Human Trafficking

Questions (267)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

267. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the fact there have been confirmed cases of human trafficking within the fishing industry here; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that the Trafficking in Persons Report 2019 and the Council of Europe GRETA report of 2017 made reference to the need for improved support for victims of trafficking here in line with a national referral mechanism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51595/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department has been made aware of a number of cases of human trafficking or exploitation regarding individuals in the fishing industry in Ireland.

I wish to confirm for the Deputy that Government is fully committed to addressing human trafficking in all forms under Irish and EU legislation and the principal international conventions, and that we are active nationally and internationally to do so. With regard to international treaties, 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).

The EU Anti Trafficking Directive (2011/36/EU) and in Ireland, the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 and Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Act 2013 are the relevant legislative measures.

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.

Domestically, the Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking was launched in 2016. The Action Plan involves a victim-centred and human rights based approach with the ultimate aims of preventing human trafficking, ensuring an effective criminal justice response and delivery of supports to victims.

An Garda Síochána has also 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.

Progress has also been made to improve the access of victims to State supports. Where an individual is identified as a suspected victim of human trafficking by HTICU they are eligible to receive State supports and services, including immigration permission, medical care, accommodation and legal advice, through the National Referral Mechanism to assist their recovery. A number of State bodies also provide care and practical support to victims, including the HSE, the International Protection Accommodation Service, the Legal Aid Board, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and Tusla. The International Organisation for Migration provides assistance in relation to returning victims to their country of origin.

My Department also provides funding to several non-governmental organisations for their work to provide support to victims of trafficking.

The Deputy may also wish to note 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, which is maintained by my Department.

With regard to the reports referred to by the Deputy, I can confirm that my Department continues to work closely with the relevant parties in relation to the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) Committee and its reporting mechanism alongside the annual Trafficking in Persons Report.

Over the past 12 months, my Department has also been engaging with non-governmental organisations to examine a NGO-led solution to the issue of the accommodation for victims of trafficking in a practical manner. This is an ongoing dialogue with a number of relevant parties.

Any abuses of the employment conditions of any non-EEA National in the Irish fishing industry are a matter for the Workplace Relations Commission, the Marine Survey Office, the Gardaí and other appropriate authorities of the State.

Human Trafficking

Questions (268)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

268. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress made to provide a suitable recovery and reflection period for those that are trafficked in the fishing industry here; if a copy of updated information supplied to GRETA will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51596/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

My Department is fully committed to addressing the challenges of human trafficking, in all forms, under Irish and EU legislation and under the principal international conventions.

As the Deputy may be aware, the identification of victims of trafficking is a duty arising from the EU Directive 2011/36/EU and the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and has no statutory basis in Ireland. The identification of victims is not a question of determining who they are; it is a question of determining that they are victims of a crime and that they are consequently entitled to supports to assist them in dealing with the aftermath of the offence. The most well-defined support entitlement is that they are immune from deportation in the immediate aftermath of their discovery. As noted by the Deputy, the obligation on Ireland is also that victims are given a period of “recovery and reflection” during which they are exempt from deportation and do not have to engage with law enforcement investigating the offence. The minimum period in the convention is 30 days. I wish to confirm to the Deputy that Ireland has set the period at 60 days.

The Deputy may also wish to note that progress has been made to improve access to State supports for victims of human trafficking.

A number of State bodies provide care and practical support to victims of human trafficking, including the HSE, the International Protection Accommodation Service, the Legal Aid Board, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and Tusla. The International Organisation for Migration also provides assistance in relation to returning victims to their country of origin.

An Garda Síochána has also 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 in this area. Where an individual is identified as a suspected victim of human trafficking by HTICU they will be eligible to receive State supports and services, including immigration permission, medical care, accommodation and legal advice, through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to assist their recovery.

My Department also provides funding to several Non-Governmental Organisations for their work to provide support to victims of trafficking, and my Department is also funding several research and awareness raising programmes in this field.

I can confirm that my Department continues to work closely with the relevant parties in relation to the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) Committee and its reporting mechanism. Ireland’s last review was in 2016 and the next round will commence for Ireland in May 2020.

The Deputy may also wish to note that agreed reports of Ireland’s interaction with the Council of Europe GRETA Committee are available on the Council of Europe Website, at the following link:

https://www.coe.int/en/web/anti-human-trafficking/ireland

Garda Investigations

Questions (269)

Micheál Martin

Question:

269. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the examination by the Garda Commissioner to review the files on a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51608/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, the Garda Commissioner met with the family of the late Seamus Ludlow on 2 December last. This murder was a callous and senseless act of random violence perpetrated against an innocent man. I have the utmost sympathy for the Ludlow family who feel the pain of Seamus' loss every day. It is a matter of profound regret that, in common with so many troubles related deaths, nobody has yet been brought to justice for his murder.

The Deputy will be aware that the Barron Commission of Inquiry carried out an extensive investigation into the circumstances of the Seamus Ludlow case and Judge Barron submitted his report to the then Taoiseach in 2004. The report was referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights, a sub-committee of which held a series of public hearings and issued a report in March 2006.

It is beyond question that there were serious failures in the original Garda investigation. In the course of the sub-committee hearings, the former Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne, the then Commissioner, Noel Conroy, and the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell, apologised to the Ludlow family for the way in which they had been treated by the Gardaí at the time.

There have been four separate Garda investigations: the initial (and flawed) investigation; in1979/1980; in 1996/1999; and following the Barron Report. The Garda investigation is not closed and if further evidence comes to light that might permit a prosecution, then An Garda Síochána would be in a position to seek that the matter is re-considered by the DPP.

A second Coroner’s inquest into Mr Ludlow’s death was directed by the Attorney General in September 2005, which returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

At the meeting on 2 December, the Garda Commissioner undertook to examine a number of issues of concern to the Ludlow family. I will await the Commissioner's considered view on these matters.

I again extend my deepest sympathies to the Ludlow family.

Garda Data

Questions (270)

John Lahart

Question:

270. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the ratio of gardaí per head of population in each of the Dublin metropolitan divisions in each of the past five years. [51612/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy could not be compiled in the time available but I will respond directly to him when the information is available.

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

Questions (271)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

271. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount spent by the State on emergency accommodation for asylum seekers to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51626/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the State has a legal obligation to offer accommodation, food and a range of other services (including utilities and healthcare etc.) to any person who claims a right to international protection in Ireland while their legal claim is being examined. These services are demand-led and generally it is difficult to predict demand far in advance.

As of 1 December 2019, there were 6,013 persons being provided with accommodation by my Department in the 40 accommodation centres located nationwide, which are now at full operating capacity. A further 1,559 persons are residing in 37 hotels and guest houses, procured as emergency capacity. The amount spent on hotel and guest house beds in emergency locations up to end of November 2019 was €27.14m. Every effort is being made to re-accommodate applicants in emergency locations to a dedicated accommodation centre as quickly as possible.

To meet the associated increase in demand for accommodation, my Department has initiated two processes to source additional accommodation.

Firstly, my Department sought expressions of interest from parties who would be interested in providing accommodation and related services to people in the international protection process. Premises assessed as suitable under this process may be offered a short-term contract (usually one year).

Secondly, my Department has run procurement competitions through the Government's procurement portal, Etenders, on a regional basis throughout the country to procure accommodation. These contracts will be longer term with a minimum contract duration of 2 years on offer and a maximum contract duration of 4 years.

My Department has, in conjunction with a number of charities and NGOs who were awarded funding for projects, assisted a total of 675 people to transit from state provided accommodation to permanent homes in the community. This figure relates to the period from the beginning of the year to the end of October.

My Department also secured an additional €1m in Budget 2020 for immigration Service Delivery which includes provision for additional staffing to fast-track decisions on applications for international protection, thus reducing pressure on the State provided accommodation.

Garda Reports

Questions (272)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

272. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the 2018 annual report of An Garda Síochána will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51645/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has received the 2018 annual report of An Garda Síochána and I expect to be in a position to publish it very shortly.

In accordance with the statutory reporting provisions, the Annual Report will be laid before each House of the Oireachtas shortly.

Garda Recruitment

Questions (273)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

273. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of competitions for Garda members to join the north Dublin roads policing unit held in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51646/19]

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. 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. The Deputy will appreciate that as Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

I have asked An Garda Síochána to provide the information requested by the Deputy and will write to the Deputy directly on receipt of same.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (274)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

274. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new unmarked Garda vans that came into the fleet in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the number of unmarked Garda vans withdrawn from the fleet in each of these years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51660/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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, including the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources.

I have requested the relevant information from the Commissioner and I will write to the Deputy directly when I receive it.

Garda Recruitment

Questions (275)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

275. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated full-year cost of recruiting two additional full-time accountants for the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51661/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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, including the training of its members and Garda staff. The Commissioner is also responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána, in light of identified operational demands. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the estimated full year cost of recruiting two additional full-time accountants for the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau would be approximately €137,654 (€68,872 per person).

I am further advised by the Garda authorities that this estimated costing relies on the assumption of two full-time accountants being placed on the first point of the relevant salary scale and inclusion of employers PRSI at a rate of 10.95%.

Garda National Immigration Bureau

Questions (276)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

276. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the budget allocation for the Garda National Immigration Bureau in each of the years 2017 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51662/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy could not be compiled in the time available but I will respond directly to him when the information is available.

Proposed Legislation

Questions Nos. 278 and 279 answered with Question No. 235.

Questions (277)

Catherine Martin

Question:

277. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when his Department will table the required amendments to the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015; when the amendments will be enacted; when the Act will be commenced in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51666/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides a modern statutory framework to support decision-making by adults with capacity difficulties. The Act was signed into law on 30 December 2015 but has not yet been fully commenced. The Act provides for the establishment of new administrative processes and support measures, including the setting up of the Decision Support Service (DSS) within the Mental Health Commission (a body under the Department of Health).

The Director of the DSS is working towards having the Service being operational and ready for the commencement of the main provisions of the 2015 Act. A lead-in timeframe is essential to ensure that the necessary staff resources, processes, IT system, expert panels, codes of practice and regulations will be in place. This will ensure that the DSS will have the capacity to be up and running effectively. There are many complex strands to this work, including involvement of multiple organisations, and the situation is being kept under ongoing review as the preparatory work on implementation moves forward.

A high-level Steering Group comprising senior officials from the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Health, the Mental Health Commission and the Courts Service, together with the Director of the DSS, is overseeing the establishment and commissioning of the Decision Support Service and this work is ongoing.

A number of provisions of the 2015 Act were commenced in October 2016 in order to progress the setting up of the DSS. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 515 of 2016) commenced provisions of the Act to enable the recruitment of the Director of the DSS. Ms Áine Flynn was appointed Director of the DSS on 2 October 2017.

The commencement of Part 8 of the Act, which provides a legislative framework for advance healthcare directives, is a matter for the Minister for Health. The Minister for Health, under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) (No. 2) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 517 of 2016), brought some provisions of Part 8 of the Act into operation on 17 October 2016. The commenced provisions provide for the establishment by the Minister for Health of a multi-disciplinary group to make recommendations to the Director of the DSS in relation to codes of practice on advance healthcare directives. In anticipation of the completion of that process, the Minister for Health commenced the remainder of section 91 on 17 December 2018 (S.I. No. 527 of 2018).

The key preparations are being put in place under the oversight of the Steering Group to allow for further commencement orders for the provisions of the 2015 Act to be made when the DSS is ready to roll out the new decision-making support options.

Work has been ongoing in the Department of Justice and Equality on the drafting of necessary amendments to the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, taking account of issues raised by the Mental Health Commission, the codes of practice working groups and submissions received from other bodies. The intention was to bring forward these amendments by way of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016. However, when Dáil Committee Stage took place on the Bill on 30 January 2019, a number of amendments were agreed which had previously been ruled out of order by the Ceann Comhairle, thus giving rise to a procedural matter. Work is ongoing to resolve this issue.

The Deputy will understand that it is not possible for me to predict the outcome of the legislative process with regard to any Bill. Therefore I cannot predict when any amendments will be enacted.

Questions Nos. 278 and 279 answered with Question No. 235.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Questions (280)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

280. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda CCTV cameras; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51680/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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, including the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources.

I have requested the relevant information from the Commissioner and I will write to the Deputy directly when I receive it.

Garda Data

Questions (281)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

281. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new dogs that joined the Garda dog unit to date in 2019; the number of dogs withdrawn from the unit to date in 2019; the number of horses that joined the Garda mounted unit to date in 2019; the number of horses withdrawn from the unit to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51681/19]

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, increasing to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020. As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána as well as for decisions in relation to the allocation of Garda resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda Mounted Unit is based at Áras an Uachtaráin, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8. The unit has a national remit under the direction and control of the Assistant Commissioner, Roads Policing and Major Event Management and the operational control of the Superintendent, Operational Support Services.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are currently 13 horses attached to the Garda Mounted Unit. I am informed that 1 horse retired from Garda Mounted Unit in 2019. I am further informed that efforts are being made by An Garda Síochána to identify 2 suitable horses to bring the Unit up to a strength of 15. I am informed that 2 horses are currently being assessed in that regard, however it should be noted that this assessment process is ongoing and these horses have not at this stage been added to the Unit.

I have been advised by the Garda authorities that the Garda Dog Unit is based at Kilmainham Garda Station, in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) and has a national remit. Dog units have also been established in the Southern Region based at Togher Garda Station, Cork, and Henry Street Garda Station, Limerick. I understand that facilities for a future regional dog unit have also been included in the Western Region Garda Headquarters, Galway.

I am informed that there are currently 24 dogs attached to the Garda Dog Unit, comprising general purpose (search), drugs and explosive detection dogs. I am further informed that 1 dog was added to the Garda Dog Unit in 2019 and that 4 dogs were withdrawn from the Unit in 2019. It may be noted that the Garda Commissioner has recently indicated to me that he intends for An Garda Síochána to invest in purchasing and training additional dogs next year.

Garda Data

Questions (282)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

282. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí by rank attached to the Garda protective services unit in the DMR east, DMR south and Tipperary divisions in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51682/19]

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.

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that to date, Divisional Protective Services Units have been established in 13 locations nationwide, namely Carlow, Cork City, DMR South Central, DMR West, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Louth and Waterford Garda Divisions as well as the newly established units in DMR East, DMR South and Tipperary which became operational in recent weeks.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following is a current breakdown of the DPSU personnel strength in the requested Divisions

DPSU Unit

DMR Eastern

DMR South

Tipperary

Inspector

1

1

D\Sergeant

2

3

1

D\Gardai

10

13

5

Total

13

17

6

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that the strength of the DPSU in Tipperary will be increased in the new year; and that the distribution of resources including personnel is kept under review.

Garda Accommodation

Questions (283)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

283. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the work will commence on the refurbishment of the Garda immigration facility at Rosslare Harbour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51683/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Major investment is being made in the Garda estate, to provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff, as well as the public interacting with them. This is a significant undertaking, as there are over 560 stations nationwide.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As a result, all works to the Garda estate involve close cooperation between the OPW and the Garda authorities.

The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is based on agreed Garda priorities. It continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country and is underpinned by significant Exchequer funding across the Garda and OPW Votes. In addition, other major ongoing works to the Garda estate include the development of a new facility at Military Road and the major refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station as well as the Pilot Garda station reopening project.

The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 does not include the re-development or refurbishment of the Garda immigration facility at Rosslare Harbour.

However, I am informed by the Garda authorities that consideration is being given to the redevelopment of the Garda Immigration Facility in Rosslare Harbour. I am informed that An Garda Síochána and the OPW have visited the facility and that Gardaí are preparing a brief of requirements, for submission to the OPW, which would then be responsible for the development of proposals for a replacement facility. While this process is continuing, it is not possible to identify a timeline at this stage, where there is no detailed or agreed design or estimate of costs for any possible replacement facility.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (284)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

284. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda vehicles attached to the Clare Garda division as of 31 December 2018 and 4 December 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51684/19]

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 and this is due to increase further to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020. The capital budget for An Garda Síochána has also been significantly increased - a total of €92 million was provided this year, representing a 50% increase on capital investment in 2018. And capital investment will increase further to €116.5 million in 2020.

A total of €10 million was made available specifically for the Garda fleet this year, as part of an overall investment of €46 million in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021 and Garda management confirmed that it intended to use this allocation to purchase over 300 vehicles for the fleet this year. I recently announced that a further €1 million funding for the fleet will be included in additional funding to be provided to the Garda Vote before the end of the year. In addition, €9 million will be provided for 2020.

It is important to be clear that under Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána. He is responsible for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources, in light of operational demands. This includes responsibility for allocation of Garda vehicles. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters. I am assured however that the allocation of Garda vehicles is made on the basis of identified operational demands and monitored and reviewed on a continual basis.

The Deputy will appreciate that the size of the Garda fleet can fluctuate somewhat, as vehicles are added to and removed from the fleet. Garda management confirmed to me that the €10 million provided at the outset of this year would be used for the purchase and fit-out of over 300 vehicles, of which 289 vehicles have been allocated to date. I understand that orders have been placed for a further 59 vehicles which will be allocated before the end of this year or in Quarter 1 2020. As a result, the Garda authorities consider that it is likely that the overall Garda fleet will be slightly larger at the end of the year compared to the total number of vehicles at the beginning of the year.

I am informed that the fleet in the Clare Division on 31 December 2018 was comprised of 56 vehicles; and that on 21 November 2019 it was 49.

A breakdown of these vehicles allocated to the Clare Division as conveyed to me by the Garda authorities, is set out in the following tables.

Clare Division Fleet as of 31 December 2018

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4X4

Other

39

13

2

1

1

Clare Division Fleet as of 21 November 2019

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4X4

Other

33

13

2

1

0

Finally, the Deputy may be interested to know that the Garda authorities are developing a Fleet Strategy, which I expect to set out detail on matters including, for example, the optimum size and composition of the fleet. I expect that the new Governance function in my Department will engage with An Garda Síochána, in that regard, as the process continues.

Judicial Council Legislation

Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 244.

Questions (285)

Martin Heydon

Question:

285. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when section 5 of the Judicial Council Act 2019 will be enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51689/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Judicial Council Bill was enacted on 23 July 2019. This is a major landmark piece of reforming legislation which provides for the establishment, for the first time, of a Judicial Council comprising all members of the judiciary. The primary function of the Council will be to promote and maintain excellence in the exercise by judges of their judicial functions and high standards of conduct among judges. The Board of the Council will be responsible for carrying out the functions of the Council on a day-to-day basis.

In preparation for the Judicial Council’s establishment, in September, I already commenced a number of the Act's provisions under Statutory Instrument No. 457/19. These provisions concern the appointment of the interim Secretary to the Council, and the process of identifying and recommending to the Government, persons who are suitable for appointment to be lay members of the Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee, the Judicial Conduct Committee, and panels of inquiry. The commencement of these provisions will enable the Council to commence its work on establishment day and the Committees of the Council to undertake their functions within the time frames specified in the Act.

Regarding the Deputy’s query about the Council’s establishment day under Section 5 of the Judicial Council Act, I envisage that the Judicial Council will be established by the end of this month. A great deal of work is underway to facilitate establishment within that time frame. This is an ambitious timetable for such a significant new structure and demonstrates the government’s commitment to establishing the Council as soon as possible.

Question No. 286 answered with Question No. 244.