Anti-Social Behaviour

Questions (643)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

643. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 253 of 26 February 2019 to which no reply was received, the number of juvenile anti-social behaviour orders in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 under Part 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36120/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 253 for answer on 26 February 2019.  I responded at that time to indicate that I would request the relevant information and I undertook to contact you again when a report had been received. The information which I have received is outlined as follows.

The following table, provided to me by the Garda authorities, outlines the number of behavioural warnings issued to children for the time-period 2007 - 2019 (as of 17 July).  As there were fewer than 10 behaviour orders or good behaviour contracts issued per year from 2007 to 2018 and to date in 2019, this data cannot be reported.

It is important to note that this information is operational, subject to change and is accurate as of 17 July 2019.

Incident Counts (Crime Counting Rules Not Applied)

Year Reported

Behaviour Warnings (Children) (I.S.)

2007

78

2008

539

2009

468

2010

613

2011

460

2012

332

2013

303

2014

238

2015

236

2016

211

2017

123

2018

123

2019

52

Misuse of Drugs

Questions (644)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

644. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 544 of 26 March 2019 (details supplied), if he now has to hand the report on crack cocaine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36121/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have sought a report from the Garda authorities in relation to this matter.  I am following up in relation to the matter and I will write directly to the Deputy when I receive the requested information.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (645)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

645. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 541 of 8 May 2019 to which no reply was received, the number of marked and unmarked cars and motorbikes attached to the north Dublin roads policing units; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36122/19]

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.

A capital allocation of €10 million has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019 and 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, 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 following table, as provided to me by the Garda Commissioner, outlines the number of vehicles allocated to the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) for the years requested by the Deputy. The figures provided for 2019 are correct as of 30 April 2019.

Within the DMR, there is a Roads Policing Division based in Dublin Castle (referred to in the below table as Traffic) and there are also units within each of the six geographical Divisions within the DMR which cover road policing duties.  

DMR Region - Roads Policing Duty by Division 2017-2019 ( as of 30/04/2019)

 

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4 x 4

Others

Total

30/04/2019

Total

Total

Total

Total

Total

 

DMR (Total)

28

1

48

7

8

92

East

2

0

0

0

1

3

North

3

0

0

0

2

5

North Central

4

0

0

1

0

5

South

1

0

0

2

0

3

South Central

1

0

0

0

1

2

West

2

0

0

0

1

3

Traffic

15

1

48

4

3

71

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cars

Vans

Motorbikes

4x4

Other

 

31/12/2018

Total

Total

Total

Total

Total

Total

DMR (Total)

28

1

40

7

4

80

East

2

0

3

0

1

6

North

3

0

0

0

1

4

North Central

4

0

1

1

0

6

South

1

0

1

2

0

4

South Central

1

0

2

0

0

3

West

2

0

2

0

1

5

Traffic

15

1

31

4

1

52

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cars

Vans

Motorbikes

4x4

Other

 

31/12/2017

Total

Total

Total

Total

Total

Total

DMR (Total)

30

2

42

7

1

82

East

2

0

3

0

0

5

North

4

0

0

0

0

4

North Central

4

0

3

1

0

8

South

1

0

1

2

0

4

South Central

2

1

2

1

0

6

West

2

0

2

0

0

4

Traffic

15

1

31

3

1

51

 

Road Traffic Offences Data

Questions (646)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

646. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 229 of 5 March and 545 of 8 May 2019 to which no reply was received, the number of drivers summoned for driving while disqualified; the number convicted and the penalty imposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36123/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer to your Parliamentary Questions No 229 for answer on 5 March 2019 and No 545 for answer on 8 May 2019. At the time, I indicated that I would request the information sought from the Courts Service and that I would write directly to you on receipt of same. This information has now been received and forms the basis of this response.

The statistics that the Courts Service can produce in relation to specific offences are obtained by running a report on its Criminal Court Tracking System, using the code for each specific offence. The codes in all instances are provided by An Garda Síochána. 

I am informed that An Garda Síochána has been instructed to cease using a code for the offence of 'driving while disqualified' after advice was received from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions clarifying that there is no separate offence of 'driving while disqualified'.

Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended, creates an offence of driving without a licence. Section 38 (5) of the Act provides an increased penalty in respect of a person who is summarily convicted of an offence of driving without a licence during the period of disqualification (namely a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both). However, the specific offence remains one of driving without a licence. As such, the code 'driving while disqualified' has now been discontinued. As such, the Courts Service is not in a position to supply the information requested.

My Department has however made further enquiries made with An Garda Síochána and the following broader information may be of interest to the Deputy.

The following table, provided to me by the Garda authorities, sets out the number of courts proceedings taken in relation to the offence of driving without a driving licence for the years 2011 to 2019 (as of 12 July 2019):

Year

No. of People Driving without a Driving licence

2011

28,405

2012

25,116

2013

21,610

2014

20,806

2015

20,050

2016

21,516

2017

22,440

2018

21,566

2019* (to 12/07/2019)

7,106

The Deputy may also be interested to know that further informed that additional powers were provided to An Garda Síochána, allowing the arrest of people who drive while disqualified, under section 6(b) and (c) of the Road Traffic Act 2014, which came into effect from 22 June 2015.

Garda Resources

Questions (647)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

647. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 118 of 22 May 2019 to which no reply was received, if he will seek additional resources for traffic policing in budget 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36124/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I refer to your Parliamentary Question No 118 for answer on 22 May 2019. At the time I responded that I would request the relevant information from Garda authorities and that I would write directly to you on receipt of same. This information has been received and is included in the substantive response that follows.

In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions, is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands. As Minister, I have no direct role in this matter.

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. I understand 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.

Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 and investment of €46 million in the Garda fleet over the same period, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet.

Given the Government's plan to increase the size of the Garda organisation to 21,000 personnel by 2021, it is anticipated that there will be sufficient numbers of Garda members that can be allocated to traffic policing consistent with the Commissioner’s operational priorities.

A selection competition to increase the overall strength of Garda Roads Policing Units commenced nationwide in 2017. This selection competition is now complete and an additional 146 Garda members were assigned to Roads Policing Units nationwide in Q4 2018.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that a further competition to increase the overall strength of Roads Policing Units commenced nationwide in February 2019. This competition is currently ongoing and it is envisaged that by the end of 2019 there will be an increase in members attached to Roads Policing Units nationwide.  The following table indicates the Garda staffing projection for the Roads Policing Units Nationwide envisaged by 2021:

Year

Target Level

2018

744

2019

891

2020

980

2021

1,035

Garda Operations

Questions (648)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

648. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 168 of 28 May 2019 to which no reply was received, if he will report on Garda Operation Coatee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36125/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I undertook to obtain a Garda report in relation to Parliamentary Question No. 168 of 28 May 2019 and to revert to the Deputy on receipt of information from An Garda Síochána.  I have received a Garda report on the matter and can inform the Deputy as follows.

Operation Coatee was launched in April 2019. Its focus is the prevention of insurance-related fraud and associated crimes on a co-ordinated basis throughout Ireland. In circumstances where insurance fraud has already occurred, Operation Coatee is designed to maximise the prospect of identifying suspected culprits, and, where possible and appropriate, to initiate criminal proceedings.

A ‘day of action’ was undertaken at the commencement of Operation Coatee on 24 April 2019.  The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) engaged in operational activity associated with an investigation relating to over 20 insurance claims which have been made and which, in some cases, have already involved payment being made to claimants. Investigations carried out to date by GNECB indicate that a number of targets in this operation have submitted multiple claims, in many circumstances while using false identities. The suspected bogus claims involved in this case, result from false claims of injury sustained through slips and falls.

Personnel attached to GNECB, supported by personnel from within the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) and Armed Support Units (ASUs), undertook a number of searches in the West Dublin area for the purpose of gathering additional evidence, with a view to submitting files to the Director of Public Prosecutions, in an effort to prosecute those suspected of insurance-related criminality.

In addition, search warrants were executed at a number of solicitors' offices. Arising from the day of action, six high-value cars and jewellery with a value in excess of €300,000 were seized, along with a substantial amount of documentation and financial records.  The evidence seized continues to be analysed.

As the Deputy will appreciate, reports of insurance-related fraud are received by An Garda Síochána, and statistics are not held by my Department.  Changes were made to the Garda PULSE system last year to provide An Garda Síochána with the facility to more efficiently record insurance-related criminality. In relation to the scale of insurance fraud reported to An Garda Síochána, the most recent figures available to my Department are available in the ninth progress report published by the Cost of Insurance Working Group in July, a copy of which is available at the following link: https://assets.gov.ie/19322/8404160a5cc44b53b482c34ac1316f3b.pdf.

In the period from 1 November 2018 (i.e. the date on which the new statistical category of ‘insurance fraud’ came into being) to the end of May 2019, 50 incidents of insurance fraud were recorded on PULSE.  This data is correct as at 6 June 2019, however data is operational and subject to change.

More recently, each Garda Síochána Division has been requested to provide information regarding the extent of insurance-related fraud. This information is being examined at the GNECB and will be utilised to determine investigative activity, which will be undertaken in additional ‘days of action’ under Operation Coatee.

Finally, the Deputy may be interested to note that, over a number of years, the GNECB and the Garda Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) have delivered training courses to Garda members engaged in economic crime-related investigations, across all Garda divisions. Since 2015, in conjunction with the Garda Síochána Training College and University College Dublin (UCD), GNECB and GNCCB have offered an accredited course to about 44 members per annum, drawn from all Garda Divisions, as well as from specialist units engaged in the investigation of economic crime. Representatives from the private sector, including the insurance industry are also invited to contribute to the course, thereby providing specialist insight into relevant insurance sector-related topics.  On completion of training,  successful candidates are awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Fraud and E-Crime Investigation from UCD. It is anticipated that additional training of this nature, will commence in November 2019.

Garda Warrants

Questions (649)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

649. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of committal warrants issued to gardaí in the R district in 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of such warrants executed within 60 days; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36129/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have sought a report from the Garda authorities in relation to this matter and I will write directly to the Deputy when I receive the requested information.

Visa Applications

Questions (650)

Niall Collins

Question:

650. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) will be allowed entry to study; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36136/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that there are in total twelve grounds on which an immigration officer may refuse to give a permission to enter the State. These are set out at Section 4 (3) of the Immigration Act 2004 (as amended by the International protection Act 2015). While a person may be refused permission to enter the State based on a number of grounds, a refusal need only be based on any one of those grounds. Immigration officers are required to provide a written notice to the person refused entry that sets out the reasons for the decision. In all cases, removals from the State are conducted in accordance with the law.

I am advised that the individual referred to in the Deputy's question was refused entry into the State by an Immigration officer in 2014 as they had not established a valid reason for entry. The individual in question had violated the terms of their visa granted in 2012 by overstaying for a period of 2 years and working without permission.

If a person who has been refused leave to land in the State seeks entry at a future point, their application will be assessed on its own merits taking all relevant information into consideration at that time. While their prior immigration history is a matter of record, this does not preclude them from seeking permission to enter the State in the future. All relevant factors are taken into account, the principal ones being: the purpose of the visit or stay, the duration of the stay, the ability of the individual to support themselves during their stay, and, proof that the person will exit the country on or before the expiry of any permission given, or register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau, as applicable.

The Deputy may wish to note that 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.

Departmental Internships

Questions (651)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

651. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of unpaid internships issued and-or granted to persons to work in his Department over the past five years to 28 August 2019; the number of persons who took up unpaid internship roles in that timeframe; if his Department continues to offer unpaid internships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36152/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Department of Justice and Equality has, during the specified period, operated paid internship programmes, paid and unpaid educational placements, and placements under the JobBridge scheme.

The Department is currently undertaking a major transformation programme and in light of this the Department is making further enquiries in respect of the Deputy's query. I will provide an update to the Deputy when further information is available.

Data Retention

Questions (652, 653, 654)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

652. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the work under way in his Department to review or reform the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36165/19]

View answer

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

653. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the engagement that has taken place to date, formal or informal, between his Department and representatives of the telecommunications industry or individual telecommunications operators on proposed reforms to the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36166/19]

View answer

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

654. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the guidance provided to private sector companies that retain telecommunications data under the provisions of the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 in view of recent judgments pertaining to the legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36167/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 652 to 654, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the law in this area continues to evolve in light of emerging jurisprudence in the national courts of the Member States and the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Ireland, along with many other Member States, is currently intervening in the European Court of Justice in a number of important cases.  We await the judgment of the Court in these cases, which are expected to be heard in the coming days.

The Deputy will also be aware that the State has lodged an appeal in a recent High Court Judgment relevant to this area of the law. The appeal in this case was made having regard to the general public importance of the issues arising in these proceedings and in light of the ongoing Court of Justice cases mentioned above which raise fundamental questions about the scope and meaning of previous judgments made by that Court.

While all States must seek to address the issues raised by the ECJ in national legislation, it is considered essential that the implications arising from ECJ jurisprudence are addressed at European level and we continue to encourage progress on this important and sensitive area of law.

The Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2019 will replace the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 and take account of evolving ECJ jurisprudence on data retention. Drafting of that Bill is at an advanced stage. Consultation with stakeholders has taken place in this regard. The Deputy will however appreciate that engagement with stakeholders, including the telecoms industry, is complicated given the continuing scrutiny of the laws by the courts at this time. I assure the Deputy that further consultation with stakeholders will take place in the context of the drafting work that is underway.

Garda Vetting

Questions (655)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

655. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding Garda vetting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36170/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that the primary purpose of the employment vetting, carried out by the National Vetting Bureau, is to seek to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.  It is carried out by An Garda Síochána, primarily in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012-2016, and is, as I am sure you will agree, a very important task which must be done thoroughly and correctly.

My Department has no role in the processing of individual vetting applications.

Regarding sharing of vetting information between organisations, vetting checks are conducted by the Garda National Vetting Bureau for each new vetting application received to ensure that the most recent data available is taken into account. This is because once there has been any significant lapse of time between one employment and another, the original vetting disclosure must be reviewed to take account of any changes in information, such as more recent criminal convictions.

In addition, the Data Protection Acts require that any sensitive personal data which employers use in regard to their employees must be current, accurate and up-to-date. Importantly, the general non-transferability and contemporaneous nature of the current process also helps to protect against the risk of fraud or forgery in the process.

The Act does however provide for the sharing of vetting disclosures in certain circumstances by registered organisations; a facility which I understand is of assistance in the health and education sectors, for example, in reducing the need for multiple vetting applications.

All Garda vetting applications are processed on a first come, first served basis in chronological order from date of receipt. This is with a view to observing equity and fairness in respect of all vetting subjects.

In respect of certain applications, it is necessary for the Vetting Bureau to conduct further enquiries; for example to confirm information provided by the applicant with external bodies. The time required to receive such information may be outside of the control of the Vetting Bureau. In such instances, processing times may be significantly longer than the average.

However, in general, the vetting process is working well and I understand that there are no backlogs or delays in Garda vetting at present.

This efficiency has been achieved by the deployment of the e-vetting system which facilitates the on-line processing of applications for vetting from registered organisations. The current turnaround time for vetting applications submitted by organisations utilising the e-vetting system is 5 working days for over 85% of applications received.

Individual applicants can also track the process of their application online using the e-vetting tracking system, details of which are contained in the email received by applicants when completing their application online.

Protected Disclosures

Questions (656)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

656. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the safeguards in place to protect the identity of the person who has made the protected disclosure in instances in which protected disclosures are shared with external consultants; if the person who made the protected disclosure is notified in advance; if the person's consent is required to share the disclosure with external consultants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36200/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department engages external service providers to carry out independent assessments and investigations on disclosures received, relying on an Office of Government Procurement national framework and contractual terms which clearly set out the protections provided to persons under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.  This includes a confidentiality clause.  

Section 16(1) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 provides that "a person to whom a protected disclosure is made, and any person to whom a protected disclosure is referred in the performance of that person’s duties, shall not disclose to another person any information that might identify the person by whom the protected disclosure was made".  The Act further provides at section 16(2)(c) that this restriction does not apply if "the person to whom the disclosure was made or referred reasonably believes that disclosing any such information is necessary for the effective investigation of the relevant wrongdoing concerned."  The Department limits the extent of communication to a limited number of officials and external assessors/investigators to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.  

As a matter of general practice, my Department informs the discloser of any external assessment/investigation in advance of its commencement and requests permission from the discloser to share their contact details with the assessor/investigator.  The discloser is also provided with the Terms of Reference for the investigation, in advance of its commencement.

Deportation Orders

Questions (657)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

657. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay in a person (details supplied) receiving a family permanent visa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36206/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 7 September 2018.

Representations have been received by the Immigration Service of my Department on behalf of 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. 

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 to the applicant 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.

Visa Applications

Questions (658)

John Curran

Question:

658. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will review the process regarding an elderly parent visa application for a person (details supplied). [36212/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that comprehensive guidelines for all types of visa applications are published on the Immigration Service website (www.inis.ie).  The guidance for a visa for the purpose of joining family members residing in Ireland refers applicants to the Government Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification.  The criteria set out in that policy is used in assessing both visa applicants for this type of visa and any subsequent residence application should the person's visa application be successful. 

Section 18.7 of the Family Reunification Policy Document outlines the rational for the approach adopted and the sound reasons why persons coming on a visitor visa are not permitted, once here, to overstay or turn a short stay into more permanent residency.

I am advised that the person concerned applied for and was issued with a number of short stay visas to visit his family in Ireland.  On each occasion he has sought permission to extend his stay beyond the original permission period and has been granted limited extensions.  Applications for long-stay visas for the purpose of joining with family require more detailed consideration than those of short stay visits as there is a requirement for the applicant to show that they can be supported without undue reliance on the State.  For this reason, such applications made after the person has arrived in the State having obtained a visa for a different purpose, i.e. a short visit, is not permitted.

It is, however, open to the person concerned to contact the Immigration Service again, in writing, setting out their particular circumstances and addressing any matters that were raised in the refusal letter, which he has most recently received.  Any such request will be given detailed consideration by my Department upon receipt of the relevant information and documentary evidence from the individual concerned. 

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.

Visa Applications

Questions (659)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

659. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason persons (details supplied) are still waiting on final paperwork to be finalised and visas issued. [36217/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted on behalf of the persons concerned. These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of a final decision being made.

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.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Questions (660)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

660. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if funding will be increased for initiatives such as community policing on public bus and rail services in view of the increased number of attacks and antisocial incidents across transport networks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36218/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can assure the Deputy that addressing local community concerns in relation to public order and anti-social behaviour is a key focus for An Garda Síochána. 

I would remind her that the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing placed a particular emphasis on the importance of community policing, in which front-line Gardaí are visible and engaged in communities, and develop partnerships with other public agencies and services to deliver a multiagency approach to community safety.

The new Garda Operating Model and revised Divisional Structure, announced recently by the Commissioner, meets a key priority in A Policing Service for the Future, the four year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing. In line with the ethos of community policing, the new model with provide more visible Gardaí on the frontline and devolve more power and decision making from Garda Headquarters to Chief Superintendents leading Divisions, which will ensure a more localised and responsive police service reflecting local needs.

I can also confirm that the Government also remains committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána have the necessary resources to tackle all forms of criminality in our communities.  An unprecedented €1.76 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to € 92 million this year.

The Garda Commissioner is responsible for the effective and efficient use of these resources as well as for the allocation and deployment of personnel. 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.

In relation to the specific issue of anti-social incidents on our transport networks, I am advised by An Garda Síochána that Garda management engages extensively with transport operators and that a range of regional and local operations have been put in place to address incidents and issues that have arisen.  There is ongoing communication between An Garda Síochána and the respective control centres, and access to good quality CCTV helps provide assistance to Gardaí when investigating serious incidents.

Clearly, Garda visibility is a key element in tackling anti-social behaviour and in this context I would point out that An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation. We currently have over 14,200 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,600 Garda staff.  With ongoing and increased recruitment of new Gardaí and Garda staff, we are on track for the Government’s plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021. Another 200 probationer Gardaí are due to attest by the end of this year. Further, the Commissioner’s decision to recruit a net 600 Garda staff in 2019 will allow for the redeployment of approximately 500 experienced Gardaí to frontline and visible policing duties by the end of this year.

It should also be noted that a range of strong legislative provisions are available to Gardaí in relation to public order and anti-social behaviour, including those under:

- the Criminal Damage Act 1991;

- Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994;

- the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003; and

- the Intoxicating Liquor Acts 2003 and 2008.

I am confident that these measures - the unprecedented resourcing of and increased recruitment to An Garda Síochána, as well as the ongoing process of Garda reform including a strengthened focus on community policing - will assist in ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country which will maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

Cyber Security Protocols

Questions (661)

Jack Chambers

Question:

661. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there are dedicated, professionally trained and certified cybersecurity staff in respect of cybersecurity protocols under the remit of his Department; if such specialists are being recruited; if his Department maintains a risk register of security breaches; if so, if there are staff who analyse, log and maintain such a register; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36232/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department employs dedicated professionally trained cybersecurity personnel and recruits additional specialists when needed.  The Department also retains external cybersecurity expertise and utilises this service as necessary. A risk register is maintained within the Department and any breaches to security are reported to management for evaluation and response.

Departmental Operations

Questions (662)

Jack Chambers

Question:

662. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department has a disaster recovery plan, business continuity plan and-or disaster recovery sites; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36248/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Department has in place arrangements and communication protocols to be utilised in extreme weather or other events that render workplace environments inaccessible.  As part of this, the Department has established remote working provisions for key staff to ensure the continuity of core business activities and customer services in emergency situations.

The Department’s primary ICT infrastructure is hosted in a very high availability environment with built-in resilience, in the Revenue Data Centre, a very high quality facility utilised by a number of other public sector bodies. In addition, specific disaster recovery arrangements are in place for a number of key applications and systems. The Office of the Government Chief information Officer (OGCIO) provides a number of centrally delivered applications to public sector bodies, including my Department, through its Build to Share initiative. The infrastructure underpinning these applications includes a disaster recovery plan and a secondary data site. A separate disaster recovery site is also in place for the Department’s Financial Shared Services systems and network, which provides a full range of payroll and financial services not only to my Department but to nine other client Departments and agencies. Work is ongoing to enhance and further develop recovery capacity for other IT systems and my Department will also continue to liaise with OGCIO in respect of public sector policy in this regard, including development of any new DR sites for the public sector.

Immigrant Investor Programme Applications

Question No. 665 answered with Question No. 528.

Question No. 666 answered with Question No. 561.

Questions (663, 664)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

663. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an application by a person (details supplied) will be processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36256/19]

View answer

Brendan Griffin

Question:

664. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an application by a person (details supplied) will be processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36360/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 663 and 664 together.

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department that the person referred to by the Deputy made an application under the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) on 24 May 2019, which is currently being processed.

Successful applicants under the IIP and their nominated family members may be granted a residence permission in Ireland under Stamp 4 conditions. Stamp 4 conditions permit non-EEA nationals to work, study or start their own businesses in Ireland. Therefore, given the significant immigration benefits accruing and, to ensure the highest degree of transparency and accountability for the programme, it is essential that all applications are subject to enhanced levels of due diligence processes in respect of both personal and financial checks to protect the State's interests.

During 2019, I am informed that processing times for these type of applications will be between 6-9 months. I am further advised that this timeframe compares very favourably to international peers, some of whom operate a decision-making framework of between 12 and 24 months.

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.

Question No. 665 answered with Question No. 528.
Question No. 666 answered with Question No. 561.

Garda Deployment

Questions (667)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

667. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí by rank attached to the child protection unit at Mountjoy Garda station, Dublin 7, as of 27 July 2019. [36398/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the manner in which the resources of An Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard. However, I understand 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 Commissioner that as of 27 July 2019, there were six Gardaí and one Detective Sergeant attached to the Child Protection Unit at Mountjoy Garda Station, located within the Dublin Metropolitan Region North Central Division.

The Deputy may also be interested to hear that I have been informed by Garda management that it is expected that Divisional Protective Services Units should be rolled-out to all Garda Divisions on a phased basis by the end of this year. This expected timetable is in accordance with the target set out in 'A Policing Service for the Future', the implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission for the Future of Policing in Ireland. 

I have been informed by the Commissioner that to date, Divisional Protective Services Units have been established in DMR South Central, Waterford, Kerry, Kilkenny, Carlow, Limerick and Galway Garda Divisions. These are in addition to the units previously established in DMR West, Cork City and Louth Divisions in the initial phase of this initiative.