Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (116)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

116. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of school extensions (details supplied) due in Newbridge, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26979/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy includes an extension to the Junior and Senior schools, a new build General Purpose Hall and a Special Needs Unit. Refurbishment works will form part of the overall project.

The Junior School will be provided with a new two storey building providing nine classrooms and support spaces with floor area of 531sqm, new double height general purpose hall and support spaces with a floor area of 272 sqm and reconfiguration and refurbishment of seven classrooms and associated spaces in the existing school building.

The project is currently at Stage 2B of Architectural Planning.  Planning Permission has been received and the Disability Access Certificate and Fire Safety Certificate have been granted.

The Stage 2B report has been received and the Department's comments have been provided to the Design Team for follow up. Providing no other issues arise, the Department expects to be in a position to authorise the project to proceed to pre-qualification of contractors shortly.

The Department has written to the school outlining the timeframe for progression of the project to tender and construction stage and the steps involved.

Special Educational Needs

Ceisteanna (117)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

117. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for a device; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26985/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports. SENOs also make recommendations to my Department where assistive technology/specialised equipment is required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in making recommendations for support, which is set out in my Department's Circular 0010/2013.

In order to qualify for equipment under the assistive technology scheme, a student must have been diagnosed with a physical or communicative disability and must also have a recommendation in a professional assessment that the equipment is essential in order to allow the student to access the curriculum. It must also be clear that the existing I.T. equipment in the school is insufficient to meet the child's needs.

No application for assistive technology to support the student referred to by the Deputy has been received by the NCSE or my Department to date.

It is open to the school of the student concerned to make an application for support to the NCSE. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

Special Education Review

Ceisteanna (118)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

118. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a child (details supplied) is not exempt from the study of Gaeilge for second level in view the child's severe language difficulties which also prevent them studying foreign languages. [26991/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Exemptions from the study of Irish are granted in accordance with the provisions of Departmental Circular 12/96 for primary schools and Circular M10/94 for post-primary schools. The criteria provides that exemptions may be granted by school authorities for certain categories of students with special educational needs as set out in these Circulars.

If a school is uncertain as to whether a pupil's circumstances fall within the criteria of the relevant circular or where exceptional and significant circumstances arise it is open to either the school or parent to seek advice from my Department as to the application of the criteria for an exemption to a particular case.

In respect of the case referred to by the Deputy the position is that the school have recently written to my Department seeking advice in relation to this application. Following full consideration of all documentation submitted my Department will issue its advice to the school and parents.

School Services Staff

Ceisteanna (119)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

119. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address the contracts of primary school secretaries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26999/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

To answer the Deputy, the majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools in the Free Education Scheme receive capitation grant assistance to provide for secretarial, caretaking and cleaning services. Capitation related grants are issued to the majority of primary and post-primary schools to employ such staff.  Within the capitation grant schemes, it is a matter for each individual school to decide how best to apply the grant funding to suit its particular needs.

Where a school uses the capitation grant funding to employ a secretary, such staff are employees of individual schools. My Department has no plans to develop an alternative scheme for schools to employ primary school secretaries separate to the current system of capitation grant assistance.

Notwithstanding that, in 2015 my Department agreed to engage with the union side in relation to the pay of school secretaries (and caretakers) who are employed using grant funding, and to enter an arbitration process. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 for school secretaries (and caretakers) comprehended by the terms of the arbitration process and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 for such staff be phased in over the period 2016 to 2019.  Grant funding used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff is also being improved on a phased basis between 2016 and 2019 following the arbitration process.  These increases are in order to enable schools  implement the arbitration outcome for grant funded secretaries (and caretakers).

In December 2017, my Department published circular letter 0078/2017 for primary schools and circular letter 0079/2017 for voluntary secondary schools, setting out the application of the third phase increases of the Arbitrator’s recommendations.  The circulars are available at:

Circular 0078/2017: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0078_2017.pdf

Circular 0079/2017: http://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0079_2017.pdf

The increases recommended by the Arbitrator are binding and must be applied by all schools who employ staff to whom the Arbitrator's recommendation applies.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (120)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

120. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a special needs assistant will be provided for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27009/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on the Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed. 

In considering applications for SNA supports for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

My Department’s policy is to ensure that every child who is assessed as needing SNA support will receive access to such support. In line with this policy, I announced last month that 800 additional SNAs will be allocated for the beginning of the next school year, with a further 140 expected to be allocated by the end of the year.

By the end of this year, there will be a total of 15,000 Special Needs Assistants working in our schools, a 42% increase on 2011.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support on the grounds that Department policy was not met in accordance with Circular 0030/2014.

Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2018/19, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.  The closing date for receipt of any appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday, 28th September 2018.

As this question relates to a particular child I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply.

National Educational Psychological Service

Ceisteanna (121)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

121. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive an appointment for an assessment from the National Educational Psychological Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27010/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can inform the Deputy that my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools involving direct access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, access to support and development work to build school capacity to support students, direct support in the event of a critical incident and access to individual pupil casework input via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments. (SCPA).

In common with many other psychological services and best international practice, NEPS has adopted a consultative model of service. The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively with pupils whose needs range from mild to severe and transient to enduring. Psychologists use a problem solving and solution oriented consultative approach to maximize positive outcomes for these pupils. NEPS encourages schools to use a continuum based assessment and intervention process whereby each school takes responsibility for initial assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention for pupils with learning, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Teachers may consult their NEPS psychologist should they need to at this stage in the process. Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school's best efforts in consultation with NEPS, will the psychologist become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention or assessment.

This system allows psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually. It also ensures that children are not referred unnecessarily for psychological intervention.

Should the parents of the child, the subject of the Deputy’s question, have specific concerns about his educational progress they should, in the first instance, speak to the Principal of the school concerned, with a view to raising these concerns with the local NEPS service.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

National Educational Psychological Service

Ceisteanna (122)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

122. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a school (details supplied) will avail of the National Educational Psychological Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27011/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can inform the Deputy that my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil casework via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments. (SCPA).

By way of clarification NEPs psychologists are recruited via regional panels formed from national recruitment competitions administered by the Public Appointments service. The assignment of a NEPS psychologist to the school to which the Deputy alludes in his question, was the subject of a vacancy and the school was given access to the SCPA process in relation to its pupils casework needs.  While every effort was made by PAS to fill the post from the existing panel in the region these ultimately proved unsuccessful and the panel has now been exhausted.

I can inform the Deputy however that a new national competition will be launched very shortly from which new regional recruitment panels will be formed with a view to filling vacancies in the coming academic year including the vacancy in the NEPS North-Western Region .

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Third Level Admissions Data

Ceisteanna (123)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

123. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of places available through the CAO for persons who completed a post leaving certificate course to get into a nursing course in each university; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27027/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The CAO website outlines the quota of places reserved for QQI FET/FETAC applicants by third level institution on nursing courses in 2018. The information can be assessed at http://www2.cao.ie/fetac/FETACNursingQuota.pdf

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (124)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

124. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of school projects that have experienced difficulty or delay due to issues with construction contractors on an annual basis in 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018; and the name of each project by county in tabular form. [27045/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I refer the Deputy to the following table, which gives a breakdown of the major school building projects that have experienced difficulty due to building contractors going into examinership or liquidation processes from 2016-2018. This did not apply to any projects in 2016. In 2017, there were issues with two projects and to date in 2018, seventeen projects have been affected.

County

School

Roll Number

Year

Cork

St Colman’s College, Midleton

71050P

2018

Cork

Colaiste an Chraoibhin, Fermoy

70990M

2018

Kildare

Maynooth Post-Primary School

70700A

2018

Kildare

Maynooth Community College

76193Q

2018

Louth

Scoil Ui Mhuiri, Dunleer

71780G

2018

Meath

Ratoath College

76088T

2017

Carlow

Tyndall College

70420R

2018

Carlow

Carlow Institute of Further Education

76514K

2018

Meath

Eureka Secondary School, Kells

64410F

2018

Wicklow

Colaiste Raithin, Bray

70821M

2018

Wicklow

Ravenswell Primary School, Bray

07246U

2018

Wexford

Loreto Secondary School

63660A

2018

Dublin

Scoil Mhuire and St Brigid’s Haddington Road

17279S

2017

Dublin

Gaelscoil Bhaile Munna

20015B

2018

Dublin

Gaelscoil Bharra, Cabra

20047O

2018

Laois

Portlaoise Amalgamation

20270R and 20480F

2018

Offaly

Tullamore College

72560C

2018

Wicklow

Arklow Community College

70740M

2018

Wexford

New Ross Jnr and Snr Schools

20481H and 20482J

2018 

Education and Training Boards

Ceisteanna (125)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

125. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will report on the findings of the investigation into the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board, ETB, and the withdrawal of ISME members from the ETB; the matters which were referred to An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27106/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In exercise of my powers under Section 40 of the ETB Act 2013, I appointed Richard Thorn, President Emeritus of Sligo Institute of Technology, to carry out an investigation into the performance by Kildare and Wicklow ETB of its functions particularly in relation to public procurement, usage and disposal of assets and propriety matters. I took this action following issues raised in an audit by the Comptroller & Auditor General and subsequent correspondence between my Department and the ETB.

Dr. Thorn has submitted his report to the Department but he is currently updating it to include some clarifications sought by the Department. The matters investigated are of serious concern and the Department has referred them to An Garda Síochána.  The Department is also considering legal advice. Therefore comment on the specific issues raised would not be appropriate at this time.

The matters investigated are of serious concerns to me and in light of those concerns my officials arranged for the issues to be referred to An Garda Siochana. My Department is also considering legal advice in relation to the issues. In the circumstances therefore the Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on any of the matters raised.

In relation to the correspondence from ISME I plan to respond to them on the issues raised.

I take governance and accountability of bodies in the education sector very seriously and it was in that context that I commissioned the first statutory investigation under Section 40 of the ETB Act 2013. My Department is continuing to work with KWETB, the C & AG, An Garda Siochana and other bodies as appropriate on the issues raised, including in the broader context of improving accountability and governance in the sector.

Northern Ireland

Ceisteanna (126)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

126. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of his Department's interaction with the four member international oversight body established under the Fresh Start agreement to monitor paramilitaries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26959/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Fresh Start Agreement was concluded on 17 November 2015 following 10 weeks of talks co-chaired by the Irish and British Governments and involving the political parties of the Northern Ireland Executive.  Among other issues, the Agreement addressed the implementation of aspects of the 2014 Stormont House Agreement along with the additional issue of tackling the continuing impact and legacy of paramilitarism in Northern Ireland. 

To facilitate monitoring of the implementation of measures aimed at ending paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland, the Agreement provided for the establishment by the two Governments of the Independent Reporting Commission. An international agreement between Ireland and UK establishing the Independent Reporting Commission was signed in Dublin on 13 September 2016 and it was given effect to by legislation in both jurisdictions allowing for the appointment of the Commission.

 The Commission’s functions are to: 

- report annually on progress towards ending continuing paramilitary activity connected with Northern Ireland (or on such further occasions as required);

- report on the implementation of the relevant measures of the three administrations – critical here will be the NI Executive’s Strategy to tackle paramilitary activity and associated criminality; and

- consult the UK Government and relevant law enforcement agencies, the Irish Government and relevant law enforcement agencies and, in Northern Ireland, the Executive, PSNI, statutory agencies, local councils, communities and civic society organisations.

The Commission has been actively engaged in carrying out its functions since its appointment, engaging with a range of relevant stakeholders, North and South, including with my Department.  I will be meeting with the Commission tomorrow to hear further on its progress with its work. I look forward to the Commission's first report which it is intended will be provided later this year.

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (127)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

127. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 542 of 12 June 2018, if further information will be provided on the level of engagement to date that his Department has had with the European Commission to clarify issues relating to section 30 of the Data Protection Act 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26978/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The position is that my Department has consulted with the European Commission on issues relating to the compatibility of section 30 of the Data Protection Act 2018 with the General Data Protection Regulation. A reply is currently awaited.

Citizenship Status

Ceisteanna (128)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

128. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the definition of an Irish citizen. [27026/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Under the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, an Irish citizen is defined as a citizen of Ireland.  Entitlement to Irish citizenship is governed by the above-mentioned Act.  The Act provides that subject to Section 6A every person born in the island of Ireland is entitled to be an Irish citizen.  The Act also 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.

Section 6A of the Act 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. 

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.

Prison Service Staff

Ceisteanna (129)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

129. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the date the last person to be assigned to the statutory role of Governor, not operational Governor, of Portlaoise Prison, was so assigned; and the date upon which the person ceased to occupy the role. [27029/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that the post holders referred to in PQ 24350/18 held or currently hold statutory responsibility as the Governor of Portlaoise Prison.

Work Permits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (130)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

130. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the decision on the case of a person (details supplied); if he will consider making an exemption to allow them to continue working in their job, particularly in view of the fact the increased demand for career guidance staff following the restoration of 500 of these jobs in September 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27036/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that her question primarily concerns the issue of eligible and ineligible categories of employment for employment permit purposes, which is a policy matter for the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  My Department has no function in the matter.

However, I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person's application for permission to remain in the State has been considered and that the person concerned has been notified of the decision.

The original application was received from the person concerned on 2 November 2017 and a decision letter issued on 17 January 2018. 

On 22 March 2018 a review of the original application was requested as an exceptional measure.  A decision letter in response to this exceptional request for a review of the original application was issued on 28 May 2018.

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.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (131, 132)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

131. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí that have graduated in the fraud and e-crime investigation postgraduate certificate in UCD; the number undertaking the course at present; the cost to An Garda Síochána in 2017 and to date in 2018 of running the qualification and sending gardaí to study the course; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27046/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

132. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí that graduated in 2017 in the fraud and e-crime investigation postgraduate certificate in UCD; the number that have assumed roles in the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau; the number that have been assigned to regular Garda posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27047/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 131 and 132 together.

As you will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who has statutory responsibility for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána including training and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter

The information requested by the Deputy cannot be provided in the time available. I have requested the information sought from the Garda Commissioner and I will write to the Deputy on receipt of same.

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

Immigration Policy

Ceisteanna (133)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

133. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to change the conditions applying to a stamp 0 visa for persons that wish to retire and live here, particularly from the United States of America, in order that the thresholds of income and savings would be reduced to a realistic level in view of the statement issued by him in autumn 2017 in relation to the matter. [27051/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

A review of the policy to grant an immigration permission to qualifying Non-EEA Retirees who wish to retire to Ireland has recently been completed, and a revised scheme for non-EEA retirees is currently undergoing interdepartmental consultations. I hope to launch the revised non-EEA retirees scheme in the coming months. The full details of the scheme will be made available at that time.

Workplace Relations Commission

Ceisteanna (134)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

134. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the case of a person (details supplied) dismissed from their employment will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27058/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As Minister, neither I nor my Department have responsibility for the terms and conditions of employment of a person (including the person concerned) by a company or contractor providing services to the Department. All such employments are matters between the contractor and the employee. Terms and conditions must be in full accordance with the law and any issues arising on that front should be referred to the relevant authorities. Typically, employer/employee disputes are handled by the Workplace Relations Commission.

Human Rights Cases

Ceisteanna (135)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

135. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if further consideration will be given to a request by a person (details supplied) to remain here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27076/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order signed on 23 April 2009.

The statutory criteria which must be considered in relation to a decision to make a deportation order under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 include national security and public policy, the character and conduct of the person concerned and the common good. In determining whether to make a deportation order, in addition to the factors set out in Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999, the Minister of the day must also consider all relevant constitutional and international human rights arising including those enshrined in the Refugee Convention, the UN Convention Against Torture and the European Charter of Human Rights. The question of not returning a person to a place where certain fundamental rights would be breached (or non refoulement as it is referred to) is fully considered in every case when deciding whether or not to make a deportation order. This involves consideration of whether returning the person would result in the life or freedom of that person being threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, or whether the person would be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

I have met the family involved and am fully aware of the circumstances of the case. I have already made a statement in the Dáil last week that, when the court proceedings conclude, I will use my powers as Minister to consider this case fully, including from a humanitarian point of view.