Gaelcholáistí Issues

Ceisteanna (113)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

113. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the provision of a Gaelcholáiste in north County Kildare; the extent to which the development is line with previous indications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10417/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Maynooth Community College opened in 2014 with an Irish-medium Aonad and it was stated that should the Aonad demonstrate sufficient viability after four years from its date of establishment, a Gaelcholáiste would be established, in a partnership patronage model between Kildare and Wicklow ETB and An Foras Pátrúnachta. 

As part of the Major School Building Projects announcement in November 2015 and in view of the continued support for an independent Gaelcholáiste, it was confirmed that a Gaelcholáiste to serve the North Kildare area will open in 2019, subject to the continued viability of the Irish-medium Aonad at Maynooth Community College.

Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board is continuing to examine the options for accommodation for the school referred to by the Deputy which will involve consideration of the timing and availability of appropriate infrastructure in the area.

My Department will continue to work closely with Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board and An Foras Pátrúnachta in relation to the provision of appropriate accommodation for the establishment of the school.

Schools Recognition

Ceisteanna (114)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

114. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary and post-primary schools in north County Kildare scheduled to become co-educational; the progress to date in respect of each, that is, those that have been facilitated or are awaiting decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10418/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has recently received a request from a primary school in County Kildare to change its status to a co-educational school.

In considering the request, my Department has sought additional information from the Patron of the school in question. The matter can be considered further following receipt of this information.

Schools Building Projects

Ceisteanna (115)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

115. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans replace existing facilities by way of extension or provision of new school buildings on a greenfield site or existing site, as requested by the school authorities at various schools, primary and post-primary throughout north County Kildare, including a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10419/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The brief for the major building project for the school to which the Deputy refers is a new 16 classroom school on the existing school site.

The project is at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b (Detailed Design), which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

The Stage 2b submission has been reviewed by my Department and the Board of Management has been advised of a timeframe for the progression of this project.

Data Protection

The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Ceisteanna (116)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

116. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of section 4 of the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2003 applications for access to copies of personal data processed by An Garda Síochána in the past five years; the number of applications granted, part granted and refused respectively; the number of appeals processed for a refusal to release data; the number of cases that were appealed to the Data Protection Commissioner's office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10227/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The information sought by the Deputy is currently not to hand.  A request has been made to the Garda Commissioner and when the information is received I will write to the Deputy directly.

I wish to make clear to the Deputy that the collation and retention of records, responding to requests for personal data, are all operational matters for the Garda Commissioner. The control, direction and operation of An Garda Síochána is not subject to the powers of my office and these are limitations which must be respected.

The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (117)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

117. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of audits conducted by the Garda professional standards unit, GPSU, of the PULSE system and other data systems in the past three years and to date in 2018; the number of audits conducted by the GPSU regarding access by officers to case files and hard copy data files over the same period; if irregularities were identified; the number of officers that have been disciplined for non-business access to data systems electronic or hard copy during the same period by district and division; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10232/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The information sought by the Deputy is currently not to hand. A request has been made to the Garda Commissioner and when the information is received I will write to the deputy directly.

I wish to make clear to the Deputy that the issues under question are operational matters falling solely under the remit of the Garda Commissioner. The control, direction and operation of An Garda Síochána is not subject to the powers of my office and these are limitations which must be respected.

Parliamentary Questions

Ceisteanna (118)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

118. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 153 of 13 January 2018, if he will request the estimated cost from An Garda Síochána. [10259/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

My Department has sought clarification from the Deputy in relation to this question and as soon as this is forthcoming an answer can be provided.

Wards of Court

Ceisteanna (119, 120, 121, 122)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

119. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the independent review of the Courts Service disposition towards and interaction with wards and their families or guardians, which was recommended by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality in its report on wards of court, will commence. [10272/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

120. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps that will be taken to include wards of court that do not have family members to advocate on their behalf within the scope of the independent review of the Courts Service disposition towards and interaction with wards and their families or guardians, which was recommended by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality. [10273/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

121. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he will take to ensure engagement takes place with the families of wards of court with a view to soliciting their input on the terms of reference of the independent review of the Courts Service disposition towards and interaction with wards and their families or guardians, which was recommended by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality. [10274/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

122. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to address major deficiencies in engagement and responsiveness on the part of the Chief State Solicitor's Office for wards of court in its interactions with the families of wards of court. [10275/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 to 122, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the High Court has jurisdiction in wards of court matters and management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions under the Courts Service Act 1998.  Furthermore, the Office of the General Solicitor for Minors and Wards of Court is an Office of the High Court.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had inquiries made and the Courts Service has assured me that it has received the report published on 22 February 2018 by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality. The Courts Service has advised that it is currently considering the report and its recommendations insofar as they relate to the Courts Service, including the recommendation that an independent review be carried out of the Courts Service’s disposition towards and interaction with wards and their families or guardians.

The Courts Service has further advised that it is committed to providing a high quality and professional service to all users of the courts and that their Customer Service Charter can be accessed on the Courts Service website, which sets out the standard of service that all of their customers can expect.   

The Courts Service has informed me that, under current legislative provisions, when a person is taken into Wardship the President of the High Court appoints a Committee (usually one person) to deal with the Ward’s property and, in certain cases, to make recommendations to the Registrar of the Wards of Court for the Ward’s personal welfare or on items of expenditure. These recommendations are taken into account when decisions are being taken on such issues.

In approximately 75% of cases the Ward’s Committee is a family member or trusted friend. In cases where there is no suitable relative who is prepared to act, or where there is disagreement among the Ward’s relatives which cannot be resolved, or where a conflict of interest arises, the Court may appoint the “General Solicitor for Minors and Wards of Court” to act as Committee. In such cases, the General Solicitor is appointed as an independent committee to a Ward by the President of the High Court or other High Court judge.

The Committee acts under the directions of the Court either personally or through their Solicitor. In dealing with the affairs of a Ward of Court the General Solicitor is generally under a duty to ensure that confidentiality be afforded to a Ward. There is also a relationship of solicitor/client confidentiality for General Solicitor cases which limits the type of communication she may have with others, even at times family members. 

The General Solicitor does, from time to time, seek information from family members and third parties when dealing with Ward's affairs.  In the majority of cases a family member or a trusted friend is appointed as the Ward's Committee. In all cases the Wards of Court Office appoints a case officer to deal with the affairs of a ward of court and the case officer liaises and consults with the Committee in relation to the management of the Ward's affairs.

Departmental Communications

Ceisteanna (123)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

123. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the newspapers his Department officials have engaged with in relation to promoting or explaining Government business in his Department; when these meetings took place; if they are held on a regular basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10297/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Staff from my Department's Press and Communications Office respond on a daily basis to media queries and brief journalists from all media organisations, including newspapers, with regard to government business undertaken in my Department.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Ceisteanna (124)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

124. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when an application by a person (details supplied) for security clearance to work for the Irish Prison Service will be processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10312/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, given the nature of the functions of the Irish Prison Service, it is necessary for checks secondary and in addition to vetting to be carried out on persons considered for employment in the Irish Prison Service.

These checks can take time to complete for a variety of reasons depending on the individual case.  However, I can assure the Deputy that every effort is made to expedite this process to the greatest extent possible and to ensure that there is no undue delay arising.

I have been in contact with the Garda Authorities to make the necessary enquiries in respect of the individual case the Deputy has raised and I will correspond directly with the Deputy when they have been completed.

The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Road Safety Authority Data

Ceisteanna (125)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

125. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on the road safety authority strategy 2013 to 2020, page 24 (details supplied); if this data collection has changed due to the updating of the CT68 form on 1 January 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10314/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have requested a report from An Garda Síochána in relation to the information sought by the Deputy and I will be in contact with the Deputy directly on receipt of a Garda report.

Personal Insolvency Arrangements

Ceisteanna (126)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

126. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of personal insolvency arrangements made, including arrangements that were both accepted and rejected by the financial institution in relation to residential mortgage loans, by each financial institution in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the number refused in relation to residential mortgage loans by each financial institution in the same period; the number of refusals in relation to residential mortgage loans that have been referred to the courts by financial institution for the same years, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10336/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Insolvency Service of Ireland, (ISI) is an independent statutory body under my remit. The ISI’s mission is, by operating the statutory framework for personal insolvency solutions, to return insolvent people to solvency and full participation in social and economic activity.

The Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) does not record information in relation to each individual financial institution. However, the ISI issues quarterly statistics setting out the number of personal insolvency arrangements and the acceptance level by creditors in aggregate. These statistics are published on the ISI website www.isi.gov.ie. The specific data requested by the Deputy is not available in tabular form

I can inform the Deputy that, to date, the ISI has returned over 6,000 debtors to solvency with over 2,000 of those cases being Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs) which deal with mortgage debt. In over 90% of these PIA cases, debtors have been able to stay in their homes.

The solutions introduced in the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 have also had an indirect impact on the number and quality of over 120,000 informal agreements between debtors and creditors, as reported by the Central Bank of Ireland. Because arrangements agreed under the Act are public and court approved, they set precedents for the terms of agreements that will be acceptable to a court. Debtors now have realistic alternative options available to them through the ISI if negotiations break down.

The Section 115A court review process, introduced with effect from November 2015, permits a debtor to ask the court to review and assess the reasonableness of a Personal Insolvency Arrangement proposal which has been refused by creditors, and which includes mortgage arrears on the debtor's home.

Currently, there are over 500 such cases before the courts. I am advised that a significant High Court judgment in early February addressed two key issues that had become a logjam in the process. Namely, technical issues around the application for a court review and a fear from personal insolvency practitioners that creditors might pursue them for costs in a personal capacity. I understand that these issues have now been adequately addressed. The judgment has been positively received by both the Insolvency Service of Ireland and Personal Insolvency Practitioners. Subject to any possible appeal, it is expected the judgment will lead to increased activity in Personal Insolvency Arrangements.

I can also advise the Deputy that Abhaile, the Government's national Mortgage Arrears Resolution Service, ensures that people who are in danger of losing their home have access to free professional advice, including advice from a Personal Insolvency Practitioner. As of 23 February 2018, 8354 vouchers for professional financial advice and help on home mortgage arrears from a Personal Insolvency Practitioner have been issued through Abhaile. Additionally, a borrower may apply for legal aid to the Legal Aid Board to seek a court review under section 115A where their proposed Personal Insolvency Arrangement had been rejected by the creditors. Up to 23 February, legal aid had been approved under the Abhaile scheme for 607 such reviews brought under the personal insolvency legislation.

Road Traffic Offences Data

Ceisteanna (127)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

127. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of drug driving arrests made by county in the south eastern Garda division in the past four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10341/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have requested a report from An Garda Síochána in relation to the statistics sought by the Deputy and I will be in contact with the Deputy directly on receipt of a Garda report.

Legal Aid Service Data

Ceisteanna (128)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

128. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of providing free legal aid and free civil aid over the past seven years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10342/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to inform the Deputy that the provision of legal aid falls within two separate categories, that is, civil legal aid and criminal legal aid. Details in respect of each category are outlined below.

Civil Legal Aid

The Legal Aid Board, established under the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995 provides civil legal aid and advice to persons of limited means, who cannot afford to pay a solicitor privately. The Legal Aid Board operates 30 full time law centres and a number of part time law centres in Ireland.

The majority of the Board's income consists of a grant received from the Department of Justice and Equality. Funding provided by my Department for the last seven years is provided in the table.

Year

Expenditure €000

2017

39,708

2016

34,838

2015

32,471

2014

32,574

2013

33,759

2012

32,922

2011

30,370

Criminal Legal Aid

The Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 provides that free legal aid may be granted in certain circumstances for the defence of persons of insufficient means in criminal proceedings. Under the 1962 Act, the courts, through the judiciary, are responsible for the granting of legal aid. I have no function in such determinations.

Year

Expenditure €000

2017

58,139

2016

52,998

2015

50,879

2014

49,890

2013

50,863

2012

50,534

2011

56,116

Departmental Legal Cases

Ceisteanna (129)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

129. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason his Department is appealing a judgment (details supplied) in the Supreme Court concerning the rights of the unborn child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10365/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that this case relates to a person who was the subject of a Deportation Order made on 20 October, 2008. The person referred to brought a Judicial Review of this decision to the High Court. As the appeal of the High Court decision is now before the Supreme Court and as the case is still sub judice I do not propose to comment further. The State has presented its case before the Supreme Court and judgment is awaited.

Departmental Legal Cases Data

Ceisteanna (130)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

130. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status and number of legal representatives his Department has engaged in the appeal of a judgment (details supplied) in the Supreme Court. [10366/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that three Junior Counsel and three Senior Counsel are engaged in the appeal of this judgment which is before the Supreme Court. While this was an immigration related case, it had wider implications involving a number of Departments and agencies. The level of representation in any particular case is a matter for the Office of the Attorney General.

Irish Prison Service

Ceisteanna (131)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

131. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the compensation payments made by the Irish Prison Service to prison officers, other prison staff and members of the public in 2016 and 2017, by year, amount paid and the general nature of claim made for the payment, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10394/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the majority of compensation cases are managed by the State Claims Agency and Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal respectively and are independent of the Irish Prison Service. Where compensation is awarded it is subsequently paid from the Prison Service vote.

The tables show the total amount paid in each category of claim to Prison Service Staff and to members of the public for the years 2016 & 2017.

Prison Staff Compensation 2016

Amount

Hazard Category 

Hazard Descriptors

Year

€230,686.50

Behavioural Hazards

Violence, Harassment, Aggression

2016

€394,465.19

Biological Hazards

Bacteria, Virus

2016

€197,152.80

Chemical Hazards

Particulates, Gas

2016

€57,457.22

Crash/Collision

Crash, Collision

2016

€1,065,966.89

Physical Hazards

Slips, Trips, Falls

2016

Prison Staff Compensation 2017

Amount

Hazard Category 

Hazard Descriptors

Year

€1,117,619.60

Physical Hazards

Slips, Trips, Falls

2017

€516,903.50

Behavioural Hazards

Violence, Harassment, Aggression

2017

€158,182.85

Biological Hazards

Bacteria, Virus

2017

€291,449.84

Crash/Collision

Crash/Collision

2017

€110.00

Property   Damage/Loss (non crash/collision)

Property   Damage/Loss (non crash/collision)

2017

Civilian Compensation 2016

Compensation

Hazard Category (Exposure to)

Hazard Descriptors

Year

€22,987.00

Behavioural Hazards

Violence, Harassment, Aggression

2016

€27,652.34

Crash/Collision

Crash, Collision

2016

€25,842.00

Physical Hazards

Slips, Trips, Falls

2016

€40,000.00

Psychological Hazards

Wrongful Death

2016

Civilian Compensation 2017

Compensation

Hazard Category (Exposure to)

Hazard Descriptors

Year

€19,247.60

Crash/Collision

Crash, Collision

2017

€167,500.00

Physical Hazards

Slips, Trips, Falls

2017

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (132, 133, 134, 135)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

132. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of behaviour warnings, as provided for by Part 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, issued by An Garda Síochána in each of the past ten years, by Garda division, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10421/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

133. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of meetings to discuss anti-social behaviour by a child, as provided for by Part 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, as convened by An Garda Síochána in each of the past ten years, by Garda division, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10422/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

134. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of good behaviour contracts, as provided for by Part 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, formed by An Garda Síochána in each of the past ten years, by Garda division in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10423/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

135. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications for behaviour orders, as provided for by Part 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, made by An Garda Síochána in each of the past ten years, by Garda division, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10424/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 to 135, inclusive, together.

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matters raised by the Deputy and I will contact her again when the report is to hand. 

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.