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) (No. 2) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 517 of 2016), brought some provisions of Part 8 of the Act into operation on 17 October 2016. The provisions commenced in Part 8 were the definition of “Minister” in section 82; the definitions of “code of practice” and “working group” in section 91(1); and section 91(2).  The commenced provisions provide for the establishment by the Minister for Health of a multi-disciplinary group to make recommendations to the Director of the Decision Support Service in relation to codes of practice on advance healthcare directives.

The Minister for Health commenced the remainder of section 91 on 17 December 2018 (S.I. No. 527 of 2018) to enable the Director of the Decision Support Service to progress preparation of the codes of practice.

A high-level Steering Group comprised of senior officials from the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Health, the Mental Health Commission and the Courts Service, together with the Director of the Decision Support Service, is overseeing the establishment and commissioning of the Decision Support Service and this work is ongoing. The key preparations are being put in place under the oversight of the Steering Group to allow for further commencement orders for the provisions of the 2015 Act to be made when the Decision Support Service is ready to roll out the new decision-making support options.

The Decision Support Service is not yet operational but every effort is underway to ensure that the Decision Support Service has all necessary capacity to open for business as soon as possible.  While the Decision Support Service has been working towards being operational and ready for the commencement of the main provisions of the Act in 2020, the situation is being kept under review as the preparatory work on implementation moves forward.

The 2019 Revised Estimates Volume provides for an allocation of €3.5 million in the Justice and Equality Vote for the establishment of the Decision Support Service.

Interdepartmental Working Groups

Questions (278)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

278. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 229 of 2 April 2019, the number of cases (details supplied) to which the State is a notice party and has been a notice party since 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16723/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

For the purposes of clarity, the cases to which the Deputy refers are family law cases arising where children are born as a result of surrogacy arrangements entered into outside the state, previously referred to in Parliamentary Question No. 229 of 2 April 2019.

 The Attorney General is the notice party to the cases referred to in my answer to that question, and these cases are managed on behalf of the Attorney General by the Office of the Chief State Solicitor. The Minister for Justice and Equality is not named as a notice party to these cases. My Department’s involvement in these cases relates to having responsibility for the Status of Children Act 1987 pursuant to which applications for declarations of parentage are made.  

The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot provide accurate details on a year by year basis of cases to which the State is a notice party, as the CSSO does not fall within my remit. My Department will not know at any given time the exact numbers of cases which the CSSO has on hands, as it can take some time for papers to be forwarded to this Department and other relevant Departments by the CSSO. It may also take some time for my Department to be informed when cases have been finalised.

Since 2012, my Department has been notified of proceedings in relation to a total of 108 cases of the type referred to by the Deputy, 76 of which are now finalised. Some of these cases involved multiple births which were dealt with in one set of proceedings.

Garda Deployment

Questions (279)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

279. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí of each rank including community gardaí attached to stations (details supplied). [16725/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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

Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána as it recognises that every community, either urban or rural, has its own concerns and expectations. The role of a community Garda is not a specialist role in An Garda Síochána; rather it is the case that all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in carrying out their duties. The official categorisation of Community Garda simply refers to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others. It is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her having regard to the profile of the area and its specific needs. 

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the Community Garda Strength in the Cork City Division  as of the 28 February 2019 the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by  the Garda Commissioner are as set out in the attached table.

The Garda strength by rank of the Cork City Division from 2009 to 28 February 2019 as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the following link.

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the following link:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures 

CORK CITY STRENGTH PRESENTED 28 FEBRUARY 2019

Station

TOTAL

Of whom are Community Gardaí

BLACKROCK

20

1

BISHOPSTOWN

21

1

CARRIGALINE

20

1

CROSSHAVEN

1

0

DOUGLAS

22

2

PASSAGE WEST

3

0

TOGHER

60

1

Garda Deployment

Questions (280, 281)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

280. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of core unit gardaí of each rank attached to the Anglesea Street Garda station that are only attached to the sub-district for the area and are not responsible for other duties in the district as a whole; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16726/19]

View answer

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

281. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of community gardaí attached to the Anglesea Street sub-district. [16727/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 280 and 281 together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution under review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure optimum use is made of the resources. I am informed by the Commissioner that with 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. It is the responsibility of the Divisional Officer to allocate personnel within his/her Division.

All Garda members assigned to a Division are available to the Divisional Officer for operational duties if required. In addition, as the Deputy will appreciate, in order to deliver an effective policing service, it is essential that Garda management have the flexibility to deploy Garda resources to meet operational policing needs and address critical issues as they arise. For this reason, the number of Gardaí available in any one Garda station on a particular day is subject to the operational requirements of the overall Division.

Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána as it recognises that every community, either urban or rural, has its own concerns and expectations. The role of a community Garda is not a specialist role in An Garda Síochána; rather it is the case that all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing while carrying out their duties. The official categorisation of Community Garda simply refers to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others. It is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her having regard to the profile of the area and its specific needs.

The Garda strength by rank of the Cork City Division, including Anglesea Street Station, from 2009 to 28 February 2019 as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the following link.

The information in relation to the Community Garda Strength in Anglesea Street Garda Station as on 28 February 2019, the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by  the Garda Commissioner are as set out in the attached table. 

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link below:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures

Garda Strength Presented – Community

Station

Anglesea Street

Year

Community Gardaí

Total

2019*

5

310

*As of 28 February 2019

Total: means all those Gardaí at a station all of whom have community policing as an inherent part of their role.

Community Gardaí: are those with the official categorisation and are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities including giving talks to schools, community groups and others.

Garda Youth Diversion Projects

Questions (282)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

282. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the funding and staff attached to each Garda youth diversion project in County Cork; the location of each; and his plans to expand upon these services. [16729/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The attached table details the position in relation to staffing and funding of Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) in Cork for the year 2019.

 In relation to the broader development of these services, my Department is pursuing an Action Research Project (ARP), supported by the Research Evidence into Policy Programmes and Practice project (REPPP) in the University of Limerick, and involving some 15 selected GYDPs. The intention is to move beyond the testimonial and anecdotal evidence we have that projects work well and provide a good service, to capture precisely what specific interventions work best, document this evidence, and roll out learning across all the projects over a period of years.  The actions will include:

- examination of what makes for a successful relationship between a young participant and a Youth Justice Worker (success being understood as facilitation of real change in the young person’s attitudes and life that would not otherwise happen);

- articulating the contribution that a GYDP makes in tackling crime in a community; and

- assessment of the contribution that ‘up-stream’ agencies and interventions can make to crime reduction and making appropriate recommendations.

At present, there are some 106 GYDPs operating around the country, catering for approximately 4,000 young people every year. In general, the location of projects is linked to local needs and the levels of youth crime. The existing network of GYDPs has developed organically over three decades and I am committed to ensuring that it continues to develop so that every young person has access to these very valuable programmes, and that they are delivered to the highest standard possible.

Furthermore, I am chairing an expert Steering Group to guide the development of a new Youth Justice Strategy. One of the areas the group will look at is Diversion away from the Justice System. This will include the Garda Youth Diversion Programme and the GYDPs which act to support it.

All of this work will help to further develop and enhance, over time and as resources allow, the approach to the location of new projects, in Co. Cork and elsewhere, within the overarching objective that all young people in need of such a service have access to a project in their area.

Garda Division

Project Name

Amount of funding allocated

Number of Youth Justice Workers Employed

CORK CITY

Ballincollig Action Project

€143,208

2

Douglas West

€128,575

2

FAYRE

€111,259

2

GAP

€177,641

3

HERON

€103,667

2

Knocknaheeney/Hollyhill

€107,011

2

MAY

€103,729

2

TACT

€115,955

2

Total

€991,045

17

Feabhas

€109,381

2

Mallow

€112,168

2

CORK NORTH

Mobile Diversion

€220,643

2

Youghal

€122,321

2

Total

€564,513

8

CORK WEST

Bandon Youth

€172,354

3

Total

€172,354

3

Cork County

Total

€1,727,912

28

Garda Data

Questions (283)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

283. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the ratio of gardaí to the population in each Garda district. [16731/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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

I am advised by the Commissioner that recent census data is currently being incorporated into the personnel allocation model. I understand that Census information received on a specific county format is amended by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service to reflect Garda Divisional boundaries. However, it should be noted that ratios such as the number of Garda per head of population are not an appropriate tool to use when considering the allocation of Garda resources as they fail to take account of, among other things, the fact that crime levels and types can vary significantly among communities of similar population size. The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the population to Garda and station ratio is not readily available in my Department as the recording of the population by area is a matter for the Central Statistics Office.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. The Government remains committed to the recruitment of additional Gardaí and accordingly has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda Civilian Staff.  This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019.

I believe that the redeployment of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems Provision

Questions (284)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

284. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has received an application from Carrigaline, County Cork for support under community CCTV schemes; if so, the consideration given to same; and the status of the application. [16733/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems.

Community CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner, and

- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded.

The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to supporting investment in CCTV systems. In furtherance of this commitment, a grant-aid scheme to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas is being administered by my Department. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities, can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000.

There have to date been 28 applications to the scheme. 20 applications have been approved, involving grant aid totalling more than €500,000. 

I can confirm that my Department has to date not received any application for funding for community CCTV in Carrigaline, County Cork.

I am keen to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, have the opportunity to take advantage of the availability of the grant aid scheme.  If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address communitycctv@justice.ie.

Garda Station Opening Hours

Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 247.

Questions (285)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

285. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the hours Carrigaline Garda station is meant to be open; if the station has regularly opened for these hours; the number of gardaí attached to the station; the number of gardaí from the station on leave; the number of those that have been replaced; and the number of days the station opened in 2018 and to date in 2019. [16734/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

There has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. The allocation to An Garda Síochána for 2019 amounts to €1.76 billion and significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána including €342 million being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 and €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of resources available to An Garda Síochána. This includes responsibility for matters including the opening hours of Garda stations and the allocation of personnel.  As Minister, I have no role in such matters.  I am assured however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that Carrigaline Garda station is open from 14:00 to 20:00 Monday to Thursday and, subject to the availability of personnel, from 17:00 to 20:00 Friday and Saturday. The station is closed on Sunday. 

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the station was open for various hours on a total of 229 days in 2018.  I am further informed that to date in 2019, the station has opened for various hours on 65 days.

As with all Garda stations which are not open to the public on a full time basis, during periods of closure, telephone calls to that station are automatically routed to the nearest 24 hour station in the District.  In cases of emergency, any person can also call the 999 or 112 emergency service for an urgent Garda response.

I am informed by the Commissioner that with 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. Where a deficiency in resources is identified, the matter is considered and addressed accordingly.

Finally, I am informed that Carrigaline Garda station is in the Togher Garda District which forms part of the Cork City Division. I am informed that  the strength of the Cork City Division was 707 on 31 March 2019, with 20 Gardaí attached to Carrigaline Garda Station.  There are also 37 Garda Reserves attached to Cork City Division.

Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 247.

Visa Applications

Questions (287)

Catherine Martin

Question:

287. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to tackle the issue of high costs for visa processing for family members of Irish citizens who wish to visit Irish family members here and particularly those costs associated with cases in which applicants have previously visited for similar reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16762/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the fees applicable are administrative fees set to cover the cost of processing a visa application.  The current fee for a short stay visa is €60 for a single journey visa and €100 for a multiple journey visa. 

The fee is classified as a diplomatic and consular fee and is therefore set by my colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.  No increase in visa fees has been applied since 2004.

Each visa application is considered on its own merits and in accordance with the requirements for the particular visa type applied for at the time of application.  As a person’s circumstances may change from the time of one application to another, it is necessary for a Visa Officer to be satisfied that approval or not is given having regard to the particular individual circumstances pertinent at the time.  However, a multiple entry visa may also be applied for once the applicant has established a travel history to Ireland or to other EU countries.  The multiple entry visa will allow a person to make a number of short trips to Ireland within the period of validity of the visa which is generally two years for tourist or family visit types of application.

More generally, the Irish visa system is intended to be self-financing and the revenue generated is significant in ensuring this is case.  In the circumstances, I consider this a reasonable fee which compares favourably with the equivalent fee internationally. 

Comprehensive guidelines on visa applications including applicable fees are available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service at www.inis.gov.ie.

Brexit Supports

Questions (288)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

288. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applicants and participants in Brexit schemes and supports provided by her Department or agencies under her remit in tabular form; and the amount allocated and expended to each such scheme in each year since being established. [16036/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

Brexit represents a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland, which cannot be underestimated. That’s why my Department started developing supports for businesses from the time when Brexit first became a possibility. Government’s priority is to ensure that businesses around the country can manage risks and avail of any opportunities. This has informed the range of advisory and financial supports that are in place.

My Department’s total exchequer allocation increased by 9.1% year on year, up from €871m to €950.2m. This is made up of a record €620m in capital and €330.2m in current funding, which includes an increase of €65m in capital – up 11.7% on last year’s allocation of €555m; and, an increase of €14.2m in current – almost 4.5% more than our 2018 allocation of €316m.

I allocated an extra €5m to the 31 Local Enterprise Offices [LEOs], up 22% on 2018, which have a presence in every county, to support start-ups and growth and, in particular, to support businesses to prepare for Brexit. The LEOs will work with the broad range of small and micro indigenous enterprises across sectors to ensure that they are informed and have plans in place to manage the new trading relationships on the island and with the UK more generally. This includes a new customs training programme for all businesses, exporters and importers, rolled out in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland.

I was also pleased to announce an additional capital allocation of €2.75m to Enterprise Ireland to start developing regional innovation and technology clusters with Institutes of Technology right across the country, positioning them as drivers of world-class start-ups and growth enterprises and helping businesses adjust to market changes, including Brexit.

Through Enterprise Ireland, I also doubled funding for the Online Retail Pilot Scheme to €1.25m in 2019, which will support SMEs in the retail sector to have a stronger online presence and find new markets. This new Scheme follows through on my commitment to increase the scale and internationalisation of indigenous enterprise; increase productivity in high-employment sectors; and encourage Brexit readiness. I announced the first 11 successful applicants on Friday 1st March last and there will be a further call for proposals this year.  In addition, Enterprise Ireland invested €74 million in Brexit impacted businesses in 2018.

Funding to InterTradeIreland has been increased by 18% and they, along with the LEOs, are offering a range of Brexit-focused supports to companies, including those engaged in cross-border trade with Northern Ireland.

The Brexit Loan Scheme, using a combination of Irish Exchequer and EU guarantees, leverages up to €300 million of lending at a maximum interest rate 4% at a cost to the Exchequer of €23 million - €14 million provided by my Department and €9 million provided by Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme, announced in Budget 2019, will be open for applications through the SBCI online portal from 17 April. The scheme will provide a longer-term facility, 8 to 10 years, of up to €300m to support strategic capital investment for a post-Brexit environment by business at competitive rates. This Scheme is jointly funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (€37 million) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (€25 million) at a total cost to the Exchequer of €62 million over a five year period.

The first table attached sets out the respective exchequer increases in allocations to ITI, EI, IDA and the LEOs between 2018 and 2019 and the cost/expenditure of the supports available. Whilst these increases are not all due to Brexit, they are mainly provided to assist the enterprise agencies in their responses to the challenges posed by Brexit.

The second table attached sets out the uptake of the different Brexit-related supports available through the Department and its agencies as at 25 March 2019.

-

Scheme

Expenditure/Cost

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

€258,024 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund - A support to EI clients to research new markets

€362,919 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund - Gives rapid fast-track access to innovation funding

€569,033 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

€237,801 to beginning of March

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

€380,000 to end of January

Enterprise Ireland Strategic Consultancy Grant – A grant to assist EI clients to hire a strategic consultant for a set period

€1,324,730 to beginning of March

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro – The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients.

2017 Expenditure

€188,829

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€365,744

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

2017 Expenditure

€529,922

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€518,411

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

There isn’t a specific budget allocation for LEO Brexit mentoring. It is included in the LEOs overall Measure 2 allocation.

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

2017 Expenditure

€85,509

1 Jan to 30 Sept 2018 Expenditure

€57,855

InterTradeIreland Brexit Start to Plan Vouchers

ITI offers 100% financial support up to £2000/€2250 (inclusive of VAT) towards professional advice in relation to Brexit matters.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enteprise Ireland

Eleven retailers were awarded funding in March 2019 as part of the new €1.25m fund, with €625,000 available under the first competitive call to support retail businesses to strengthen their online offering.

IDA total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €33.7 million when compared with 2018.

Enterprise Ireland total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €6.8 million when compared with 2018.

LEOs total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €5 million when compared with 2018.

ITI total allocation (current and capital) for 2019 increased by €1 million when compared with 2018

Brexit preparedness supports - uptake of available schemes

Scheme

Uptake (8 April 2019)

Brexit Loan Scheme

567 applications received, 511 approved by SBCI, 105 Loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €23.691 million.

(Uptake as of 8 April 2019)

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Scorecard - online platform for Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit

5,113 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 992 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

182 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund - A support to EI clients to research new markets

140 projects have been approved under this initiative

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,178 Customs Insights Course participants

Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund - Gives rapid fast-track access to innovation funding

47 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

16 Brexit Advisory Clinics have been run with over 1,200 in attendance

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

210 “Act on” Plans have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Strategic Consultancy Grant – A grant to assist EI clients to hire a strategic consultant for a set period

1,062 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved

Local Enterprise Office Technical Assistance Grant for Micro Export - an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities

518 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant (end March 2019)

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

247 LEO clients have participated in the programme (end March 2019)

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

562 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit (end March 2019)

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

4,213 Participants at the Brexit Information events (end March 2019)

Retail Sector

Questions (289)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

289. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of applications to the retail online scheme to date by county; the number of eligible and ineligible applications, respectively; and the number of approved applications to which funding has issued in tabular form. [16038/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The pilot Online Retail Scheme administered on behalf of my Department by Enterprise Ireland is aimed at supporting a cohort of retailers to enhance their digital capability and develop a more competitive online offer that will enable them to increase their customer base and build a more resilient business in the domestic and global marketplace both online and offline.

The Scheme has a total fund size of €1.25m. Successful applicants will be awarded funding to support a maximum of 50% of the project eligible costs with grants ranging from €10,000 to €25,000. Typical elements involved in developing a sophisticated and transactional online presence are eligible for support under the Fund, including research, consultancy costs for strategy development / implementation and training costs.

Applications for funding under this pilot Scheme are considered on a competitive basis under calls for applications.  The first call commenced 24 October 2018 and closed on 5 December 2018. I announced the cohort of 11 successful applicants on 1 March 2019. The second Call will issue later in 2019.

A breakdown of all applications per county is set out in tabular format below:

Table 1: Applications received per county

County

Number of Applications Received Call 1

Carlow

<5

Cork

<5

Donegal

6

Dublin

12

Galway

<5

Kerry

<5

Kilkenny

<5

Limerick

<5

Tipperary

<5

Waterford

<5

Westmeath

<5

Wexford

<5

Wicklow

<5

Total

39

Each application is assessed against an agreed list of eligible and ineligible activities and criteria. Applications were deemed ineligible due to late applications, incomplete applications, ineligible based on criteria and offline submissions. 14 applications were deemed ineligible.

Local Enterprise Offices

Questions (290)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

290. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the budget allocation to the digital trading vouchers provided by local enterprise offices, LEOs, in each of the years 2016 to 2018; the 2019 allocation; the amount expended in each such year; and the number of digital trading vouchers provided by LEOs in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by county in tabular form. [16039/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are the first-stop-shop for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports for those starting or growing their business. The LEOs can offer financial assistance to microenterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. The LEOs also offer soft supports in the form of training and mentoring, and a signposting service to other relevant state supports.

Micro-enterprises may also avail of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme (TOVS) from the LEOs. The Scheme offers the opportunity for businesses to develop their website or digital marketing strategy by availing of vouchers of up to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure.  The Trading Online Voucher Scheme was established under the 2013 National Digital Strategy and represents an example of effective partnership between the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the LEO Network. 

The tables below set out information regarding the amount expended in 2016-2018 and the number of digital trading vouchers provided by LEOs in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by county in tabular form. 

While the LEO Network operates the scheme, it does so on behalf of DCCAE.  Funding for the scheme is provided by the Government through DCCAE. 

  TOV Expenditure by LEO’s in each of the years 2016, 2017 and 2018

LEO Name

TOV   EXPENDITURE 2016 €

TOV   EXPENDITURE 2017 €

TOV   EXPENDITURE 2018 €

Carlow

32,348

24,206

21,888

Cavan

23,076

29,705

40,942

Clare

54,395

60,587

70,681

Cork City

42,159

45,866

56,916

Cork North & West

80,834

93,612

68,242

Cork South

49,003

64,315

49,830

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown

90,649

146,412

127,383

Donegal

39,957

72,672

80,847

Dublin City

168,664

162,169

183,543

Dublin South

56,073

75,507

49,020

Fingal

72,898

106,733

84,739

Galway

78,387

92,735

82,340

Kerry

80,148

91,518

96,700

Kildare

38,383

81,421

45,932

Kilkenny

42,621

57,525

48,980

Laois

46,235

13,234

41,746

Leitrim

16,119

19,303

18,226

Limerick

83,276

101,697

64,736

Longford

13,941

17,743

19,475

Louth

72,068

82,169

81,090

Mayo

38,219

38,642

67,413

Meath

23,489

32,734

49,644

Monaghan

30,103

31,901

31,975

Offaly

34,627

24,180

26,789

Roscommon

37,528

36,653

38,535

Sligo

34,602

40,359

28,547

Tipperary

63,185

49,562

66,240

Waterford

58,558

44,259

67,606

Westmeath

39,098

38,882

40,178

Wexford

73,565

59,810

51,732

Wicklow

87,414

83,514

111,358

TOTAL

1,701,622

1,919,624

1,913,273

Approved TOVS 2016 - Qrt.1 2019

 

LEO

2016

2017

2018

Qrt.1   2019

Carlow

22

12

5

3

Cavan

14

20

15

4

Clare

37

32

33

12

Cork City

35

32

23

13

Cork North & West

55

42

47

16

Cork South

47

35

40

12

Donegal

25

48

47

13

Dublin City

104

140

114

26

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown

74

78

56

20

Fingal

51

51

49

2

Dublin South

37

38

33

7

Galway  

54

44

53

16

Kerry

64

59

56

19

Kildare

24

43

40

5

Kilkenny

28

28

39

4

Laois

18

11

23

12

Leitrim

18

12

11

3

Limerick

58

45

24

9

Longford

12

15

13

2

Louth

39

55

42

2

Mayo

22

29

43

10

Meath

11

31

22

10

Monaghan

22

18

19

5

Offaly

14

15

21

1

Roscommon

18

22

23

6

Sligo

27

22

22

5

Tipperary

33

37

40

10

Waterford

49

46

30

9

Westmeath

25

29

26

10

Wexford

45

33

32

11

Wicklow

58

67

66

13

TOTALS

1,140

1,189

1,107

290