Citizenship Applications

Questions (635)

Marian Harkin

Question:

635. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Justice the number of essential healthcare workers awaiting a decision on an application for naturalisation and citizenship; the waiting time for completion of these applications; the number of citizenship applications granted in each of the years 2018 to 2020; the timeframe from submission of an application to the granting of citizenship; the plans in place to deal with the backlog of current applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6969/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I recognise the crucial role healthcare workers are continuing to play in responding to the threat of Covid-19. They work in a challenging environment and deal with vulnerable people on a daily basis. Their exceptional commitment has been particularly clear throughout the pandemic, during which they have played a vital part in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

All applications for a certificate of naturalisation are processed and assessed individually in accordance with legislation. There are no provisions to apply different criteria depending on the category of employment of the applicant and statistics are not maintained by the Immigration Service of my Department to enable me to provide details of the profession of applicants. All applicants are required to meet minimum periods of reckonable residence and standard checks are carried out as part of the overall process to maintain its integrity.

Table 1 as follows sets out the number of certificates of naturalisation granted in each of the years 2018 to 2020. Table 2 sets out the average time taken to process applications submitted in each of the same three years.

Table 1: The number of citizenship applications granted in each of the years 2018 to 2020

Year

Number of Certificates Issued

2018

8,221

2019

5,791

2020

5,482

Table 2: Timeframe from submission of an application to the granting of citizenship

Year

Average Processing Time (Months)

2018

10.40

2019

11.6

2020

13.5

I am conscious that a significant backlog has built up regarding the granting of citizenships due to the inability to hold in person ceremonies during COVID-19. Unfortunately, the pandemic has prevented the holding of such ceremonies, which are usually attended by hundreds of people and which have become a welcome addition to our public and civic life.

I was pleased to announce last month that a temporary system is now in place that will enable citizenship applicants to complete their naturalisation process by signing a statutory declaration of loyalty. This signed statutory declaration replaces the requirement for citizenship applicants to attend citizenship ceremonies, which have been temporarily suspended during COVID-19.

Under the temporary new system, up to 4,000 qualifying applicants will be asked to complete a statutory declaration that will be sent to them by email from the Citizenship Division of the Immigration Service of my Department and bring it to one of the listed designated officials. The designated official must witness the applicant sign the statutory declaration. The applicant must then send the signed statutory declaration, the appropriate fee and any other requested documentation to Citizenship Division. Final processing will then take place and a certificate of naturalisation, will be sent to the applicant.

The new system is in place from 18 January 2021, and my Department will communicate with applicants regarding the requirements, on a phased basis over the next few months until in-person citizenship ceremonies are able to recommence.

It is expected that the 4,000 applicants currently waiting on naturalisation will have been provided with an opportunity to gain citizenship by the end of March and I am pleased to say that more than 500 certificates have already issued this week. A significant number of healthcare and other front-line workers who have made extraordinary contributions during the pandemic will also benefit from these new arrangements over the coming weeks and months.

It remains my intention that large scale ceremonies will recommence once circumstances allow. Since their establishment in 2011, citizenship ceremonies have been joyous occasions which mark the granting of Irish citizenships in a dignified manner and they have become a welcome addition to our public and civic life. In-person ceremonies have been provisionally scheduled to resume in December 2021, subject to the safety of all involved being assured.

Garda Data

Questions (636)

Richard O'Donoghue

Question:

636. Deputy Richard O'Donoghue asked the Minister for Justice the number of bench warrants outstanding by county as of 31 December 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6981/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is, by law, responsible for the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including the allocation of Garda resources in respect of identified operational demands. As Minister, I have no direct role in these decisions.

As the Deputy will appreciate, difficulties in relation to the execution of warrants, including bench warrants, are a long-standing issue for many police services around the world; notably relating to persons actively seeking to evade detection and where limited identification information might be available to support enforcement. I am assured, however, that An Garda Síochána execute warrants as expeditiously as possible, giving priority to the execution of warrants relating to serious crimes.

The following table, furnished to me by the Garda authorities, shows the number of outstanding bench warrants as of 31 December 2020 for each Garda Division.

Division

Outstanding Warrants

D.M.R. Eastern

762

D.M.R. North Central

5811

D.M.R. Northern

4490

D.M.R. South Central

1848

D.M.R. Southern

3115

D.M.R. Western

5317

Kildare Division

868

Kilkenny/Carlow

668

Laois/Offaly

233

Meath Division

448

Waterford Division

394

Westmeath Division

281

Wexford Division

419

Wicklow Division

467

Cavan/Monaghan

892

Donegal

789

Galway Division

833

Louth Division

620

Mayo

230

Roscommon/Longford Division

170

Sligo/Leitrim

282

Clare

178

Cork City

1015

Cork North

325

Cork West

169

Kerry

462

Limerick

989

Tipperary

489

I am informed that these figures were collated based on PULSE data as of 4 February 2021. As they constitute real time operational data, they are liable to change.

Road Traffic Offences

Questions (637)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

637. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice further to Parliamentary Question No. 526 of 8 December 2020, if she received the additional information requested from the Garda Commissioner; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7026/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Parliamentary Question No. 526 of 8 December 2020 refers to the number of learner drivers detected driving while unaccompanied under the Clancy Amendment law since 22 December 2018; the number that had their vehicles seized for driving unaccompanied; and the number that were issued with a fixed charge notice for driving unaccompanied.

As you may recall, the information you requested could not be obtained in the time available and I undertook to contact you again when the information was to hand. The requested information has now been provided by An Garda Síochána.

As you will be aware, the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, known as the Clancy Amendment, seeks to penalise car owners who knowingly allow their vehicles to be used by an unaccompanied learner driver. The law allows the owners of these vehicles to be fined and gives Gardaí the power to seize their cars if being driven by unaccompanied drivers.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that since the legislation was introduced on 22 December 2018, there have been 6,294 incidents in which drivers have had their vehicles seized under the Clancy Amendment for driving unaccompanied.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table show the number of Fixed Charge Notices issued in relation to Learner Driver Offences for the years 2016 up to and including 2020.

Offence Description

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Non Display of L plate (Learner Driver)

3899

3904

3416

3845

4148

Learner Driver Unaccompanied by a Qualified Driver

5812

6222

5187

6145

6709

Non Display of L tabard on motorcycle

73

98

97

110

174

Figures are based on incidents which occurred from 2016-2020 inclusive. All information contained in this report is based upon operational data from the PULSE and FCPS systems as was available on 28 January 2021 and is provisional, operational and subject to change.

Road Traffic Offences

Questions (638)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

638. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the number of unaccompanied learner drivers detected per Garda division and station in 2019 and up to 31 October 2020; the number of learners issued with a fixed charge notice for driving unaccompanied per division and station; the number of vehicles seized from learners each year for driving unaccompanied per Garda division and station; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7027/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, known as the Clancy Amendment, seeks to penalise car owners who knowingly allow their vehicles to be used by an unaccompanied learner driver. The law allows the owners of these vehicles to be fined and gives Gardaí the power to seize their cars if being driven by unaccompanied drivers.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that 12,443 Fixed Charge Notices have been issued to learner drivers who were unaccompanied by a qualified driver between 22 December 2018 and 13 December 2020 inclusive.

I am further informed that there was 5,734 incidents in which drivers have had their vehicles seized under the Clancy Amendment for driving unaccompanied by a qualified driver between 22 December 2018 and 13 December 2020 inclusive.

All information contained in this report is based upon operational data from the PULSE and FCPS systems as was available on 14 December 2020 and is liable to change.

I have requested further information from the Garda Commissioner in relation to localised data as requested by the Deputy and will write to the Deputy directly with the information requested, when it is available.

Road Traffic Offences

Questions (639)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

639. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 145 of 18 November 2020 and 500 of 8 December 2020, the number of learner drivers in 2019 and up to 31 October 2020 that did not pay the FCN issued for driving unaccompanied by a qualified driver under the Clancy amendment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7028/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, also known as the Clancy Amendment, seeks to penalise car owners who knowingly allow their vehicles to be used by an unaccompanied learner driver. The law allows the owners of these vehicles to be fined and gives Gardaí the power to seize their cars if being driven by unaccompanied drivers.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that 11,733 Fixed Charge Notices issued in relation to the offence of Learner Drivers unaccompanied by a qualified driver for the period from January 2019 - October 2020.

I am further advised that:

- 7,608 of these were either paid or are within the payment process.

- 432 were either terminated or became statute barred.

- 3,693 have either gone to summons or have been sent to court.

I am informed that these figures are based on incidents which occurred from 01/01/2019 to 31/10/2020 inclusive and were collated based on data from PULSE and FCPS data as of 8 February 2021. As they constitute real time operational data, they are liable to change.

Road Traffic Offences

Questions (640)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

640. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the number of disqualified learner drivers who failed to surrender their learner permit in 2018 and 2019 and were summoned to court for the offence; the number convicted each year for this offence; the penalties imposed each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7029/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have requested information from the Courts Service and am making further enquiries in relation to this matter. I will write to the Deputy directly with the information requested when it is available.

Road Traffic Offences

Questions (641)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

641. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the number of full licence holders who were disqualified but failed to surrender their driver licence in 2018 and 2019 and were summoned to court for the offence of failing to surrender; the number convicted each year for this offence; the penalties imposed each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7030/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have requested information from the Courts Service and I am making further enquiries in relation to this matter. I will write to the Deputy directly with the information requested, when it is available.

Road Traffic Offences

Questions (642)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

642. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice further to Parliamentary Question No. 501 of 8 December 2020, the number of drivers summoned to court for driving without a licence, per district court in 2018, 2019 and up to 31 July 2020; the number convicted per district court in each year; and the fines imposed per district court in each year. [7031/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by An Garda Síochána that section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended by section 12 of the Road Traffic Act 2006, creates the offence of ‘Driving without a Driving Licence’. The penalty for this offence is, upon summary conviction, a fine not exceeding €1,000, and in any other case, a fine not exceeding €2,000.

I am further informed that section 38 (5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended by Section 12 of the Road Traffic Act 2006, provides an increased penalty in respect of a person who is summarily convicted of the offence of Driving without a Driving Licence and was, at the time he or she committed the offence, disqualified for holding a driving licence, namely a fine not exceeding €5,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

The following table, provided by the Courts Service, shows the number of drivers summoned to court for driving without a licence, per district court, for 2018 and 2019. 2020 figures are for the period from January – July 2020.

Please note that the Courts can only provide data in relation to where offence codes provided on the system were used by prosecutors. Prosecutors may have used uncoded free text offences and any such offences would not be included in the data provided.

Jan – Dec 2018

Court Area

No. of Persons before the court

No. of Persons convicted

No. of Persons where fines were imposed

ACAILL

1

ARKLOW

88

15

15

ATHLONE

141

35

22

BALLINASLOE

94

17

17

BANTRY

37

13

9

BRAY

279

39

37

CAVAN

229

11

8

DUBLIN METROPOLITAN DISTRICT

5,383

1,079

1,033

ENNIS

369

103

103

FERMOY

152

19

12

KENMARE

21

9

9

KILKENNY

235

89

84

KILLARNEY

104

38

34

LIMERICK

961

275

273

MACROOM

103

36

28

MANORHAMILTON

13

6

4

MEATH

652

81

75

MONAGHAN

91

4

4

NEWCASTLE WEST

203

54

54

ROSCOMMON

82

16

14

WEXFORD

280

66

52

YOUGHAL

43

11

8

ARDEE

56

3

3

ATHY

80

25

22

BALLINA

61

15

15

BANDON

95

34

23

BEAL AN MHUIRTHEAD

8

1

1

BALLAGHADERREEN

21

4

2

BALLYSHANNON

33

3

2

BUNCRANA

62

4

2

CAHIRCIVEEN

15

2

2

CARLOW

218

55

52

CASHEL

133

20

17

CASTLEBAR

114

21

20

CLIFDEN

16

4

4

CLONMEL

99

24

15

CLONAKILTY

51

16

13

CORK CITY

943

337

273

CARRICK ON SHANNON

73

9

8

CARRICKMACROSS

115

4

4

CARNDONAGH

26

4

3

CARRICK ON SUIR

39

13

9

CASTLEREA

23

7

7

AN DAINGEAN

5

4

4

DUNGARVAN

83

12

11

DONEGAL

21

6

2

DROGHEDA

223

15

13

DOIRE AN FHEICH

24

7

4

DUNDALK

220

16

14

AN CLOCHAN LIATH

23

3

2

AN FAL CARRACH

18

1

GALWAY

410

114

71

NA GLEANNTA

12

6

2

GORT

57

13

12

GOREY

227

42

32

KILLALOE

39

10

9

KILCOCK

112

30

28

KILLORGLIN

7

1

1

KILRUSH

58

17

17

LETTERKENNY

215

50

23

LISMORE

17

4

4

LISTOWEL

84

30

27

LONGFORD

207

47

39

LOUGHREA

85

21

19

MALLOW

243

36

23

MIDLETON

182

27

11

MULLINGAR

219

43

33

NAAS

536

83

80

NENAGH

158

11

11

PORTLAOISE

535

91

88

SKIBBEREEN

19

4

3

SLIGO

128

14

11

STROKESTOWN

21

5

3

THURLES

137

21

19

TIPPERARY

76

10

9

TRALEE

191

54

41

TUAM

112

30

26

TUBBERCURRY

48

6

5

TULLAMORE

307

68

65

VIRGINIA

167

14

14

WICKLOW

141

23

23

WESTPORT

13

5

5

WATERFORD CITY

390

18

16

Total

17,612

3,633

3,212

Jan – Dec 2019

Court Area

No. of Persons before the court

No. of Persons convicted

No. of Persons where fines were imposed

ACAILL

4

4

4

ARKLOW

87

15

15

ATHLONE

130

29

25

BALLINASLOE

104

23

13

BANTRY

43

6

3

BRAY

264

44

43

CAVAN

200

4

4

DUBLIN METROPOLITAN DISTRICT

5,819

1,138

1,068

ENNIS

296

39

37

FERMOY

156

28

18

KENMARE

9

3

3

KILKENNY

263

68

55

KILLARNEY

77

29

16

LIMERICK

940

284

280

MACROOM

94

15

5

MANORHAMILTON

15

1

1

MEATH

580

98

94

MONAGHAN

104

7

4

NEWCASTLE WEST

226

62

61

ROSCOMMON

75

15

11

TRIM

1

WEXFORD

328

46

43

YOUGHAL

42

15

6

ARDEE

84

8

7

ATHY

88

17

13

BALLINA

54

11

11

BANDON

81

28

13

BEAL AN MHUIRTHEAD

9

2

2

BALLAGHADERREEN

27

8

5

BALLINAMORE

1

BALLYSHANNON

44

4

4

BUNCRANA

34

2

1

CAHIRCIVEEN

14

4

3

CARLOW

189

57

49

CASHEL

179

36

27

CASTLEBAR

166

41

40

CLIFDEN

13

2

1

CLONMEL

103

25

16

CLONAKILTY

48

14

5

CORK CITY

1,038

401

327

CARRICK ON SHANNON

96

11

10

CARRICKMACROSS

129

4

4

CARNDONAGH

34

1

CARRICK ON SUIR

35

8

6

CASTLEREA

32

10

10

AN DAINGEAN

20

4

4

DUNGARVAN

81

9

4

DONEGAL

19

1

1

DROGHEDA

295

27

25

DOIRE AN FHEICH

24

9

7

DUNDALK

300

29

27

AN CLOCHAN LIATH

24

2

1

EDENDERRY

1

AN FAL CARRACH

8

3

GALWAY

288

77

53

NA GLEANNTA

6

1

GORT

74

28

28

GOREY

286

29

27

KILLALOE

33

7

7

KILCOCK

96

14

12

KILLORGLIN

8

3

3

KILRUSH

36

5

4

LETTERKENNY

185

24

9

LISMORE

22

4

LISTOWEL

57

11

9

LONGFORD

261

57

51

LOUGHREA

111

27

25

MALLOW

233

45

14

MIDLETON

212

38

16

MULLINGAR

217

39

28

NAAS

785

124

112

NENAGH

146

15

15

PORTLAOISE

510

85

82

SKIBBEREEN

12

4

2

SLIGO

139

11

11

STROKESTOWN

24

4

3

THURLES

139

13

12

TIPPERARY

88

8

8

TRALEE

218

65

52

TUAM

99

23

13

TUBBERCURRY

39

3

3

TULLAMORE

328

53

49

VIRGINIA

143

5

5

WICKLOW

148

16

16

WESTPORT

17

5

5

WATERFORD CITY

477

26

23

Total

18,564

3,620

3,129

Jan – 31 July 2020

Court Area

No. of Persons before the court

No. of Persons convicted

No. of Persons where fines were imposed

ACAILL

1

ARKLOW

49

8

8

ATHLONE

76

8

8

BALLINASLOE

49

20

17

BANTRY

16

BRAY

119

12

12

CAVAN

77

3

1

DUBLIN METROPOLITAN DISTRICT

1,919

233

211

ENNIS

165

32

32

FERMOY

53

1

1

KENMARE

3

KILKENNY

123

26

25

KILLARNEY

32

10

5

LIMERICK

489

116

116

MACROOM

33

3

2

MANORHAMILTON

4

MEATH

253

35

34

MONAGHAN

28

NEWCASTLE WEST

93

26

26

ROSCOMMON

47

14

14

WEXFORD

171

15

10

YOUGHAL

14

3

1

ARDEE

26

1

1

ATHY

38

2

2

BALLINA

29

2

2

BANDON

28

4

1

BEAL AN MHUIRTHEAD

1

BALLAGHADERREEN

9

1

1

BALLYSHANNON

13

BUNCRANA

21

1

CAHIRCIVEEN

9

1

CARLOW

128

26

25

CASHEL

103

15

15

CASTLEBAR

76

23

23

CLIFDEN

11

3

3

CLONMEL

60

12

4

CLONAKILTY

20

2

1

CORK CITY

518

179

146

CARRICK ON SHANNON

20

1

1

CARRICKMACROSS

75

CARNDONAGH

20

2

2

CARRICK ON SUIR

22

5

4

CASTLEREA

16

4

3

AN DAINGEAN

6

2

2

DUNGARVAN

35

1

1

DONEGAL

10

DROGHEDA

93

5

5

DOIRE AN FHEICH

21

8

6

DUNDALK

93

7

6

AN CLOCHAN LIATH

7

2

2

AN FAL CARRACH

4

19

GALWAY

132

30

NA GLEANNTA

6

1

GORT

46

9

9

GOREY

122

12

11

KILLALOE

8

2

2

KILLORGLIN

3

KILRUSH

10

4

4

LETTERKENNY

121

14

5

LISMORE

5

LISTOWEL

36

6

4

LONGFORD

137

34

28

LOUGHREA

61

21

16

MALLOW

79

7

7

MIDLETON

80

7

3

MULLINGAR

89

14

11

NAAS

372

29

22

NENAGH

76

4

4

PORTLAOISE

225

30

29

SKIBBEREEN

9

4

SLIGO

69

3

3

STROKESTOWN

5

3

3

THURLES

55

3

3

TIPPERARY

37

1

1

TRALEE

113

29

15

TUAM

48

18

14

TUBBERCURRY

26

TULLAMORE

135

11

10

VIRGINIA

34

3

3

WICKLOW

85

8

8

WATERFORD CITY

201

6

5

Total

7,751

1,187

1,018

Road Traffic Offences

Questions (643)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

643. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the number of drivers who were summarily convicted of the offence of driving without a driving licence in 2018, 2019 and up to 31 July 2020 who were, at the time they committed the offence, disqualified; and the penalties imposed on those drivers under section 38(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended by section 12 of the Road Traffic Act 2006. [7032/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that road traffic legislation falls within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Transport.

I am informed by An Garda Síochána that section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended by section 12 of the Road Traffic Act 2006, creates the offence of ‘Driving without a Driving Licence’. The penalty for this offence is, upon summary conviction, a fine not exceeding €1,000, and in any other case, a fine not exceeding €2,000.

I am further informed that section 38 (5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended by Section 12 of the Road Traffic Act 2006, provides an increased penalty in respect of a person who is summarily convicted of the offence of Driving without a Driving Licence and was, at the time he or she committed the offence, disqualified for holding a driving licence, namely a fine not exceeding €5,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

The following table, provided by An Garda Síochána, shows the number of proceedings taken in relation to driving without a driving licence 2018-2020. 2020 figures are for the period from January – July 2020.

Year

2018

2019

2020 (Jan – July)

Driving without a Driving licence

22,527

20,557

10,515

* All figures provided are provisional, operational and subject to change.

Please note that we have been advised by An Garda Síochána that these statistics are not compiled in such a way as to identify specific number of arrests for driving while disqualified under section 6(b) and (c) of the Road Traffic Act, as this would necessitate an extensive manual trawl of all relevant incidents recorded on PULSE to collate same, which would require a disproportionate expenditure of Garda time and resources.

Further to the statistics provided by An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service have provided the below tables. Please note that the Court Service have advised that they can only provide data in relation to where offence codes provided on the system were used by prosecutors. Prosecutors may have used uncoded free text offences and any such offences would not be included in the data provided.

Number of drivers before the courts by way of summons or charge sheet for driving without a licence for 2018, 2019 and Jan – July 2020:

Year

No of Persons before the Courts

Jan – Dec 2018

16,851

Jan – Dec 2019

17,726

Jan – July 2020

7,531

Report on the number of orders & number of persons per order for the years 2018; 2019 & Jan – July 2020

Jan – Dec 2018

Jan-Dec 2018

Jan – Dec 2019

Jan-Dec 2019

Jan – 31 July 2020

Jan-31 July 2020

Court Orders

No of Orders

No of Persons

No of Orders

No of Persons

No of Orders

No of Persons

Community Service Order

66

64

76

68

21

19

Dismiss

184

176

253

242

122

120

Dismiss Probation Act

44

44

53

52

9

9

Disqualification

480

411

535

445

216

176

Fine

3,440

3,166

3,428

3,100

1,094

1,016

Imprisonment

234

171

312

244

123

86

Imprisonment - Part Suspended

1

1

1

1

1

1

Imprisonment - Suspended

180

177

194

187

63

56

No Order

89

83

115

95

41

39

Other

3

3

12

6

2

2

Peace Bond

3

3

2

2

3

3

Poor Box

6

6

11

11

3

3

Probation Order

52

34

45

37

8

8

Sent forward for Trial

3

3

1

1

Strike Out

6,813

6,386

6,449

6,041

2,122

2,032

Strike Out - Not Served

4,680

3,865

4,986

4,184

2,728

2,485

Taken Into Consideration

3,623

2,826

3,903

2,990

1,451

1,144

Withdrawn

1,621

1,545

2,365

2,265

924

897

Total

21,519

18,961

22,743

19,973

8,932

8,097

Please note that a person may have received more than one order and will appear on the above report twice and an offence may have more than one penalty imposed and as such will also appear twice on the report.

Section 38(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961 only provides for summary conviction of the offences mentioned by the Deputy.

Garda Resources

Questions (644)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

644. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the number and location of Garda forensic collision investigators; when the last competition for new forensic collision investigators was held; the number trained; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7033/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

I have requested information from the Garda Commissioner in relation to this matter and will write to the Deputy directly with the information requested, when it is available.

Road Traffic Accidents

Questions (645)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

645. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice if the operational guidelines for forensic traffic investigators have been updated since 2007; if a review and urgent update of these guidelines will be carried out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7034/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible, by law, for the management and administration of An Garda Síochána including all operational matters. I, as Minister, have no direct role in these matters.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda Forensic Collision Investigators provide expert analysis of collision scenes to determine the root cause of collisions.

I am further informed that the An Garda Síochána Roads Policing Manual, which issued in 2014, provided updated guidelines in respect of Forensic Collision Investigations. An update of the 2014 Manual is currently under way.

I am assured that An Garda Síochána continually review the operational effectiveness of units and processes and this is similarly the case with Forensic Collision Investigators where technology and practices are evolving.

Road Traffic Accidents

Questions (646)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

646. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the number of fatal road traffic collisions each year from 2016 to 2020; the number of drivers involved per year; the number of drivers in which the status of their driver licence or learner permit is unknown; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7035/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that road safety remains a high priority for An Garda Síochána and for my Department, working closely in cooperation with the Department of Transport. Any fatality or serious injury is of great concern.

An Garda Síochána is responsible for collating information regarding road traffic collisions and I am advised by An Garda Síochána of the following information as requested by the Deputy.

The following table contains the following information for each year from 2016 to 2020:

- The number of fatal collisions for each year.

- The total number of drivers involved in these fatal collisions.

- The number of these drivers whose licence status is either unknown or currently under investigation.

Fatal Collisions

All Drivers Involved

Unknown Licence Status/Under Investigation

2016

173

233

4

2017

140

181

6

2018

131

168

3

2019

129

172

8

2020

137

170

8

I have been further advised by the Garda authorities that the above information is based upon operational data from PULSE and the Fixed Charge Penalty System as was available on 5 February 2021 and is liable to change.

Figures are based on incidents which occurred from 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2020 inclusive.

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner has established the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau (GNRPB) to ensure a consistent approach to road safety and enforcement of road traffic legislation across the country. This is achieved through coordination of enforcement and development of policy based on research and analysis of statistics and by engaging in campaigns in partnership with other State Agencies.

Legislative Reviews

Question No. 648 answered with Question No. 633.

Questions (647)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

647. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice the progress made on the implementation of the 25 recommendations accepted in relation to the report of the review group on structures and strategies to prevent, investigate and penalise economic crime and corruption; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7067/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, commits to tackling white collar crime and corruption and to the implementation of new anti-corruption and anti-fraud measures informed by the Hamilton Review.

I am strongly committed to tackling all forms of corruption and white-collar crime and the Deputy will be aware that I recently announced my intention to lead a new cross-government plan to tackle these issues, following the publication of the Hamilton Review of Structures and Strategies to Prevent, Investigate and Penalise Economic Crime and Corruption.

I would like to thank the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr James Hamilton, and the members of his Review Group for their meticulous work in preparing their detailed report, which I am determined to act upon.

The report of the Review Group contains recommendations that focus primarily on legislative, structural and resourcing measures to enhance agency and multi-agency enforcement and prevention capacity in the criminal justice sphere.

Officials in my department are currently drafting an implementation plan for the report’s recommendations, in consultation with relevant bodies, to identify priorities and set timelines for the introduction of a series of reforms to strengthen the State’s capacity to prevent and prosecute white-collar crime. I expect to bring an implementation plan to Cabinet shortly for approval prior to publication.

Question No. 648 answered with Question No. 633.

Gangland Crime

Questions (649, 652)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

649. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the degree to which the strength of criminal gangs continues to be monitored; if a noticeable change as to the degree of their activity has been seen; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7139/21]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

652. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which her Department continues to monitor the extent to which membership of criminal gangs remains a threat throughout the country; the action being taken to address the issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7142/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 649 and 652 together.

The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner is responsible, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, for generally carrying on, managing and administering Garda business. This includes all operational aspects of Garda business, including the monitoring of, and actions taken against, organised crime groups (OCGs) within the State.

I am kept appraised of any matters relating to OCG activity that the Commissioner deems appropriate under the provisions of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. This level of funding is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff. As a result, Garda numbers are approximately 14,600 Garda members and over 3,000 Garda staff nationwide. Budget 2021 will allow for the recruitment of up to 620 new Gardaí and an extra 500 Garda staff, subject to the Public Health restrictions governing the operation of the Garda College, Templemore.

I am assured that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of policing priorities and crime trends, to ensure their optimum use. The Commissioner has advised that specialist units are still engaged in the vital work of targeting organised criminal activity, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges it has presented the Gardaí.

I have been advised by the Garda authorities that, from 2015 to February 2021, GNDOC has seized €209m in illicit drugs (€36.7m in 2020), 133 firearms, 5516 rounds of ammunition and €21.7m in cash (€8m in 2020).

Garda Strength

Questions (650)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

650. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the current strength of An Garda Síochána; the degree to which the strength of the force has increased in recent times; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7140/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. The significant level of funding provided over recent years is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff. As a result, there are now approximately 14,600 Garda members and over 3,000 Garda staff nationwide. This represents an increase of over 13% since 2015.

Budget 2021 will allow for the recruitment of up to 620 new Gardaí, subject to public health considerations regarding the operation of the Garda College. The Budget allocation also provides for an increase in supervisory ranks at Sergeant and Inspector level.

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. As Minister, I have no role in decisions on such 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.

A detailed breakdown of Garda numbers by Division, District and Station is available on my Department’s website, in the interests of transparency and for the convenience of Deputies and the wider public. This information is updated every month with the latest data provided by An Garda Síochána. The Information on Garda members requested may be accessed at the following link:

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

Garda Deployment

Question No. 652 answered with Question No. 649.

Questions (651)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

651. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the extent to which deployment of An Garda Síochána is in line with the level of criminal activity in various locations throughout country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7141/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. 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 allocation and transfer of Garda personnel is determined by a number of factors, including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, area, policing arrangements, operational strategies and transfers applications, including welfare issues. When allocations are taking place, comprehensive consultation is carried out with Local Management during which all factors are taken into consideration. Where a deficiency in resources is identified, the matter is considered fully and addressed accordingly.

An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. This level of funding is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff. As a result, Garda numbers are approximately 14,600 Garda members and over 3,000 Garda staff nationwide. Budget 2021 will allow for the recruitment of up to 620 new Gardaí and an extra 500 Garda staff, subject to the Public Health restrictions governing the operation of the Garda College, Templemore.

Question No. 652 answered with Question No. 649.

Crime Data

Questions (653)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

653. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice the number of criminal gang leaders and members brought before the courts in the past 12; the number of convictions; the number of cases in respect of which there were no convictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7143/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, prosecutions are a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who is independent in the performance of her functions.

In order to be of assistance, my officials contacted the Courts Service and An Garda Síochána with regard to the remainder of the Deputy's query.

The Courts Service have advised that their statistics are not compiled in such a way as to provide information with regard to the number of members of criminal gangs brought before the Courts in the last twelve months. An Garda Síochána has further advised that the placing of an individual within any specific grouping would be a security matter grounded in intelligence, which the Deputy will appreciate that An Garda Síochána do not comment on.