Deportation Orders

Questions (524)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

524. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current and-or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19603/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 21 July 2009. This Order requires the person to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Representations were received from the person concerned, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), requesting that the Deportation Order be revoked. Following the detailed consideration of the information submitted in support of the request, the Deportation Order was affirmed and notified to the person concerned by letter dated 12 October 2018.

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.

Criminal Prosecutions Data

Questions (525)

Peter Burke

Question:

525. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of convictions for an offence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19605/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that it cannot provide the level of detail sought by the Deputy in respect of motorists who were convicted in 2017 and 2018 for having 50-80 milligrams of alcohol per 100mls of blood, 80-100 milligrams of alcohol per 100mls of blood and 100 + milligrams of alcohol per 100mls of blood. The Courts Service does not record the level of alcohol in the blood.

I have asked the Courts Service to provide a figure for the overall number of convictions for the offence of driving with excess alcohol in blood and I shall provide this directly to the Deputy once it is to hand.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (526)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

526. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19614/19]

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 a current application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy. A decision on her previous application issued by letter on 22 October 2018.

A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received, and every application is considered on its individual merits, regardless of whether the applicant had applied previously.

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. The fact that a person may have had an application refused does not preclude or disqualify them from submitting a fresh application in the future. Indeed, the letter advising an applicant of a negative decision also informs them that they may re-apply for the grant of a certificate of naturalisation at any time. The letter advises that, when considering making such a re-application, they should give due regard to the reasons for the refusal which were contained in the submission attached to the refusal letter and that any further application will be considered taking into account all statutory and administrative conditions applicable at the time of application.

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

Immigrant Investor Programme Data

Questions (527, 528, 531, 532)

Seán Fleming

Question:

527. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications received and approvals granted in each of the past five years in respect of the immigrant investor programme under the heading enterprise investment; the amount received under this heading in each year; the average time taken to process applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19615/19]

View answer

Seán Fleming

Question:

528. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications received and approvals granted in each of the past five years in respect of the immigrant investor programme under the heading investment fund; the amount received under this heading in each year; the average time taken to process applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19628/19]

View answer

Seán Fleming

Question:

531. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications received and granted in each of the past five years in respect of the immigrant investor programme under the heading endowment; the amount received under this heading in each year; the average time taken to process applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19649/19]

View answer

Seán Fleming

Question:

532. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications received and approvals granted in each of the past five years in respect of the Immigrant Investor Programme under the heading real estate investment trusts; the amount received under this heading in each year; the average time taken to process applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19653/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 527, 528, 531 and 532 together.

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) was introduced in April 2012 to encourage inward investment and create business and employment opportunities in the State. The programme provides investors with the opportunity to invest in Ireland. Key to the programme is that the investments are beneficial for Ireland, generate or sustain employment and are generally in the public interest.

The table below provides details of the applications received and the numbers of approvals for each of the four options currently covered by the scheme over the past 5 years.

Enterprise Investment

Endowment

Investment Fund

REIT

2019

Applications

20

10

0

0

Approvals

0

0

0

0

2018

Applications

315

75

31

1

Approvals

27

12

15

0

Value of Approvals €

26,000,000

4,800,000

15,000,000

0

2017

Applications

228

46

50

1

Approvals

197

42

49

0

Value of Approvals €

197,000,000

18,700,000

49,000,000

0

2016

Applications

253

5

32

1

Approvals

197

5

31

1

Value of Approvals €

101,500,000

2,400,000

15,500,000

500,000

2015

Applications

55

1

3

0

Approvals

55

1

2

0

Value of Approvals €

27,500,000

500,000

150,000

0

With regard to processing times, these are generally within 6-9 months from date of application. This compares very favourably to international peers, some of whom decide on applications between 12-24 months.

During 2018, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) introduced a number of enhanced control mechanisms to ensure the programme operates to the highest standards including personal and financial checks. While this has led to a temporary increase in processing times in this calendar year, I expect that decisions on a significant number of 2018 applications will be made in the coming weeks.

An independent external review of the IIP is under way and it is expected that the review will be concluded in the second half of 2019.

Prison Deaths

Questions (529)

Clare Daly

Question:

529. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the circumstances of the death of a person (details supplied) in prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19647/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I was advised by the Irish Prison Service of the recent death in custody of the named person. I understand that the inquest into the death of this person is pending, and the scheduling of the inquest is a matter for the Coroner concerned.

I also refer the Deputy to my response to Question 7411/19. I wish to reiterate that all deaths in custody are the subject of a Garda investigation in addition to the inquest held in the Coroner's Court. The cause of death is determined by a jury on the basis of the information presented to the Coroner’s Court.

All deaths in custody are also subject to an independent investigation by the Inspector of Prisons. The investigation by the Inspector of Prisons applies to prisoners who are in the custody of the Irish Prison Service, and includes those instances where the death of the prisoner has occurred outside the prison, or the prisoner in question was recently on temporary release at the time of death.

The Irish Prison Service also has an internal review mechanism which assesses the circumstances of a death in custody, highlights accountability and outlines any actions to be taken in relation to the incident.

Prison Facilities

Questions Nos. 531 and 532 answered with Question No. 527.

Questions (530)

Clare Daly

Question:

530. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to extend opportunities for meaningful work and study to prisoners on sentences of ten years or over, many of whom are excluded from the entitlements that, for example, life sentence prisoners would be able to access. [19648/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that all prisoners are afforded the same access to meaningful work and study regardless of their sentence length. The Irish Prison Service provides a wide range of rehabilitative programmes in all prisons to those in custody, including those on sentences of ten years or over. Those programmes include education, work training, healthcare, psychological, psychiatric, counselling, welfare and chaplaincy services, all of which can offer purposeful activity to those in custody while serving their sentences and can encourage them to lead law abiding lives on release. On committal, all prisoners are interviewed by the Governor and are informed of the services available in the prison. At this point prisoners may be referred to services or they can self refer at a later date.

The aim of the Prison Education Service is to deliver a high quality, broad, flexible programme of education that helps people in custody cope with their sentence, achieve personal development, prepare for life after release and establish an appetite and capacity for life-long learning. Broad programmes of education are provided which generally follow an adult education approach. The Department of Education and Skills provides and funds an allocation of whole-time teacher equivalents to the prisons.

Programmes are adapted to take account of the diversity of the prisoner population and the complex nature of prison life, including segregation requirements and high levels of prisoner turnover. As well as seeking to draw on best practice in adult and further education in the community, there has been a lot of curriculum development over the years that is specific to prison circumstances, such as courses on addiction, health issues and offending behaviour.

The guiding principles which underpin the prisons' work and training service are to make available work, work-training and other purposeful activities to those in custody. Training activities are chosen to give as much variety as possible and also to give opportunities for those in prison to upskill and to acquire practical accredited skills which will help them secure employment on release. The provision of essential prison services such as catering, industrial cleaning and laundry services also form an important part of work training and skills development in all prisons.

The Irish Prison Service has also been expanding the number of accredited courses and opportunities available to prisoners in Work Training in recent years. Enhanced partnership arrangements with accrediting bodies such as City and Guilds and the Guild of Cleaners and Launderers and the centralising of co-ordination and quality assurance arrangements have enabled the Irish Prison Service to extend the number of available courses and activities with certification.

Questions Nos. 531 and 532 answered with Question No. 527.

Garda Transport Provision

Questions (533)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

533. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda cars available in each Tipperary Garda district in each of the years 2013 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form excluding road policing units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19667/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions are a matter for the Commissioner in the light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.

I have requested the relevant information from the Commissioner and I will write to the Deputy directly when I receive it.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (534)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

534. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the final stage of an application for naturalisation for a person (details supplied) will be expedited to allow the person to complete a degree; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19681/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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

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

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

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (535)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

535. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the requirements to facilitate preparations for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19684/19]

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 10 December 2018 advising of the decision. Every application for a certificate of naturalisation is considered on its individual merits.

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.

Youth Justice Strategy

Questions (536)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

536. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the youth justice strategy; the terms of reference and proposed timeframe for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19755/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, I have convened an expert Steering Group to help guide the development of a new Youth Justice Strategy, including a review of the provisions of the Children Act. The Steering Group commenced its work in February and will have a series of meetings during this year and into next year. The Group is tasked with advising and guiding the development of the new Strategy. This will include consideration of the full range of issues connected to children and young people at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system, from early intervention and preventative work, including family support, diversion from crime, through to court processes and facilities, supervision of offenders, detention and reintegration and support post release.

The new Strategy will be informed by an assessment of what has been achieved under the 2008 Youth Justice Strategy and the subsequent Youth Justice Action Plan 2014 - 2018, of what remains to be addressed and what new and contemporary challenges have emerged in the meantime. It will also be informed by a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders over the course of this year, commencing with an Open Policy Forum which my Department is hosting on 8 May.

It is intended that the new Youth Justice Strategy will sit under the next iteration of “Better Outcomes Brighter Futures” , the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People 2014-2020, which is coordinated by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

For me, the key priority is prevention and early intervention and I am on record in this House and elsewhere of stressing the importance of bringing all relevant agencies and programmes together, including schools, to ensure that we provide a holistic, 'wrap around' response to the needs of children and young people at risk in the specific family and community context.

I expect that a draft of the new Strategy will be ready for publication towards the end of this year for a further round of public consultations, and that the final Strategy will be published in the early part of 2020.

Legal Services Regulation

Questions Nos. 538 and 539 answered with Question No. 516.

Questions (537)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

537. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the actions he plans to take to implement the 42 recommendations from the Legal Services Regulatory Authority arising from the review of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 that was recently published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19756/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Legal Services Regulatory Authority has completed its first statutory Review of the Operation of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 as it is required to do, in the independent exercise of its functions, under section 6 of that Act. In accordance with the Act, the Authority has laid the findings of its Review before each House of the Oireachtas on 29th March 2019.

Along with my Department, I very much welcome the report of the Review as a modern legislative tool intended to further enhance the operation and effectiveness of the Legal Services Regulation Act. This can improve the Act in its structural reform and regulation of legal services and legal costs in the State while also enhancing the Act's new legal professional conduct regime.

The Authority's review has included a public consultation process and the receipt of 18 submissions, including from the legal professional bodies and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. The Authority has recommended 42 legislative amendments to the 2015 Act so as to -

(a) ensure the sufficiency and sustainability of the funding model provided under the Act to enable the Authority to perform its functions and fulfil its objectives;

(b) ensure that the Roll of Practising Barristers, as established, fulfils its legislative intention,

(c) facilitate appropriate information and data sharing between the Authority and the professional bodies,

(d) correct drafting and technical anomalies.

I am, therefore, along with officials of my Department, giving detailed and open consideration to these and other matters raised in the Review and to any necessary measures proposed. This will include such legislative amendments or refinements, if any, as may be considered appropriate, subject to their approval by Government. My Department will continue to work closely with the Authority on these matters.

At the same time, any further refinements of the 2015 Act arising from the Review will augment the substantial progress being made by the Regulatory Authority in the ongoing roll-out of its functions. Under its Strategic Plan 2018-2010 the Authority will be introducing Legal Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships in the coming weeks. It will come into substantial operational mode after the summer with the coming on stream of its public complaints and professional conduct procedures. This will be supported by the separate establishment of the new and independent Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal which will deal with both solicitors and barristers, and, the coming into operation of the new Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicators. Both are also set to come on stream over the summer period.

Questions Nos. 538 and 539 answered with Question No. 516.

Appointments to State Boards

Questions (540)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

540. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has made State board appointments in the past three years in circumstances in which he has reappointed a person that has already served two full terms contrary to the advice in section 13.2 of the guidelines on appointments to State boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19759/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to confirm to the Deputy that the information sought cannot be provided in the time allowed. As soon as the information has been collated I will write to the Deputy on the matter.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (541)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

541. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of marked and unmarked cars and marked motorbikes attached to the north Dublin roads policing unit as of 31 December 2017, 31 December 2018 and 29 April 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19778/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions are a matter for the Commissioner in the light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.

I have requested the relevant information from the Commissioner and I will write to the Deputy directly when I receive it.

Garda Training

Questions (542)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

542. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí that have graduated in the fraud and e-crime investigation postgraduate certificate in UCD; the number of gardaí undertaking the course at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19779/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As you will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who has statutory responsibility for managing An Garda Síochána including training and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

The table below sets out the number of Gardaí that have graduated in the Fraud and E Crime investigation postgraduate certificate in UCD and the number of Gardaí undertaking the course at present.

Year

Number who graduated

November 2017

44

November 2018

44

November 2019

44 due to graduate

TOTAL

132 up to November 2019

November 2019

50 to commence course

The above numbers exclude over 200 additional members trained between 2004 and 2011 on the Garda Bureau of Fraud investigation course that was the forerunner of the Fraud and E Crime investigation postgraduate certificate in UCD. The Garda Bureau of Fraud investigation course had accreditation from LIT.

Garda Training

Questions (543)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

543. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the Garda districts and or stations in which gardaí have received training in coercive control prior to or following the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act 2018, in tabular form. [19793/19]

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.

The recently commenced Domestic Violence Act significantly strengthens the civil and legal protections available to victims. The offence of coercive control recognises that domestic violence is more than physical as it can also involve emotional abuse, humiliation or intimidation.

I am advised by the Commissioner that training was provided at Templemore Garda College to members of the Divisional Protective Services Units and Inspectors with the Domestic Abuse portfolio by Dr. Jane Monckton Smith, University of Gloucestershire, in relation to Domestic Homicide and their link to coercive control. This was part of a three day domestic abuse modular training programme for DPSUs and Domestic Abuse Inspectors that took place in the Garda College on 19 - 21 February 2019 and 26 - 28 February 2019.

In addition, training lectures are being delivered to Probationer Gardaí at the Garda College in Templemore by members of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, prior to their postings. These presentations cover all aspects of domestic abuse and the key aspects of the new Domestic Violence Act, including coercive control. This means that every new member leaving the Garda College for their permanent stations will be familiar with the new Act.

Figures for this training to date are as follows:

Numbers trained in relation to the Domestic Violence Act 2018

Training

Numbers

Trainee Gardaí

206

Probationer Gardaí

158

DPSU (Divisional Protective Services Unit) personnel

107

I am further advised by the Commissioner that in terms of training and awareness, HQ Directive 014/2019 of 28th March 2019 gave approval for the commencement of the Continuous Professional Development core Programme for 2019. The Domestic Violence Act 2018 forms part of this programme, including the new offence of coercive control. Members of an Garda Síochána are currently undergoing "train-the-trainer" training in the area of coercive control, which will aid in the creation and delivery of organisational training.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (544)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

544. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda vehicles within the force in each of the past ten years by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19802/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions are a matter for the Commissioner in the light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.

I have requested the relevant information from the Commissioner and I will write to the Deputy directly when I receive it.

Road Traffic Offences Data

Questions (545)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

545. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 229 of 5 March 2019, the number of drivers that were summoned to court in 2018 for the offence of driving while disqualified; the number convicted of this offence; the penalty imposed by the court in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19856/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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

I have requested information from the Courts Service and An Garda Síochána in relation to this matter and I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as I have the information to hand.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal Data

Questions (546)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

546. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 231 of 4 December 2018 and 529 of 26 March 2019, if the assessment of the caseload of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal which he requested is now complete; the outcomes and actions arising from same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19984/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed that the assessment of the caseload of the Tribunal is expected to be finalised shortly. I will provide the Deputy with a further update at that point.

Immigrant Investor Programme Applications

Questions (547, 548)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

547. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when applications by persons (details supplied) under the immigrant investor programme will be processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20020/19]

View answer

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

548. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the length of time it takes to process applications under the immigrant investor programme; his views on whether this is curtailing significant investment in the small and medium enterprise sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20021/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 547 and 548 together.

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) was introduced in April 2012 to encourage inward investment and create business and employment opportunities in the State. The programme provides investors with the opportunity to invest in Ireland. Key to the programme is that the investments are beneficial for Ireland, generate or sustain employment and are generally in the public interest.

Successful applicants under the Immigrant Investment Programme and their nominated family members may be granted a residence permission in Ireland under Stamp 4 conditions. Stamp 4 conditions permit non-EEA nationals to work, study or start their own businesses in Ireland. Therefore, given the significant immigration benefits accruing and to ensure the highest degree of transparency and accountability for the programme, it is essential that all applications are subject to enhanced levels of due diligence processes in respect of both personal and financial checks, to protect the State's interests.

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the individuals referred to by the Deputy have made applications under the Immigrant Investor programme. INIS has introduced a number of enhanced control mechanisms as outlined which has led to temporary increase in processing times, as the new processes are bedded in. However, I am advised that a decision on a significant number of applications is expected to issue over the coming weeks.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of my Department expects that, in 2019, processing times for applications will be between 6-9 months. I am advised that timeframe compares very favourably to international peers, some of whom operate a decision-making framework of between 12 and 24 months.