Asylum Applications

Questions (499)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

499. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay in providing ministerial decision letters for applicants seeking asylum in circumstances in which the IPO has made recommendations to him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19243/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

A recommendation letter from the International Protection Office (IPO) is not in itself a grant or status letter but, rather, a recommendation as to whether a grant of international protection should be made or not made. Following the issue of a recommendation letter from the IPO, necessary due diligence must be carried out before a declaration of refugee or subsidiary protection status issues.

I am assured that applicants receive a decision as soon as possible following a recommendation letter from the IPO in relation to their application.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department has recently completed an examination of the processes in this area and I am informed that the resulting process changes will be reflected in shorter processing times in the coming weeks.

Direct Provision Data

Questions (500)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

500. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applicants granted status to remain here who continue to be kept in direct provision centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19244/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of Department of Justice and Equality is responsible for the offer of accommodation and supports to persons seeking international protection in Ireland. Applicants are free to accept these services or are free to source their own accommodation with family or friends. While previously this was done on an administrative basis, this is now carried out under the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive, which was transposed into Irish law in June 2018 by way of SI 230 of 2018.

As of 28th April 2019 there were 6,645 persons who have sought and been granted accommodation provided by RIA, including 686 people with a protection status or a permission to remain in the State.

The numbers applying for international protection in Ireland have increased substantially over the last two years, and as a consequence there is significant pressure on the available accommodation as people claiming protection seek to be housed by RIA. RIA has had to put in place a number of emergency arrangements so that new arrivals are accommodated until a space is available in a direct provision facility.

Residents who have been granted status or a permission to remain have the same access to housing supports and services as Irish and EEA nationals. Considerable work is being undertaken to support these residents to move out of accommodation centres and into secure permanent accommodation. RIA have a specific team who work on this. Their work is enhanced through the funded transitional support work provided by Depaul Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust. A number of NGOs has also been awarded monies under the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). These include the PATHS project and South Dublin County Partnership.

Additionally, RIA is liaising with officials in the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, and the City and County Managers Association collectively to support residents with permission to remain to access housing options.

Prison Service Data

Questions (501, 502)

James Browne

Question:

501. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of male and female prisoners, respectively, transferred from the Irish Prison Service to the Central Mental Hospital in each month in 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19267/19]

View answer

James Browne

Question:

502. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners awaiting a transfer from the Irish Prison Service to the Central Mental Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19270/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 501 and 502 together.

I have been advised by the Irish Prison Service that in-reach mental health services are made available to persons in custody through its collaboration with the Health Service Executive, and the National Forensic Mental Health Service [NFMHS].

The Irish Prison Service has also confirmed that it has access to a limited number of beds in the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) for prisoners suffering from a severe mental illness who require residential mental health treatment. A waiting list for the admission of prisoners to the CMH is operated by the NFMHS and is reviewed on a weekly basis. I understand that all prisoners on the waiting list have been clinically assessed by Consultant Forensic Psychiatrists from the NFMHS as requiring admission to the CMH which is a tertiary care facility.

The Irish Prison Service has confirmed that the most recent figures available, for the week ending 29 April last, indicate that an aggregate of 29 persons in custody were awaiting transfer; this aggregate total is comprised of 26 male prisoners, and 3 female prisoners.

An aggregate of 19 prisoners were admitted to the CMH in 2018, comprised of 16 male prisoners, and 3 female prisoners. There have been a further 6 male prisoners admitted to the CMH to date in 2019.

The monthly breakdown is as follows:

2018

Male

Female

January

1

0

February

0

1

March

2

0

April

1

0

May

0

0

June

6

0

July

0

0

August

0

1

September

0

0

October

2

0

November

2

1

December

2

0

Total

16

3

2019

Male

Female

January

2

0

February

2

0

March

1

0

April

1

0

Total

6

0

Garda Resources

Questions (503)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

503. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of van-mounted speed cameras in operation by An Garda Síochána; the number of vehicles decommissioned; the number of new vehicles in place per fleet in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19282/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion.

Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deliver on reform and deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community. Investment of €46 million is also being made in the Garda fleet over the same period.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands.

The Deputy may be aware that the February 2014 Garda Inspectorate Report "The Fixed Charge Processing System - A 21st Century Strategy" recommended that non-intercept speed detection should be fully outsourced.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that 2 Garda van-mounted speed cameras were in operation in the fleet in 2017. However as noted in the implementation report of the Criminal Justice (Fixed Charge Processing System) Working Group, published in July 2018, the final Garda robot vehicles were deemed end of life at the end of 2017. I am informed that from this point on, non-intercept speed detection was fully outsourced. Therefore, no Garda operated van-mounted speed cameras were in operation in 2018 or 2019.

I am further informed that six Garda van-mounted speed cameras were decommissioned in 2017 and that the two final Garda van-mounted speed cameras were decommissioned in 2018.

Garda Training

Questions (504)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

504. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the additional training resources for existing members of An Garda Síochána put in place since the recommencement of Garda training at Templemore; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19283/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána, including the training of its members and civilian staff and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

I have been advised by the Commissioner that training for An Garda Síochána is co-ordinated through the Garda College in Templemore. The organisation is moving towards a blended learning approach, and is presently using e-learning and collaborating with the National Digital Learning Centre at DCU to develop further in this area.

An Garda Síochána has a structured training delivery infrastructure nationally with facilities throughout the country. The organisation is expanding its training infrastructure nationally and has engaged in procurement processes which allow the use of external training facilities.

In addition to the above, A Policing Service for the Future, the implementation report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, determines that the following will occur during 2019:

1. The development of a Learning Development Strategy for 2020-2024.

2. The appointment of an Executive Director for Learning and Development.

3. The establishment of an expert Review Group for Learning and Development.

Garda Resources

Questions (505)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

505. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the introduction of a human resource strategy for An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19284/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is statutorily responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, and I, as Minister, do not have responsibility for this matter.

I am informed by the Commissioner that An Garda Síochána has developed a People (Human Resource) Strategy that supports the overarching strategy and vision of the organisation. The People Strategy sets out how the organisation values and treats its people, its approach to and relationship with employees, and the culture it wishes to foster. It details the strategic initiatives and actions being undertaken over three years (2019 to 2021) to ensure the organisation can put the right tools and supports in place to empower and enable people to excel.

The initiatives planned in the People Strategy are influenced by and address the findings in: the cultural audit; organisation consultation; Policing Authority reports; and Garda Inspectorate recommendations, as well as public sector and workplace trends. The People Strategy is aligned with the Policing Service for the Future implementation plan and An Garda Síochána Policing Plan for 2019.

The People Strategy has been approved by An Garda Síochána Executive, and presented to the Policing Authority for observations. The Policing Authority remarked positively on the People Strategy at the public meeting with the Garda Commissioner of 18 April, 2019.

An Garda Síochána is currently preparing communications in respect of the launch of the People Strategy and it is anticipated this launch will take place at the end of May 2019.

Garda Data

Questions (506)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

506. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of vacancies within the Garda information services centre; the number of these vacancies that remain unfilled since the start of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19285/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including all personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps the 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 Information Service Centre (GISC) was established by An Garda Síochána in Castlebar in 2005 on a 24/7/365 basis with the objectives of increasing Garda visibility, reducing the time spent by operational members on administrative duties and to improve the quality of data at An Garda Síochána. I am informed by An Garda Síochána that the GISC is staffed entirely by Garda Staff. I am advised by the Commissioner that as of 3 May 2019 there were a total of 237 Garda Staff allocated to GISC and that currently there are 27 vacancies in GISC at Clerical Officer and Executive Officer level of which 7 have arisen since the start of 2019.

The operation of GISC by Garda Staff fully reflects the Government's vision for a Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 to include 15,000 Garda members and 4,000 Garda Staff. Progress is being made in relation to civilianisation with approximately 410 new civilian posts sanctioned since the beginning of 2017. This includes sanction in February 2018 for 24 Garda Staff for GISC, including 4 Higher Executive Officers, 10 Executive Officers and 10 Clerical Officers.

Immigrant Investor Programme Administration

Questions (507)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

507. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there is a register of investors approved under the visa investment programme that can be supplied to those that are seeking investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19290/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) was introduced by the Irish Government in 2012 to encourage inward investment for the creation of business and employment opportunities in the State. The IIP is designed to encourage investors and business professionals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to avail of opportunities of investing and locating their business interests in Ireland and acquire a secure residency status in Ireland.

In order for a person to make a successful application under the IIP, at the time of their application the investor must identify the investment opportunity that they wish to pursue. There are four investment options open to investors, which are Enterprise Investments, Investment Funds, Real Estate Investment Funds (REIT) and Endowments.

An applicant under the IIP cannot be approved unless the investment opportunity identified is in accordance with the objectives of the Programme. Consequently, there are no circumstances in which a person can be granted a permission under the IIP where they have yet to identify an investment opportunity and as such there is no register of pre-approved investors who are seeking investment opportunities. While a register of approved applications is maintained by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, it would not be appropriate for such personal, confidential or commercially sensitive information to be made available to third parties.

Garda Districts

Questions (508)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

508. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to reverse the decision to downgrade Gorey Garda district resulting in the loss of its superintendent in 2013; the number of gardaí in the Gorey area in each of the years 2007 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19337/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware, that the manner in which the resources of An 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.

On 18 December 2018 last, the Government endorsed the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) and agreed to accept all 157 key recommendations contained in the report, including those related to how An Garda Síochána should be structured and managed to support front line policing.

On the same day, I also published a four year high level plan, ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, which sets out the approach to implementation of the Commission's recommendations. In that regard the development of the local policing model is one of the priority projects being taken forward under A Policing Service for the Future in 2019.

A pilot design has already been implemented in four pilot divisions; Cork City, Dublin South Central, Galway and Mayo. These pilots will help to refine this model to ensure that communities are served by a modern, highly professional, visible police service, which, going forward, I am confident will benefit areas such as Gorey and, more generally, the Wexford Division greatly, as an innovative and progressive way in which to police into the future.

As the Deputy is aware Gorey Garda Station now forms part of the Enniscorthy District in the Wexford Division following a restructuring of the Wexford Division from 4 to 3 districts and the Gorey district amalgamating with the Enniscorthy district. This is more in line with the thinking behind the new district Policing model, as outlined in the CoFPI report, with its greater emphasis on frontline and community policing and district policing teams being large enough to provide a full community service.

The Garda strength of the Wexford Division on the 31st March 2019, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 329, of whom 126 are assigned to the Enniscorthy District with 52 of these assigned to Gorey Garda Station. There are also 15 Garda Reserves and 37 Garda civilian staff attached to the Wexford Division. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

The Garda strength by rank of the Wexford Division from 2009 to 31 March 2019 as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the following link.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, of whom 90 were assigned to the Wexford Division.

The Government 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 injection 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 including the Wexford Division.

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

Visa Applications

Questions (509)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

509. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the process for two Cambodian citizens to apply for a holiday visa to visit their daughter and grandchildren, who are Irish citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19338/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it is open to any visa required national to apply for a visa for any purpose. Each visa application is considered on its individual merits with the Visa Officer having regard to all of the information and documentation available. The onus rests at all times with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer that the particular visa sought should be granted.

Applications are initially made through the online visa application system with supporting documents to be submitted to the particular Visa Office or Embassy specified as the deciding centre. In the case of persons resident in Cambodia, applications are submitted to the Irish Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. Guidelines on how to apply for particular types of visas are available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie. Information is also available on the website of the Irish Embassy in Hanoi at www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/vietnam/our-services/.

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.

In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to visamail@justice.ie.

Deportation Orders

Questions (510)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

510. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application by a family (details supplied); if the case will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19367/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted on behalf of the persons concerned.

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of a final decision being made.

There are a large number of cases awaiting a decision under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 on whether or not to make a deportation order. Therefore it is not possible to expedite a particular case ahead of others unless there are exceptional and urgent reasons for doing so.

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 (511)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

511. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when stamp 4 status will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19387/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned has submitted written representations.

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation. All representations submitted will be fully considered in advance of a final decision being made.

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 (512)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

512. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) can have a stamp upgraded to stamp 4; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19389/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that there is no record of a request from the person concerned to vary her current permission to reside in this State. I am further informed that it is open to the person concerned to email INISdefacto@justice.ie or write to Unit 5, Domestic Residence and Permissions Division, INIS, PO Box 12695, Dublin 2, setting out their immigration history in the State and the basis for the change in permission.

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 (513)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

513. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current and expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19390/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned has submitted written representations.

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation. All representations submitted will be fully considered in advance of a final decision being made.

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 Data

Questions (514)

John McGuinness

Question:

514. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in receipt of injury at work payments; the number injured at work who have received compensation awards; the policy relative to the reclassification of injury at work payments to standard sick pay for members who are frequently out sick due to injury; the impact on the income of the members concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19403/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for managing and An Garda Síochána including personnel matters.

The number of Gardaí recorded as absent on 30th April 2019 as a result of Injury on Duty is 144. In order for a Garda Member to be in receipt of full pay a certificate must have issued in accordance with 11.37 of the Garda Code, or the Chief Medical Officer must have advised that an absence is related to a previous Injury on Duty.

Regarding the policy of reclassification of injury at work payments to standard sick pay for members that are frequently out sick due to injury and the impact on the income of the members concerned, if a member is maliciously injured in the course of duty, without wilful default or negligence on their part and this is confirmed by the Chief Superintendent by way of the issuing of a Certificate in accordance with Garda Code 11.37, full pay may issue while there is a reasonable probability the member will be able to resume duty, as provided for in the Garda Síochána (Finance) Code (F) 3.41.

Where a member is attributing a subsequent absence to a previous injury sustained on duty, the advices of the Chief Medical Officer are sought to confirm the classification of the absence. The absence remains treated as “Ordinary Illness” until the Chief Medical Officer confirms otherwise. Where an absence is reclassified as Injury on Duty, the member will be restored to full pay for the period of absence.

The Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945 provide for a scheme of compensation for members of An Garda Síochána who are maliciously injured in the course of their duty and for the dependants of members who have died from injuries maliciously inflicted on them.

The figures for cases awarded since 2017 are outlined in the following table:

Year

Number of Awards*

2017

111

2018

126

01/2019- 03/2019

32

* While compensation awards were made out in these years, the injuries concerning the compensation awards may have occurred in a year previous.

Private Security Industry Regulation

Questions (515)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

515. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will introduce legislation to ensure that private security companies and their staff who execute court orders are registered with the Private Security Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19528/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

On 9 April, 2019, I secured Government approval to bring the regulation of private security personnel, employed to assist in enforcing court orders, within the remit of the Private Security Authority. The proposals for this measure and related matters are contained in the report of an Interdepartmental Working Group Report which was published on my Department’s website on 9 April, 2019.

My Department is working with the Office of the Attorney General to bring forward the necessary legislative provisions as soon as possible.

Legislative Measures

Questions (516, 538, 539)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

516. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the disciplinary aspect of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19569/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

538. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the establishment of both the review committee and complaints committee as provided for in the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015; the commencement date for when both committees will receive complaints; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19757/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

539. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the establishment of the legal practitioners disciplinary tribunal as provided for in the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015; the commencement date for the tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19758/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 516, 538 and 539 together.

The regulatory reform of the legal services sector has been taking place since the enactment of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 and the establishment of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority, which is independent in the performance of its functions, on 1 October 2016.

As raised by the Deputies concerned, Part 6 of the Act provides for the introduction of an independent complaints and professional conduct regime for legal practitioners including the separate establishment and appointment of an independent Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal. The new Tribunal will deal with allegations of serious misconduct by both solicitors and barristers and will replace the existing bodies which currently operate for that purpose and will be winding-down their existing caseloads. Extensive preparations have been on-going at the Legal Services Regulatory Authority to put the necessary procedural, staffing, IT and other supports in place with the intention of being in a position to receive and process public complaints from early October 2019. At that point, members of the public will no longer make their complaints through the legal professional bodies as they do at present but directly to the Authority and the new Disciplinary Tribunal will come into operation in its own right.

The Legal Service Regulatory Authority's forthcoming actions are set out in its Strategic Plan for 2018-2020 which was duly laid before the Houses. The Plan, under which the Authority is set to come into substantial operational mode from the middle of this year, sets out the indicative timelines for the roll-out of the Authority's key functions. For example, the roll-out of new legal business models in the form of Legal Partnerships and of Limited Liability Partnerships is now due to take place in Quarter 2 of this year.

This Autumn will also see the introduction of the new legal costs transparency regime set out in Part 10 of the 2015 Act including, separately, the transition of the Office of the Taxing-Master to that of the Legal Costs Adjudicators which will maintain a publicly accessible Register of its legal costs determinations. The new professional conduct regime being introduced under Part 6 will, therefore, underpin the new legal costs and other obligations that will apply to legal practitioners being regulated under the 2015 Act. As Minister I will, of course, continue to support the roll-out of these various functions with the timely commencement of the relevant provisions.

Garda Recruitment

Questions (517)

Seán Fleming

Question:

517. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of recruitment campaigns to An Garda Síochána in each of the past five years; the number of applications received in respect of each campaign; the number of persons that joined An Garda Síochána as a result of the campaigns; when each of the processes concluded; if the applications received in November 2016 are still being assessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19570/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Recruitment to An Garda Síochána is governed by the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013. The Public Appointments Service (PAS), on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, manages the initial recruitment stages for selection of Garda Trainees with the final stages of the recruitment process in which candidates are vetted, complete a physical competency test and a medical examination, managed by the Commissioner. I, as Minister, have no direct involvement in the matter.

As the Deputy will be aware, a programme of accelerated recruitment into An Garda Síochána is on-going with a view to reaching 15,000 Gardaí as part of an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 by 2021.

This is an ambitious programme of recruitment and will require a continuous pipeline of suitable candidates. To service this requirement An Garda Síochána has held six recruitment campaigns since December 2013, including the most recent recruitment campaign, which closed in April.

The number of applicants in respect of each campaign is detailed in the table below.

Competition advertised

No. applicants for Garda Trainee (approx)

December 2013

24700

January 2016

15900

September 2016

5100

May 2017

5400

May 2018

6030

April 2019

5300

I am informed by An Garda Síochána that there are a number of applicants from previous recruitment campaigns who are still being processed. Subject to final approval by An Garda Síochána, successful applicants from these campaigns are considered first for intakes into the Garda College, in accordance with the candidate's place on the Order of Merit. There is no set time frame for offers to applicants as this is dependent on their files being fully completed and the intake dates into the Garda College. All applicants remain on the panel until such time as they are offered a place in the Garda College, with the exception of those who are deemed unsuitable, fail the Medical or Physical Competence Test (PCT) or withdraw from the competition. It is anticipated that successful applicants from the recent recruitment campaign may enter the Garda college from approximately mid 2020.

Approximately 2,600 Garda recruits have successfully completed training and attested as members of An Garda Síochána since the reopening of the Garda College in 2014. This has seen an increase in the number of Garda members to just over 14,000 at the end of 2018, a net increase of over 1,000 since the end of 2016.

The Garda Commissioner has informed me that he intends to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019. I have been assured by the Garda Commissioner that this level of recruitment of Garda members planned for 2019 will ensure that, taking account of projected retirements, the Government's commitment to increasing the strength of An Garda Síochána to 15,000 Garda members by 2021 will be achieved.

Residency Permits

Questions (518)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

518. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19579/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned.

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of a final decision being made.

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 (519)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

519. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19581/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned made an application for a right of residency accompanied by a right to work in this State based on their parentage of an Irish citizen child on 21 May 2018.

I am also advised that INIS wrote to the person concerned on 26 June 2018 and 26 November 2018 seeking further information which has since been received. I understand that the application is now under consideration and INIS will be in contact with the person concerned, in writing, in due course.

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.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (520)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

520. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if all required documentation has now been received in respect of an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); if further documentation is required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19582/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a decision on an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy has been reached and this has been communicated to the applicant in a letter issued on 2 May 2019 advising of the decision.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

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.

Naturalisation Eligibility

Questions (521)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

521. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the residency status and eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19583/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Full details of the eligibility criteria and extensive guidelines are available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie.

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 I know the Deputy will appreciate that it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

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.

Community Alert Programme

Questions (522)

James Lawless

Question:

522. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the operation of the community text alert system in County Kildare; the number of alert schemes in operation; if text alert messages are sent out by the local Garda stations in the county or via a centralised Garda station in Dublin; the recent changes to the operation of the text alert schemes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19592/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Text Alert Scheme, which was developed with the support of Muintir na Tíre, Neighbourhood Watch and the Irish Farmers Association, was introduced in September 2013. The scheme provides an additional and effective method for Gardaí to distribute crime prevention information and advice. There are in the region of 200,000 text messages sent under the scheme each month.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that, as of 7 May 2019, there are 33 registered Text Alert Schemes in operation within the three Garda Districts in Kildare Garda Division which facilitates the communication of crime prevention and public safety information to local communities across Kildare.

I am further advised that the 33 Text Alert Schemes within the Kildare Division disseminate information from local Districts/Stations within the Division to an estimated 5,027 subscribers.

I am informed that there have been no recent changes to the management or operations of the Text Alert Scheme from a Garda perspective since the publication of the National Guidelines in 2014 on behalf of An Garda Síochána.

Visa Applications

Questions (523)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

523. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of an appeal for a visa in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19597/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the visa appeal was received in the Visa Office in Dublin on 18 April 2019.

Appeals are processed in the chronological order in which they are received. While every effort is made to process applications as soon as possible, processing times will vary having regard to the volume of appeals received, the resources available to process them and the individual complexity of the application and subsequent appeal. Processing times may also vary where a detailed assessment of family rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights is required. In the circumstances, therefore, I cannot at this time give a definitive date as to when this particular appeal will be finalised.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS 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 INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.