Prisoner Transfers

Ceisteanna (186)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

186. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 542 of 26 July 2017, if he will report on the progress on resolving issues related to the repatriation of prisoners; his plans for resolving this matter in view of the impact on the welfare of prisoners and their families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4795/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, on 12 July, 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed the State's appeal in the case known as 'O'Farrell, McDonald, Rafferty -v- The Governor of Portlaoise Prison'. The case concerns an appeal taken by the State against a judgement of the High Court ordering the release of the three named prisoners who had been transferred to Ireland from the UK where they had been sentenced, under the provisions of the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners Acts, 1995 -1997.

The judgement is detailed and has implications for the continuance in its present form of the process operated by the Irish Prison Service for transferring prisoners from other States to Ireland. The practical effect of this judgement is being examined by my Department, including the legislative and administrative changes that will be required to address the issues raised. 

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that all applicants and officials in the appropriate sentencing states have being informed of the situation.

Proposed Legislation

Ceisteanna (187)

James Browne

Ceist:

187. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of legislation to create a specific offence of interfering with life-saving equipment such as defibrillators and lifebuoys; the engagement he has had with groups (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4850/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

A Private Member's Bill, entitled the Life Saving Equipment Bill 2017, which provides for a specific offence of interfering with life saving equipment such as defibrillators and certain marine safety devices, including lifebuoys, was introduced in Seanad Éireann on 5 July 2017. Second Stage of the Bill was taken on 23 January 2018 where the principles of the Bill, and issues it raises, were discussed.

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (188)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

188. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the names of advisers he has appointed to his office since becoming Minister; the responsibilities of each; the previous employment of each; the salaries of each; and if he plans to make further additional appointments. [4872/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As set out in the response to PQ 529 of 7 November 2017, Ms Sarah Kavanagh and Mr Tom Fabozzi are employed as special advisers in my Department. In terms of previous employment, most recently, Ms Kavanagh and Mr Fabozzi held positions as my special advisers in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ms. Kavanagh was my special adviser in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Both are remunerated on the Principal Officer standard pay scale (PPC) in line with guidelines on the appointment of Ministerial advisers.

Ms Kavanagh serves as a political and policy advisor and Mr Fabozzi serves as a communications advisor.  

Reflecting the scale, diversity and range of responsibilities of my Department, it is my intention to appoint an additional Special Advisor in the near future.

Garda Strength

Ceisteanna (189)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

189. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason there are only four community gardaí attached to Ballyfermot Garda station. [4927/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

Ballyfermot Garda Station forms part of the Clondalkin District. I am informed by the Commissioner that on 31 December 2017 there were 194 Gardaí assigned to the Clondalkin District of whom 83 were assigned to Ballyfermot Garda Station. In terms of Community Gardaí there are 15 assigned to Clondalkin of whom 7 are assigned to Ballyfermot. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Armed Support Units, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. To make this a reality for all the Government has in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on reaching this goal.

I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 1,600 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, 137 of whom have been assigned to the DMR West Division. Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increased to 13,551 at the end of 2017 - a net increase of over 600 since the end of 2016.

I am also pleased that funding is in place to maintain this high level of investment in the Garda workforce to ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. This year a further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. Also, 800 Garda trainees are scheduled to attest during the year, which will see Garda numbers reach more than 14,000 by the end of 2018.

In addition, a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training early in 2018.

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division, including the DMR West Division.

Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. It provides a means of recognising that every community – both urban and rural – has its own concerns and expectations.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda National Model of Community Policing plays a key part in responding to crime by taking into account and responding to local conditions and needs. Clear objectives are set, such as high visibility in the community, ease of contact by members of the public, and enhanced support for crime prevention strategies. Community policing is not, of course, confined to dedicated Community Gardaí, all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in carrying out their duties. In addition, the National Community Policing Office, attached to the Garda Community Relations Bureau, captures best practice in community policing initiatives and disseminates these practices through its communication network.

An Garda Síochána's Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 places a strong emphasis on developing and supporting the community policing ethos of the organisation and enhancing the current delivery model so that Gardaí spend more time in the community, gaining public confidence and trust and providing a greater sense of security.

Undoubtedly, the on-going recruitment process will support all Garda activities and will enhance Garda visibility within our communities and the provision of effective community policing across all Garda Divisions including the DMR West Division.

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (190, 191)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

190. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí of each rank attached to each station (details supplied) in each of the past ten years. [4928/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

191. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of probationary and newly commissioned gardaí who have been deployed at stations (details supplied). [4929/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 190 and 191 together.

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

Kevin Street and Kilmainham Garda Stations form part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (D.M.R.) South Central Division, Ballyfermot forms part of the D.M.R. West Division with Crumlin Garda Station forming part of the D.M.R. South Division. The Garda strength of the D.M.R.  South Central Division on 31 December 2017 was 622 with 37 Garda Reserves and 63 Garda civilian staff attached to the Division. The total Garda strength of the D.M.R. West Division on 31 December 2017 was 672 with 26 Reserves and 52 Garda Civilian staff and the total strength of the D.M.R. South Division on 31 December 2017 was 532 with 20 Reserves and 36 Garda civilian staff. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Armed Support Units, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

As the Deputy will be aware, this Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.

I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 1,600 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, of whom 141, 137 and 118 have been assigned to the D.M.R. South Central, D.M.R. West and D.M.R. South Divisions respectively.  I am pleased to say that Garda numbers, taking account of retirements, increased to 13,551 at the end of 2017 - a net increase of over 600 since the end of 2016.

I am also pleased that funding is in place to maintain this high level of investment in the Garda workforce to ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. This year a further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. Also 800 Garda trainees are scheduled to attest during the year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, reach 14,000 by the end of 2018.

In addition, a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training in 2018.

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Division, including the DMR Divisions.

In so far as the allocation of newly attested Gardaí is concerned, this is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. I am assured by the Commissioner that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of resources. However, it is important to keep in mind that newly attested Gardaí have a further 16 months of practical and class-room based training to complete in order to receive their BA in Applied Policing. To ensure that they are properly supported and supervised and have opportunities to gain the breadth of policing experience required, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.  

I am advised by the Commissioner that the number of Gardaí, by rank  attached to Crumlin, Kilmainham, Kevin Street and Ballyfermot  Garda Stations in each of the years 2007 to 2017 and the number of probationer Gardaí assigned to these stations since the reopening of the Garda College are as set out in the following tables.

CRUMLIN GARDA STATION 2007-2017

YEAR

GD

SG

IN

SU

CS

TOTAL

2007

82

18

5

2

1

108

2008

78

20

5

2

1

106

2009

84

16

3

1

1

104

2010

82

17

5

2

1

107

2011

80

16

4

1

1

102

2012

75

16

4

2

1

98

2013

71

18

5

2

1

97

2014

69

17

5

2

1

94

2015

69

17

4

2

1

94

2016

71

22

6

2

1

102

2017

76

17

5

2

1

101

BALLYFERMOT GARDA STATION 2007-2017

YEAR

GD

SG

IN

TOTAL

2007

74

12

1

87

2008

81

16

1

98

2009

84

10

1

95

2010

84

13

2

99

2011

83

11

2

96

2012

80

11

2

93

2013

76

9

2

87

2014

73

11

1

85

2015

74

11

1

86

2016

72

12

1

85

2016

72

9

1

83

KEVIN STREET GARDA STATION 2007-2017

YEAR

GD

SG

IN

SU

TOTAL

2007

119

14

5

1

139

2008

133

15

5

1

154

2009

135

11

5

1

152

2010

136

13

6

1

156

2011

135

11

6

1

153

2012

123

15

4

1

143

2013

114

17

3

1

135

2014

102

15

4

121

2015

99

14

3

1

117

2016

96

15

5

1

117

2017

89

11

3

1

104

KILMAINHAM GARDA STATION 2007-2017

YEAR

GD

SG

IN

TOTAL

2007

70

16

1

87

2008

72

15

1

88

2009

71

15

86

2010

67

16

83

2011

58

16

74

2012

65

12

1

78

2013

66

12

1

79

2014

58

14

72

2015

62

13

75

2016

62

11

73

2017

59

8

67

Number of Probationer Gardaí allocated by Station

Station

2015

2016

2017

TOTAL

Kevin Street

5

8

14

27

Kilmainham

5

5

5

15

Ballyfermot

5

5

4

14

Crumlin

4

7

8

19

Prisoner Transfers

Ceisteanna (192)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

192. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of a request to repatriate a person (details supplied). [4956/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have been advised by the Irish Prison Service that as of 31st December 2017 there were 28 applications from prisoners in other jurisdictions who wish to transfer to this country to serve the remainder of their sentence, under the provisions of the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners Acts, 1995 -1997.  

The practical effect and implications of the Supreme Court judgement on 12 July, 2016 in the case known as 'O'Farrell, McDonald, Rafferty -v- The Governor of Portlaoise Prison', are being examined by officials of my Department and the Irish Prison Service in consultation with Attorney General.

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the person referred to in this question along with all other applicants and officials in the appropriate sentencing states have been informed of the current position.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (193)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

193. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an application for naturalisation by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4959/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the processing of the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy is on-going, with a view to establishing whether the conditions for naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, are satisfied. On completion of the necessary processing the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

As the Deputy will appreciate, 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. While most cases are now generally processed within six months, 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 the INIS of my Department 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.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (194)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

194. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to support calls for measures for local business in the Border counties in the event of a hard border post-Brexit and or an unfavourable trade agreement with a post-Brexit Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. [4742/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

My Department and its enterprise agencies are focused on assisting companies to prepare for the UK's withdrawal from the EU. This includes initiatives to build awareness of particular and sector-specific challenges that Brexit is likely to pose and helping firms put in place plans to deal with them.  

Much of the broader work undertaken so far to help mitigate the impact of Brexit on Irish firms is set out in a report prepared by my Department entitled "Building Stronger Business - Responding to Brexit by Competing, Innovating and Trading". This describes measures already taken and outlines future initiatives that will help ensure that Irish businesses are as prepared as possible for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

Our State Agencies have been particularly active in helping firms here prepare for the post-Brexit commercial environment. InterTrade Ireland - aided by additional funding that has been provided by my Department - has initiated an awareness raising campaign and launched services to assist companies to plan for Brexit. This includes the provision of "Start to Plan" vouchers, which helps companies get access to the specialist advice they need.  

Enterprise Ireland, meanwhile, launched a "Brexit SME Scorecard" - effectively a new interactive platform which can be used by Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit. The Agency has also introduced a "Be Prepared Grant" that helps SME clients meet the costs of implementing a plan to mitigate risks arising from Brexit. Furthermore, the Local Enterprise Office Network are hosting information events around the country about Brexit.

While progress has been made in helping many different businesses prepare, we know much more work remains to be done. That is why we will remain absolutely focused on our Brexit-related initiatives and will continue to explore new avenues and means of helping our companies plan for the future.