Prison Service Data

Questions (118)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Question:

118. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the daily ration allowance to feed a prisoner and the cost of feeding a prisoner per day. [24586/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that it caters daily to the nutritional needs of approximately 4000 prisoners in its custody. There is no fixed "daily ration allowance" in use in the prison system.

The Irish Prison Service Catering Service provides a nutritionally balanced, varied diet to all prisoners through the 28 day menu which also caters for vegetarian and special diets.

The menu is kept under active review and is designed to deliver 2,500 calories for men and 2000 calories for women, in line with FSAI guidelines.

I am advised that the Irish Prison Service work closely with the Office of General Procurement to ensure that quality and value for money are built into all food contract supplies.

The Irish Prison Service food spend for 2016-2018 is shown in the following table.

Year

Prison Food

Cost per prisoner per day

2016

€7,506,524

€6.09

2017

€7,403,371

€5.84

2018

€7,615,992

€5.85

Juvenile Offenders

Questions (119, 120)

Michael McGrath

Question:

119. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the information the family of a juvenile is entitled to in respect of the consideration by the national juvenile office of a file referred to it by An Garda Síochána relating to an alleged criminal incident involving persons under 18 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24376/19]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

120. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the factors taken into account by the national juvenile office in deciding if a file referred to it by An Garda Síochána should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions or be dealt with under the Garda juvenile diversion programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24377/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 120 together.

The statutory basis for the Garda Diversion programme is contained in Part 4 of the Children Act 2001 (as amended). Under Section 24 of that Act, decisions on whether to admit particular cases to the Diversion Programme lie with the Director of the Diversion Programme, who is a member of An Garda Síochána not below the rank of Superintendent, appointed by the Garda Commissioner.

The Deputy will appreciate that the detailed operation of the Diversion Programme and the progression of crime files for prosecution are operational matters for the Garda authorities and neither I as Minister nor my Department have any involvement.

In addition, the issues referred to by the Deputy are connected to current proceedings for Judicial Review and, in these circumstances, it would not be appropriate for me to make any detailed comment.

To be of assistance, I have requested observations from the Garda authorities on the issues raised by the Deputy, insofar as they do not impact on the current proceedings, and I will contact him directly when a Garda response is received.

Garda Youth Diversion Projects

Questions (121)

Michael McGrath

Question:

121. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the Garda youth diversion programmes in place across Cork city and county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24378/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The 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.

Location

Project Name

Amount of funding allocated

Number of Youth Justice Workers Employed

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

CORK CITY

Total

€991,045

17

Feabhas

€109,381

2

Mallow

€112,168

2

Mobile Diversion

€220,643

2

Youghal

€122,321

2

CORK NORTH

Total

€564,513

8

Bandon Youth

€172,354

3

CORK WEST

Total

€172,354

3

Cork County

Total

€1,727,912

28

Visa Applications

Questions (122)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

122. 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); when approval is likely to issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24393/19]

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 22 May 2019.

Appeals are generally processed in the chronological order in which they are received. While every effort is made to process appeals 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. It is not possible to indicate at this time when the appeal decision 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.

Garda Deployment

Questions (123)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

123. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí based at stations (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24394/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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 North Division from 2009 to 30 April 2019 , as provided by the Commissioner, is available on my Department’s website through the following link. http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division,_District_and_Station_2009_to_April_2019.xlsx/Files/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division,_District_and_Station_2009_to_April_2019.xlsx

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

Garda Deployment

Questions (124)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

124. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí assigned to the drugs unit in the R district of the Dublin metropolitan region north division in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [24395/19]

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, including personnel matters, and I, as Minister, do not have responsibility for this 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 resources.

I have been informed by the Commissioner that the additional resources coming on stream have enabled him to assign resources to Specialist Bureaus such as the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau. This Bureau leads on the strategy for tackling drugs and works with Garda Divisional Drug Units nationwide in demand reduction and supply reduction at local level.

An Garda Síochána remains resolute in its determination to act against those within society who pose a significant threat to the welfare and well-being of our citizens and the communities they serve. All Gardaí have a responsibility in the prevention and detection of criminal activity whether it be in the area of drug offences crime or otherwise. A core focus of the work carried out by An Garda Síochána is aimed at tackling drugs and organised crime.

I am informed by the Commissioner that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily available in the format requested, as Drugs Unit Personnel are assigned on a Garda Divisional basis.

For the Deputy's information, I have set out in the table the number of Gardaí attached to the DMR North Drugs Unit in 2017, 2018 and as of 30 April 2019 (the latest date for which figures are readily available), as provided by the Commissioner.

DRUGS UNIT DMR NORTH 2017 to 30 APRIL 2019

YEAR

TOTAL

2017

19

2018

19

2019*

19

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

Garda Transport Data

Questions (125)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

125. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number and type of Garda vehicles attached to the Dublin metropolitan region north in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by division in tabular form. [24397/19]

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 a total of €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, 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 identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles among the various Garda divisions. As Minister, I have no role in these 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.

The following table, provided to me by the Garda authorities, set out the number and type of Garda vehicles attached to the DMR North Division for the years requested by the Deputy.

Year

Cars

Vans

Motorbikes

4x4

* Other

Total

2019 (as of 10 June)

70

18

0

1

4

93

2018

79

25

1

1

4

110

2017

83

27

1

1

3

115

2016

86

33

2

1

5

127

2015

88

29

0

2

3

122

2014

88

24

3

2

2

119

2013

76

25

3

3

2

109

2012

83

26

4

3

2

118

2011

87

23

7

3

4

124

[*The category 'other' may include MPV, SUV, Minibus or Prisoner Conveyance Vehicles.]

Finally, I can confirm that a total of €10 million has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I am informed by the Garda authorities that they will purchase over 300 vehicles this year with this allocation. The allocation of these vehicles across the Garda Divisions will be for the Commissioner to decide.

Garda Deployment

Questions (126)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

126. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí attached to the community relations unit by rank in the Dublin metropolitan region north to date in 2019. [24398/19]

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.

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.

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 strength of the officially categorised Community Gardaí in each station in the DMR North Division on the 30 April 2019, the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by the Garda Commissioner is as set out in the table.

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

COMMUNITY GARDA 30/04/2019

DMR NORTH

INSPECTOR

SERGEANT

GARDA

TOTAL

Balbriggan

0

0

5

5

Ballymun

0

1

7

8

Clontarf

0

0

5

5

Coolock

0

1

3

4

Howth

0

0

1

1

Raheny

0

1

3

4

Santry

0

1

4

5

Skerries

0

0

1

1

Swords

0

1

8

9

Total

0

5

37

42

Official Engagements

Questions (127)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

127. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason a number of Deputies (details supplied) were not invited to a meeting on the issue of policing which took place in Coolock Garda station on 4 June 2019; the criteria used for extending invitations to other public representatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24400/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that I was invited by Ministers Bruton, McGrath and Senator Noone to meet with community groups in the Dublin 13 and 17 areas, under the umbrella of the Northside Partnership. The meeting was not organised by me or officials in my Department, but was arranged for the same day as my planned visit to Coolock Garda Station.

The meeting involved representatives of various community initiatives in the Coolock, Darndale and Clongriffin areas, local school principals, Gardaí and local residents. I had the benefit of hearing the concerns and suggestions put forward by locals, covering issues such as education, employment and sport, and an undertaking was given that the Government will give them further consideration. I also took the opportunity to outline the whole of government approach which is being taken to policing and community safety under the implementation plan of the Commission of the Future of Policing in Ireland report overseen by the Department of An Taoiseach.

We also met with senior members from An Garda Síochána and my Department officials at Coolock Garda Station. At the meeting, Gardaí briefed me on progress made in the various investigations and also set out actions they had already taken to enhance relationships with the community in the area. I am advised that a high level meeting also took place between the senior Garda managers responsible for community safety, intelligence and drugs and organised crime in order to manage the co-ordinated response to the recent killings, and I understand this group will continue to meet.

Those who accompanied me to the meeting with local Gardaí contacted me directly and requested to accompany me. It is open to any elected member to engage with local Gardaí at any time on issues of concern and, I would emphasise my strong support for engagement with inter alia local Joint Policing Committees.

Garda Deployment

Questions (128)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

128. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the stations at which the 30 new gardaí announced for the Dublin metropolitan north region will be based; when they are expected to be in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24401/19]

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 personnel matters, 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.

I am informed by the Commissioner that the Cohort Model of resource allocation is currently utilised for the allocation of personnel within An Garda Síochána, including newly attested probationer Gardaí from the Garda College. The allocation and transfer of Garda Personnel using the Cohort Model is determined by a number of factors, including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, area, policing arrangements, and operational strategies. When considering the allocation of resources to a Division, comprehensive consultation is carried out with local Garda management during which all factors are taken into consideration.

In relation to the allocation of newly attested Gardaí, it is important to keep in mind that they have a further 16 months of practical and class-room based training to complete in order to receive their BA in Applied Policing. To ensure that they are properly supported and supervised and have opportunities to gain the breadth of policing experience required, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.

I am further informed by the Commissioner that while not all Garda Stations are training stations, the allocation of probationer Gardaí to a Divisional training station facilitates the reassignment of Gardaí to other stations within the Division, if required, by the Divisional Officer.

The information in relation to the number of new recruits allocated to the DMR North on 7th June 2019 is as set out in the table, as supplied by the Commissioner.

I have been assured by the Garda Commissioner that the level of recruitment of Garda members planned for 2019 will ensure that the Government's commitment to increasing the strength of An Garda Síochána to 15,000 Garda members by 2021 will be achieved.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,800 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána. 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 Government has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, including provision for the recruitment of new Gardaí and Garda Staff this year. The Garda Commissioner has informed me that he intends to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and a net 600 Garda 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. This is in addition to the approximately 260 Gardaí redeployed from administrative to front line duties by the end of 2018.

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

DIVISION

TRAINING STATION

Training station breakdown

Divisional Total allocation at 7/6/2019

DMR North

Ballymun

5

DMR North

Balbriggan

5

DMR North

Clontarf

4

DMR North

Coolock

5

DMR North

Raheny

5

DMR North

Swords

4

28

Garda Deployment

Questions (129)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

129. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí by rank in each street crime unit in Dublin to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24419/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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.

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for information in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy and when it is received I will write directly to the Deputy.

Garda Deployment

Questions (130)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

130. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí by rank attached to the serious crime review team in DMR north Garda division in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24420/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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.

I am advised by the Commissioner that the Serious Crime Review Team comes under the command of Assistant Commissioner, Special Crime Operations. The Serious Crime Review Team has a national remit and assists local district offices as required and as such the numbers for the DMR North are not collected as requested.

I have been informed by the Detective Chief Superintendent with responsibility for the Serious Crime Review Team that the current complement of the team is as follows:

1 x Detective Superintendent

1 x Detective Inspector

4 x Detective Sergeants

12 x Detective Gardaí .

The size of the team has remained broadly the same since 2017.

Direct Provision System

Questions (131)

Mick Wallace

Question:

131. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason An Garda Síochána, in response to requests and reminders by the RIA on 4 April 2019, 17 April 2019 and 3 May 2019, did not release the body of a person (details supplied) for burial; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24482/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department was made aware of the circumstances surrounding the death and burial of the person concerned. I want to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to that person's friends and colleagues on their loss.

It is a matter of profound regret to me, and to the Department, that her friends heard of her burial after the event. This must have been deeply distressing to all involved.

Where a person dies while they are being provided with accommodation by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department, RIA works closely with the centre manager to assist the family in accessing the supports by the State, and to ensure that any residents affected by the death are assisted in accessing services that can support them. All deaths and serious incidents that occur within accommodation centres provided by the Department are referred to the Gardaí as a matter of course and the Gardaí in turn refer all deaths to the local Coroner's office.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the death was investigated by An Garda Síochána in Galway as a sudden death. Significant enquiries were conducted by An Garda Síochána, via Interpol, in an effort to notify the deceased's next of kin. Following a thorough investigation, Gardaí were satisfied that there was nothing suspicious into this death. The County Coroner authorised the release of the remains for burial and Gardaí were not privy to this information and to the subsequent burial.

It is clear that there was a breakdown in communication in this particular case, which we very much regret. In an effort to better understand the communications between all parties concerned, a senior official from the Department spoke to the Coroner 7 June last. The Coroner noted the efforts that had been made to identify the deceased’s next of kin. The Coroner stated that the normal practice where someone is interested in the outcome of a coroner’s consideration of whether an inquest will be held into the death of a person is necessary or when a person’s remains are to be released for burial, is that a letter would be on file. In this case a formal request in writing was not recorded on the file and therefore the Coroner arranged for the appropriate and dignified burial of the deceased, through the relevant State agencies, as is the standard practice where next of kin have not been identified, despite efforts to do so.

While thankfully, the occurrences of deaths where the deceased remains unidentified, unclaimed or no next of kin is identified, are very rare, the Department will take appropriate action to ensure that formal requests are made in future so that friends and groups, who have expressed an interest, are properly informed through appropriate communications with the coronial service and by liaising with other agencies involved in this case.

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) supported the organisation of a memorial for the person concerned, which was held shortly after her passing and was attended by her friends, centre management and members of staff from RIA. My colleague, Minister Stanton has written to her friends with the offer of assistance to organise an appropriate commemoration following her burial.

Direct Provision System

Questions (132)

Mick Wallace

Question:

132. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the coroner authorised for a person (details supplied) to be buried in private with no ceremony, when there were requests and reminders on 4 April 2019, 17 April 2019 and 3 May 2019 by the RIA for the release of the body for a public burial; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24483/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department was made aware of the circumstances surrounding the death and burial of the person concerned. 

I want to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to that person's friends and colleagues on their loss.

It is a matter of profound regret to me, and to the Department, that her friends heard of her burial after the event. This must have been deeply distressing to all involved and I offer my unreserved apology for the breakdown in communication, which led to this unintended event.

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) supported the organisation of a memorial for the person concerned which was held shortly after her passing and was attended by her friends, centre management and members of staff from RIA.  

By way of background, where a person dies while she or he is being provided with accommodation by RIA, RIA works closely with the centre manager to assist the family in accessing the supports provided by the State, and to ensure that any residents affected by the death are assisted in accessing services that can support them.  All deaths and serious incidents that occur within accommodation centres provided by the Department are referred to the Gardaí as a matter of course and the Gardaí in turn refer all deaths to the local Coroner’s office.  As is the case with all Gardaí/coroner matters, RIA is not privy to information held by the Gardaí or by a coroner.

In an effort to better understand the communications between all parties concerned, a senior Departmental official spoke to the Coroner on 7 June 2019.  The Coroner pointed out that the normal practice where someone is interested in the outcome of a coroner’s consideration of whether an inquest will be held into the death of a person is necessary or when a person’s remains are to be released for burial, is that a letter would be on file.  However as there was no formal request made in writing to record an interest in the release of her remains, he arranged for the appropriate and dignified burial of the deceased, through the relevant State agencies, as is the standard practice in these cases.

While thankfully, the occurrences of deaths where the deceased remains unidentified, unclaimed or no next of kin is identified, are very rare, the Department will take all possible steps to ensure that this outcome is avoided in future and that friends, groups or colleagues who have expressed an interest are properly informed through appropriate communications with the coronial service and by liaising with other agencies involved in this case.

Garda Resources

Questions (133)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

133. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the necessary funding will be provided to ensure that the Garda public order unit in DMR north is on a full-time basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24500/19]

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 budgetary allocation to An Garda Síochána for 2019 amounts to €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021; and investment of €46 million in the Garda Fleet over the same period. This continuing investment supports the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. 

In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of his identified operational demands. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters. I understand 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 the DMR North Division continues to tackle incidents of public order, anti-social behaviour and the prevention of serious crime escalating further by working with communities to reduce this type of behaviour. Gardaí engage in a range of partnership approaches to address local concerns and hold clinics in the Districts on a regular basis.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that while there are no members assigned to full-time public order duties, there are Gardaí with specialist training in public order policing in each Division.  These Garda members are only required to perform public order duties when operational demands require their deployment, otherwise they are engaged in routine policing duties. The DMR North Division has received operational support from the National Public Order Unit and continues to receive public order support when, and if, the need arises. I am further informed by the Garda authorities that there are no plans to establish a full time Public Order Unit in the DMR North Division. 

Local Management continues to review resources in the DMR North Division to ensure sufficient policing services are provided. Recent promotion competitions have seen members promoted to Inspector and Sergeant Ranks, which has resulted in the DMR North Division receiving 10 new Inspectors and 20 Sergeants. Local Garda Management are satisfied that the current strength in the DMR North Division is being optimised to ensure policing services are provided to the community.

Bench Warrants

Questions (134)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

134. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of bench warrants outstanding in the Coolock Garda district as of 31 May 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24501/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have requested a report on this matter from the Garda authorities and I will contact the Deputy again when the report is to hand.

Courts Service Administration

Questions (135)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

135. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on recent reports that the courts fines system is dysfunctional with large numbers of fines and bench warrants not being implemented during his period as Minister; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24502/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014 commenced on 11 January 2016. Its primary purpose was to provide for alternatives to imprisonment for non-payment of fines including attachment of earnings, community service and debt recovery proceedings. The fines system is administered by the Courts Service. I am aware of some enforcement challenges that have arisen in the administration of the Act. Much of the enforcement challenge concerns the low appearance rate of convicted persons at enforcement hearings under section 7 of the Act when they are notified to attend following default of payment.

In response to this, I have authorised a review of the terms, operation and enforcement of fines by a High Level Working Group, which met for the first time last month. The Group comprises representatives of the Department of Justice and Equality, the Attorney General’s Office, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Courts Service, An Garda Siochana, the Irish Prisons Service and the Probation and Welfare Service.

The purpose of the group is to bring the expertise of all of the relevant stakeholders together so as to determine the most effective way of ensuring that the policy of minimal committals is preserved to the extent possible, while maximising the effectiveness of the alternative sanctions available to the courts in cases of default and to ensure that the integrity of the criminal justice process at this level is maintained and enhanced.

It should be noted that the majority of people continue to pay fines properly imposed by the Courts. Therefore the attention of the High Level Working Group is to focus on the smaller number of people who do not pay fines in a timely fashion, and devising efficient means to minimise that.

Any changes deemed necessary, including legislative change, will be pursued when the High Level Working Group reports.

Garda Equipment

Questions (136, 137)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

136. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of handheld mobile devices which have been issued to Garda stations across the country to date; the Garda divisions and roads policing units which have these devices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24513/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

137. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he expects the 2,000 handheld devices or smartphones will be issued to An Garda Síochána; if this will be done before the end of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24514/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 136 and 137 together.

There has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. An allocation of €1.76 billion has been provided to An Garda Síochána for 2019. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021. This continuing investment in people and capital supports the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

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, including equipment, is a matter for the Commissioner in light of identified operational demands.

As the Deputy may be aware, funding has been provided to An Garda Síochána for roll-out of mobile devices to operational Gardaí, in line with one of the recommendations of the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The implementation plan for that report - A Policing Service for the Future - includes a specific action for An Garda Síochána to acquire and commence the deployment of 2,000 mobile devices for frontline policing by Q4 of this year.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the ACTIVE Mobility programme is the delivery mechanism in this regard. This programme aims to securely connect frontline Garda members to office information systems through mobile technology. Mobile devices, known as Mobile Data Stations will support frontline members with apps including some which will deliver efficiencies for example by replacing paper forms. It will provide the same access to information as if the Garda were at a station, allowing him or her to be more active and visible in the community.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that a successful pilot programme has been conducted in the Limerick Division, which delivered smart mobile devices to 50 members within Roads Policing, Regular, Community and Detective Units in that Division. I am further informed by the Garda authorities that, in keeping with the timetable set out above, it is planned, subject to completion of procurement, to deliver 2,000 mobile devices to frontline Gardaí commencing from Q4 2019.

Courts Service Data

Questions (138, 139, 140, 141, 142)

Michael McGrath

Question:

138. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of legal proceedings initiated in respect of non-performing commercial loans in each year since 2015, by the type of lender, that is, banks or unregulated loan owners, in tabular form; the number that involve principal dwelling house properties; the number that involve buy to let properties; the number that involve both; the number that involve neither; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24518/19]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

139. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of summary judgments made against borrowers in respect of non-performing commercial loans in each year since 2015 by the type of lender, that is, banks or unregulated loan owners, in tabular form; the number that involve principal dwelling house properties; the number that involve buy to let properties; the number that involve both; the number that involve neither; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24519/19]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

140. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of receivers appointed by the courts in respect of non-performing commercial loans in each year since 2015, by the type of lender, that is, banks or unregulated loan owners, in tabular form; the number that involve principal dwelling house properties; the number that involve buy to let properties; the number that involve both; the number that involve neither; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24520/19]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

141. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of orders for repossession made by the courts in respect of non-performing commercial loans in each year since 2015 by the type of lender, that is, banks or unregulated loan owners, in tabular form; the number that involve principal dwelling house properties; the number that involve buy to let properties; the number that involve both; the number that involve neither; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24521/19]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

142. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of repossession orders executed by the lender in respect of non-performing commercial loans in each year since 2015 by the type of lender, that is, banks or unregulated loan owners, in tabular form; the number that involve principal dwelling house properties; the number that involve buy to let properties; the number that involve both; the number that involve neither; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24522/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 138 to 142, inclusive, together.

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 courts statistics are not compiled in such a way as to provide the information sought by the Deputy. The Courts Service has advised that it is not in a position to identify the proceedings in relation to non-performing commercial loans without the manual examination of all individual court files which would required the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of staff time and resources.