Garda Transport Data

Questions (219)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

219. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new marked and unmarked Garda cars and motorcycles that were allocated to roads policing units in 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30198/19]

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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.

The Deputy may also 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.

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 to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table sets out the new vehicles allocated to Roads Policing Duty in 2018 and to date in 2019 (correct as of 8 July 2019). I am further advised that no unmarked vehicles were allocated to Roads Policing Duty during this period.

Allocations

Cars

Vans

Motorbikes

4x4

Others

Total

2019 (to 8 July)

1

0

0

18

0

19

2018

5

0

4

14

17

40

Finally, the Deputy may be interested to know that Garda management has informed me that a total number of 300 vehicles (marked and unmarked) are assigned to Roads Policing duty as at 8 July 2019. I am informed that this total is made up of 130 cars, 2 vans, 100 motorbikes, 28 4x4 vehicles and 40 other vehicles.

Sexual Offences Data

Questions (220)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

220. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of staff nationally involved in investigating material on mobile phones, computers and so on relating to child sexual offences; the qualifications needed for such work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30199/19]

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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.

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 have requested a report from the Commissioner in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy and I will revert to him when it is to hand.

Sexual Offences Data

Questions (221)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

221. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will advance the scoping group on sexual violence recommendation that further consideration be given to the development of appropriate supplementary data collection exercises to explore the experiences of sexual violence for members of vulnerable and minority groups in view of the fact that a national survey by its nature cannot achieve data to make useful or meaningful conclusions in relation to small groups. [30225/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

On 20th November 2018 the Government approved a new national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland. Following this, the Department of Justice and Equality and the Central Statistics Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 10th January 2019 regarding the undertaking of the survey.

The CSO have now begun the work on the large scale survey, called the Sexual Violence Survey (SVS), which will look in detail at the experience of sexual violence and abuse for both women and men in Ireland, with repeat surveys every decade.

This is a large and complex survey. The Government’s expert Scoping Group report made clear that delivering a survey that met the highest standards would be a significant undertaking and a multi-annual project.

A priority of mine is that it be done right. We want to ensure that the State undertakes an ongoing programme of research of the highest quality in a sensitive and ethical way to ensure a robust set of data to inform Government policy. The complexities and timeframes involved have been acknowledged by some of the NGOs involved in the sector. The CSO has provided an estimated timeline of up to five years for completion including a full first year of technical research, design, specialist training and preparation. The preparatory phase will also involve a stakeholder consultation process, consideration of best international practice and the conducting of a full pilot survey in the field in 2020.

As has been stated, a national survey by its nature cannot achieve data to make useful or meaningful conclusions on the experiences of sexual violence for smaller cohorts such as members of vulnerable and minority groups. The report of the Scoping Group did indeed recommend that further consideration be given to the development of appropriate supplementary data collection exercises to explore the experiences of those harder to reach groups. Following the pilot of the SVS, proposals will be developed to explore options, including conducting qualitative work on such sub populations.

The provision of reliable, robust, objective and internationally comparable information requires that the planning and execution of this survey is undertaken in a professional and comprehensive manner and to do otherwise may compromise the quality of the resulting data. Therefore, the planned duration of the new Sexual Violence Survey (SVS) is to ensure that all aspects of the survey are undertaken and completed to the highest possible standard.

Gender Recognition

Questions (222)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

222. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will introduce legislative and related measures to develop gender sensitive reception procedures and support services for asylum seekers as required by the Istanbul Convention. [30233/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

On 8 March 2019, Ireland became the 34th out of 47 members of the Council of Europe to have ratified the Istanbul Convention. The Government has committed in the National Strategy for Women and Girls to considering gender impact in the development of new strategies and the review of existing strategies. It will also require all public bodies to assess and identify the human rights of women and girls and the gender equality issues that are relevant to their functions and address these in their strategic planning, policies and practices, and annual reports, in line with the public sector duty under section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.

The Domestic Violence Act 2018 was a key action in progressing the ratification of the Istanbul Convention as it delivered on a number of Convention requirements including extending access to barring orders, giving judges powers to refer perpetrators to programmes and providing for an offence of forced marriage.

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department has agreed a policy and practice document on safeguarding RIA residents against domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and harassment. This policy was agreed in April 2014 between RIA, Cosc and NGOs such as AkiDwA, Ruhama and the UNHCR and appropriate training was provided to all accommodation centre staff. The policy can be found on the RIA webpage:

http://www.ria.gov.ie/en/RIA/RIA%20Policy%20Document%20on%20Domestic%20&%20Gender%20Based%20Violence%20&%20Agreed%20Report.pdf/Files/RIA%20Policy%20Document%20on%20Domestic%20&%20Gender%20Based%20Violence%20&%20Agreed%20Report.pdf

The Istanbul Convention refers to parties taking the necessary legislative or other measures to develop gender-sensitive reception procedures and support services for asylum-seekers as well as gender guidelines and gender-sensitive asylum procedures, including refugee status determination and application for international protection. New national standards for RIA accommodation centres have been developed by my Department in conjunction with NGOs, residents of accommodation centres and other Government Departments. These standards, which are due to be published shortly, will support the process of ensuring that reception procedures and support services for asylum seekers are appropriately gender sensitive.

Departmental Contracts Data

Questions (223)

Martin Heydon

Question:

223. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the contracts his Department and agencies under his remit are engaged in for the provision of security services; the name of each contractor; the procurement process involved; the duration of each contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30246/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Please see the following table which outlines the contracts in which my Department are engaged for the provision of security services; the name of each contractor; the procurement process involved and the duration of each contract.

I have requested that the agencies under the remit of my Department respond directly to the Deputy in respect of this request.

Security Contract

Contractor

Procurement Process

Duration

McAfee AntiVirus Licensing,Support & Maintenance

Caveo

eTenders

21/03/2016 - 20/03/2021

Independent ICT SecurityConsultancy

1. ISAS

2. BH Consultancy

eTenders. More than one contractorselected in order to create a mini framework.

20/07/2017 - 20/02/2020

Firewall HardwareMaintenance

Baker Security Networks

Three Quotations minimum(contract value was less than €25,000)

15/06/2018 - 14/06/2021

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certification

Digicert

Three Quotations minimum(contract value was less than €25,000)

23/01/2019 - 23/01/2021

Information SecurityAnalyst

Accenture

Supplementary Request ForTender (SRFT) to Office of Government Procurement framework for External ICT TechnicalSupport Services

10/06/2019 - 10/12/2019

The provision of security services at a number of Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service premises.

Manguard Plus

Mini-competition run off Officeof Government Procurement Framework Agreement

24 months with option to extend for two 12 month periods

The contract commenced on 3rd May 2019 for a duration of 3 years with the possibility of two 12 month extensions.

Residency Permits

Questions (224)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

224. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will introduce legislation to provide for the full implementation of Article 59 of the Istanbul Convention, which requires that autonomous residence permits be granted to victims of domestic violence. [30256/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Article 59 of the Istanbul Convention requires Parties to the Istanbul Convention to take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that migrant victims, whose residence condition is conditional on marriage or on being in a relationship, are granted an autonomous residence permit of a limited validity in the event of the dissolution of the marriage or the relationship.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has an established policy of allowing victims of domestic abuse to apply for a residence permission in their own right. Immigration guidelines for those experiencing domestic abuse are provided on the INIS website and can be located at the following link.

http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/inis/victims%20of%20domestic%20violence%20-%20note%20for%20web.pdf/files/victims%20of%20domestic%20violence%20-%20note%20for%20web.pdf.

The INIS guidelines are very clear that reporting abuse will not put a person’s immigration status at risk and emphasises that domestic violence should always be reported. Once an application for independent status under the policy has been granted, the immigration status granted to the applicant is fully independent of any spouse or partner who will have no say in whether an applicant is permitted to stay in Ireland.

Direct Provision Data

Questions (225)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

225. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons in direct provision by number of years they have been there, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30358/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The figures requested by the Deputy are contained in the following table. It should be noted that the average length of stay in Direct Provision accommodation has reduced from 32 months in 2015 to 24 months at the end of 2018 and significant efforts are being made by my officials to further reduce this period.

More generally, as you are aware, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is responsible for the offer of accommodation and supports to persons seeking international protection in Ireland. Applicants are free to accept these services or are free to source their own accommodation with family or friends. While previously this was done on an administrative basis, this is now carried out under the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive, which was transposed into Irish law in June 2018 by way of SI No. 230 of 2018.

My Department working together with other Departments and agencies has already introduced far-reaching and important reforms to the overall system and this process will continue as we strive to make further improvements in the future. One of the most significant improvements is the introduction of independent living, which allows applicants to obtain food and other products in a specially-constructed food hall in the centre and to cook the food at either communal or individual cooking stations.

As of early April 2019, over 2,200 applicants across eight centres were availing of the independent living model. In addition, almost 1,400 other applicants have access to other self-catering facilities with food provided by the contractor or the applicant themselves. The Department of Justice and Equality anticipates that all of the centres under contract to it will have moved to the independent living model by mid-2020.

In addition, there have been significant improvements to recreation opportunities, such as the provision of outdoor sports pitches, including ‘all-weather’ facilities, teenagers' rooms and family living rooms in centres to provide social areas for particular age groups. 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.

The following figures include over 700 people with a protection status or a permission to remain in the State.

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

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

Duration of Stay of RIA Residents at July 9th 2019

By Months

No. of RIA Applicants

0<3

857

3<6

652

6<9

681

9<12

641

12<18

822

18<24

761

24<36

924

36<48

857

48<60

435

60<72

145

72<84

63

84+

123

Total

6961

Visa Applications

Questions (226)

Bríd Smith

Question:

226. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications since 1 January 2016 for visas pursuant to the policy document on non-EEA family reunification made by persons here granted international protection; the number of visa applications granted to family members of such sponsors; if the grant was at first instance or on appeal; the number of the sponsors that did not meet the financial criteria in the policy document; and the number of the sponsors which were under 18 years of age (details supplied) [30448/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The policy document referred to by the Deputy is a general policy to cover the broad range of persons legally in the State who wish to apply for their family members to join them. I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, as the criteria for qualification under the policy does not consider the original basis by which the sponsor came to have permission to be in the State, the data requested by the Deputy is not available.

The usual manner by which persons who have been granted refugee status by the State can seek family reunification is in accordance with the International Protection Act 2015. Specifically, sections 56 and 57 provide for reunification where the family member is as defined in section 56(9) of that Act. There have been 402 family members granted family reunification under the provisions of the Act since the commencement of the provisions on 31 December 2016.

In addition, the Irish Humanitarian Admissions Programme 2 (IHAP) was established to provide humanitarian admission to Ireland for 530 eligible family members of Irish citizens and those with protection status in Ireland. The first call for proposals was issued in June 2018 which has led to a total of 98 applications being granted in respect of 166 beneficiaries. To date, of the 166 people granted permission, 92 have actually arrived in the State.

A second call for proposals under the IHAP issued in December 2018, with a closing date for proposals of 8 February 2019. Processing of proposals under the second call is underway and it is expected that the majority of decisions under this call will issue by September 2019.

Legal Costs

Questions (227)

Willie Penrose

Question:

227. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if steps have been initiated to review or reuse the costs provisions applicable to the District Court as per SI No. 17 of 2014 and in particular the obligation to review the same levy every three years as set out in the regulation; if in this context provision will be made prospectively for the payment of drafting fees, opinions, notices of applications and affidavits which pertain to dealing with civil matters before the District Court and which are necessary in the context of such proceedings and which are not included in counsels' fees as set out in 13(i) of SI No. 7 of 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30467/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, the matter of the revision of the Schedule of Costs to the District Court Rules in accordance with Order 53, Rule 2(4) is a matter for the District Court Rules Committee. As Minister I must consider any proposed revision and concur with changes.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and I understand that the District Court Rules Committee is currently undertaking a review and is awaiting observations from the Law Society as well as seeking observations from the Bar Council in relation to the Schedule.

Work Permits Eligibility

Questions (228)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

228. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to relaunch the scheme to allocate work permits for non-EU citizens to fill the need in the dairy sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30224/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The employment permit system is managed through the operation of the critical skills and ineligible occupations lists. In May 2018, following a comprehensive review of the data and evidence available, and consideration of a detailed business case by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as the lead policy Department for the sector, a pilot quota based scheme was introduced to remove the occupations of horticulture worker, meat processing operative and dairy farm assistant from the ineligible occupations list. The quotas introduced were 500, 1,500 and 50 respectively. The scheme allows workers from non-EEA countries to access employment opportunities.

The application of a quota based system is to ensure that in the longer-term, strategies are put in place to source labour supply from both the domestic and European labour markets and to invest in innovative technologies for the sector. To date this pilot scheme has proved very successful with the number of permits issued in the dairy sector almost exhausted.

These lists are subject to twice-yearly evidenced based review process involving consideration of research undertaken by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (Solas), the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), the National Skills Council, and input by relevant Government Departments in addition to the public consultation phase. Submissions to the review process are also considered by the Economic Migration Policy Interdepartmental Group chaired by my Department which includes the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The pilot scheme provides that additional employment permit quotas may be granted in response to progress reported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on commitments given by the sector to:

- the systematic and structured engagement with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection regarding sourcing labour from the live register and across the EEA;

- the development of training, upskilling and career opportunities;

- a commitment to examine the potential of innovation in the sector to ameliorate reliance on a model of low skill, low wage employment.

The views of the lead policy Government Department for the sector, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, are an important part of the decision-making process.

I am advised that the business case submitted by the sector requesting an extension to this quota has been forwarded to my Department, following its consideration by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. My Officials are currently examining the submission as a matter of urgency and I expect to be in a position to make a decision on this request very shortly.

IDA Ireland

Questions (229)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

229. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 106 of 10 April 2019, the progress made in marketing the site in question; if there has been further meetings between the IDA and the site owners; if the attention of the IDA has been drawn to moves to rebrand the site (details supplied); if there have been site visits from potential investors or new businesses seeking to locate at the site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30096/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

I am informed that the IDA met with the site's new owners last December and that it has been provided with marketing information for the Liffey Business Campus. The owners are marketing the site through a third party agent. The IDA is not aware of a rebrand of the site and continues to actively market it to both existing and potential clients through its network of offices in Ireland and overseas.

More broadly, the Agency's efforts to attract more investment to Kildare will be assisted by the County's already strong profile as a home to overseas firms in the Technology, Financial Services and Pharmaceuticals sectors. IDA client companies such as Intel, Pfizer, and Procter and Gamble are all located there and continue to perform well. Kildare has seen a 4.5% increase in foreign direct investment-driven employment over the last 12 months and I am hopeful that that positive trend will continue.