Prisoner Data

Ceisteanna (297)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

297. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners in Limerick Prison in each of the years 2013 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [20985/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service collates and publishes the prisoner population breakdown, including those serving prison sentences, on a daily basis and this information is available on the Irish Prison Service website www.irishprisons.ie..

The average number of prisoners in custody in Limerick Prison is outlined in the following table:

Daily Average

Male

Female

Total

Year 2018 (to date)

215

34

249

Year 2017

211

28

239

Year 2016

221

31

252

Year 2015

224

24

248

Year 2014

223

27

250

Year 2013

225

29

254

Prison Service Expenditure

Ceisteanna (298)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

298. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the budget allocation for Limerick Prison in each of the years 2013 to 2017 and to date in 2018. [20986/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that individual prisons do not have a separate budget allocations. Instead each budget area is managed centrally by the appropriate Directorate in Irish Prison Service Headquarters. The overall budget allocated to the Irish Prison Service 2013 - 2018 and the overall expenditure in Limerick prison for the period 2013 – Apr 2018 are included in the following table:

Year

Annual Prison Service Budget

Limerick Prison Expenditure

2013

€328.538 million

€18,609,319

2014

€334.188 million

€19,338,882

2015

€332.182 million

€19,161,306

2016

€332.058 million

€22,839,259

2017

€327.370 million

€21,440,647

2018

€341.171 million

€7,967,052

Garda Data

Questions Nos. 300 and 301 answered with Question No. 296.

Ceisteanna (299)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

299. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of newly recruited gardaí who have been allocated to the Sligo-Leitrim Garda division in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21030/18]

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.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that, as of the 31 March 2018, the latest date for which figures are available, the strength of the Sligo/Leitrim Division was 303. There are also 17 Garda Reserves and 31 Garda civilian staff attached to the Division. 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 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.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, just under 1,800 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. 18 members of this cohort have been assigned to the Sligo/Leitrim Division. 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 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; some 400 of whom have already done so. In total, 800 Garda trainees are scheduled to attest during the year, some 200 of whom attested in March. Further, Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, are on track to reach 14,000 by the end of this year.

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 Sligo/Leitrim Division.

In so far as the allocation of newly attested Gardaí is concerned, this is a matter for the 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.

The number of newly attested Gardaí allocated to the Sligo/Leitrim Division in 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018 is as set out in the following table:

New recruits assigned to Sligo/Leitrim 2015 -2018

Sligo/Leitrim

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

5

5

8

0

18

Questions Nos. 300 and 301 answered with Question No. 296.

Crime Data

Questions Nos. 303 and 304 answered with Question No. 296.

Ceisteanna (302)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

302. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of repeat offenders under an Act in 2016 and 2017 (details supplied), respectively. [21040/18]

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 this report.

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

Questions Nos. 303 and 304 answered with Question No. 296.

Legal Aid Service Data

Ceisteanna (305)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

305. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of promotions within the Legal Aid Board by grade and ratio of men to women since June 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21064/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

In accordance with the provisions of the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995, the Legal Aid Board is independent in the exercise of its functions. In particular, Section 11 of the Act provides that the staffing of the legal aid functions is determined the Board.

I am advised by the Board that there has been a total of 56 promotions made in the Legal Aid Board from 2014 to date. Of these 32 were internal promotions and 24 were external appointments. A breakdown by grade and gender is provided in the following table:

GRADE

Total

Male

Female

Assistant Principal

3

3

0

CEO

1

1

0

Engineer grade 1

1

0

1

Engineer grade 2

1

0

1

EO

5

2

3

HEO

5

2

3

Legal Clerk

11

2

9

Legal Staff Officer

2

0

2

Managing Solicitor Grade1

4

2

2

Managing Solicitor Grade2

8

3

5

Mediator

1

0

1

Principal

2

1

1

Solicitor Grade 3

12

3

9

Total

56

19

37

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (306)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

306. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the funding received by an organisation (details supplied) in 2016 and 2017. [21155/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The organisation referred to received funding of €1.385 million per year from my Department in 2016 and 2017.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (307)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

307. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the funding received by an organisation (details supplied) in 2016 and 2017. [21156/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The organisation concerned received €1,212,133.40 in funding for 2016 and €1,333,346.75 for 2017 from the Vote of the Department of Justice and Equality subhead D.7 Traveller Initiatives.

Citizenship Status

Ceisteanna (308)

Frank O'Rourke

Ceist:

308. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a decision has been reached on the legal status of a child born here to a mother with subsidiary protection (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21255/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, entitlement to Irish citizenship is governed by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. The Act provides that if either of a child's parents was, at the time of that child's birth, an Irish citizen, that child is an Irish citizen irrespective of the place of birth. In this particular case as neither parent was an Irish citizen at the time of the child's birth, the child does not have any automatic entitlement to be an Irish citizen under the Act.

Section 6A of the Act also provides that a child born in the island of Ireland on or after 1 January 2005 has an entitlement to Irish citizenship if, at the time of the birth of the child, one of his or her parents had, during the period of 4 years immediately preceding the person's birth, been resident in the island of Ireland for a period of not less than 3 years or periods the aggregate of which is not less than 3 years. Periods of unlawful residence, periods of residence which were for the sole purpose of having an application for refugee status determined or periods of residence where permission was granted for the purposes of study are excluded under the Act from the determination of periods of reckonable residence. Time spent in Subsidiary Protection is not reckonable for naturalisation purposes.

Where a child born in the State did not at birth have an entitlement to Irish citizenship, the parent or guardian or person who is in loco parentis to the child may lodge an application for naturalisation on behalf of the child if and when the conditions for naturalisation are satisfied, including a requirement to have 5 years residence in the State. Detailed information on citizenship and the naturalisation process, including the relevant application forms, is available on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) website at www.inis.gov.ie.

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 INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (309)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

309. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of staff in his Department assigned solely or primarily to work on North-South issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21268/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Primary responsibility for dealing with North-South co-operation and Northern Ireland related issues rests with the Northern Ireland Division in my Department. There are 12 members of staff assigned to that Division, two of whom are on secondment to the British-Irish Joint Secretariat in Belfast. This Division also deals with security matters.

Aside from this specific area of my Department, the Deputy will appreciate that North-South co-operation in justice matters has been enhanced considerably since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and a large number of staff across the range of responsibilities of my Department and the related justice agencies are involved in ongoing, practical North-South initiatives with their counterparts in Northern Ireland as an integral part of their ongoing responsibilities.

For example, the Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation on Criminal Justice Matters provides a structured framework for this co-operation with dedicated work streams including youth justice, probation, forensic science, registered offenders and social diversity. The annual Cross-Border Conference on Organised Crime is a long running initiative organised by my Department, the Northern Ireland Justice Department, An Garda Síochána and the PSNI. It provides an ongoing mechanism to exchange and develop best practice and to support operational co-operation in combatting organised crime on a cross-border basis. The Director General of INIS jointly chairs the Common Travel Area Forum with his UK counterpart. It meets regularly to support and enhance co-operation in the management of the Common Travel Area and it naturally maintains a particular focus on the North-South dimension.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (310)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

310. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 110 of 3 May 2018, the location of the file sent to the INIS on 14 February 2018 and subsequently acknowledged by letter on 14 March 2018 in the case of (details supplied); the progress made to date in the determination of this application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21345/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that an incomplete application was returned twice by registered post to the person concerned, firstly on 14 March 2018 and subsequently on 26 March 2018.

On both occasions the incomplete application was returned to my Department by An Post, marked as 'not called for'. This application could not be initially processed as all the relevant documentation was not supplied, for this reason the application was returned, which is stipulated on the application form. Any queries in relation to this matter must be made in writing and should be addressed to, Residence Division Unit 4, INIS, Department of Justice and Equality, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

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.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (311)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

311. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the options available to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21393/18]

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 brought a Judicial Review to the High Court of a decision refusing to consider an application for a change or extension to a permission to remain. As the case is still sub judice I do not propose to comment further at this 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 INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Policy

Ceisteanna (312)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

312. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the criteria for habitual residency for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21396/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I understand that officials from my Private Office have been in contact with the Deputy seeking further information. A response from the Deputy is awaited and on receipt, a response will be provided if required.

Emergency Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (313)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

313. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the role of his Department regarding a matter (details supplied); if emergency housing has been sourced at a location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21421/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to inform the Deputy that I have no responsibility to the Dáil for housing matters. Such matters are the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The Irish Refugee Protection Programme falls under the ambit of the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI) within my Department and this office has a coordinating role in respect of all matters related to the resettlement of refugees under the Programme. However, the provision of all services to this cohort is mainstreamed and falls under the responsibility of relevant agencies and Departments. Local Authorities are ultimately responsible for the provision of housing for refugees.

A number of refugees are scheduled to be re-settled this week in the location specified under an arrangement made with the relevant local authority similar to arrangements made with other local authorities throughout the state.

Court Poor Box

Ceisteanna (314)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

314. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the judge of a local District Court controls distribution of the courts discretionary fund; if the distribution of moneys has been centralised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21432/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, which include the provision of information on the courts system.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has advised that the court poor box is a non-statutory system used to impose a financial charge on a defendant to be used for a charitable purpose, usually instead of imposing a criminal conviction. While each court of first instance (High, Circuit and District) has used the poor box system on occasion, it is mainly used in the District Court where the judge may order the defendant to pay a donation into the court poor box in lieu of another penalty and usually arises where the offence is minor in nature and would not attract a custodial sentence.

There are many reasons and instances why the court poor box is used by judges. For example, the accused may never previously have been before the courts; the accused may have pleaded guilty to a minor offence; a conviction might be inappropriate or might adversely affect employment, career or working abroad prospects; and/or the offence may be of a minor or trivial nature.

When combined with the Probation of Offenders Act it provides an option where some financial penalty is considered merited but a conviction and fine are not. It can sometimes be a more meaningful punishment than the maximum fine.

Payments made to the court poor box are accounted for by the court office concerned and the accounting procedures are subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General. Generally, charities are the recipients of poor box contributions but the decision is solely at the discretion of the judge who is independent in the matter of sentencing, as in other matters concerning the exercise of judicial functions, subject only to the Constitution and the law.

The Government has approved the drafting of a Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill to replace the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 with modern provisions dealing with community sanctions and the role of the Probation Service in the criminal justice system. The Bill is currently being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. It is intended that the legislation will abolish the court poor box and replace it with a statutory Reparation Fund to provide for a fair, equitable and transparent system of reparation that will apply only to minor offences dealt with by the District Court.