Road Traffic Offences Data

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

“the misuse of off-road vehicles”

Ceisteanna (163)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

163. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons charged with selling off-road vehicles including scramblers to underage persons in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; the number of persons charged with the misuse of off-road vehicles, including scramblers in each of the years 2015 to 2017 and to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40734/18]

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 again on receipt of a Garda report.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to parliamentary question No. 163 of 9 October 2018. I apologise for the considerable delay in responding, and regret that a second Parliamentary Question was required (545 of 26 March 2019), however, the Garda report, requested in October, is only now to hand.
In the original question the Deputy asked for statistics relating to the number of persons charged with selling off-road vehicles including scramblers (hereinafter motor propelled vehicles [MPVs]). Separately, he also asked for the number of persons charged with the misuse of MPVs.
I am advised by An Garda Síochána that, from 1 January 2015 to 21 March 2019, there has been a total of three summons issued for the offence of the supply of MPVs to person under the age of 16 or 17, contrary to section 30(1)(a)/30(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 2004, and 30(2) of the Road Traffic Act 2004 (as substituted by section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 2010).
In relation to statistics on persons charged with the misuse of MPVs, An Garda Síochána have advised that offenders involved in this activity can be charged with an array of offences under both road traffic and public order legislation. As there is no set offence code for “the misuse of off-road vehicles” , such statistics cannot be compiled without a manual trawl of the PULSE system, which has been considered a disproportionate use of Garda resources.
I hope this information has been of assistance to the Deputy.

Courts Service

Ceisteanna (164, 165)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

164. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the funding provided to the Courts Service in 2016, 2017 and 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40747/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

165. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the funding provided to the Circuit Court in 2016, 2017 and 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40748/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 and 165 together.

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 informed me that the information sought by the Deputy in relation to the funding provided to the Circuit Court in 2016, 2017 and 2018 is not available. Courts Service funding is not allocated by court jurisdiction but instead by areas of expenditure across all jurisdictions and therefore it is not possible to provide the budgetary data requested by the Deputy.

The funding to agencies under the remit of my Department is provided through the annual estimates process. The information in respect of the Courts Service Vote is set out below.

The Gross Funding includes funding for Pay, Non-Pay Current and Capital. Net Funding is the Gross Funding less the Appropriations-in-Aid (income) element of the Courts Service Voted funds.

Annual Exchequer Funding to the Courts Service: 2016 - 2018

Year

Total Gross Funding

Appropriations in Aid

Total Net Funding

€’000

€’000

€’000

2018

131,575

47,969

83,606

2017

140,080*

47,828

92,252

2016

113,172

47,503

65,669

* Included in the 2017 budget is funding for the once-off up-front VAT payment in relation to PPP Projects.

Source: Revised Estimates Volume for the respective years.

Citizenship Applications

Ceisteanna (166)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

166. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of citizenship for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40762/18]

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 and I understand that the case is due to be submitted to me for my decision shortly.

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 straightforward cases are now 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.

Garda Overtime

Ceisteanna (167)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

167. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of hours' overtime claimed by gardaí by Garda district; and the percentage of hours worked by gardaí in each district. [40766/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and is responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources at his disposal. Moreover, under the Act, the Commissioner is responsible for directing and controlling and for carrying on and managing generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána.

Allocation of Garda resources are a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands. The arrangements for Garda overtime are not a matter for which I, as Minister, have responsibility.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that in total, the overtime hours for the organisation in 2017 amounted to 3,682,442. This calculation of hours includes briefing time, in addition to all other types of overtime, including overtime expended on specific operations such as Operation Thor, Organised Crime Operations, Port Security Operations and the visit to Ireland of the Prince of Wales. I am advised by Garda authorities that for operational reasons, it is not possible to provide the breakdown of overtime hours by District, as requested by the Deputy.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that calculating the total figure of regular tour hours worked by Garda members during 2017 would take a disproportionate amount of time to calculate, bearing in mind the nature of Garda rosters and other factors such as special leave, sick leave, secondments and so on.

More generally, I would like to assure the Deputy that I have discussed the Garda financial position with Commissioner Harris. We are agreed that it is essential that value for money is achieved with the significant resources at his disposal.

I am satisfied that Garda management is acutely aware of the need to utilise the resources being made available to them in the most efficient and effective manner to ensure high visibility policing in our communities. Under the governance and oversight arrangements in place between my Department and An Garda Síochána, the evolution of Garda expenditure is kept under review and there is regular structured engagement in relation to resources, including overtime, between An Garda Síochána and other relevant parties including my Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Policing Authority.

Courts Service

Ceisteanna (168)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

168. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there have been reports commissioned in relation to court efficiency and sitting times; if these reports have been published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40767/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Programme for a Partnership Government contains a commitment to commission an annual study on court efficiency and sitting times as outlined by the Deputy and my Department has examined options to develop the most effective approach to implementing this commitment.

Ireland contributes annually to the European Commission EU Justice Scoreboard report which provides comparable data on the independence, quality, and efficiency of national justice systems. Ireland also contributes to the Council of Europe, European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) report which compares data on justice systems and court efficiencies from 47 countries. Both reports are available online at www.ec.europa.eu and www.coe.int respectively. These reports assist in providing ongoing international benchmarking which can be used as reference points when undertaking analysis of Ireland’s justice system.

It should be noted, however, that when assessing international comparisons of judicial systems we must be mindful of anomalies that can arise when comparing data and comparisons that are not necessarily appropriate due to differing systems reflecting different geographical, economic and legal systems.

In March 2017, it was announced that a Group, to be chaired by the President of the High Court, Mr. Justice Peter Kelly, would be established to review and reform the administration of civil justice in theState. It is intended that the Programme for Government commitment regarding a study on court efficiency and waiting times will be incorporated into the review of the administration of civil justice.

The Group is to report to the Minister for Justice and Equality and will make recommendations for changes with a view to improving access to civil justice in the State.

The Group is comprised of representatives from each jurisdiction of the judiciary, the Courts Service, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Chief State Solicitor, the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Justice and Equality.

The Review of the Administration of Civil Justice held its first meeting in November 2017 and has met regularly since then. The Review Group issued an open call for submissions, with a deadline of 30 June 2018, on the following broad topical areas in an overall context of improving access to justice and reducing costs of litigation:

(a) Improving procedures and practices and removal of obsolete, unnecessary or over-complex rules of procedure;

(b) Reviewing the law of discovery;

(c) Encouraging alternative methods of dispute resolution;

(d) Reviewing the use of electronic methods of communications including e-litigation and possibilities for making court documents (including submissions and pleadings) available or accessible on the internet;

(e) Achieving more effective outcomes for court users, particularly vulnerable court users.

The Review Group is currently considering the submissions received and it is anticipated that the Review Group will submit their report to me in 2019.

Garda Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (169)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

169. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the vehicles in the Garda fleet in County Louth; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that gardaí cannot carry out their duties properly due to the unavailability of vehicles for use in community policing; the way in which investment from the €6 million announced in 2017 to enhance the Garda fleet has been invested in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40837/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that there has been very significant investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. The Government's Capital Plan 2016 – 2021 provides €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015. In total in the period 2013 - 2017, almost €44 million has been invested in the fleet with some 2,000 vehicles coming on stream to ensure that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions are a matter for the Commissioner in light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.

I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use. Responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between districts and stations as required by operational requirements.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that in 2017, 17 vehicles were purchased on behalf of the Northern Region, 6 of which were allocated to Louth Division. I am informed that these 6 vehicles comprised 4 cars and 2 vans.

I am further informed that in 2018, 25 vehicles were purchased on behalf of the Northern Region, 19 of which have been allocated to date, including 3 to Louth Division, namely 1 car, 1 van and 1 motorcycle. The remaining 6 vehicles are in the course of delivery to Northern Region and are awaiting allocation.

Finally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that under the Capital Plan already referred to, €10 million will be made available to An Garda Síochána for the purchase of vehicles in 2019. I am informed by the Garda authorities that in all the circumstances, they are satisfied there are sufficient resources to address the fleet requirements in the Louth Division.

Garda Resources

Ceisteanna (170)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

170. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated amount it would cost in 2019 if the budget for An Garda Síochána increased by 5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40870/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and as such is responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources at his disposal.

Those resources have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for An Garda Síochána for 2018 of €1,650,209,000, as per the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2018.

This budgetary provision as well as the significant capital investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years are in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country, to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

A 5% increase in the 2018 allocation would bring the total to €1,732,719,450.

Garda Transport Expenditure

Ceisteanna (171)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

171. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated amount it would cost in 2019 of increasing the budget for purchasing new Garda vehicles by 20%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40871/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that there has been very significant investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. The Government's Capital Plan 2016 – 2021 provides €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015. In total in the period 2013 - 2017, almost €44 million has been invested in the fleet with some 2,000 vehicles coming on stream to ensure that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

€4.7 million was available for the purchase of vehicles for the Garda fleet in 2018. A 20% increase to this figure would represent a sum of €940,000.

However, it should be noted that under the Capital Plan, €10 million will be available to An Garda Síochána for the purchase of vehicles in 2019.

Garda Operations

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

Ceisteanna (172)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

172. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of test purchases carried out by gardaí in the R and J districts under the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 in 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form; the frequency with which these test purchases are carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40882/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have sought a report from the Garda authorities on this matter and I will contact the Deputy directly when the information is to hand.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to parliamentary question No. 172 of 9 October 2018. The Deputy will recall that I undertook to contact him again once an update from An Garda Síochána on this matter was received.
I am now advised that records on PULSE indicate that there have been no test purchase operations conducted in the Coolock and Raheny Districts in 2017 and to date in 2018. Information is correct as at 31 October 2018.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (173)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

173. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the capital funding of €6 million which was allocated in 2017 to enhance the Garda fleet of vehicles by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40891/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that there has been very significant investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. The Government's Capital Plan 2016 – 2021 provides €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015. In total in the period 2013 - 2017, almost €44 million has been invested in the fleet with some 2,000 vehicles coming on stream to ensure that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions are a matter for the Commissioner in light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.

I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use. Responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between districts and stations as required by operational requirements.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table details the Garda vehicles allocated by Division or Unit during 2017. I am informed that it is not in all cases possible to identify what county these vehicles were allocated to, as some Divisions incorporate two counties and vehicles are distributed within a Division based on operational requirements.

It is important to note that this table refers to vehicles allocated. The Garda authorities indicate that these allocations may include vehicles which were purchased in 2016, but in relation to which the technical fit-out process was not completed until 2017. Similarly, this table would not include any vehicles purchased in 2017 which were not allocated until 2018 because the technical fit-out process for the vehicles were not completed until that point.

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4X4

Other

Total

Cavan-Monaghan

4

1

0

0

0

5

Clare

5

1

0

0

0

6

Cork City

10

4

0

0

2

16

Cork North

4

1

0

0

0

5

Cork West

4

0

0

0

0

4

DMR East

5

1

0

0

0

6

DMR North

7

4

0

0

0

11

DMR North Central

6

1

0

0

1

8

DMR South

6

1

0

0

0

7

DMR South Central

9

1

0

0

0

10

DMR Traffic

2

1

0

0

0

3

DMR West

5

0

0

0

0

5

Donegal

3

0

0

0

1

4

Galway

8

1

0

0

1

10

H.R.M. Incl. Garda College

21

0

0

1

0

22

Headquarters

2

0

0

0

1

3

Kerry

4

1

0

0

0

5

Kildare

6

1

0

1

0

8

Kilkenny-Carlow

5

2

0

1

4

12

Laois-Offaly

6

0

0

1

0

7

Limerick

3

1

0

1

0

5

Louth

4

2

0

0

0

6

Mayo

4

1

0

0

0

5

Meath

4

2

0

0

0

6

National Units

33

7

2

4

15

61

Roscommon

4

4

0

0

0

8

Sligo-Leitrim

2

0

0

0

0

2

Technical Bureau

1

0

0

1

0

2

Tipperary

7

1

0

0

0

8

Waterford

4

1

0

0

1

6

Westmeath

3

1

0

0

1

5

Wexford

5

0

0

0

0

5

Wicklow

8

1

0

1

0

10

Total

204

42

2

11

27

286

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (174)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

174. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of marked and unmarked Garda cars and vans in the Dublin region that have been scrapped to date in 2018 due to fact that they exceeded 300,000 km mileage and-or exceeded ten years of age. [40925/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that there has been very significant investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. The Government's Capital Plan 2016 – 2021 provides €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet, to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015. In total in the period 2013 - 2017, almost €44 million has been invested in the fleet with some 2,000 vehicles coming on stream to ensure that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions are a matter for the Commissioner in light of his identified operational demands and the availability of resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.

I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use. Responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between districts and stations as required by operational requirements.

I understand that An Garda Síochána operate a comprehensive service repair and maintenance programme to ensure that all vehicles in the fleet are operating to manufacturers specifications. All vehicles are operated up to the manufacturers durability limits (which range between 300,000 to 500,000km depending on vehicle type) or uneconomic repair irrespective of age.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table outlines the cars and vans which have been removed from the Garda fleet in the Dublin Metropolitan Region between January and September 2018.

Cars

Vans

Marked

Unmarked

Total

Marked

Unmarked

Total

6

40

46

4

9

13

Garda Data

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

Guidelines for the Reporting of Suspected Fraudulent Insurance Claims by Insurance Entities to

An Garda Síochána (Revised September 2018)

Ceisteanna (175)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

175. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of complaints made to An Garda Síochána by insurers under section 19(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40955/18]

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 again on receipt of a Garda report.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to parliamentary question No. 175 of 9 October 2018, and subsequent questions 241 of 5 December 2018 and 312 of 12 February 2019, in which the Deputy asked for information pertaining to the number of complaints to An Garda Síochána by insurers under section 19(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 in each of the past five years. After making a number of inquiries with An Garda Síochána I received a report into the matter.
I am informed by An Garda Síochána that, prior to recent changes, a specific crime category relating to insurance fraud was not provided for on PULSE. As such, it is not possible to establish the number of complaints made to An Garda Síochána by insurers over the past five years, pursuant to section 19(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2011. However, the creation of a new crime category[1] in November 2018, relating to fraud associated with the making of an insurance claim, has introduced the functionality to quantify the number of such complaints in future.
The Deputy may be aware of the revised guidelines[2] from An Garda Síochána, published in October 2018, which requested that insurance companies report all cases of insurance related fraud to the relevant district officer (superintendent), with whom responsibility for recording such matters on the PULSE system rests, and to copy all such reports to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB). This arrangement is designed to provide for better collection of statistics in relation to relevant complaints and to facilitate the exercise by the GNECB of oversight of insurance related reports.
An Garda Síochána also provided the following information in relation to the Criminal Justice Act 2011, which may be of assistance to you:
The Criminal Justice Act 2011 (as amended), contains a reporting obligation in relation to certain ‘relevant offences’. Section 19 of the Act of 2011 makes it an offence for a person to fail, without reasonable excuse, to disclose information to An Garda Síochána that the person knows or believes might be of material assistance in preventing the commission of a relevant offence, or securing the apprehension, prosecution, or conviction of any other person for a relevant offence.
The ‘relevant offences’ scheduled to the Act of 2011 are very broad and include company law, competition law, financial activities, fraud and theft. Examples of relevant offences include the provision of unlawful financial assistance, and carrying on the business of a company with intent to defraud creditors.
Section 19(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2011 creates an offence of withholding information in cases where a person knows or believes that a scheduled offence has been committed and fails to report it. This obligation is satisfied when the person reports the matter to a member of An Garda Síochána. The obligation is not to report to any particular person or section within An Garda Síochána and, thus, may be made to any member of the Garda Síochána. It is also not necessary that the report be in writing.
There is also no obligation to make a relevant report specifically under section 19(1) as it is actually an offence rather than a reporting obligation and in that context reports can be made without referencing Section 19(1).
[1] See recommendation 11 of the Report on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance:
https://www.finance.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/180125-Report-on-the-Cost-of-Employer-and-Public-Liability-Insurance.pdf
[2] Guidelines for the Reporting of Suspected Fraudulent Insurance Claims by Insurance Entities to
An Garda Síochána (Revised September 2018) .

Visa Applications

Ceisteanna (176)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

176. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there has been a delay and a change in criteria for Venezuelan nationals applying for visas here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40974/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that Venezuelan nationals are required to obtain a visa in order to travel to Ireland. A visa required person must apply for a visa for the particular purpose of their visit. Such applications are processed under delegated sanction by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, more specifically in this case by the Irish Embassy in Mexico.

Any person who wishes to come to Ireland from a visa required country must fulfil the relevant criteria for the particular visa application, i.e. study, employment, join family, volunteer, Minister of Religion, etc. There has been no change in the criteria, and the onus rests at all times with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer that the visa sought for whatever purpose should be granted.

Further information is generally available on the Embassy of Ireland's website in Mexico, and on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie. However, it should be noted that the information on the website does not limit the discretion of a Visa Officer from seeking additional information. Each visa application is thus assessed on its individual merits, and circumstances including the complexity and length of time taken to process an application can inevitably vary from one individual to another.

Garda Oversight

Ceisteanna (177)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

177. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the delay in relation to the case of a person (details supplied) will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40984/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As I advised the Deputy in response to question 397 on 7 September 2018, issues relating to the formal sharing of information between An Garda Síochána and the GSOC for investigative purposes are of an operational nature and, as such, I have no role in this process.

Section 67 of the Garda Síochána Act states that the Ombudsman Commission shall be independent in the performance of its functions. It also provides that the Ombudsman Commission has all powers that are necessary for, or incidental to, the performance of its functions.

An Garda Síochána and GSOC have developed an extensive protocol which governs the sharing of information relevant to an active investigation being conducted by the Commission. This protocol sets out the responsibilities of both parties and provides a detailed process of escalation where certain records or information has not yet been provided.

With specific reference to the matter raised by the Deputy, it must be stressed that as this relates to an active investigation under consideration with GSOC, I cannot interfere with or influence that investigative process. To do otherwise could be construed as interfering with the independence of the Commission. Therefore, I hope that the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to comment further in the matter.

Road Safety

Ceisteanna (178)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

178. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the policy change in relation to speed limit vans on motorways (details supplied) was changed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40985/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that I have no role in relation to road traffic enforcement, which is an operational matter appropriate to the Garda Commissioner. I have requested a report from An Garda Síochána in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy, and I will be in contact again with the Deputy on receipt of a Garda report.

Visa Waiver Programme

Ceisteanna (179)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

179. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to establish a visa waiver programme for diplomatic passport holders from Georgia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40990/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The requirements for which countries are visa required to come to Ireland are kept under regular review in consultation with my colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. As indicated previously, there are no plans to implement the change referred to by the Deputy.

My Department is pursuing a strategy of greater co-ordination and co-operation on visa issues with the United Kingdom in the context of the Common Travel Area (CTA). This is exemplified by the operation of the British Irish Visa Scheme in China and India which allows for travel to and around Ireland and the UK on a single visa.

As part of this greater co-operation, the matter of alignment of those States whose citizens are visa required is also being kept under review. The greater the extent of alignment between the two jurisdictions, the greater the opportunity to increase the numbers of tourism and business visits to the CTA. At present, both Ireland and the UK require all citizens of Georgia to be in possession of a visa for travel to their jurisdiction and thus it remains the position that any proposals for change will need to be considered in this context.

Residency Permits

Ceisteanna (180)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

180. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 264 of 2 October 2018, the options now available to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40992/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned had his permission to remain in the State renewed for a three year period, to 25th October, 2018. This decision was conveyed in writing to the person concerned by letter dated 7th October, 2015. This communication advised the person concerned of the conditions attaching to his permission to remain and of the requirement that he attend at his local Garda Registration Office to have the registration process completed. This person was also advised that future renewals of the permission to remain should be applied for two weeks in advance of the permission expiring to the local District Headquarters station.

This individual was also informed that the Certificate is an important document and should be kept safely along with the original leave to remain letter from the INIS. It is the current policy of this department not to re-issue permission letters unless the original letter is returned to the department. The letter has to date not been returned to this Department. Therefore there is no onus on this department to re-issue the permission letter at this current time.

Unfortunately, and for reasons relating to fraud prevention, the INIS is not in a position to issue another version of the permission to remain decision letter, dated 07th October, 2015.

However, there is no requirement for an applicant to possess that decision letter when renewing permission to remain in the State with their local immigration registration office. When attending the local registration office for the purposes of renewing permission to remain, the applicant should bring with them: the Certificate of Registration (GNIB card) valid between 2015 and 2018, a valid passport, and the electronic means to pay the requisite registration fee.

Should the applicant have misplaced the Certificate of Registration and not be able to locate it before renewing permission to remain, then they should have in their possession their GNIB number, and further proof of your identity when attending the local immigration registration office.

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.