Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Questions (695)

Thomas Pringle


695. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice the number of applications for inward transfer under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts that were refused in 2019 and 2020; the reason for the refusals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11918/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that three inward applications were refused in 2019. One was refused by the Sentencing state and the remaining two were refused as the sentences imposed by the Sentencing states are not compatible with Irish Law and would require a change in the current legislation to execute the transfer.

The 2020 figures as requested by the Deputy will be made available on the publication of the 2020 Transfer of Sentenced Persons Annual Report which is due to be laid before the Oireachtas before the end of April 2021.

As the Deputy may be aware, on foot of a number of relevant Supreme Court judgements, it is necessary to amend legislation which facilitates the transfer of prisoners from abroad to serve their sentences here in the State.

The Government approved the General Scheme of the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (Amendment) Bill in 2019 in order to amend the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts 1995 and 1997. The relevant 2016 Supreme Court judgments raises the issue of how best to adapt and administer under Irish law a foreign sentence that contains features not found in Irish sentences. This Bill is designed to address this issue.

Officials in my Department are currently working with the Office of the Attorney General with a view to progressing this matter so that a finalised Bill can be brought to Government and presented to the Oireachtas as soon as possible.

Legislation to transpose Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA is also being progressed and is on the Government Legislative Programme Priority List for publication this session