Departmental Agencies Staff Data

Ceisteanna (91)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

91. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the staff complement and grades of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. [3218/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

NCCA numbers and grades 22 Jan 19

Grade

Headcount

FTE

Chief Executive

1

1

Deputy Chief Executive

2

2

Director, Curriculum and Assessment

5

5

Education  Officer

25

24.3

Project Officer

1

0.6

Assistant  Principal

1

1

Higher Executive Officer

3

2.7

Executive Officer

1

1

Clerical Officer

4

3.7

Temporary  Clerical Officer

1

1

Totals

44

42.3

School Curriculum

Ceisteanna (92, 93)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

92. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the request for the NCCA to initiate a review of the sex education curriculum. [3219/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

93. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the NCCA has provided a timeline for a response with regard to his predecessor's request for a review of the sex education curriculum. [3220/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In April 2018, my predecessor, Mr. Richard Bruton TD, announced a review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE).  This review is currently underway and covers both the content of RSE curriculum and support materials, as well as the delivery of the curriculum to students.

Included in the areas for particular consideration during the review are:

- Consent, what it means and its importance

- Developments in contraception

- Healthy, positive sexual expression and relationships

- Safe use of the internet

- Social media and its effects on relationships and self-esteem

- LGBTQ+ matters.

Given the scope of the request, the review will comprise of three inter-related dimensions:

1. Desk-top review of recently published research/studies in this area.

2. Consultations with key individuals and organisations who have responsibility for or who are working in this area.

3. Working directly with schools to examine the experience of RSE in schools and in class rooms.

A review of research was commissioned in June 2018 and a report was published in November. 

A number of consultative events are being planned.  The first was held on 27 November at Collins Barracks, Dublin and involved approximately 60 groups and organisations who have expressed an interest in or who are known to have an interest in contributing to the review. 

Approximately 20 primary and post primary schools, representing a range of school types and experiences will be directly involved.  The outcome from this strand of the review will inform recommendations in relation to the reality of the experience of RSE in classrooms and the experience of parents, curriculum gaps, implementation barriers and enablers, and support needs. Furthermore, there will be an opportunity for any school to be involved, should they wish, to facilitate workshops locally.

The timelines for the three dimensions of the review are likely to intersect somewhat but will also contribute and add to the progression of the review The NCCA intend to publish a draft report on the Review of RSE, which will be subject to further consultation from stakeholders. I expect a final report in Q2 2019.

Skills Shortages

Ceisteanna (94)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

94. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding allocation to regional skills fora in 2018 and 2019. [3221/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The allocation for the Regional Skills Fora in 2018 was €1, 000,000.

The allocation for 2019 is  €1,236,000.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (95)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

95. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the shortage of second-level places in the County Kildare; and his plans to address the matter. [3222/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level. 

Where data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy may be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 500 pupil post-primary school for Enfield (located in the Kilcock school planning area) to be established in 2020. This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure. 

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future.  Based on the current analysis, this need can be addressed through either planned capacity increases in existing schools or additional accommodation or extensions to existing schools.  

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department has recently announced the expansion of the existing Curragh Post-Primary School with a new 1,000 pupil school building. It is intended that the expansion of the existing Curragh post-Primary school, a multi-denominational Community College under the patronage of Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB), will also cater for demand arising in the adjoining Newbridge and Kildare school planning areas.  

The Deputy will be aware that my Department's Capital Programme continues to address the challenges posed by the significant bulge in pupil enrolments going through our schools. This has seen a significant expansion in the rate of provision of new school places.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale projects, including those in County Kildare, being delivered under the school building programme may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.

The Capital Programme also provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme can be found on my Department's website www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly.

 

Higher Education Institutions

Ceisteanna (96)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

96. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students at institutions (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3227/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Details of the number of students enrolled in higher education institutions are available at:

Enrolments

Statistics relating to student numbers are available on the HEA website: http://hea.ie/statistics/.

Institutes of Technology Funding

Ceisteanna (97)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

97. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Education and Skills the capital investment allocated to each institute of technology and university for the years 2019 to 2021, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3228/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Over the period 2019-2021 an infrastructure budget of €337m has been earmarked for the higher education sector. 

This is in addition to infrastruture to be delivered by way of Public Private Partnership (PPP), including the Central and East Quads for TU Dublin at Grangegorman, which are under construction, and the Higher Education PPP programme, which is in the design phase and is focused on Technological Universities/Institutes of Technology. 

The following table outlines allocations to Institutes of Technology and universities for the period in question wich have already been approved.

TCD

€15,000,000.00

DCU

€32,840,000.00

UL 

€1,700,000.00

IT Tallaght 

€7,715,953.00

IT Dundalk 

€18,469,525.00

GMIT Castlebar 

€2,080,000.00

IT Limerick 

€11,575,000.00

Further allocations from the capital budget will be based on the assessment of proposals against specific criteria, and will include funding programmes such as the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructure Fund and the Refurbishment and Upgrade Fund. Allocations will be also be made from the capital budget to support upgrades to ICT infrastructure, as well as minor works and equipment renewal.  

Institutes of Technology

Ceisteanna (98)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

98. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the merger process between Carlow Institute of Technology and Waterford Institute of Technology; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3229/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

It is a matter for the relevant Institutes of Technology in a technological university development consortium to lead on the progression of their plans to seek designation as a TU under the Technological Universities Act 2018. 

In relation to the Technological University for South East Ireland (TUSEI) consortium comprising Waterford Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology Carlow, the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., met with the Presidents and Chairs of both higher education institutions earlier this month with a view to encouraging the progression of their TU development project.  Both institutions reiterated their commitment to advancing the project in 2019 with the consortium’s joint steering group continuing to progress its work in this regard.

School Transport Eligibility

Ceisteanna (99)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

99. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will be made on the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3271/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.

A number of changes to the School Transport Scheme were introduced in Budget 2011, which derived from recommendations in the Value for Money Review of the Scheme.  These changes encompassed a number of elements and included the cessation of the 'Closed/Central School Rule' at primary level. 

Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school. The child referred to by the Deputy is not attending his nearest school and is therefore not eligible for school transport under the terms of the Primary School Transport Scheme.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only which is subject to a number of conditions that are detailed in the Scheme.

In this regard, Bus Éireann has advised that there are seats available on an existing service and the family should liaise with their local Bus Éireann office if they wish to avail of school transport on a concessionary basis.

The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis. 

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (100)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

100. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application for a new school building by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3284/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved for delivery to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). 

I can inform the Deputy that the NDFA has started preparations for the appointment of a design team for the project. This appointment will be a key first step in the design and construction stages. While at this early stage it is not possible to provide a timeline for completion of the project, the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.

Brexit Staff

Ceisteanna (101)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

101. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of regular grade civil servants his Department has hired in advance of a no-deal Brexit; the number of specialist grade civil servants hired in advance of same; the budget made available in advance of Brexit for hiring of staff in advance of the UK withdrawal from the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3319/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department has recruited an additional Assistant Principal Officer for our International Section to deal with Brexit related matters.  Other staff within the Department, in sections such as Higher Education Policy, also deal with Brexit issues as part of their normal duties. 

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (102, 103, 104)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

102. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills when details of the summer works scheme will be announced; if all categories up to and including category ten will be eligible under the new scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3428/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

103. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if applications deemed to be category ten under the most recent summer works scheme will be given further consideration with a view to approval of grant aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3429/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

104. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if grant aid is available towards the provision of essential playground facilities at primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3430/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 to 104, inclusive, together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Summer Works Scheme (SWS) is designed to allow schools, on a devolved funding basis, to carry out necessary improvement and refurbishment works that will upgrade existing school facilities. Under the 2016-2017, almost €117 million has been approved to date under the Summer Works Scheme, in respect of over 940 school projects in categories 1 - 9. Details of the successful school applicants are published on my Department's website www.education.ie

With regard to the remaining applications under Category 10, which relate to external works such as upgrading and resurfacing of playgrounds and car parking, these applications require more detailed analysis. It is intended to undertake this analysis shortly with a view to enabling approved applications to proceed in 2020.

The recent launch of Project Ireland 2040 included an announcement of a major package of investment in education for the next decade with the school building budget increasing by 70%. This investment will provide for the continued increase in demographics while also allowing for a greater focus on refurbishment and upgrading of existing school stock. In this regard, I wish to advise the Deputy that I am committed to a new Summer Works Scheme which will open for applications in the coming months for projects to be delivered from Summer 2020.

Garda Resources

Ceisteanna (105)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

105. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if funding has been made available in 2019 to purchase additional marked large vans for use by Garda public order units; if so, when the vans will come into the fleet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3114/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, there has been unprecedented investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement and provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion.  This represents an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018. Very significant capital investment is also being made in Garda ICT infrastructure and the Garda estate.

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.  This continuing investment is intended 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, the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána.  Further, the allocation of Garda resources, including types of vehicles purchased and allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions, is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands. As Minister I have no direct role in these matters.  I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use. 

I am pleased to confirm that €10 million has been made available for the purchase of Garda vehicles in 2019. 

I am informed by the Garda authorities that fifteen large vans have been purchased and are currently being fitted out as public order vehicles.  In accordance with the arrangements as outlined above, the allocation of these vehicles across the various Garda divisions will be a matter for decision by the Garda authorities on the basis of operational demand.

Garda Resources

Ceisteanna (106)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

106. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to provide funding for the purchase of additional high powered unmarked vehicles to the Garda roads policing unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3115/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, there has been unprecedented investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement and provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, representing an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018. Very significant capital investment is also being made in Garda ICT infrastructure and the Garda estate.

The Government's Capital Plan 2016 – 2021 provides €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015.  This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and 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, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of his identified operational demands. This includes decisions in relation to the types of vehicles and the allocation of Garda vehicles across the various Garda divisions.   As Minister I have no direct role in these matters.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are currently 293 vehicles attached to Garda Roads Policing, including both marked and unmarked vehicles. 

As the Deputy may be aware, €10 million has been made available for the purchase of Garda vehicles in 2019.  Decisions on the type and number of vehicles to be purchased using these funds, as well as the allocation of these vehicles across the Garda Divisions are for the Commissioner.

I am informed that the Garda authorities have no plans at present to purchase additional high powered unmarked vehicles for Garda Roads Policing.   In this regard, I understand that the main focus of An Garda Síochána’s Roads Policing Operations Plan is on high visibility roads policing utilising marked vehicles.  The Garda authorities indicate that in addition to their role in enforcement of road traffic legislation, the presence of these marked vehicles on the road also act as a deterrent.  While unmarked vehicles are used in respect of the enforcement of certain road traffic offences, I am informed that these make up only a part of the work of Roads Policing Units.

Finally, I can confirm to the Deputy that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.

Courts Service

Ceisteanna (107)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

107. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 149 of 21 November 2018, if the review is now complete; if so, if the report on the review has been presented to the Courts Service building committee and the Courts Service Board; if a decision has been made on the future delivery of court services in the district court area of Kilcock, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3122/19]

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, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that the review of the future delivery of court services in the District Court area of Kilcock is nearing completion. Consultation has already taken place with the relevant stakeholders including TDs, legal practitioners, the Irish Prison Service, An Garda Síochána and members of the Judiciary.

The Courts Service has advised that details and costing of works that would be required to repair Kilcock Courthouse have recently been received from the Office of Public Works and that a report is being prepared to present at the next meeting of the Courts Service Building Committee in February 2019. The Courts Service has further advised that any decision on the future delivery of court services in the District Court area of Kilcock will be made following consideration of the matter by the Building Committee and the Courts Service Board.

Legislative Process

Ceisteanna (108)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

108. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the courts and civil law miscellaneous provisions Bill will be introduced and in particular the provision stating that a certificate under the licensing Acts shall not be granted unless a court is satisfied that permission for development of the premises for the intended use to which the application relates has been obtained from the relevant planning authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3128/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The proposed provision to which the Deputy has referred remains part of the General Scheme of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which has been submitted to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel following the Government Decision of 11 July 2017 that it be submitted for formal drafting. In December 2017 the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality confirmed that it would not be taking the General Scheme for pre-legislative scrutiny.  

Part 7 of the General Scheme deals with licensing law and includes Head 54, the purpose of which is to require the relevant court, when exercising its oversight role in the licensing system, to ensure that planning permission has been granted for the intended usage of the premises.  It will prevent premises for which planning permission to operate as a restaurant has been obtained from operating as a public house if no planning permission to operate as a public house has been obtained.  The measure is also intended to ensure compliance with applicable fire safety standards for the intended use of the premises.  As such, it remains one of those provisions which remain to be introduced in the form of a Bill under the General Scheme to which the Deputy has referred.

As reflected in the Legislation Programme for the Spring Session 2019 published on 15 January 2019, working priority is currently being given by the Government and the Offices of the Attorney General and of Parliamentary Counsel to the urgent introduction of those legislative measures necessary to deal with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019.  I would therefore anticipate that the likely timeframe for the introduction of the specific measures to which the Deputy has referred will become more apparent once our immediate Brexit legislative priorities have been met and appropriate time can again be given to progressing those Bills such as the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which otherwise form part of the Government's Legislation Programme.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (109)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

109. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the development of a new Garda station for Clonmel, County Tipperary; the cost expended on this project to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3151/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, there has been unprecedented investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement and provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021; and investment of €46 million in the Garda Fleet over the same period.

In terms of investment in the Garda estate, the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is an ambitious 5-year programme based on agreed Garda priorities, which continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country, underpinned by over €60 million Exchequer funding as well as a major Public Private Partnership (PPP). There has been some good progress on the programme in 2018, as well as in other major projects in relation to the Garda estate, including in particular completion and entry into operational use of 3 new Divisional and Regional Headquarters at Wexford, Galway and Kevin Street Dublin, which collectively required funding of over €100 million. The clear goal of this investment is to address deficiencies in the Garda estate and provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff as well as the public interacting with them.

The Deputy will appreciate that the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.

The Public Private Partnership arrangement included in the Building and Refurbishment Programme is intended to deliver new stations at Clonmel, Macroom and Sligo as well as a new custody suite at the Garda Station at Anglesea Street Cork.

I am informed by the OPW and the Garda authorities that the OPW has acquired sites for the development of the new stations in Macroom and Sligo. The site in Clonmel is a portion of the former Kickham Barracks and has at all material times been in state ownership. Having previously been transferred from the Department of Defence to Tipperary County Council, I am informed by the OPW that the difficulty in relation to completion of transfer of the site from Tipperary County Council to the OPW has been resolved and that the transfer is now being finalised. On completion, ownership of all three sites will be vested in the OPW.

The Deputy raised the question of costs incurred to date in relation to Clonmel. I am informed by the OPW that conveyance of the site is being handled by the CSSO. The site is being transferred from the Council to the OPW free gratis, and in parallel a separate portion of land is being transferred free gratis from the OPW to the Council. I am further informed by the OPW that minor costs have been incurred to date for the purpose of site surveys. I am informed by An Garda Síochána that no additional costs have yet been incurred although costs will arise as the project progresses.

The Deputy will be aware that the development of PPP projects is progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). My Department and An Garda Síochána are continuing to engage with the NDFA with a view to progressing the matter further.

I can assure the Deputy that delivery of the new Garda stations at Clonmel, Macroom and Sligo through this PPP arrangement is being pursued as a priority.

Garda Confidential Recipient

Ceisteanna (110)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

110. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the appropriateness of appointing the Garda confidential recipient to conduct a section 42 inquiry arising from alleged Garda misconduct (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3203/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Inquiry to which the Deputy refers is one of five statutory Inquiries which were established in accordance with section 42 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, on 15 May 2017. These Inquiries arose out of the recommendations of the Independent Review Mechanism, in respect of complaints considered by it. 

Following consultation with the Attorney General, it was decided that it would be appropriate for these Inquiries to be conducted by retired members of the judiciary. The Attorney General  put forward nominations of appropriate persons and my predecessor, Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD, made the five appointments.   

A distinguished retired judge of the District Court was appointed to conduct the Inquiry relating to complaints made by the person referred to by the Deputy.  The former judge had previously held the position of Garda Confidential Recipient for a relatively brief period from 12th March 2014 to 14th July 2014 when the office was abolished.   

In advance of assigning a particular case to each of the former judges, assurance was sought by my Department and provided by the judges that they had no previous professional involvement with the cases to be inquired into, nor was there any other reason which could give rise to a conflict of interest. In the event that a judge felt that there could be cause for a potential conflict of interest in relation to one or more of the five cases, those cases were assigned to a different judge.

I am fully satisfied as to the appropriateness of his subsequent appointment to Inquire into the matter raised in the Deputy's question.