Garda College

Questions (309)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

309. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an investigation was commenced in 2017 by OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office, into spending at the Garda Training College, Templemore; if so, if the investigation has been completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44533/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 it is the Garda Commissioner who is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and is in law responsible for ensuring that the appropriate controls apply to expenditure within the organisation.

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is an organ of the European Union and is independent in the performance of its functions.

I will write directly to the Deputy in relation to this matter, when I am provided with information by An Garda Síochána in relation to the matter he has raised.

Court Judgments

Questions (310)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

310. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the impact a Court of Appeal decision (details supplied) will have on applicants whose applications were refused by him without him stating the reason the applications were insufficiently strong; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44559/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

In conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office, careful consideration is being given to the judgment in the case referred to by the Deputy and any implications it may have for Ministerial policy. As such it would be premature and inappropriate to comment pending the conclusion of such consideration.

There is no appeals process provided under the relevant legislation, the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. Each applicant may re-apply for the grant of a certificate of naturalisation at any time. When considering making such a re-application they should provide the full range of available and relevant information in order to support the application. All applications will be considered taking into account all statutory and administrative conditions applicable at the time of application.

Direct Provision Data

Questions (311)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

311. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons being accommodated in direct provision; the length of time they have been in direct provision in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44565/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The following table details the lengths of stay of persons who have availed of accommodation provided by the Immigration Service of my Department (as of 1 November 2019)

Number of Months

Total

0<3

1,053

3<6

833

6<9

625

9<12

802

12<18

800

18<24

802

24<36

1,016

36<48

762

48<60

519

60<72

178

72<84

78

84+

114

Total

7,582

In relation to the length of time applicants spend in the international protection process, I can inform the Deputy that, while some individuals may live for many years in direct provision centres, these include applicants who have received previous negative decisions and are exercising their right to appeal through the various avenues open to them.

The numbers above include over 770 people who were granted protection status or a permission to remain in the State but remain in international protection accommodation centres. The Immigration Service of my Department is working with organisations like the Peter McVerry Trust, the Jesuit Refugee Service and DePaul Ireland, to assist these people to transition to mainstream housing services but that is proving challenging in the current housing environment.

My Department has also introduced a number of measures aimed at reducing the time taken to determine applications. The International Protection Act, 2015, introduced the single procedure process for the determination of protection applications. Under the single procedure all elements of a person's protection claim (refugee status, subsidiary protection status and permission to remain) are considered together rather than sequentially. The aim of the single procedure is to help reduce waiting times significantly.

An applicant who applies for international protection today can expect to receive a first instance recommendation/decision within approximately 15 months, provided that no complications arise. Prioritised cases are being processed in just under 9 months. Prioritised applications include those from countries such as Syria and Eritrea and from especially vulnerable groups of applicants, such as unaccompanied minors. My Department is aiming to reduce processing times for all first instance decisions to 9 months by the end of this year.

Direct Provision Data

Question No. 313 answered with Question No. 280.

Questions (312)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

312. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the location of each direct provision centre. [44605/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised by the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) of my Department that as of 29 October 2019, there are 39 accommodation centres in the State, the locations of which are set out in the following table.

As these centres are currently operating at full capacity, there are 36 emergency accommodation premises currently being used to accommodate international protection applicants. My Department does not generally disclose the location of emergency accommodation centres in order to protect the identity of international protection applicants.

IPAS Accommodation (as of 29 October 2019)

COUNTY

LOCATION

ADDRESS

RECEPTION CENTRE

Dublin

Balseskin

St. Margarets, Finglas, Dublin 11

ACCOMMODATION CENTRES

Clare

Knockalisheen

Meelick

King Thomond

The Bog Road, Lisdoonvarna

Cork

Ashbourne House

Glounthaune

Davis Lane

73-75 Davis Street, Mallow, Co. Cork

Kinsale Road

Cork

Glenvera

Wellington Road

Millstreet

Millstreet

Clonakilty Lodge

Clonakilty, Co. Cork

Dublin

The Towers

The Ninth Lock, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

Galway

Eglington

The Proms, Salthill

Great Western House

Eyre Square

Kerry

Atlas House (Killarney)

Killarney

Atlas House (Tralee)

Tralee

Atlantic Lodge

Kenmare

Johnston Marina

Tralee

Linden House

New Road, Kilarney

Park Lodge

Killarney

Kildare

Hazel

Dublin Road, Monasterevin

Eyrepowell

Newbridge

Laois

Hibernian Hotel

Main Street, Abbeyleixm, Co. Laois

Montague

Emo, Portlaoise

Limerick

Hanratty's

Glentwirth Street, Limerick

Mount Trenchard

Foynes, Co. Limerick

Longford

Richmond Court

Richmond Street, Longford

Louth

Carroll Village

Dundalk

Mayo

The Old Convent

Ballyhaunis

Meath

Mosney

Mosney

Monaghan

St. Patricks

Monaghan

Sligo

Globe House

Chapel Hill

Tipperary

Bridgewater House

Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary

Borrisokane

Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary

Waterford

Atlantic House

Tramore, Co. Waterford

Ocean View

Tramore, Co. Waterford

Birchwood

Ballytruckle Road

Viking House

Coffee House Lane

Wicklow

The Grand Hotel

Abbey Street, Wicklow

Westmeath

Temple Accommodation

Horseleap, Moate, Westmeath

Athlone

Athlone

Question No. 313 answered with Question No. 280.

Human Trafficking

Question No. 315 answered with Question No. 280.

Questions (314)

Micheál Martin

Question:

314. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he discussed the 39 deaths in Essex with his counterpart in the UK; if they discussed port security on both sides of the Irish Sea; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44613/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The incident referred to by the Deputy is a tragedy for all concerned and I have previously expressed my deepest sympathies and condolences to them in this House.

I can assure the Deputy that the Government is fully committed to addressing the challenges of human trafficking and migrant smuggling under Irish and EU legislation and the principal international conventions. We are active domestically, including by ensuring immigration control at Irish airports and ports, and at the international level on these matters.

Of course I maintain a positive relationship with my UK counterpart and we are in contact to discuss various matters of security as required.

Further and as the Deputy will appreciate, crimes such as human trafficking and migrant smuggling are transnational by nature and accordingly necessitate a collaborative approach to policing with law enforcement agencies across jurisdictions. An Garda Síochána utilises all available international mechanisms for police cooperation and training including CEPOL, Interpol, and Europol.

In relation to the specific incident referred to by the Deputy, I understand that criminal investigations are ongoing and An Garda Síochána are providing assistance to the UK authorities in this matter as appropriate.

Question No. 315 answered with Question No. 280.

Human Trafficking

Questions (316)

Micheál Martin

Question:

316. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if legislation needs to be amended to prevent Ireland from being a target for human trafficking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44615/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Ireland is fully committed to addressing the challenges of human trafficking under Irish and EU legislation and the principal international conventions. Co-ordination of national efforts in this area is the responsibility of my Department.

Ireland has ratified the principal international Human Trafficking treaties:

- The Palermo Protocol (2000) to the UN Convention against Organised Crime

- The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005)

In the EU and Ireland, the following legislation is relevant:

- EU Anti Trafficking Directive (2011/36/EU)

- Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 and Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Act 2013

In February this year, Ireland ratified the ILO Forced Labour Protocol, which reinforces the international legal framework for combating all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons. This initiative, by my colleague the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, puts Ireland among the group known as “50 for Freedom”, which stems from an ILO initiative to encourage member countries to ratify the Protocol by the end of 2019.

I would also note that An Garda Síochána has committed significant resources to the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking. A specialised Garda Unit, the Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit (HTICU), has been established to coordinate delivery of national strategy.

Finally, I would point out that action is also being taken to raise public awareness in Ireland and help members of the public identify the signs of human trafficking. More information is available on the “Blue Blindfold” website, http://www.blueblindfold.gov.ie, maintained by my Department.

Legislative Reviews

Questions (317)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

317. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of each review of the incitement to hatred legislation that has been carried out or commissioned by his Department in each year since 1989; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44623/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 has been the subject of ongoing Departmental review for some time and in a number of different contexts since its enactment.

In 2008, a specific external review of the 1989 Act was carried out by the Centre for Criminal Justice, University of Limerick, in conjunction with the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism. This review was published in September 2008. The review concluded that “the complex nature of the offences in the 1989 Act arises primarily from the overriding need to balance fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, privacy and basic principles of criminal liability, with the need to protect individuals and groups against vicious racist abuse”.

The 2008 review recommended that legislative change alone would be insufficient and that measures to address racism should be included as part of an overall integration and anti-racism strategy, including education and public awareness programmes and a wide range of measures to ensure migrant and minority communities are more included in Irish society.

The review of the 1989 Act being conducted at present by my Department is designed to identify how our legislation on hate speech, including incitement to hatred, can be made fit for purpose in a modern democracy. This review is one part of a suite of measures which will include the development of new legislation on both hate speech and hate crime.

As part of the review, I launched a public consultation process on 24 October which is open and inviting submissions until 13 December 2019 and will gather the views of communities, experts and all interested persons on how our incitement legislation should be changed to make it fit for purpose. Details of the consultation are available on my Department’s website.

Some of the questions in the consultation include: what limits it is appropriate to place on freedom of expression when it comes to hate speech; what forms of hate speech are serious enough that they should be a criminal offence; whether the list of protected characteristics included in the legislation should be changed; whether the existing legislation is adequate to deal with online communications, and whether the need to prove the intent or likelihood or stirring up hatred should be altered.

Separately to the work on incitement, my Department is finalising research on the effectiveness of the different legislative approaches to tackling hate crime in other countries, in order to learn from experience elsewhere and use this information to identify the approach that will be most suitable for Ireland. When this research has concluded I will bring forward proposals for new hate crime legislation. These will be published and the views of experts, communities and the public will be taken into account to ensure that the legislation we develop will deliver a safer, fairer and more inclusive Ireland for everyone.

Legal Aid Service Data

Questions (318)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

318. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which funds for the free legal aid service are distributed nationally by law centre in each of the past four years; the criteria in place to determine the distribution of funding; the precise weighting given to each criteria; the plan in place to target resources at areas with the longest waiting times or other measures of need; and the waiting times and numbers for first and second consultations by each law centre. [44644/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Legal Aid Board is the statutory independent body responsible for the provision of civil legal aid and advice to persons of modest means in the State. The Board also has responsibility to provide a family mediation service.

I have had enquiries made with the Legal Aid Board on behalf of the Deputy and they have provided the following information.

Civil legal aid and advice is provided primarily by solicitors employed by the Board through a network of law centres . There are 30 full time and 12 part-time law centres. Specific law centres in Dublin, Cork and Galway include an international protection speciality and there are also dedicated units in Dublin dealing with personal injury and/or medical negligence cases and cases involving children at risk. Family mediation services are provided through 8 full time offices and 9 part time offices.

The Board also engages private solicitors to supplement the services provided by Board solicitors in certain areas of law on a case by case basis, those areas of law being; District Court family law matters, Circuit Court judicial separation and divorce cases, international protection cases, and cases on foot of the Abhaile scheme.

I am advised that the Board does not have to hand a breakdown of the total cost of civil legal aid in any one office/county in a given year. It should be borne in mind that applicants are free to apply for legal services to any law centre and are not bound to apply in their county of residence. Furthermore, in a case where two parties to a dispute seek the services of the Board at one law centre, one party will be required to engage with a different law centre, which may be in a neighbouring county.

The majority of the Board's income consists of a grant received from my Department. This funding is used to provide the Board's services in all its offices across the country, as well as the support services provided to law centres centrally from the Board's head office. The Board’s other main sources of income are financial contributions from applicants and costs recovered.

The grant funding provided to the Legal Aid Board by my Department in 2019 is €40.796 million. The largest cost of operating the law centre network is staff salaries. Solicitors employed by the Legal Aid Board are civil servants of the State and are subject to the standard civil service terms and conditions of employment and are employed on standard civil service pay scales. The allocation of staffing resources in the Legal Aid Board is a matter for the Chief Executive and senior management, within its budgetary parameters.

The Board seeks to ensure that a person who qualifies for civil legal aid (legal services) will be offered an appointment with a solicitor within a maximum period of four months from the time the application is completed or will be offered earlier legal advice if it is not possible to provide full legal services within four months. A priority service is provided in certain cases including cases involving domestic violence, child abduction, applications by the State (Tusla) to take children into care or under supervision, and cases that have statutory time limits close to expiry.

The waiting times and numbers for first and second consultation appointments are published on a regular basis on the website of the Legal Aid Board (www.legalaidboard.ie).

As of the 31st December 2016, there were 1,864 persons waiting for legal services which was a reduction from the figure of 2,319 at the start of the year. At the end of 2017 the number of persons waiting for legal services stood at 1,776. At the end of 2018 the number of persons waiting for legal services stood at 1,754 (see Table 1). This was the sixth successive year in which there was a decrease (from over 5,000 in 2013). The number of persons waiting for a first consultation with a Legal Aid Board solicitor stands at 1,933 at the end of October, 2019.

Table 1 - The number of persons waiting on the 31st December 2018

Year

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Number Waiting

5,067

3,412

2,319

1,864

1,776

1,754

The maximum waiting time in weeks, for non prioritised matters, as of the 30th September, 2019 is set out for the various law centres in Table 2. It must be emphasised that this table gives a snapshot of waiting times at a particular point in time. Waiting times will go up and down depending on demand and on the capacity of each law centre to offer appointments to new clients. A number of law centres that currently have long waiting lists are being affected by solicitor turnover and other staff movement or absence which the Board is seeking to address. Where capacity permits, applications in Dublin are transferred between law centres to allow earlier first consultation appointments for applicants. The distribution of resources is similarly kept under constant review. I am advised for example that with some redistribution it is expected that the waiting time at the Law Centre in Finglas will drop significantly in the next couple of months.

Table 2: Waiting times - 30 th September 2019 (in weeks)

Waiting for 1st Consultation

Waiting for 2nd Consultation

Combined waiting time

Law Centre

Longest person waiting

No. Waiting

Longest person waiting

No. Waiting

Combined waiting time

No. Waiting

Finglas

56

104

0

0

56

104

Jervis Street*

41

181

0

0

41

181

Smithfield

31

109

0

0

31

109

Cork South Mall

28

153

0

0

28

153

Kilkenny*

28

75

0

0

28

75

Athlone

26

94

0

0

26

94

Blanchardstown

26

57

0

0

26

57

Sligo

26

62

0

0

26

62

Navan

25

81

0

0

25

81

Galway Seville House*

11

28

12

12

23

40

Ennis

7

21

15

24

22

45

Longford

19

54

0

0

19

54

Tallaght

19

57

0

0

19

57

Waterford

19

60

0

0

19

60

Nenagh

18

85

0

0

18

85

Newbridge

18

40

0

0

18

40

Cavan

15

42

0

0

15

42

Wexford

15

53

0

0

15

53

Tralee

14

41

0

0

14

41

Monaghan

13

31

0

0

13

31

Cork Popes Quay

12

80

0

0

12

80

Castlebar

11

42

0

0

11

42

Letterkenny*

11

53

0

0

11

53

Dundalk

10

33

0

0

10

33

Portlaoise*

10

35

0

0

10

35

Wicklow

10

58

0

0

10

58

Limerick

9

30

0

0

9

30

Galway Francis St

8

12

0

0

8

12

Clondalkin

5

31

0

0

5

31

Tullamore

4

26

0

0

4

26

* Co-located law centre and mediation offices

Speedy access to the Board’s services and to the justice system generally, has always been a priority for the Board.

It is important to clarify that in most cases the legal advice and/or aid provided by the Legal Aid Board is not free nor is the word ‘Free’ part of the Board’s title. There are financial eligibility criteria which the majority of civil legal aid applicants must meet in order to be eligible for legal services. In most cases an applicant for legal aid will have to make a payment which is called a contribution. While the majority of persons granted civil legal services pay the minimum contribution, the contribution a person is liable for will depend on their disposable income and capital assets. In the event that a person recovers money or property arising from the case, the Board may seek to recover the cost to the Board of providing legal services to the client.

Crime Data

Questions (319)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

319. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which crime statistics and figures are published; if he will consider a more localised system of statistics based on postcode areas within the Dublin Metropolitan Region for crime statistics and reports in view of the number of community and residential organisations that are organised in small local communities in which specific crime figures would be of benefit to them and for community vigilance in general; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44658/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the compilation and publication of the official recorded crime statistics, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose.

As the Deputy will be aware, crime figures of the Central Statistics Office currently remain “Under Reservation”. However, it is clear that progress is being made by An Garda Síochána and the CSO in improving the quality of the crime statistics.

The CSO in December 2018 published a third review of the quality of recorded crime statistics, based on data recorded on the PULSE database system for crimes reported to Gardaí in 2017. Among other points, the review concluded that clear improvements had been made in the manner in which criminal incidents were being recorded on the PULSE system.

While this is encouraging, it is also clear that there is more work to be done in this area, My Department, in conjunction with the Policing Authority, will continue to monitor the progress of An Garda Síochána in ensuring that the national crime statistics are returned to the higher standard required by the CSO. The Policing Authority will continue to assess policing performance across the remainder of the year and will publish a full year assessment in early 2020.

I have attached a link to the latest crime statistics as published by the Central Statistics Office on the 27 September 2019.

https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-rc/recordedcrimeq22019/

The Deputy may also be interested to note the CSO Crime Counting Rules document, available at this link https://statbank.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?maintable=CJA07&PLanguage=0

That document sets out the approach to recording of criminal offences as being against the Garda sub-district in which the particular offence was committed.

“A.6

A criminal offence should be recorded (and counted) a gainst the Garda Sub-district in which the particular offence was committed. Where the place of commission cannot be determined the offence should be recorded against the Garda Sub-district in which it was reported. Criminal offences under Irish law that are committed abroad (such as those under the Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act, 1996) should be recorded against the Garda Sub-district in which it was reported.”

I understand that it is possible to search CSO Table CJA07, which breaks down data by offence group and Garda station, by post code of the relevant Garda station or indeed by placename.

Any changes to the methodology used to publish the statistics would be a matter for the Central Statistics Office, under the aegis of the Department of the Taoiseach.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (320)

Alan Kelly

Question:

320. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of computers in his Department that still use an operating system (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44715/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

There are approximately 3,700 desktop computers supported by the ICT Shared Service within my Department which currently run on the Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System. A project to upgrade this operating system is underway and is scheduled for completion prior to Windows 7 going out of support in January 2020.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (321)

Alan Kelly

Question:

321. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department will not be forced to pay additional premium payments to a company (details supplied) once support for an operating system expires in January 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44730/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

It is not envisaged that my Department will pay additional premium payments to Microsoft after the Windows 7 Operating System goes out of support, as it is intended that the operating system on the ICT Shared Service will be upgraded in advance of this.

In the event that a small number of devices have not been upgraded by then, the situation will be reviewed to ensure that the best available support and security is provided for those devices until they are fully upgraded. If necessary, extended support from Microsoft may be provided, which would be at minimal cost and connected to the existing licensing agreement with the company.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (322)

Alan Kelly

Question:

322. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to protect his Department in the event of a malware attack or security risks as a result of the failure to upgrade computers from an operating system (details supplied) in his Department and the agencies under his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44746/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

There are approximately 3,700 desktop computers supported by the ICT Shared Service within my Department which currently run on the Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System. The ICT Shared Service also supports 34 other bodies.

A project to upgrade all computers supported by the ICT Shared Service is underway and is scheduled for completion prior to Windows 7 going out of support in January 2020. Accordingly, it is not envisaged that malware or security threats will arise due to the ending of support. In the event that it is not possible to complete upgrades prior to the ending of support, any necessary measures will be put in place to ensure ICT security.

The operation of the individual desktop computers on the shared service is already controlled within a virtualized and secure network environment. The shared service deploys a number of different layers of security to deal with internal and external threats, including firewalls, malware and virus detection and spam filtering on email and web traffic, as well as threat emulation.

I have set out further information with respect to An Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service and the Courts Service below.

An Garda Síochána

An Garda Síochána currently operates an estate of over 9,500 desktop PCs and has security measures in place in order to reduce potential risks posed by devices and ensure data security and integrity.

Over 95% of the standard desktops are currently running the latest patched operating system Windows 10, with an additional 3% planned to be upgraded before year end. There are a small number of specific purpose devices that are unable to be upgraded, due in the majority of cases to bespoke software applications in use on them not supporting newer operating systems. These computers have a specific security and threat mitigation plan assigned to them, which limits the usage, services and communication on these devices. All devices are subject to the standard security regime and benefit from threat detection as well as organisation-wide security monitoring and filtering.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and the Criminal Assets Bureau have completed upgrade projects and no computers in those bodies run Windows 7.

Irish Prison Service

The Irish Prison Service currently uses Windows 7 widely and is putting a plan in place to upgrade to the Windows 10 to prevent and mitigate the risk of malware attacks or other security risks. Various threat detection and security systems are in place to mitigate against risks to data security and integrity.

Courts Service

The large majority of Courts Service users use thin client devices and virtualized applications which do not use Windows desktop operating systems. Where Windows 7 had previously been deployed, many instances have been upgraded to newer operating systems and work is continuing on upgrading or migrating the remainder.

There is limited exposure to the risk of malware attack or security risks from the failure to upgrade computers from Windows 7. The computers deployed in the Courts Service have a locked down configuration which provides an additional layer of security and measures are in place at our firewalls which make it difficult for malware to enter the Courts network. These include mail scanning, link filtering and blocking of suspect websites. A patching policy ensures appropriate security patching is applied. A detailed user security policy ensures that permissions are restricted and the potential for security breaches is limited. End user security awareness is provided through periodic general security advice and notifications in relation to specific threats.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (323)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

323. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda cars in use in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44766/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. I am pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget for 2020 to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year.

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. €10 million capital funding has been made for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from the Garda authorities that this allocation is being used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year. A further €9 million capital funding has been allocated for the Garda fleet in Budget 2020.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions are a matter for the Commissioner in light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.

The strength of the Kildare Divisional Fleet as of 25 October 2019 is set out in the following table, as provided to me by the Garda authorities.

Fleet as of 25 October 2019

Cars

Vans

Mbikes

4 x 4

Others

Total

Kildare District

19

6

0

0

0

25

Leixlip District

8

2

0

0

0

10

Naas District

15

5

1

1

0

22

Total - Kildare Division

42

12

1

1

0

56

Garda Data

Questions (324)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

324. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda attached to the human trafficking investigation and co-ordination unit in each year since 2014, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44784/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for managing An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for personnel matters and the distribution of personnel across the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps this distribution under review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure optimum use is made of resources.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Human Trafficking Investigation and Coordination Unit (HTICU) forms part of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) and falls under the remit of Assistant Commissioner, Special Crime Operations, Harcourt Square, Dublin 2.

I am further informed that the unit is staffed by Garda members of various ranks, up to Detective Superintendent, as well as Garda staff. I am informed that the following table, provided to me by the Garda authorities, sets out the staffing levels of the Unit since 2014 and as at 5 November.

YEAR

TOTAL

Garda Members

Garda Staff

2014

11

9

2

2015

11

9

2

2016

9

7

2

2017

15

13

2

2018

14

12

2

2019

13

11

2

More generally, the Deputy may wish to be aware of training in this area. A 3-day training course entitled ‘Tackling Trafficking in Human Beings, Prevention, Protection, Prosecution & Partnership’ has been developed and delivered jointly between An Garda Síochána and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This training is delivered to frontline Gardaí, investigators, immigration officers, border management (Dublin Airport), who are most likely to identify potential victims of human trafficking.

The Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-Ordination Unit deliver this three-day human trafficking course twice annually. Human rights issues as they pertain to human trafficking are a fundamental component of the course and international experts on human trafficking also make presentations. I understand that as at year end 2018, over 1,400 Garda members had been trained in this course.

Naturalisation Certificates

Questions (325)

Noel Rock

Question:

325. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to review applications (details supplied) in view of a ruling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44796/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy may be aware that Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister for Justice and Equality may waive any or all of the statutory provisions for naturalisation as provided in Section 15 of the Act, where the applicant is of Irish descent or Irish associations.

Having considered the application concerned, I am not satisfied that the person concerned meets the statutory residency criterion and have decided not to exercise my absolute discretion to waive said requirement. The person concerned was informed on 27 May 2019 by the Immigration Service of my Department that a certificate of naturalisation would not be granted in respect of this application.

In conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office, careful consideration is being given to the judgment in the case referred to by the Deputy and any implications it may have for Ministerial policy. As such it would be premature and inappropriate to comment pending the conclusion of such consideration.

While it is the case that there is no appeals process provided for under the relevant legislation, the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, an applicant may re-apply for the grant of a certificate of naturalisation at any time. When considering making such an application they should provide the full range of available and relevant information in order to support the application. All applications will be considered, taking into account all statutory and administrative conditions applicable at the time of application.

Garda Data

Questions (326)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

326. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda in the Clondalkin division; the number of vacancies that exist in the division; the rank or level of the vacancies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44802/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

It is important to be clear that under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources. This includes responsibility for personnel matters and the distribution of personnel across the various Garda Divisions. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters. I understand 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.

As the Deputy will be aware, a record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to €92 million this year. I am pleased to have secured an additional €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget for 2020 to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year.

The Garda strength of the Clondalkin District as at 30 September 2019, the latest date for which figures are available, is available on my Department’s website through the following link.

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_September_2019.xlsx

/Files/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_September_2019.xlsx.

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Garda_Workforce.

For more general information on Garda facts and figures, please see the following link:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (327)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

327. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of full and part-time staff employed in his Department; the number of such staff being paid at the minimum wage rate of pay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44850/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that as of 21 October 2019 there are 2,480 staff employed in my Department. Of those, 2,128 work full-time, and 352 work part-time (i.e. any work pattern less than full time).

These totals include permanent and non-permanent staff employed by or through the Department, and include, among others, staff in the Probation Service, Forensic Science Ireland, the Insolvency Service of Ireland and headquarters staff in the Irish Prison Service.

As the Deputy will be aware, the statutory National Minimum Wage an employer can pay an adult worker is €9.80 an hour. This rate saw an increase from the previous rate of €9.55 per hour on 1 January 2019.

All of the staff within my Department are paid at a rate exceeding the National Minimum Wage rate.

Departmental Budgets

Questions (328)

John Curran

Question:

328. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of the €265 million identified in budget 2020 as selected capital measures to be allocated to the Military Road, Dublin 8 development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44867/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that out of the €265 million provided for capital measures in Budget 2020, a total capital allocation of €116.5 million will be made available to the Garda Vote.

This will provide for continuing ICT investment, upgrade and expansion of the Transport Fleet and various building construction and maintenance works.

The precise amount to be allocated to the Military Road, Dublin 8 project in 2020 will only be determined when detailed timescales and cash flow arrangements are finalised between the successful tenderer, OPW and An Garda Síochána.