Immigration Status

Questions (878)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

878. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33055/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, if an application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been made in the State, for confidentiality reasons it is not the practice to comment on such applications and the applicant or his legal representative should contact either the International Protection Office (IPO) or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) directly, as appropriate.

The IPO may be contacted: by email to info@ipo.gov.ie; by telephone to the IPO Customer Service Centre at 01 6028008 or in writing to Customer Service Centre, International Protection Office, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. The International Protection Appeals Tribunal may be contacted either: by email to info@protectionappeals.ie; by telephone at 01-4748400 (or Lo-Call 1890 201 458), or in writing to Corporate Services Division, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal, 6-7 Hanover Street East, Dublin D02 W320.

Following the commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 on 31 December 2016, new arrangements for the investigation and determination of applications for international protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) and cases involving permission to remain in the State have been introduced. Such applications are now processed, as part of a single application procedure, by the International Protection Office (IPO) which has replaced the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) from that date. The staff of that Office (the Chief International Protection Officer and International Protection Officers) are independent in the performance of their protection functions.

For your information, on 27 February 2017, the Chief International Protection Officer, following consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), published a statement on the Prioritisation of Applications under the International Protection Act 2015 which is available on the website of the International Protection Office (www.ipo.gov.ie).

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

Departmental Reports

Questions (879)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

879. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has commissioned a report into the links between violence and deprivation in areas here; if so, the findings of the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33107/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, there have been many international academic studies undertaken on the link between social deprivation and different forms of violence in society and commentators have long suggested that deprivation can be one of the main factors contributing to a person becoming involved in violent crime.

While there are no plans in my Department to commence a specific study on deprivation and violence at this time, it is worth noting that my Department regularly engages with a number of stakeholders in the criminal justice system and is also involved in a number of initiatives aimed at understanding and combatting different forms of violence in our society.

For example, in January my Department and the CSO signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the undertaking of the National Sexual Violence Prevalence Survey. The CSO will undertake a large scale survey which will look in detail at the experience of women and men in Ireland of sexual violence and abuse, with repeat large scale surveys every decade.

Furthermore, in May of this year I announced that I was commissioning an independent specialist in-depth research study focussing on the provision of supports to families who are victims of familicide and international best practice in the conduct of Domestic Homicide Reviews. Ms Norah Gibbons has been appointed to lead the study and she will be joined by Senior Counsel Grainne McMorrow and the internationally recognised Forensic Criminologist Dr Jane Monckton Smith.

The Deputy will be aware that the responsibility for tackling deprivation rests across a number of Departments, agencies and service providers. There would need to be careful and extensive planning before any study on deprivation and violence could be conducted, to ensure that no element of society is excluded from its scope.

Indeed, one of the most far-reaching recommendations from the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) is that community safety is not the responsibility of An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice and Equality alone, but extends to many other Government Departments and agencies. Work to develop and embed a policy of community safety has begun and key to developing a shared understanding of and, following on from that, a community safety policy, will be the engagement and commitment of the agencies and bodies across Government who share responsibility for the prevention of harm in our communities.

As the Deputy may also be aware, the National Social Target for Poverty Reduction is to reduce the percentage of the population in consistent poverty to 2% or less by 2020. The 2017 Survey on Income & Living (SILC) conditions data showed a decrease in consistent poverty to 6.7%, a significant reduction from the 2016 rate of 8.2%. It is expected that there will be a further improvement in the rate in the 2018 and 2019 SILC data, once it becomes available, reflecting both the impact of economic growth and budgetary changes in 2018 and 2019.

The new social inclusion strategy – ‘A Roadmap for Social Inclusion: Ambitions, Goals, Commitments 2019-2025 ’, is the successor to the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2017. It has been developed, following consultation with relevant Government Departments and other stakeholders, and is currently being finalised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Garda Support Services

Questions (880)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

880. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the supports available to gardaí in cases in which they suffer from mental health difficulties related to disciplinary and or criminal investigations in which they are a suspect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33112/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána including the provision of employee welfare supports.

I am assured by the Garda Commissioner that An Garda Síochána is committed to ensuring that members exposed to workplace stress receive the appropriate organisational response and in that regard there are a variety of supports in place for Garda members.

The Garda Employee Assistance Service is available to members of An Garda Síochána and supports them in managing and resolving personal and work-related difficulties. All employee assistance officers, and in the region of 250 of the peer supporters, are trained in critical incident stress management which is an intervention designed to prevent or mitigate psychological reactions to a critical incident. This intervention is delivered with the support of a mental health professional when required. Where necessary the services of the Occupational Health Department, headed by the Chief Medical Officer of An Garda Síochána, are made available to assist Garda personnel deal with stressful and extremely difficult situations in the workplace. This Service is staffed by a team of specialist occupational healthcare professionals supported by an administration team. The Service is dedicated to supporting the employees of An Garda Síochána to maintain their health and well-being in order to carry out their duties safely and effectively.

A 24/7, 365 day Independent Helpline and Counselling Service is available to all staff within An Garda Síochána. This service is available for both work and personal difficulties. The service is not mandatory and is self-referral. Each member of the organisation may avail of six free sessions of counselling per year and an additional two will be provided if clinically approved. All appointments and consultants are arranged directly between the Service Provider and the staff member.

Since 1994 a Peer Supporter Programme has been in operation within An Garda Síochána to help Gardaí cope with the effect of a traumatic incident in the workplace. I am informed that the programme has been found to be very helpful in assisting Garda members in the aftermath of a traumatic incident. The programme is delivered by over 850 Garda who are trained as peer supporters and is available in all Garda Districts to assist colleagues in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic incident. Following such an incident, a peer supporter will contact the members concerned and offer support. In the event that the peer supporter deems it appropriate, they may refer the member to the Garda Employee Assistance Service.

With regard to the supports available to Gardaí in the specific instance referred to the Deputy, I have requested a report from the Commissioner on this matter and I will revert when it is to hand.

Juvenile Offenders

Questions (881)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

881. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the new measures introduced to ensure the juvenile diversion programme is operating as intended, that all cases are followed-up and if further actions are required. [33113/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner has given detailed information in relation to this matter when it was examined publicly by the Policing Authority and by the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality earlier this year. The Policing Authority continues to follow up with an ongoing examination of these specific youth justice-related matters to monitor the effectiveness of the remedial actions which the Commissioner has set in train.

As I have previously confirmed, the publication of information in relation to the more detailed aspects of the Garda Review will be a matter for the Commissioner and the Policing Authority. I can assure the Deputy that my Department is keeping in very close contact with the Commissioner, and the Policing Authority, to monitor progress.

The Deputy may also be aware that many of the major issues highlighted in relation to youth crime are already being addressed through the four-year Implementation Plan for the recommendations for the Commission for the Future of Policing in Ireland, which the Government approved on 18 December 2018. Implementation of the Commission’s Report will tackle the key issues of concern in relation to youth crime - inadequate systems and training, poor supervision, and failings by individual Gardaí

The issues raised relate to cases deemed unsuitable for the Garda Youth Diversion Programme. Once again it is important to clarify that there are no negative implications for the effectiveness of the Diversion Programme itself, which is a valuable mechanism to help young offenders turn away from crime.

Policing Issues

Questions (882)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

882. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of each of the recommendations contained within The Future of Policing in Ireland; the estimated time to completion of recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33114/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, in December, I published A Policing Service for the Future, the four year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations in the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. The Plan was developed in cooperation with stakeholders from across the public service and, in particular, with my Department and An Garda Síochána.

Implementation of the plan is being overseen by a dedicated Policing Reform Implementation Programme Office (PRIPO), in the Department of the Taoiseach, as recommended by the Commission. A Policing Service for the Future is a living document and throughout the implementation process, PRIPO will be reviewing and updating the plan as required, on a biannual basis to maintain ambitious but realistic commitments, timeframes and milestones.

Under the A Policing Service for the Future, the core objective for 2019 is to put in place the building blocks to ensure that all priority actions are commenced, and the Plan plots the actions to be taken/commenced in each of the four quarters in 2019.

Much has been achieved to date in 2019 under the Plan. For example:

- A Human Rights Unit has been established and the Strategic Human Rights Advisory Committee re-established in An Garda Síochána;

- An organisation census of An Garda Síochána has been completed;

- Phase 1 of the Investigation Management System has been implemented;

- Computer Aided Dispatch has been deployed in the Western and Northern Regions;

- An Garda Síochána's Senior Management Team have been trained on governance responsibilities;

- The Director of the National Security Analysis Centre has been appointed;

- The Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2019 has been enacted; and

- Government has given approval for legislation to be drafted to underpin the use of recording devices (including body worn cameras) and for the codification of legislation defining police powers of arrest, search and detention.

An infographic on achievements in Q1 2019 under A Policing Service for the Future was published by PRIPO earlier this month and is available on the Policing Reform Portal on gov.ie.

As recommended in the Commission’s report, an Implementation Group on Policing Reform (IGPR) with collective responsibility for delivery of the implementation plan has been established with Helen Ryan, former member of the Commission, as its independent chair. The core membership comprises senior officials from the organisations most closely involved in driving the transformation programme – my own Department, An Garda Síochána, the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, as well as representatives of other relevant organisations where required.

A High Level Steering Board, chaired by the Secretary General to the Government, is in place to help guide the work of the IGPR and to act as a clearing house for issues that cannot be resolved by the IGPR, or where particular blockages are being experienced in the implementation of the Plan. Cabinet Committee G provides political oversight of the implementation of the Plan.

Juvenile Offenders

Questions (883)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

883. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of unfilled juvenile liaison officer, JLO, posts; the location of each post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33115/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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.

Family Law Cases

Questions (884)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

884. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will publish plans on a new approach to handling family law cases here at District, Circuit and High Court levels. [33116/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I intend to publish proposals later this year for a new approach to handling family law cases in Ireland at District, Circuit and High Court levels. A Family Court Bill will be introduced to create a new dedicated Family Court within the existing court structures. These courts will have new procedures aimed at less adversarial resolution of disputes and will have appropriate facilities and case management arrangements.

A working group was established in 2017, comprising officials from the Department of Justice and Equality, the Courts Service and the Legal Aid Board, to examine the operational aspects relating to the family court and develop an overall architecture for the new family court structure. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla also participated in the working group. Key issues that arose in consultations included family court venues and facilities, resources and capital investment in family courts and integration of relevant family and child services to provide the best possible family law outcomes.

In 2018, a task force on the Family Court comprising senior officials from the Department of Justice and Equality, the Legal Aid Board and the Courts Service was formed to seek agreement on core questions of policy and costs. A representative of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has also joined the group. The work of this group is at an advanced stage. Issues being examined include court areas and locations, use of courthouses, provision of facilities and services, arrangements for management of resources, and oversight arrangements.

Work is well advanced on the General Scheme of a Family Court Bill. When finalised, the General Scheme will be submitted for Government approval in the usual manner and will have to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny. The Bill will then be drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. It is not possible at this stage to estimate when the Bill will be ready for publication.

Firearms Certificates

Questions (885)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

885. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications to modify a firearm in 2018; the number of applications to use a silencer, telescopic, thermal or night sight, respectively; the number of certifications issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33117/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Firstly, I refer the Deputy to my reply of 19 June 2019 to Parliamentary Question Number 25785/19 in relation to the modification of licensed firearms.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that if a licensed firearms owner seeks to modify a firearm, such as a spare barrel, change of calibre, new component part, addition of a silencer or telescopic sight, etc., the person must make a formal application to the relevant issuing officer on the standard form. The issuing person is then required to consider the application on its own individual merits in accordance with law. If the application is granted, the PULSE system will be updated to reflect the modification and an amended firearm certificate will issue but not an additional firearm certificate.

The Garda authorities have advised that statistics on the number of applications to modify a firearm are not readily available, as such changes are not recorded on the PULSE system as modifications. The total number of telescopic, thermal or night sights authorised on active firearm certificates as at the end of November 2018 was 16,484. The total number of silencers (also known as moderators) authorised on active firearms certificates, as of 10 June 2019, was 12,953.

Firearms Licences

Questions (886)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

886. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of authorisations provided to keep a deactivated firearm in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [33118/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that deactivated or defective firearms, not capable of being fired, may be kept, on the written authorisation of the local Garda Superintendent under Section 6 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990, as amended.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that authorisations for deactivated firearms have only been recorded centrally by An Garda Síochána since November 2018. They have further advised that, to date, 578 authorisations in relation to deactivated firearms have been recorded centrally on the new Garda database.

Authorisations granted after April 2016 now require the firearm to first comply with the deactivation specifications set out in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2403, as amended. This Regulation introduced new EU-wide standards for deactivated firearms to ensure that they cannot be reactivated. An Garda Síochána has also advised that the vast majority of the authorisations recorded centrally by An Garda Síochána are for firearms deactivated prior to April 2016 and these are not subject to the provisions of the Regulation, provided they are not sold, or ownership transferred.

The Garda authorities further advise that the ‘good reason’ nominated by the majority of applicants seeking such authorisations relate to heirlooms or sentimental value, where firearm owners seek to retain their firearm, but no longer have a desire or satisfy the ‘good reason’ requirement to actually use the firearm again.

Garda Resources

Questions (887)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

887. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position with regard to the funding of policing for the upcoming visit of Vice President Pence; if An Garda Síochána will fund the visit from existing resources, if he has requested additional resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33119/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

There has been very significant investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. €1.76 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, in addition to capital investment amounting to €92 million this year. 

The Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote. In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the management and efficient use of Garda resources is the responsibility of the Commissioner and his management team, having regard to operational need. 

Garda management and my Department keep the financial position of An Garda Síochána under ongoing review. This would also be the case in relation to the security costs associated with any visit to Ireland of foreign dignitaries, including a potential visit of Vice President Pence.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (888)

Martin Kenny

Question:

888. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount spent on new Garda vehicles; the number of vehicles purchased by Garda division in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33142/19]

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.

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 a total of €9,993,000 was spent on new vehicles in 2016, a further €5,646,000 was spent in 2017, €4,667,000 was spent in 2018 and as of 30 June 2019, the latest date for which figures are available, €2,457,000 has been spent on new vehicles.

The table sets out the Garda vehicle allocations, as conveyed to me by the Garda authorities, for the dates requested by the Deputy. The Garda authorities indicate that these allocations may include vehicles which were purchased in the immediately preceding year, but in relation to which the technical fit-out process (and therefore allocation) was not completed until the relevant new year.

Divisions, HQ & National Units

Vehicles allocated 2016

Vehicles allocated 2017

Vehicles allocated 2018

Vehicles allocated 2019 (to 17 July 2019)

CAVAN-MONAGHAN

12

5

9

1

CLARE

7

6

8

0

CORK CITY

26

16

6

5

CORK NORTH

11

5

5

0

CORK WEST

9

5

7

2

DMR EAST

11

6

4

3

HQ / HARCOURT SQUARE / NATIONAL UNITS

194

87

97

64

DMR NORTH

25

10

7

16

DMR NORTH CENTRAL

8

9

8

9

DMR SOUTH

13

7

3

6

DMR SOUTH CENTRAL

11

11

7

9

DMR TRAFFIC

26

2

1

2

DMR WEST

15

5

6

16

DONEGAL

15

4

10

1

GALWAY

26

10

15

4

KERRY

10

4

8

1

KILDARE

14

8

6

1

KILKENNY/CARLOW

17

11

8

3

LAOIS-OFFALY

8

7

6

1

LIMERICK

14

6

14

1

LOUTH

12

6

7

2

MAYO

14

6

6

0

MEATH

9

6

6

0

ROSCOMMON-LONGFORD

10

8

6

1

SLIGO-LEITRIM

14

2

5

1

TIPPERARY

13

8

8

0

WATERFORD

13

6

6

1

WESTMEATH

20

5

9

6

WEXFORD

11

5

6

0

WICKLOW

9

10

7

0

Total

597

286

301

156

Garda Resources

Questions (889)

Martin Kenny

Question:

889. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount spent on capital investment in An Garda Síochána in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the details of the expenditure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33143/19]

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 as well as capital investment amounting to € 92 million this year. This year's allocation is part of the unprecedented investment which has been made in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement and provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

Ongoing capital investment in An Garda Síochána includes:

- investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021;

- investment of €46 million in the Garda Fleet over the same period; and

- considerable capital investment in the Garda estate, funded from both the Garda and OPW Votes.

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is a matter for the Commissioner to efficiently manage these resources, based upon operational requirements. I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review, to ensure their optimum use.

In terms of the Garda estate, I would point out that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation and accordingly the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the OPW.

The Garda Building and Refurbishment programme 2016-2021 continued to be delivered during the years referred to by the Deputy. The programme includes planned works at over 30 locations, including:

- major refurbishment of selected stations and facilities, including facilities for meeting victims of crime;

- essential remedial works to selected existing stations; and

- development of large scale Property and Exhibit Management Stores (PEMS).

The programme also includes a Cell Refurbishment Programme and provision of improved Custody Management Facilities. Other capital works ongoing in relation to the Garda estate include the Pilot Reopening Project, the refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street Station and the development of new facilities at Military Road. Major building projects completed during the period referred to by the Deputy include the construction of 3 new Divisional Headquarters in Wexford, Galway and Kevin Street in Dublin. Works have also been completed at over 80 of the locations included in Cell Refurbishment Programme.

In relation to the Garda fleet, the capital allocation of €46 million between 2016 and 2021 is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the total of €10 million which has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019 will be used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year. As of 17th July 2019, 156 new vehicles have been allocated by the Garda authorities this year. I am further informed by the Garda authorities that 597 new vehicles were allocated in 2016, 286 new vehicles were allocated in 2017 and 301 new vehicles were allocated in 2018. It should be noted that these allocations may include vehicles which were purchased in the immediately preceding year, but in relation to which the technical fit-out process (and therefore allocation) was not completed until the relevant new year.

In relation to Garda ICT, the significant investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 will enable An Garda Síochána to deliver on reform and deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community. I am informed by the Garda authorities that a broad range of ICT projects and initiatives have been or are being progressed, including projects such as:

- the Rosters and Duty Management System, which will give supervisors better and faster information on the resources available to them;

- phased implementation of the Mobility project, which aims to provide operational Garda members with secure mobile access to Garda systems;

- the Investigations Management System, which will standardise, digitise and support the management of all investigations arising from a PULSE incident; and

- establishment of Regional Control Rooms, to capture emergency calls and dispatch of resources to the incident and staged deployment of a new national Computer Aided Dispatch System.

These and a wide range of other projects are being supported by the ongoing capital investment being made in Garda ICT.

Finally, I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda capital expenditure from 2016 to June 2019 is outlined in the following table. It should be noted that this table reflects capital expenditure on the Garda estate from the Garda vote and does not include expenditure on the Garda estate from the OPW vote.

Description

2016 Actual

2017 Actual

2018 Actual

2019 Jan-June

€000

€000

€000

€000

Information Technology (Hardware, Software IT Applications, Communication Equipment)

51,656

39,935

42,955

20,863

Fleet

9,993

5,646

4,667

2,457

Capital Building Programme

29,097

43,402

18,957

5,795

Garda College

0

0

1

2

Total Capital Expenditure

90,746

88,983

66,580

29,117

Garda Information and Communications Technology

Questions (890)

Martin Kenny

Question:

890. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the stage the procurement process of the new computer aided dispatch system is at; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33144/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

There has been an unprecedented level of investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country. The budgetary allocation to An Garda Síochána for 2019 is €1.76 billion. Significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €342 million being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 and a total of €46 million being invested in the Garda fleet over the same period.

Decisions in relation to the provision, allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources are matters for the Garda Commissioner. As Minister, I have no role in such matters. I understand however, that a wide range of programmes are being pursued with the benefit of the ongoing substantial investment in Garda ICT infrastructure.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the computer aided dispatch (CAD) system currently in use in An Garda Síochána was originally installed in the Dublin Metropolitan Region in 1987 and that the system was substantially upgraded in 2010. I am informed that the CAD system is fully operational and a current support and maintenance agreement is in place with the system supplier.

CAD is a key enabler for the Garda Control Room Strategy, under which An Garda Síochána is streamlining the number of control rooms, managing first contact and incident response nationwide. The system supports regional control rooms serving the Dublin Metropolitan Region and Eastern Region, the Western and Northern Region and the Southern Region, with the South Eastern Region planned for go-live later this year.

In line with the Implementation Plan for the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland - A Policing Service for the Future - it is planned to procure a new CAD system to support the regional control room structure and replace the existing system. It will incorporate the latest control room technology, including mapping, mobile computing, automatic vehicle and person location, and digital radio and telephone integration.

I understand that An Garda Síochána is currently working to progress the matter however as the Deputy will appreciate, so as not to compromise the procurement process of the new CAD system, I am unable to provide any further details in that regard.

Garda Information and Communications Technology

Questions (891)

Martin Kenny

Question:

891. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount spent to date on the procurement process of the new computer aided dispatch system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33145/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

There has been an unprecedented level of investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country. The budgetary allocation to An Garda Síochána for 2019 is €1.76 billion. Significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €342 million being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 and a total of €46 million being invested in the Garda fleet over the same period.

Decisions in relation to the provision, allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources are matters for the Garda Commissioner. As Minister, I have no role in such matters. I understand however, that a wide range of programmes are being pursued with the benefit of the ongoing substantial investment in Garda ICT infrastructure.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the computer aided dispatch (CAD) system currently in use in An Garda Síochána was originally installed in the Dublin Metropolitan Region in 1987 and that the system was substantially upgraded in 2010. I am informed that the CAD system is fully operational and a current support and maintenance agreement is in place with the system supplier.

CAD is a key enabler for the Garda Control Room Strategy, under which An Garda Síochána is streamlining the number of control rooms, managing first contact and incident response nationwide. The system supports regional control rooms serving the Dublin Metropolitan Region and Eastern Region, the Western and Northern Region and the Southern Region, with the South Eastern Region planned for go-live later this year.

In line with the Implementation Plan for the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland - A Policing Service for the Future - it is planned to procure a new CAD system to support the regional control room structure and replace the existing system. It will incorporate the latest control room technology, including mapping, mobile computing, automatic vehicle and person location, and digital radio and telephone integration.

I understand that An Garda Síochána is currently working to progress the matter however as the Deputy will appreciate, so as not to compromise the procurement process of the new CAD system, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on what is a live procurement process.

Departmental Funding

Questions (892)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

892. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 136 of 18 April 2019, the status of grant payments in respect of a project that will be made to an organisation (details supplied); his views on whether confidence in the governance of the organisation has been re-established in order to resume funding streams; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33146/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Since responding to Parliamentary Question No. 136 of 18 April 2019, concerning the FAI 'Grassroots Integration through Football' project which is funded by the Department under the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF),  the position of the Department regarding the status of grant payments remains the same. 

No additional grant payments will be made to the FAI, until such time as it becomes clear that confidence in the organisation’s governance is re-established. If and when that confidence is re-established, the Department will then assess a request for the next grant instalment in line with the normal policies and procedures governing AMIF grant payments.

The Department is aware of the on-going developments with regard to governance and management in the FAI, in particular the upcoming AGM and EGM. The Department remains in contact with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and Sport Ireland in respect of this matter and will take advice from them on the issue of providing any further funding to the FAI.

Garda Training

Questions Nos. 894 to 897, inclusive, answered with Question No. 692.

Questions (893)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

893. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí who undertook public order commanders tactical advisers and instructors courses in 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33151/19]

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.

I am informed by the Commissioner that the number of Gardaí that undertook training in 2018 and to date in 2019 in the courses specified by the Deputy is as follows;

Gardaí that undertook training in 2018 to date in 2019

Public Order Commanders Course

12

Public Order Tactical Advisors Course

10

Public Order Instructors Course

53

The above courses are delivered based on operational demand.

Questions Nos. 894 to 897, inclusive, answered with Question No. 692.

Garda Transport Data

Question No. 900 answered with Question No. 801.

Questions (898, 899)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

898. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new Garda vehicles allocated to Cork north division in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33233/19]

View answer

Michael Moynihan

Question:

899. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new Garda vehicles allocated to Cork west division in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33234/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 898 and 899 together.

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 his 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 no new vehicles have been allocated to the Cork North Division to date this year. I am further informed that 2 new vehicles have been allocated by Garda management to the Cork West Division in 2019.

More generally I can inform the Deputy that as of 31 May 2019, a total of 51 vehicles were allocated to the Cork North Division and 59 vehicles were allocated to the Cork West Division.

Question No. 900 answered with Question No. 801.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (901)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

901. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason his Department did not officially inform an applicant for naturalisation (details supplied) who received a letter in October 2017 informing them that it was planned to grant their application for naturalisation at a citizenship ceremony on 16 October 2017 and who paid the appropriate fee, that this was an error by his Department; the reason his Department did not refund the fee pending further consideration of the application; the further reason the processing of this application is taking so long; the third party from which information has been sought; when it was sought; the number of reminders sent by his Department seeking this information since the initial inquiries were made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33294/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, as indicated in my response to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question No. 338 of 26 June 2019, the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy continues to be processed. If further documentation is required it will be requested from the applicant in due course.

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

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

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