Deportation Orders

Questions (673)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

673. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice if consideration will be given to revoking a deportation order on a person and their family (details supplied). [7225/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

For reasons of maintaining full confidentiality, it is not my Department's practice to comment on whether an application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been made in the State. An applicant for such protection status, or their legal representative, should contact either the International Protection Office (IPO) or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) directly, as appropriate.

It is important to note that, while a decision on an application is pending at either the IPO or the IPAT, a deportation order will not be made.

The IPO may be contacted: by email to info@ipo.gov.ie; by telephone to the IPO Customer Service Centre at 01 6028008 or in writing to Customer Service Centre, International Protection Office, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2.

The IPAT may be contacted either: by email to info@protectionappeals.ie; by telephone at 01-4748400 (or Lo-Call 1890 201 458), or in writing to Corporate Services Division, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal, 6-7 Hanover Street East, Dublin D02 W320.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas mail facility (inisoireachtasmail@justice.ie) which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the parliamentary questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Citizenship Applications

Questions (674)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

674. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice the progress to date in the determination of an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied). [7227/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of processing and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. If any further documentation is required, it will be requested from the applicant in due course.

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

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. However, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility at INISOireachtasMail@justice.ie which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Question process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in the cases where the response is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Youth Diversion Projects

Questions (675, 676)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

675. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice the reason for the reduction in the number of Garda youth diversion projects in the Dublin metropolitan region, north central area, from five in 2015 down to three in 2020; the details of the locations of these programmes in 2015 and 2020; her plans to extend the Garda youth diversion project in the north inner city; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7232/21]

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Seán Sherlock

Question:

676. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice the number of full-time equivalent youth justice workers, family support and early intervention posts that are employed for each of the three Garda youth diversion projects in the Dublin metropolitan region, north central area; the average number of full-time equivalent posts in each of the Garda youth diversion projects nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7233/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 675 and 676 together.

I am informed that funding in Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), North Central Division for Garda Youth Diversion Projects and activities has increased from €566,236 in 2018 to an allocation of €1.2m in 2021. Alongside this increase in funding, the currently funded projects are being provided with increased staffing and support to increase their catchment areas to cover the majority of the DMR, North Central area. This is part of the overall objective of my Department to increase and develop the Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP) network to ensure access to all young people that need the service nationally.

The reduced number of projects in the DMR, North Central area since 2015 is due to the cessation of funding to the Dime and Nickol GYDPs.

The Deputy may be interested to know that there are currently 105 GYDPs nationwide. The intention is to further develop this service so that it is available to every child in the State who could benefit from it, through an ongoing expansion of existing services and the foundation of new projects where necessary.

I am informed that the average national number of full time equivalent posts in a GYDP is 2.8 posts, with an average of 6.7 posts in the DMR North Central Area. Currently there is funding available for 20 workers in the combined GYDPs within the DMR, North Central area. This includes a range of different posts including 14 General Youth Justice Workers, 2 Youth Justice Workers who specialise working with the Roma community, 2 Family Support Workers, 1 Early Intervention Worker and 1 Project Leader. A full breakdown of these numbers per project is set out in the Table below.

PROJECT

GARDA DISTRICT

Year Closed

Youth Justice Workers

Roma Workers

Family Support workers

Early intervention worker

Project leader

HAY

Fitzgibbon St

N/A

5

1

1

Most

Fitzgibbon St

N/A

5

2*

Swan

Store Street

N/A

4

1

1

Dime

Fitzgibbon St

2015

Nickol

Fitzgibbon St

2019

*serving Dublin 1 and 2

My Department is supporting the ongoing development of practice in Garda Youth Diversion Projects through the Action Research Project led by the University of Limerick. The Action Research Project works directly with front-line Youth Justice Workers from local projects to develop interventions and best practice. Based on initial outcomes from the Action Research Project, and evaluations of a number of pilot projects, it is intended to develop proposals to expand the existing services. This would ensure national coverage and a stronger focus on difficult issues such as the hard-to-reach cohort.

These issues are addressed in the draft Youth Justice Strategy 2020-2026, which I intend to finalise and bring to Government shortly.

Sentencing Policy

Questions (677, 678)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

677. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice her plans to bring forward legislation with regard to sentencing in criminal cases that involve serious or intimate violence to remove the possibility for being from a decent family to be considered a mitigating circumstance in sentencing. [7265/21]

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Catherine Connolly

Question:

678. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice her plans to bring forward legislation to remove the possibility for offenders in criminal cases involving serious or intimate violence to avoid or shorten prison sentences by paying compensation to the victim; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7266/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 677 and 678 together.

I know the Deputy will appreciate that judges are independent in the matter of sentencing, as in other matters concerning the exercise of judicial functions, subject only to the Constitution and the law. In accordance with this principle, the court is required to impose a sentence which is proportionate not only to the crime but to the individual offender, in that process identifying where on the sentencing range the particular case should lie and then applying any mitigating factors which may be present.

There are, of course, a small number of situations where statute has created exceptions to this approach and an important safeguard rests in the power of the Director of Public Prosecutions to apply to the Court of Criminal Appeal to review a sentence she regards as unduly lenient.

In relation to the issue raised on sentencing, and in particular sentencing in cases involving serious or intimate violence, the position is that the law sets out the maximum sentence that can be imposed for an offence and it is then a matter for the court to decide the appropriate sentence in each particular case, taking into account all the circumstances.

As the Deputy may be aware under the Judicial Council, a Sentencing Guidelines Committee was established on 30 June 2020. The Committee is responsible for compiling guidelines designed to increase consistency in relation to criminal sentences.

Brexit Issues

Questions (679)

Neale Richmond

Question:

679. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice if co-operation between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána has been affected by the end of the Brexit transition period; her views on whether the two police services can maintain the level of co-operation enjoyed pre-Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7291/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible, by law, for the management of An Garda Síochána, including matters relating to cooperation with law enforcement in other jurisdictions. As Minister, I do not have direct responsibility for such arrangements.

However I am informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána have not experienced any adverse effect to its border policing operations since the end of the Brexit transition period on the 31 December 2020.

I am advised that the four Divisions of Cavan-Monaghan, Donegal, Louth and Sligo-Leitrim continue to collaborate with the PSNI on a number of levels, including cross border local arrangements and sharing of information which allow for ongoing day to day cooperation between both Police Services.

I am assured by Garda authorities that the long established and close working relationship with the PSNI remains central in An Garda Síochána’s efforts to providing an effective policing service to the border area and its communities, and is exampled in many areas such as Roads Policing Operations, Major Investigations and State Security.

I am further informed that the Cross Border Joint Agency Task Force also continues to enjoy high levels of co-operation and operational activity between all the Law Enforcement Agencies in tackling organised and cross jurisdictional crime. This collaborative effort continues to effectively achieve the shared objectives of An Garda Síochána and the PSNI in keeping our communities safe.

Ministerial Meetings

Questions (680)

Neale Richmond

Question:

680. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice if she will report on her recent meeting with the Garda Commissioner; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7292/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Following a number of initial discussions on our shared concern about recent serious crime incidents, particularly in Dublin, I met with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to further discuss the issue last week.

The Commissioner confirmed that An Garda Síochána has a comprehensive policing plan in place in Dublin’s north inner city and we also discussed what more can be done to tackle knife crime.

We both agreed that strong community engagement, increased community safety and youth services are a key element in preventing and reducing crime. We also discussed outreach and information programmes, run in a number of different languages, for all communities, as well as youth justice and other interventions.

It was also agreed that further analysis is needed to provide greater insights into the level of violent incidents in society and the Commissioner and I will remain in ongoing contact on the issue.

Finally, I would like to once again extend my deepest sympathies to all those impacted by the shocking violent incidents which have taken place in Dublin in recent weeks.

Visa Applications

Questions (681)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

681. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Justice the reason for the delay in processing an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7297/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I understand that a request to withdraw the visa application referred to by the Deputy was received by the Immigration Service of my Department on 4 February 2021. A response was issued on 9 February 2021, which advised the correct procedure for withdrawing an application and that the applicant would be welcome to submit a future application at their discretion.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility (INISOireachtasMail@justice.ie), which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Crime Data

Questions (682)

Ruairí Ó Murchú

Question:

682. Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú asked the Minister for Justice the expected timeframe for the completion of the two pilot projects for children caught up in serious and prolific crime; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7315/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the newly designed community intervention programme, based on the research of the Greentown Project, will offer new hope and opportunities for children caught up in serious and prolific crime.

This new evidence-informed model will be trialed on a pilot basis in two communities over a period of three years, and each will be overseen by a local advisory committee involving state agencies and community representatives.

The locations of the pilots (one in Dublin and one in a provincial town) are not being disclosed to ensure that the work can continue in a discrete manner and without compromising safety or stigmatising individual communities.

I am informed that four core elements will be implemented to make up the Greentown Programme: Network Disruption; Improving Community Efficacy; Improved Pro-Social Opportunities; and Improved Family Functioning.

The programme will identify and target individuals involved in cultivating relationships with children for crime, and employ legitimate means to disturb this activity. There will be local activities designed to improve the ability of the local community to withstand network influence and take back control of public spaces.

Children who are involved in a criminal network will be encouraged and incentivised to re-engage with school, training or to secure and sustain employment.

There will also be a focus on intensive case-work with families to improve parenting capacity, and protecting the child and family from exploitative network relationships.

Importantly, the University of Limerick REPPP project will provide the scientific supports for the trial.

The pilots will get underway shortly and the lessons learned from the pilots, which will be evaluated after two years, will have a key influence on the development of my Department’s ongoing development of policies and interventions in the youth justice area.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (683)

Neale Richmond

Question:

683. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice the number of Covid-19 regulation breaches reported by An Garda Síochána since their introduction; the breakdown by category and month; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7374/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, confirmed Covid-19 incident figures (powers used/breaches of regulations) are crime incidents in which files are prepared for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in order to charge or summons.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that due to the substantial checking and reviews undertaken on these incidents prior to publication, there is a slight reporting time lag. Updates are published on the Garda website when available, and I am informed that currently this is approximately every four weeks.

I am advised that the most recent figures available cover incidents which occurred between 8 April 2020 and 9 January 2021. Totals by category are included in the table below:

Category of Covid-19 Incidents

Total

Initial Lockdown Period – 8 April 2020 to 28 June 2020 Breaches of Health Act 1947 (Operation Fanacht etc…)

361

Period from 29 June 2020 up to 9 January, 2021 Breaches of Health Act 1947 [*]

126

Licensed Premises (Operation Navigation – commenced 3 July 2020)

398

Retail Premises (Operation Treoraím – commenced 25 October 2020)

108

Face Covering Regulations (File to DPP)

12

International Travel Regulations

10

[*] Excludes Licensed Premises, Retail Premises, Face Coverings and International Travel Regulations .

The following table provides a breakdown of the total number of incidents by month:

Covid-19 Incidents

2020

2021

Apr*

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan*

Total

193

144

26

95

112

59

118

140

98

30

*Figures for incomplete months (from 8 April 2020 to 9 January 2021).

COVID-19 related fixed penalty notices (fines) are currently in operation for a number of distinct offences. I am informed that these are recorded on the Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS), which only records that information essential to process and post the fine.

It should be noted that different categories of fines came into effect on different dates.

COVID-19 Related Fines

2020

2021

Total

Nov* - Dec

Jan

Events - Dwellings and Non-Dwellings

-

136

136

Face Coverings

14

65

79

Movement of Persons

-

2,803

2,803

Total

14

3,004

3,018

*Figures are based on the date the fine was incurred and different categories have been in effect in different time periods. The earliest fines came into effect on 22 November 2020.

I am informed that confirmed COVID-19 incident figures (powers used/breaches of regulations) are based on PULSE data as of 11 January 2021 – these are operational statistics and are the most recent verified figures available.

In addition, fines information is based on FCPS data on 5 February 2021 and is provisional, operational and liable to change. Fines figures reported include only those where the fixed payment notice has been printed and sent; this is to ensure that the fine has completed the processing stages.

Fines Data

Questions (684, 685, 686)

Noel Grealish

Question:

684. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice the number of persons who failed to pay fines imposed by the courts since the commencement of the Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014; the number that had an attachment order, a recovery order or community service order made against them as a result; the number of persons imprisoned for failure to pay such fines by year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7394/21]

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Noel Grealish

Question:

685. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice the value and number of unpaid fines in each of the years 2013 to 2020; the value and number of fines imposed by the courts in each of the years; the steps being taken to recover unpaid fines; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7395/21]

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Noel Grealish

Question:

686. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice the offence categories in respect of which fines were imposed by the courts in each of the years 2016 to 2020; the offence categories in respect of which fines were imposed but were not paid in the same period by the number and value in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7396/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 684 to 686, inclusive, together.

I have requested the figures sought by the Deputy from the Courts Service and I will write to the Deputy once the information has been submitted, collated and verified.

Bench Warrants

Question No. 688 answered with Question No. 629.

Questions (687)

Noel Grealish

Question:

687. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice the number of bench warrants issued in 2019 and 2020; the number outstanding in this regard; the effect the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the execution of warrants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7397/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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

In addition to supporting the pubic health regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, Gardaí have continued to execute warrants as expeditiously as possible, giving priority to the execution of warrants relating to serious crimes. 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. The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health restrictions have of course added to these longstanding difficulties, but An Garda Síochána are continuing to make every effort to serve as many warrants as possible.

The table below, furnished to me by the Garda authorities, shows the number of bench warrants issued and the number outstanding for the years in question.

Issue Year

Bench Warrants Issued

Nr. Outstanding

2019

38834

5999

2020

15682

4346

I am informed that these figures were based on collated data from the PULSE system as of 8 February 2021.

Question No. 688 answered with Question No. 629.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (689, 885)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

689. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health the role of pharmacists in the Covid-19 vaccination programme; when contact will be made with the profession; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7820/21]

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Neale Richmond

Question:

885. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Health the role pharmacists will have in the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out; the phase of the roll-out at which their skills will be required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7107/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 689 and 885 together.

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (690, 697)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

690. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health when he will meet his commitment to publish daily reports on Covid vaccine numbers delivered to Ireland and the vaccine numbers administered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7823/21]

View answer

James Lawless

Question:

697. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Health if he will provide real-time statistics on the daily numbers receiving the vaccines; if he will make this information available on the Covid tracker app; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6345/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 690 and 697 together.

Daily vaccine numbers are now being uploaded to the Covid-19 public dashboard since 8 February 2021 (https://covid-19.geohive.ie/pages/vaccinations). This includes a breakdown by dose, cohort and vaccine type. Daily vaccination figures are sourced from the HSE’s vaccine information system.

Daily figures will be available on the Covid App shortly.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (691)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

691. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when the Covid-19 vaccine will be made available to Dublin Fire Brigade paramedics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7827/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.