Garda Transport Provision

Questions (250)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

250. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of additional marked and unmarked Garda cars and vans that have been allocated to the Coolock Garda district to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25162/19]

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.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official Garda vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between stations as required by operational circumstances. The allocation of Garda vehicles is monitored and reviewed on a continual basis.

I am further informed that the following table outlines the number of vehicles attached to the DMR North Division and Coolock District as of 13 June  2019.

-

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4 x 4

*Others

Total

-

Total

Total

Total

Total

Total

 

DMR NORTH DIVISION

71

18

0

1

4

94

COOLOCK-R DISTRICT

21

3

0

0

0

24

I am further informed that the following table outlines vehicle allocations to the DMR North Division and Coolock District to date in 2019 (correct to 13  June 2019).

-

Cars

*Others

Total

-

Unmarked

Marked

 

DMR NORTH

6

1

7

COOLOCK-R

3

0

3

* The category 'Others' in the table refers to Trucks, Minibuses & MPVs and vehicles not otherwise classified as cars, vans, motorcycles or 4x4s.

Finally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that a total of €10 million has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from the Garda authorities that this allocation will be used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year.

Criminal Law

Questions (251)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

251. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a review will be carried out of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 in view of the fact that the intention to review the operation of the Act was indicated during its passage through Dáil Éireann and more than two years after its passage (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25196/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Part 4 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 specifies that, not later than 3 years after its commencement, a Report will be prepared on the number of arrests and convictions in respect of the new offences, as well as an assessment of the impact on the welfare of those who provide sexual services for payment.

A review will be conducted within the next twelve months and, as part of this, my Department will be seeking submissions from interested parties for consideration.

Community Return Programme

Questions (252)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

252. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the number of persons participating on the community return programme has declined since 2014; his plans to carry out an independent evaluation of the programme; and if the criteria will be reviewed with a view to extending access to the programme. [25250/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that the Community Return programme is a joint Irish Prison Service and Probation Service initiative where carefully selected prisoners are approved reviewable temporary release conditional on them performing unpaid community work. The participants must be serving sentences of between 1 and 8 years.

Prisoners can be considered for placement on the scheme once they have half of their sentence complete and once they have demonstrated good behaviour and a commitment to engage with therapeutic services while in custody. The Community work takes place on projects such as the homeless services, local schools, community projects, youth and sports clubs, graffiti projects and other charitable organisations.

Community Return Statistics

2011

66

2012

299

2013

396

2014

455

2015

323

2016

301

2017

193

2018

218

Total

2251

While the numbers on Community Return have dropped from their high in 2014, the compliance rate of almost 90% has remained the same. This demonstrates the robustness of the assessment process which involves a number of steps and takes into account a wide range of issues such as safety to the public, risk of re-offending, nature of the offence and other pertinent issues.

The Joint Strategy Steering Committee, which consists of senior officials from the Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service, are responsible for the monitoring of progress and tracking emerging trends in initiatives such as Community Return. In 2018 they examined reasons for the fall in numbers on Community Return and found that regular prison review meetings to examine eligible cases have continued to take place as appropriate.

The analysis found that an increasing number of prisoners were not suitable for early release as they represented an unacceptable risk for reasons including links to feuding gangs or that they had not demonstrated a genuine willingness to change their offending behaviour as they had not engaged effectively with the services available to them. It was also noted that an increasing numbers of prisoners had no stable address to return to. The Joint Strategy Steering Committee continue to monitor these issues.

I can further advise the Deputy that in 2014 the Evaluation Report, "Community Return - A Unique Opportunity" found that the Scheme provides a real and beneficial return to communities across the country. It provided a means whereby offenders can return to their own communities and begin the process of resettlement with a focus and a pride that they can make a positive contribution there. I have no plans at present to commission a further independent evaluation of the scheme.

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has received recommendations from the Joint Strategy Steering Committee in relation to revised practices around Community Return and I expect to be in a position to make an announcement in the coming weeks.

Legislative Programme

Questions (253)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

253. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of key pieces of legislation in the penal system including the criminal justice (community sanctions) Bill, the Prisons (Solitary Confinement) (Amendment) Bill 2016 and the Parole Bill 2016 [25251/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill

The Government has approved the drafting of a Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill to replace the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 with modern provisions dealing with community sanctions and the role of the Probation Service in the criminal justice system. The Bill is currently being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. This Bill is at an early stage in the drafting process and as such it is not possible to estimate a timeframe for publication.

Prisons (Solitary Confinement) Bill

The Prisons (Solitary Confinement) Bill is a Private Members' Bill and as such is not within the responsibilities of the Department of Justice and Equality.

However, in respect of the subject matter of the Bill, Statutory Instrument 276 of 2017 amended Rule 27 of the Prison Rules 2007. The purpose of this amendment was to provide a statutory entitlement to prisoners for a minimum of two hours out-of-cell time daily. The means by which this Statutory Instrument is implemented is contained within the Irish Prison Service Policy on the Elimination of Solitary Confinement, which is publicly available on their website

This 2017 amendment brings the Irish prison system into line with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as ‘Mandela Rules’) in respect of solitary confinement.

Parole Bill

The Parole Bill is a Private Members' Bill. The Government agreed in April 2017 to progress the objective of establishing an independent Parole Board on a statutory footing by bringing forward appropriate amendments to the Bill.

As well as providing for the establishment of the new Parole Board, the Bill sets out the criteria to be considered in deciding on the release of prisoners and how the decision to release should be made.

Officials in my Department have been preparing detailed amendments in conjunction with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to the Government, and in consultation with the Deputy. It is my intention to seek Government approval for these amendments very shortly, with a view to the Bill being brought to this House again for debate before the summer recess.

Prisoner Data

Questions (254)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

254. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners registered to vote; the number that voted per prison in the presidential election in 2018 and in the May 2019 elections and referendum, respectively. [25252/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the number of prisoners who exercised their right to vote in the Presidential election in 2018 and in the May 2019 elections and Referendum, respectively are included in the following table. I can further advise the Deputy that due to an administrative error this information for 2018 was not recorded in the Dochas Centre. Also the statistics requested for Shelton Abbey are currently unavailable. I have advised the Irish Prison Service to send this information directly to the Deputy as soon as it is to hand.

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that considerable efforts were made to facilitate prisoner voting prior to the dates for the Presidential election in 2018 and in the May 2019 elections and Referendum, respectively.

The Irish Prison Service complies with the provisions of the Electoral Amendment Act 2006 in the context of facilitating prisoner voting in general and local elections and referenda, through ensuring:

- Information on voting is contained in the induction packs presented to all prisoners on committal. Prison officials have worked closely with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in producing an information leaflet for prisoners on prisoner voting. This leaflet is widely available in all prisons.

- All prisons have a stock of ballot application forms available to prisoners on request.

- All prisons have a designated official who has been appointed under the provisions of the Electoral Amendment Act 2006 with responsibility for the facilitation of prisoner postal voting.

Prisoners have access to a range of media forms including newspapers, radio and TV through which they are kept informed of current affairs. The extensive educational facilities available in the various institutions also play a role in this process of increasing prisoner awareness of political developments. Both the library service and the educational services in the prisons play a valuable role in increasing awareness among prisoners of their rights in this area.

-

May 2018 Presidential Election & 8th Amendment Referendum

-

May 2019 Local, European & Divorce Referendum

-

Institution

Prisoners registered to vote

Prisoners who voted

Prisoners registered to vote

Prisoners who voted

Mountjoy (m)

138

89

143

96

Mountjoy (f)

Not available

Not available

12

10

Cloverhill

4

0

4

0

Wheatfield

45

24

43

20

Midlands

30

28

8

7

Portlaoise

0

0

2

2

Cork

0

0

0

0

Limerick

4

0

4

0

Castlerea

0

0

1

1

Arbour Hill

6

5

6

6

Loughan House

2

2

1

1

Shelton Abbey

Not available

Not available

Not available

Not available

Totals

229

148

224

143

Direct Provision Data

Questions (255, 257, 258, 259, 260)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

255. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of refugees staying in a hotel (details supplied); the number of persons there for six, 12 and 18 months, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25261/19]

View answer

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

257. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons living in direct provision in the Newbridge centre in County Kildare in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25263/19]

View answer

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

258. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons under 18 years of age living in direct provision in the Newbridge centre in County Kildare in each of the years 2012 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25264/19]

View answer

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

259. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of children, women and men resident in a direct provision centre (details supplied). [25265/19]

View answer

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

260. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of children, women and men resident in a direct provision centre (details supplied). [25266/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 255 and 257 to 260, inclusive, together.

The information the Deputy has requested refers to persons residing in accommodation provided by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) in the Kildare area. Although there are a certain number of people residing in accommodation centres that have some sort of status or permission to remain, for the most part people residing in accommodation centres have current applications or appeals pending for international protection.

The statistical data the Deputy requires is contained in the following tabular statements.

Duration of Stay - Hazel Hotel

By Month

0 less than 3

3 less than 6

6 less than 9

9 less than 12

12 less than 18

18 less than 24

Total

Hazel Hotel

6

6

6

92

1

5

116

As of 1st June 2019 there are 116 people residing in the Hazel accommodation centre. 21 of those residents are under 18.

There are 30 Female (8 children and 22 adults) and 86 males (13 children and 73 adults).

Eyre Powell Centre - Adults and less than age 18 2011 to date

At Year End

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 to 1st June

No. of Applicants

79

81

68

79

71

66

83

94

131

No. of Adult Applicants

62

60

47

60

58

62

77

85

100

No. of Under 18 Applicants

17

21

21

19

13

4

6

9

31

As of 1st June 2019 there are 131 people residing in the Eyre Powell accommodation centre. 31 of those residents are under age 18. There are 60 Female (14 children and 46 adults) and 71 males (17 children and 54 adults).

Direct Provision Data

Questions No. 257 to 260, inclusive, answered with Question No. 255.

Questions (256)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

256. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons admitted to each direct provision centre in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and the length of time these persons have remained within the system. [25262/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The statistical data requested by the Deputy is contained in the following tabular statement:

duration of stay

Questions No. 257 to 260, inclusive, answered with Question No. 255.

Direct Provision Data

Questions (261)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

261. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number, location, capacity and occupancy of all temporary direct provision centres; the details of the contracts in place; if he is satisfied that adequate facilities are provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25268/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Since September 2018, due to insufficient capacity within the Reception and Integration Agency's (RIA) accommodation portfolio, RIA has contracted for the use of emergency accommodation in hotels and guest houses.

Due to commercial sensitivities with suppliers, many of which are operating as hotels and guest houses concurrently with accommodating applicants for international protection, and also to protect the identity of applicants in emergency accommodation, the name and exact location of the premises being used are not made public.

The following table includes a breakdown by county of premises being used as emergency accommodation and the numbers accommodated there as at the 9th June 2019.

County

No. of Hotels/Guest houses

Number of Applicants Accommodated

Cavan

1

41

Clare

1

19

Dublin

7

297

Meath

2

47

Monaghan

5

133

Laois

2

63

Offaly

1

17

Louth

2

23

Tipperary

1

17

Wicklow

2

78

Wexford

1

42

Total

25

777

Emergency accommodation is contracted on a short-term basis for up to 6 months. In the interim, RIA is seeking to find additional capacity within its portfolio by providing supports through DePaul Ireland, The Peter McVerry Trust, The Jesuit Refugee Service and South Dublin County Partnership to assist those residents who have status or permission to remain to secure accommodation in the community, In addition, RIA is engaged in a regional public procurement process to identify additional accommodation centres.

It should be noted that the emergency accommodation being utilised are not accommodation centres under the Direct Provision system. The Department is using commercial hotels and guest houses as a temporary measure while seeking to acquire sufficient capacity within RIA's accommodation portfolio in order to meet the State's obligations to persons seeking international protection.

RIA staff carry out information clinics at the temporary accommodation with residents and meetings between both the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and residents have been facilitated.

In addition, RIA is seeking to contract in a Visiting Support and Cultural Liaison Service from the NGO community by the end of this month to assist those residents during their time in the emergency accommodation.

Asylum Applications Data

Questions (262)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

262. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the location at which children (details supplied) applied for asylum in 2018, by county in tabular form; the number that reside in direct provision centres that have access to educational, learning and developmental opportunities; and the educational level to which they have access. [25285/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

While an international protection claim is being examined, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) offer accommodation and related services to anyone without means. This includes all meals, and utilities. A weekly personal allowance is paid to each person and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection cover exceptional needs. The Department of Education and Skills provides school places for children resident in the centres and children also have access to the free pre-school scheme, the Early Childhood Care and Education programme. The HSE provides mainstreamed health services to residents. It is a whole-of-Government approach to supports and services for applicants.

Children resident in RIA-provided accommodation are educated within the mainstream education system i.e. the children of applicants for International Protection access free Primary and Post-Primary education in the same manner as the general population. They can apply for school transport under the School Transport Scheme operated by Bus Eireann on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills. Education in Ireland is compulsory from age 6 to 16 or until students have completed three years of second level (post-primary) education, whichever is the later date, under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. The Department of Education and Skills provides additional teaching and other resources to schools at primary and post-primary level to cater for the needs of pupils for whom English is not their first language.

Homework clubs are also provided at some accommodation centres designated as family centres. A quiet space is provided in family centres to facilitate children doing their homework. Children are free to engage in school based activities and other recreational facilities that are available in the locality in which they are living.

Refugee Access Programme

The City of Dublin Educational Training Board (CDETB) Refugee Access Programme RAP enables newly arrived separated children seeking International Protection and other young refugees aged 16-21 years to communicate through English to a level that will allow them to function in and integrate into Irish society. This full-time education programme covers English language, maths and life skills.

Access to Adult Literacy and English language supports

Access to adult literacy, English language and other culture supports is available to all International Protection applicants i.e. for whom English is not their first language, and is not subject to any eligibility criteria. Tuition is provided free of charge by Education and Training Boards ETBs.

The statistical data the Deputy requires is contained in the following tabular statement.

-

Minors Applied for International Protection 2018 DP/Non DP Breakdown

Children residing outside accommodation centres

340

Children residing in accommodation centres provided by RIA

511

Private Accommodation

6

Total

857

-

-

Minors Applied for International Protection 2018 Place of Application

Cork Airport

1

Dublin Airport

184

IPO Application Centre

670

Rosslare

2

Total

857

Note: These statistics include both dependent minors and unaccompanied minors.

Direct Provision System

Questions (263)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

263. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the recreational facilities available to persons under 18 years of age housed in direct provision centres by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25286/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The improvements to living conditions for residents in accommodation provided by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department have been significant in recent years. These include the implementation of self- or communal catering arrangements in a number of accommodation centres.

In addition, there have been significant improvements to recreation opportunities. Friends of the Centre groups have also been established in each centre. This initiative aims to bring residents, community and voluntary groups together with a view to increasing integration opportunities and providing for the development of greater community linkages with the residents and the centre.

It is a core requirement under the Department’s public procurement process for accommodation centres that all tenders must include an implementation plan to meet the social, cultural and recreational needs of residents and to foster links with local organisations and community groups to encourage greater integration.

There are a wide range of activities being co-ordinated through Friends of the Centre Groups. These include facilitating access to local sporting clubs, participation in Tidy Towns Committees, participation in community gardens, facilitating An Fóroige Youth Clubs, sewing circles, events celebrating different nationalities and cultures and organised day trips to various locations.

The following table is a break-down of recreational facilities available to children in those accommodation centres which accommodate families:

response

Personal Injury Claims

Question No. 265 answered with Question No. 227.

Questions (264)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

264. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the committee he requested be established with representatives of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and his officials to review guidelines for minor personal injury claims including whiplash and soft tissue injuries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25328/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that this is being dealt with within the framework of the Judicial Council Bill 2017. The Bill is a legislative priority for Government and provides for the establishment of a personal injuries guidelines committee which will be tasked with drawing up guidelines for appropriate general damages for various types of personal injury.

It is anticipated that the Bill will be enacted by the summer recess with the Report Stage of the Bill scheduled to be taken in the Seanad on 20 June 2019.

Question No. 265 answered with Question No. 227.

Departmental Properties

Questions (266, 267)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

266. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of land purchased and leased by size and amount expended in the past five years to date; the location of same; the term of the lease and amount expended per year in cases in which land is leased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25389/19]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

267. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of buildings and property purchased and leased and the amount expended in the past five years to date; the location of same; the term of the lease and the amount expended per year in cases in which properties are leased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25406/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 266 and 267 together.

The majority of properties occupied by my Department are owned or leased on its behalf by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

I can confirm that the Department has not purchased or leased land during this period. Information in respect of buildings leased by my Department is contained in the attached document.

I have requested that all agencies under the aegis of my Department respond directly to the Deputy.

Name/Address

Term of lease

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

1/1/2019 – 30/6/2019

Department of Justice & Equality

Montague Court (Part 2nd Floor)

10 years 1/11/2006 to 31/10/16 and renewed for 8 years and 7 months from 1/11/16 to 31/5/2025

€178,080

€178,080

€179,267

€185,200

€185,200

€92,600

Department of Justice & Equality

Montague Court (Part 2nd floor and 3rd Floor)

25 years to 31/5/2025

€513,000

€513,000

€513,000

€513,000

€513,000

€256,500

O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, Smithfield Business Centre, Dublin 7

Rent of office space

6 Feb 2015 – 6 May 2016

€88,000

€32,000

Irish Passenger Information Unit, Skybridge House, Dublin Airport

Rent of office space

May 2018 – May 2020

€169,552

€127,164

Inspector of Prisons Investigation, Regus, Harcourt Centre, Dublin 2

Rent of office space

17/12/2018 – 16/12/2019

€3313

€41,084

Garda Transport Data

Questions (268)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

268. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of vehicles by type in the Garda fleet that are leased rather than owned by An Garda Síochána; the cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25423/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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 including the allocation of Garda resources. 

As such, 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 identified operational demands. 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.

Insurance Fraud

Questions (269)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

269. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he will take to tackle insurance fraud; if he will consider setting up a dedicated central Garda resource tasked with investigating fraudulent cases for potential prosecution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25429/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that it is the Garda Commissioner who is solely responsible for organisational matters, such as the establishment of individual Garda units, the remits of any such units, and the resourcing of units. As I have outline previously to the House, the Commissioner is of the view that a divisional focus on insurance fraud is preferable to the establishment of a centralised investigation unit. This approach is aligned with the divisional-focussed Garda model. It is the intention of the Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) will guide divisions and provide training in the investigation of insurance fraud.

The Deputy will be aware that the Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) specifically called for An Garda Síochána to explore the potential for further cooperation between it and the insurance sector in relation to insurance fraud investigation. An industry-funded Garda insurance fraud unit was one option considered in this regard. While the Commissioner has indicated that he does not support industry funding of Garda units, he is open to considering other industry-funded proposals to combat insurance fraud, for example, IT projects and/or the appointment of analysts.

On a wider level, much constructive engagement has taken place, including the commitment by An Garda Síochána and Insurance Ireland’s Anti-Fraud Forum to meet on a regular basis in order to discuss and act upon current and ongoing general issues which arise in the area of insurance fraud.

In relation to the scale of insurance fraud reported to An Garda Síochána, the most recent figures available to the Department of Justice and Equality show that, in the period 1 October 2018 (i.e. the date on which the new statistical category of ‘insurance fraud’ came into being) to end May 2019, 50 incidents of insurance fraud were recorded on PULSE. 50% of these incidents relate to staged collisions (this data is correct as at 6 June 2019, however the data is operational and, therefore, subject to change).

Finally, the Deputy will be aware of An Garda Síochána's Operation Coatee, which targets insurance-related criminality. In April, the GNECB, supported by Lucan Garda Station, CAB and the Armed Support Units, carried out searches in the west Dublin area with a view to submitting files to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Operation Coatee was successful in making a number of important seizures including documentation and financial records.

Public Order Offences

Questions (270)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

270. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of progress in addressing the issue of scramblers and quad bikes; if he will report on the work of the inter-agency group working on this matter; if he will clarify the views of An Garda Síochána in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25486/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will already be aware, legal advice received from the Office of the Attorney General indicated that, in the main, current road traffic and public order legislation appear to provide sufficient means to police the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes. This view was shared by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and An Garda Síochána at a meeting of the cross-agency group on 15 March.

My Department is continuing to liaise with An Garda Síochána to explore practical solutions to this problem, which are likely to include a combination of targeted enforcement measures, awareness raising, and youth engagement programmes.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend An Garda Síochána for its ongoing efforts to tackle the dangerous anti-social behaviour associated with the misuse of these vehicles. There were two recent incidents in Dublin where such vehicles were being driven dangerously with no licence or insurance, in public areas, including a public park. In both instances the vehicles were seized and the drivers were arrested.