Services for People with Disabilities

Question No. 569 answered with Question No. 533.

Questions (568)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

568. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the arrangements put in place under the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 to arrange for interviews of victims of crime that have a disability to be carried out as soon as practicable after a complaint is made under sections 14 and 15 of the Act; and the number of persons who received specialist training for the purpose of carrying out such interviews under section 17 of the Act. [35011/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Section 14 of the  Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act,  2017 sets out the general provisions governing the protection of victims during interviews and this includes provision for the carrying out of interviews with victims as soon as possible and only where necessary.

Section 15 of the Act makes provision for the assessment of victims and the implementation of protection and special measures identified by the assessment.  Under section 15 (2) of the Act, in carrying out such assessments, a member of An Garda Síochána or an officer of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission as the case may be, shall have regard to a wide range of matters including if the victim has a disability. In this regard each victim is individually assessed to establish any particular protection needs he or she may have and if they would benefit from any special measures during the course of the criminal proceedings. This assessment takes into account the nature and circumstances of the crime but the focus is on the personal needs of the victim.

Specifically with regard to interviews, under section 17 of the Act, special measures available during an investigation for victims of crime, including for victims who have a disability, may include the following measures;

(i) carrying out such interviews in specially adapted premises and by persons trained for that purpose

(ii) where there is more than one interview, for interviews to be carried out, where possible, by the same member or members of the Garda Síochána or the same officer or officers of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, as the case may be; and

(iii) where the alleged offence involves sexual violence, gender-based violence or violence in a close relationship, that the victim be informed of his or her right to request that interviews are carried out by a person of the same sex as themselves.

In applying these provisions the Garda authorities have advised me that since the introduction of Section 16(1) (b) of the  Criminal Evidence Act 1992,  An Garda Síochána has operated the practice of recording the evidence-in-chief of children and persons with a mental disability on DVD and that this is now an established Garda practice.

The Garda authorities also advise that records held at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau show that 114 members of An Garda Síochána and 19 Tusla staff are currently operating as such specialist interviewers. These interviewers undergo an intensive 4-week training course at the Garda Síochána College, Templemore, Co Tipperary. There are nine specialist interview suites throughout the country, all of which are designed to be accessible to people with disabilities.

Prior to an interview taking place, the specialist interviewer will meet with the victim (and their guardian where applicable) and explain the interview process to them.  In the course of this meeting the interviewer carries out an assessment of the victim’s ability to provide evidence. This assessment is separate from, and additional to, the assessment carried out of all victims under section 15 of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act, 2017. Since the enactment of this legislation the specialist interview constitutes a special measure as provided for under section 17 of that  Act.

In addition, as a further support to victims of crime with a disability, An Garda Síochána’s "Short Guide to Cultural and Diversity Awareness" contains advice for Garda members on dealing with everyday practical policing issues including assisting or communicating with a person with a particular physical disability.  

Further to this and as impairments are not always obvious, many people may not identify as having a disability.  For that reason the Garda Síochána Victim Information Leaflet which is provided to victims of crime in accordance with section 7 of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017, invites victims to let members of An Garda Síochána know if there is any particular need or support the victim considers necessary to assist in providing a professional policing service to them.

 In addition to this information provided to me by the Garda authorities, I have also been advised by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) that in accordance with the Victims of Crime Act, 2017, the protection needs of all victims of crime who come under their remit are assessed. 

As part of this process, the personal characteristics of the victim including any disability and other factors, are taken into account for the purpose of ascertaining whether a victim might benefit from protection and/or special measures.  With regard to interviews, I am further advised by GSOC that it currently has four members of staff who are specially trained in interviewing but that plans are in place to significantly increase this number.

Question No. 569 answered with Question No. 533.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Question No. 571 answered with Question No. 533.

Questions (570)

Martin Heydon

Question:

570. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will review the allocations from the grant aid scheme for community closed-circuit television schemes with a view to extending the availability of grants beyond 2019 to allow communities that experienced difficulties in establishing their schemes to benefit from same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35024/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems. 

Community CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller, and

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded and these key legal requirements have not changed since 2006.  The possibility of establishing a Community CCTV scheme is available to groups that meet these legal requirements, anywhere in the country. 

Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area.  To date, 21 applications have been approved under the Scheme, involving approved grants totalling more than €540,000.  

The Deputy will appreciate that while the Estimates process is ongoing, I am not in a position to respond to his query in relation to funding possibilities for the coming year. However, I can confirm that the grant aid scheme remains open for applications from interested groups in 2019 and that all fully completed applications received before the end of 2019 will be considered.

Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities nationwide, can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000.  I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I have recently expanded the grant aid scheme to cover not only new CCTV systems but also to allow funding applications for extension or upgrade of existing Community CCTV systems which are incomplete or obsolete.  Applicants can now also seek a grant of up to €5,000 for minor maintenance costs.

I must emphasise that grant funding can be considered only for CCTV systems which meet the legal requirements for CCTV, in other words CCTV systems which have been approved by the relevant Joint Policing Committee, the relevant Local Authority (also acting as Data Controller) and which have received the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address communitycctv@justice.ie 

Question No. 571 answered with Question No. 533.

Immigration Data

Questions (572)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

572. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons from Colombia living here; the number on a stamp 2 and stamp 4; and the number of Colombians who have sought asylum in the past decade. [35040/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by Immigration Service of my Department that all non-EEA nationals who have permission to remain in the State for longer than three months are required to register their permission to be in the State.  Registration of permissions are recorded on a Garda ICT system and the Garda authorities advise that there are 344 Colombian nationals currently registered in the State. Of these a total of 125 are on stamp 4 conditions and 61 are on stamp 2 conditions.      

I also wish to inform the Deputy that the International Protection Office indicate that the number of persons providing Colombia as their country of origin is very low. Statistics relating to individual nationalities in such circumstances are not disclosed for confidentiality reasons as it may lead to the identification of individual applicants.     

Travel Documents

Questions (573)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

573. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the processing times for travel documents; his plans to increase resources to reduce the processing time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35060/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the  processing time for Travel Document applications is 16 weeks from the receipt of a fully completed, accurate application form. Applications for Temporary Travel Documents, and those which require the facilitation of a third party, may take longer. This processing time is stated on the Immigration Service website.

Processing times fluctuate depending on the number of applications received at any given time however currently processing times are within the stated timeframe.  The allocation of resources to this and all other areas of the immigration service is kept under regular review and there are no immediate plans to adjust the resource allocation to this area at present. 

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (574)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

574. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications for naturalisation received by month in 2018 and to date in 2019. [35061/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. All applications for a certificate of naturalisation are processed and assessed individually in accordance with the provisions of the Act.   

The INIS Service Improvement Plan 2018-2020 commits the Immigration Service of my Department to significant investment in technological developments including the roll-out of online forms and payments for citizenship applications.  Such developments are expected to deliver significant improvements to customer experiences and processing timescales. 

I am advised that the number of applications for naturalisation received by month in 2018 and to date in 2019 is as follows:

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2018

990

1062

943

999

1248

1094

988

973

1099

1206

1208

1048

2019

1124

1335

1312

1026

996

862

927

669

-

-

-

-

The Immigration Service devotes considerable resources to the processing of these applications. It also operates a dedicated phone helpline and email helpdesk available for all applicants interested in the progress of their application, details of which are available on their website at www.inis.gov.ie 

Direct Provision Data

Questions (575)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

575. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons seeking international protection here that were placed in emergency accommodation rather than dedicated direct provision centres in 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of persons that have had their application approved with a permission to remain that have not exited on a full-time basis from direct provision centres following receipt of their due date to vacate premises in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the level of engagement he has had with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in respect of meeting housing needs for persons exiting direct provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35072/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As of 11th August 2019, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department was accommodating 6,045 people in its 38 accommodation centres. A further 1,087 people were accommodated by RIA in emergency accommodation in hotels and guesthouses.  This figure has increased from 289 people in emergency accommodation on 31st December 2018.  The use of emergency accommodation is not the ideal scenario. However, while we wait for new accommodation centres to come on stream, we must ensure that each person arriving today to claim international protection, with no advance warning, will tonight have shelter, food and any urgent medical care they require.

Coupled with an increase in the number of people applying for protection in recent years there are over 900 people with an international protection status (refugee status or subsidiary protection status) or a humanitarian permission to remain who continue to live in RIA accommodation.

People with an international protection status or a permission to remain have the same access to mainstream housing supports and services as nationals. We are working intensively with organisations like the Peter McVerry Trust, Depaul and the Jesuit Refugee Service to assist these people to transition to mainstream housing services but that is challenging in the current housing environment. 

RIA staff meet regularly with colleagues from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and with staff from the City and County Manager's Association (CCMA) to work collectively to ensure those with status or permission to remain are assisted to move on to longer term accommodation as soon as possible.

Emergency Services Data

Questions (576)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

576. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of hoax 999 calls received by An Garda Síochána in each of the years 2016 to 2018 in numerical terms and as a percentage of total calls received; and the number of man hours expended on such calls. [35090/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the current Garda Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and PULSE systems do not have specific categories that record hoax calls.  As a result, the information being sought by the Deputy is not readily available at this time.

However I would note that 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, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021.

As part of the ongoing process of upgrade of Garda ICT and in keeping with the recommendations of the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, I am advised by the Garda authorities that planning is underway for a modern system which will equip Garda regional control and contact centres with up to date systems and technology including a new CAD system integrated with other Garda systems including the Rosters and Duty Management System, telephony and radio, mobile and mapping and so on.

I am further informed that it is intended that a tender for CAD 2 will be advertised in the EU Journal before the end of 2019.  This is in keeping with the target set out in the implementation plan for the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland - "A Policing Service for the Future".

I understand that as well as enhancing Garda capacity as set out above, the new CAD system, once operational, will have the ability to gather the type of information requested by the Deputy as well as many other forms of data in a timely and accurate manner.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (577)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

577. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedure to be followed to facilitate an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35127/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received. Full details of the eligibility criteria and extensive guidelines are available on the website of the Immigration Service at www.inis.gov.ie 

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

I am aware that the recent judgment of the High Court relating to continuous residency under Section 15(1)(c) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 (as amended) has given cause for concern. The matter remains before the courts with the lodgement of an appeal before the Court of Appeal and is therefore sub-judice. I can, however, assure the Deputy that my Department is continuing to work on finding solutions to the situation as quickly as possible. The best interests of both current and future applicants are foremost in these considerations. 

On 25 July 2019, I obtained Cabinet approval for the drafting of a Bill, which seeks to resolve the issue.  My officials are working with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in the Attorney General’s Office to have a bill drafted on an urgent basis and be brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas as quickly as possible on resumption of business in mid-September. Further updates, as they become available, will be posted on the website of the Immigration Service.

Those who are planning to apply for citizenship should continue to collect all the necessary proofs that support their application and to submit a comprehensive application form. Once a solution is in place, if any additional information is required, applicants will be contacted as part of the processing of the application.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Deportation Orders

Questions (578)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

578. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a deportation order will be set aside in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35128/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 29 September 2017.  This Order requires the person to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State.  The enforcement of the Deportation Order is a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau. 

As previously advised, representations were received from the person concerned, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), requesting that the Deportation Order be revoked including information regarding her marriage.  Following the detailed consideration of the information submitted in support of the request, the Deportation Order was affirmed and notified to the person concerned by letter dated 27 November 2018. 

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 Immigration Service is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Deportation Orders Re-examination

Questions (579)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

579. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to previous correspondence and Parliamentary Questions, if the case of a person (details supplied) will be re-examined with a view to setting aside the deportation order; if stamp 4 status will be issued in view of the circumstances of the case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35129/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 25 August 2017.  This Order requires the person to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State.  The enforcement of the Deportation Order is a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Representations were received from the person concerned, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), requesting that the Deportation Order be revoked.  Following the detailed consideration of the information submitted in support of the request, the Deportation Order was affirmed and notified to the person concerned by letter dated 08 May 2019.  There are no outstanding correspondence or applications on file for this applicant.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 Immigration Service is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Data

Questions (580)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

580. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 335 of 11 July 2019, the position regarding the processing of applications under the special scheme for non-European Economic Area nationals that held a student permission (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35194/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the Special Scheme for Students was launched on 15 October 2018 and closed to new applications on 20 January 2019.  Approximately 3,100 applications were received comprising former students and their family members.  To date, the Immigration Service has made a decision in approximately 2,364 cases.  Decisions have also been made in a further approximately 100 applications for a review of an original decision to refuse permission under the scheme.

The Deputy will appreciate that it is necessary to process these applications in full compliance with legal requirements and in accordance with the criteria of the Scheme.  I am assured by the Immigration Service that it continues to optimise all available resources, including the provision of overtime, to deliver decisions to all applicants under the scheme as soon as possible.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal Applications

Questions (581)

Jack Chambers

Question:

581. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 165 of 14 November 2018, the status of a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35196/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, which has responsibility for the administration of the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted, is independent of my Department in the processing of individual applications under the Scheme.

However, to be of assistance to the Deputy I have made enquiries with the Tribunal and have been informed that the Tribunal wrote to the applicant on 27 June 2019 seeking additional information necessary for consideration of the case and is awaiting a response. 

Garda Equipment

Questions (582, 583)

Imelda Munster

Question:

582. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda patrol cars assigned to Mountjoy Garda station in 2018 and to date in 2019, by the existing allocation and new allocations in each year. [35271/19]

View answer

Imelda Munster

Question:

583. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda vans assigned to Mountjoy Garda station in 2018 and to date in 2019, by the existing allocation and new allocations for each year. [35272/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 582 and 583 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.

€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.

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.

€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.

The information in the table below, provided to me by the Garda Commissioner, outlines the number of vehicles allocated to DMR North Central Division, in which Mountjoy Station is located, for the dates requested by the Deputy.

DMR North Central 

 2018 Fleet Total (as on 31/12/2018)

 2018 Fleet Allocations

 2019 Fleet Total (as on 20/08/2019)

  2019 Fleet Allocations (to 20/08/2019)

 Cars

 47

 2

 46

 10

 Vans

 12

 3

 11

 1

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (584)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

584. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount expended on the renewal of licences (details supplied) by his Department since 2009 to date in 2019; the amount projected to be spent on the renewal of such licences by his Department over the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35345/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department spent €2,261,886 on Lotus Notes licences between 2009 and 2019. 

I am advised that my Department is due to carry out an audit of its Lotus Notes estate in September 2019, which will determine the licenses needed from 2020 onwards and the resulting costs. I am further advised that my Department expects to have completely replaced Lotus Notes in favour of newer technologies over the next five years. The annual spend each year over this period will reduce as the migration of individual systems completes.

Personal Injury Claims

Questions (585, 586)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

585. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost of establishing and the annual cost of running the register of personal injuries actions in accordance with section 30 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004. [35352/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

586. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the challenges created by the establishment of the register of personal injuries actions in accordance with section 30 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004; the impact of same on GDPR and other data protection law; and the way in which it could be overcome. [35353/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 585 and 586 together.

My Department submitted a report detailing some of the challenges in establishing a register of personal injuries actions to the Cost of Insurance Working Group in February this year, following its review of section 30 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004.

The main conclusion of the report is that the Courts Service does not recommend proceeding with the setting up of a register at this time. The reasons cited in the report include: data protection concerns, technical/resources considerations, and the perceived limited benefits from developing a register that only includes Court actions.

In summary, a number of challenges have been identified in collating the type of data sought on personal injuries actions claimants. The Courts Service recommended, as conveyed in my Department’s report to the working group in February 2019, that these challenges could be most effectively overcome through the appropriate use of the proposed new courts Civil Case Management System. This system would include all civil litigation details including personal injuries actions. This is particularly relevant given that GDPR standards and compliance have developed considerably in law since the Civil Liability Act was enacted in 2004.

Citizenship Applications

Questions (587)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

587. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the spouse and children of a naturalised Irish citizen living in the United Kingdom and whose family joined them there through family reunification can be granted Irish citizenship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35372/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.  It is not possible to provide a definitive response to queries such as this as the individual circumstances of each case can be different.  For example, if the children of the naturalised father were born after he became an Irish citizen, they would be eligible to apply for an Irish passport through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as Irish citizens. 

On a general note applications for a certificate of naturalisation are processed and assessed individually in accordance with the provisions of the Act.  As the Deputy will appreciate, a determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria can only be made after an application is received.

In general, eligibility for a certificate of naturalisation is based either on Section 15 or Section 16 of the Act. Section 15 requires, among other conditions, that minimum periods of residency in the State are met.  These periods are reduced in respect of a spouse of an Irish national.  

Under Section 16, it is also open to make an application on the basis of Irish association. In such cases, the Minister may in his or her absolute discretion waive the conditions for naturalisation set out under the Act, including residency. The onus is on the applicant to provide evidence of Irish association to the Minister for consideration. 

Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, including in respect of children, is available on the Immigration Service website at ww.inis.gov.ie. 

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Citizenship Applications

Questions (588)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

588. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of a citizenship application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35388/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 19 February 2019. Processing of this application is on-going, with a view to establishing whether the conditions for naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, are satisfied. 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.

In relation to applications for citizenship, I am aware that the recent judgment of the High Court relating to continuous residency under Section 15(1)(c) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 (as amended) has given cause for concern. The matter remains before the courts with the lodgement of an appeal before the Court of Appeal and is therefore sub-judice. I can, however, assure the Deputy that my Department is continuing to work on finding solutions to the situation as quickly as possible. The best interests of both current and future applicants are foremost in these considerations and on 25 July 2019 I obtained Cabinet approval for the drafting of a Bill, which seeks to resolve the issue.  My officials are working with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in the Attorney General’s Office to have a bill drafted on an urgent basis and be brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas as quickly as possible on resumption of business in mid-September. Further updates, as they become available, will be posted on the Immigration Service website. Once a solution is in place, if any additional information is required, applicants will be contacted as part of the processing of the application.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited. 

Residency Permits

Questions (589, 695)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

589. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a work permit application or short-term residency status will be extended in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35392/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

695. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the appropriate procedure to be followed to regularise residency in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36600/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 589 and 695 together.

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the personal information provided by the Deputy is not sufficient to establish the correct identity of the individual concerned in order to provide a response on the matter.

As the Deputy will be aware, queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited. If further information is available to the Deputy to help the Immigration Service to identify the individual concerned, they would be happy to follow up.

Work permit applications are a matter for the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation. I understand that the Deputy has also addressed his query to that Department for their appropriate response.

Immigration Status

Questions (590)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

590. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the unexpected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35394/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department that a request for further permission to remain was received from the person concerned on 8 March 2018. Further documentation in support of this request was received on 2 and 8 July 2019. The Deputy will appreciate that all such requests are dealt with in chronological order.  I understand that the request is under active consideration and a decision will be made as soon as possible.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Residency Permits

Questions (591)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

591. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35395/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 30 May 2019. This Order requires the person concerned to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State. The enforcement of Deportation Orders is a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

Representations have been received on behalf of the person concerned requesting that the Deportation Order be revoked, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended).  This request will be considered as soon as possible.  A decision will then be made to either "affirm" or "revoke" the existing Deportation Order.  This decision will be communicated in writing.  In the meantime, the Deportation Order remains valid and in place.

 Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Residency Permits

Questions (592)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

592. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35396/19]

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. 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 to view 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 Immigration Service 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 Immigration Service is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.