Priory Hall Development

Ceisteanna (168)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

168. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he expects the resolution process regarding Priory Hall, headed by Mr. Justice Finnegan, to be completed; the progress that has been made to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29977/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The resolution process in respect of the problems associated with the development at Priory Hall, which I understand is on-going, arose in the context of legal proceedings which were adjourned to afford relevant parties the opportunity to work together, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Finnegan (retired President of the High Court), to identify a way forward in relation to the complex problems at Priory Hall. Neither I nor my Department is a party to those proceedings. Given that the matter is before the courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further other than to continue to urge all concerned to afford Mr. Justice Finnegan the opportunity to complete the task which he is undertaking.

Public Sector Staff Data

Ceisteanna (169)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

169. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of persons employed within the public sector by his Department or agency and by grade for each year of the five consecutive years for which the most recent data is available. [30454/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Environment)

The information requested in respect of my Department for the end of each of the years 2008 to 2012 is set out in the following table. There was a significant change in the staffing levels in the Department from 2010 to 2011. The end 2011 figures reflects structural changes that occurred in May 2011 with the transfer of the heritage function to the new Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the transfer of community functions to my Department. In the years 2008 to 2010, before the transfer of the heritage function, my Department's staffing included a number of State Industrial employees who were mainly based in the National Parks, such as Guides, Craft Workers, General Operatives and Office Administration staff.

Department Staff By Grade

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Administrative Officer

9.00

8.00

8.60

9.60

8.00

Advisory Counsel Grade 3

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Agricultural Inspector

0.00

0.00

0.00

2.00

2.00

Architectural Assistant Grade 1

9.60

4.80

2.50

0.00

1.00

Archaeologist

27.03

21.63

23.73

0.00

0.00

Architect

4.73

2.73

2.73

0.00

0.00

Architectural Advisor

1.00

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

Architectural/Engineer Inspector

11.00

13.00

14.00

14.00

14.00

Assistant Agriculture Inspector

0.00

0.00

0.00

5.00

5.00

Assistant Auditor

12.60

12.60

11.60

11.60

9.00

Assistant Director Met

2.00

0.00

0.00

1.00

1.00

Assistant Fire Adviser

2.00

2.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Assistant Principal Officer

108.36

94.43

92.23

84.73

83.20

Assistant Secretary

6.00

6.00

6.00

6.00

6.00

Assistant Staff Engineer

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Auditor

19.80

17.80

17.80

17.80

16.80

Chief Archaeologist

1.00

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

Civilian Driver

4.00

2.00

2.00

4.00

4.00

Cleaner

2.81

2.80

2.81

2.81

2.81

Clerical Officer

156.21

139.37

133.41

104.08

99.68

Conservation Ranger

80.50

75.50

76.00

0.00

0.00

Court Crier

0.00

0.00

3.00

3.00

1.00

Director Meteorological Services

1.00

0.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

District Conservation Officer

16.00

16.00

15.60

0.00

0.00

Engineer Grade 1

4.00

4.00

5.00

5.00

4.80

Engineer Grade 2

0.80

0.80

1.00

0.00

0.00

Engineer Grade 3

0.00

0.00

3.00

3.00

3.00

Engineer Grade 3 (Mech/Heat/Elec)

4.00

4.00

4.00

1.00

1.00

Executive Officer

157.10

144.20

138.90

124.40

131.10

Geographical Info Systems Co-ordinator

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

Head Service Officer

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Higher Executive Officer

141.29

136.43

130.83

122.13

107.93

Housing Inspector

5.00

5.00

5.00

5.00

2.00

Inspector & Engineer Fisheries

0.00

0.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

Inspector Grade 1

10.00

11.00

10.00

8.00

7.00

Inspector of Audits

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Inspector Planning

0.00

2.00

2.00

1.00

1.00

Librarian

0.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Meteorological Officer

73.50

60.00

59.50

56.50

55.50

Meteorologist

36.00

34.60

32.60

32.10

32.10

Park Superintendent

1.00

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

Personal Assistant

3.00

2.00

2.00

2.00

2.00

Personal Secretary

3.00

1.50

2.00

2.00

2.00

Principal Adviser

5.00

4.00

4.00

3.00

4.00

Principal Auditor

7.00

7.00

7.00

6.00

6.00

Principal Meteorological Officer

11.00

9.00

9.00

10.00

9.00

Principal Officer

40.60

32.00

29.80

28.00

31.00

Professional Accountant Grade 1

1.00

1.00

1.00

2.00

2.00

Quantity Surveyor Grade 1

0.00

3.00

3.00

1.00

1.00

Secretary General

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Senior Adviser

14.80

15.00

13.00

12.00

11.00

Senior Archaeologist

6.73

6.73

6.73

0.00

0.00

Senior Architect

4.00

4.00

4.00

0.00

0.00

Senior Assistant Fire Adviser

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

Senior Building Inspector

3.00

2.00

2.00

1.00

1.00

Senior Inspector

0.00

0.00

0.00

1.00

1.00

Senior Meteorological Officer

64.00

57.00

56.00

51.00

49.00

Senior Meteorologist

8.00

7.00

7.00

6.00

6.00

Senior Photographer

1.00

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

Senior Technical Assistant

2.00

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

Service Attendant

6.74

4.74

4.73

4.73

3.73

Service Officer

26.80

24.80

27.80

23.80

19.80

Special Advisor

4.00

4.00

4.00

3.00

4.00

Staff Officer

16.13

12.73

10.73

9.13

8.53

Statistician

2.00

2.00

2.00

2.00

2.00

Supervising Housing Inspector

13.00

9.00

9.00

8.00

4.00

Survey Controller

1.00

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.00

Technical Grades Level 4

1.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

Visually Impaired Telephonist

1.20

1.20

1.80

1.80

1.80

Wildlife Inspector Grade 1

6.00

5.00

4.00

0.00

0.00

Wildlife Inspector Grade 2

17.00

16.00

17.00

0.00

0.00

Wildlife Inspector Grade 3

19.00

18.00

19.00

0.00

0.00

Non Industrial Staff Total

1202.33

1083.39

1066.43

810.21

776.78

Industrial Staff

129.60

108.50

110.10

2.00

2.00

Overall Total

1331.93

1191.89

1176.53

812.21

778.78

Note: Staff figures are provided as full time equivalents.

My Department collects overall staffing numbers every quarter in respect of agencies, however details on staff grades are not readily available. The overall staffing numbers for each agency under the aegis of my Department for the end of years 2008 to 2012, are set out in the following table.

Agency

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

An Bord Pleanála

166.60

168.90

164.20

156.20

145.80

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

47.00

34.00

25.00

18.00

13.00

Environmental Protection Agency

358.20

343.50

328.30

322.70

309.80

Housing & Sustainable Communities Agency

0.00

0.00

0.00

39.20

38.97

Housing Finance Agency

12.00

10.60

11.00

11.00

10.00

Irish Water Safety

6.00

6.00

5.00

6.00

6.00

Local Government Management Agency (LGMA)

94.30

85.90

84.50

80.00

123.50

Private Residential Tenancies Board

23.00

55.00

65.40

50.40

37.40

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

47.80

46.80

46.60

45.20

43.40

Western Development Commission

0.00

0.00

0.00

13.40

11.40

Affordable Homes Partnership (Retired 2010)

11.00

10.00

16.00

0.00

0.00

An Chomhairle Leabharlanna (2012 Merged with LGMA)

0.00

0.00

16.10

14.10

0.00

Heritage Council (2011 Transfer to ART)

16.00

14.50

15.00

0.00

0.00

Limerick Northside Regeneration Agency (2012 Transfer Limerick City Council)

7.00

2.00

8.00

8.00

0.00

Limerick Southside Regeneration Agency (2012 Transfer Limerick City Council)

9.00

4.00

8.00

8.00

0.00

Local Government Management Services Board (2012 Merged with LGMA)

29.60

28.10

27.50

26.70

0.00

National Building Agency (Retired 2012)

61.27

49.27

43.35

3.80

0.00

Total

888.77

858.57

863.95

802.70

739.27

Note: Staff figures are provided as full time equivalents.

Garda Strength

Ceisteanna (170)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

170. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons employed in the security services for the five consecutive years for which the most recent data is available. [29743/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of An Garda Síochána on 31 December 2008 to 2012 and on 30 April 2013, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 14,412, 14,547, 14377, 13,894, 13,424 and 13,330 respectively.

National Lottery Licence Sale

Ceisteanna (171)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

171. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality as part of the awarding of the new national lottery licence, if he plans to review the weekly €20,000 prize fund cap on lotteries operated by charities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29784/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Section 28 of the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956-2013 specifies the maximum amount that may be paid in prizes per week for lotteries licensed under that section. The amount is currently €20,000 per week. However, the Deputy will be aware that section 28 has been amended by section 51 of the recently enacted National Lottery Act 2013. The weekly maximum is being increased to €30,000.

I understand the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will be making a Commencement Order shortly, bringing Part 9 of the National Lottery Act, which includes section 51, into operation.

Coroners Service

Ceisteanna (172)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

172. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the results of a post mortem will be provided to the family of a person (details supplied) without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29869/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As I indicated in my reply to the Deputy on May 7th, 2013, many factors influence the time it takes for post-mortem reports to be received by a Coroner from the pathologist concerned. It is my understanding that the details sought by the pathologist in this particular case have now been received, and that a report should be available in the very near future. I would strongly urge the family in question to contact the Kerry North Coroner's Office directly, where they will be kept informed of any developments.

Public Transport Security

Ceisteanna (173)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

173. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide details of contact between his Department and Irish Rail, An Garda Síochána or the Department of Justice and Equality regarding violent assaults that occurred on the Maynooth train service on 5 June; and if he will seek a review of the security provided by Irish Rail on its services. [29983/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Garda Vetting Applications

Ceisteanna (174)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

174. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is further reviewing the improvement of the timeframe in processing of Garda vetting applications; and if he is considering amending the vetting disclosure procedure in order that the Vetting Bureau will produce a vetting clearance in the form of a certificate analogous to Revenue's Tax Clearance Certificate or in some similar format in order that when a person moves employment his or her original vetting disclosure will be swiftly updated for a new employer and therefore cover the previous period of vetted employment. [29713/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current average processing time for applications is approximately 14 weeks from date of receipt. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion. All organisations registered for Garda Vetting are aware of the processing time-frames for the receipt of Garda vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.

A vetting disclosure is made in response to a written request and with the permission of the person who is the subject of that request. Garda vetting disclosures are issued to specified organisations registered with GCVU for that purpose in respect of a particular post or employment. The Unit processed approximately 328,000 vetting applications on behalf of these organisations in 2012. The disclosure is made to the requesting, registered organisation of the position at the time when it is issued. Each time a new vetting application is received, a full vetting check is conducted to ensure that the most recent data available is taken into account. The non-transferability and contemporaneous nature of the certificate protects against the risk of fraud or forgery and is a guarantee of the integrity of the vetting service. It also affords the registered organisation the facility to assess suitability based on the most up to date information available on the applicant.

I remain in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner as to how best the service can continue to be delivered and improved upon, while at all times protecting the integrity of the process. Clearly, the protection of children and vulnerable adults is the primary objective of the Garda Central Vetting Unit and this must remain the case. The possibility of introducing an e-vetting system has been assessed and the Garda authorities are now in the process of developing a system which will enable vetting applications to be submitted electronically through a secure web service. In addition, the system will facilitate the checking and monitoring of applications. The relevant work is being pursued on a priority basis and it will be completed as quickly as possible.

The Garda Commissioner has informed me that there are currently 1 Superintendent, 2 Sergeants and approximately 113 civilian personnel assigned to the Garda Central Vetting Unit. This civilian complement includes 23 staff recently transferred from the Department of Agriculture who are undergoing the required training course. A further 9 personnel were allocated to the GCVU on 13th May 2013 and an additional 6 took up positions on the 31st May 2013. When these staff have been fully trained on the vetting process I expect there will be a positive effect on vetting times. My Department is also examining the scope for the redeployment of additional personnel from within the public service to the Unit.

Deportation Orders

Ceisteanna (175)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

175. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has studied the papers associated with the refugee, asylum and residency application in the case of a person (details supplied); if consideration will be given to the revocation of deportation order in this case on the basis of the doubt and subjective nature of original conclusions reached in their case and subsequent decisions by the courts in similar cases and the need to uphold the highest standard of human rights protection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29717/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware of the history of this case from previous Parliamentary replies. The person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order following a thorough and comprehensive examination of his asylum claim and his application to remain temporarily in the State. The case of the person concerned was considered under Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended). The outcome of the consideration was that the decision to make a deportation order in respect of him remained unchanged. He has no application for residency. In addition he has been evading his deportation since 3 November, 2009 and should therefore present himself to the Garda Authorities without any further delay.

As a general matter of policy, it would be logistically inconsistent to review a person's case who has failed a very fair and comprehensive asylum process, and who have thereafter proceeded to evade their deportation for years, by granting such persons residency in the State. The effect of the Deportation Order is that the person concerned must leave the State and remain thereafter out of the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order remains an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility 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 from the INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (176)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

176. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect a decision on their application for naturalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29722/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that a valid application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy in May, 2012. The application is being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. As well as being a significant event in the life of its recipient, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation as provided for in law is also a major step for the State 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.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility 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 from INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (177)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

177. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding long-term residency-eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29833/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 221 of 16 May 2013 which is set out below.

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person referred to by the Deputy was granted temporary permission to remain in the State under stamp 4 conditions for an initial one year period on 10th June, 2002, on the basis that she was part of a family unit where the parents had been granted residency on the basis of parentage of an Irish citizen child. This permission appears to have been renewed on a regular basis by her local Immigration Officer until March 2010. I am informed that when she attended the registration office of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) in May 2010, she was advised to contact my officials in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) regarding same. However it appears that the next contact from the person concerned was in March 2012 when she presented to her local Immigration Officer. She was refused registration on this occasion as she has been out of permission since March 2010. The local Immigration Officer advised her to write to INIS outlining her situation prior to renewal of registration. I am informed that she was given this direction by him on 26th August 2012.

I understand that some documentation has since been received from the person concerned by INIS. However, in order to assist in regularising her status in the State, further documentation was requested from her in writing on 13th March 2013. To date no response has been received. On receipt of the documents requested, her case will then be examined by the relevant officials in INIS. Once a decision has been made on her status, this decision and the consequences involved will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned. I am also informed that the person concerned submitted an application for a Certificate of Naturalisation in August 2005. This application was refused by my predecessor at his absolute discretion. The person's legal representative was notified of the decision and the reason for same by letter dated 31st March 2009. She may re-apply at any time when in a position to satisfy the statutory requirements.

Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must -

- be of full age;

- be of good character;

- have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years;

- intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation; and

- have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows-

(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and

(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

A foreign national who is married to, or is the Civil Partner of, an Irish citizen for at least three years may apply for naturalisation under section 15A of the Irish Naturalisation and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, where they have been continuously resident in the island of Ireland for the year immediately prior to the date of their application and for two out of the four years prior to that year. The marriage or civil partnership must be subsisting and recognised under Irish law. Section 15A provides that the Minister may waive certain conditions for naturalisation if satisfied that the applicant would suffer serious consequences in respect of his or her bodily integrity or liberty if not granted Irish citizenship.

Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, waive some or all of the statutory conditions in certain circumstances i.e. where an applicant is of Irish descent or of Irish associations; where an applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; or where an applicant is a Stateless person within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons. It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility 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 from the INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.