Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Ceisteanna (128)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

128. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of applications to the community CCTV scheme in Fingal, Dublin; the number of applicants that have been approved and came on stream; the number of applications that are under consideration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5975/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access, such as town centres, fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems.

Community CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner, and

- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded.

The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to supporting investment in CCTV systems. In furtherance of this commitment, a grant-aid scheme to assist groups in the establishment of community-based CCTV systems in their local areas is being administered by my Department. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities, can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000.

There have to date been 28 applications to the scheme. 20 applications have been approved, involving grant aid totalling more than €500,000. A further 5 applications to the scheme are currently being assessed and considered. The remaining 3 applications have been returned to the applicants concerned to enable them to supply the information necessary to qualify for grant aid.

I can confirm that no applications have been received to date relating to Fingal, Dublin.

I am keen to ensure that all interested groups, in both rural and urban areas, have the opportunity to take advantage of the availability of the grant aid scheme. If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address communitycctv@justice.ie

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (129)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

129. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the breakdown of the €28,920,000 capital allocation in the justice division within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 24 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6008/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Justice and Equality Vote Group includes the Department of Justice and Equality, An Garda Síochána, the Prison Service, the Courts Service, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Policing Authority. Vote 24 relates to the Department of Justice and Equality.

Within Vote 24, an amount of €28,570,000 of the total capital allocation of €28,920,000 has been allocated to the construction of the new Forensic Science Laboratory. Certain site enabling works have commenced to date, and the main construction of the new laboratory is due to start in 2019 with an expected completion date in 2021. The balance of the capital allocation of €350,000 relates to ICT hardware and other capital costs which will be incurred in 2019.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (130)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

130. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the breakdown of the €51,517,000 capital allocation in the Courts Service within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 22 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6009/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, following the publication by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform of the Estimates for Public Services on 9 October 2018, the capital allocation for 2019 for the Courts Service was confirmed at €51.517 million. Furthermore, there was a carryover of €2.5 million in capital expenditure from 2018 to 2019, which is allocated to Information Communication Technology (ICT) Capital, bringing the total capital allocation in 2019 to €54.017 million.

It comprises €11.42 million for maintenance and development of new and existing ICT systems, €4.88 million for courthouse capital works and €37.717 million for unitary charge payments in relation to the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin and a number of regional courthouses provided under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements.

As the Deputy will also be 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.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that €6.19 million of the €11.42 million ICT allocation for 2019 is contractually committed and this includes managed services, software licences, hardware/software support, database/network administration as well as Lotus Notes support. The carry over of €2.5 million from 2018 allows for extra expenditure on hardware and software upgrades, e-filing and other ICT projects.

A breakdown of the ICT allocation for 2019 is as follows:

ICT

Amount

Hardware and Software Upgrades

€2,160,000

New e-Filing Systems

€2,427,285

New Websites

€350,000

Justice Hub Projects

€292,581

Contractual Committed

€6,190,134

The Courts Service has also provided a list of ICT projects due to be completed in 2019 as follows:

- Firewall Replacement;

- Legal Cost Adjudicators;

- e-Filing Supreme Court;

- Courts Service Website;

- Supreme Court Website;

- Agresso Upgrade;

- New Judicial Workplace;

- Various Justice Hub Projects.

The Courts Service has advised that the allocation of €4.88 million for courthouse capital works is as follows:

- €1.38 million for repayment of Cork Loan (principal only element) - 2019 repayments to Cork City Council in respect of the refurbishment it carried out to Washington Street Courthouse in 2003;

- €0.98 million for capital lease payments;

The balance of €2.52 million will be used to progress a variety of projects, which are in various stages of development and could include, depending on the availability of resources and other variables, the following during 2019:

- Ongoing preparatory work on a dedicated Dublin Family Court complex on Hammond Lane;

- A condition survey of approximately 70 court buildings nationwide (intended to be completed in 2019) to ascertain the physical condition of each courthouse building, to identify works required to bring each building up to an acceptable standard and to determine ongoing maintenance requirements;

- Minor capital works required to enhance buildings and physical infrastructure in Dublin and nationwide;

- Site acquisitions as a prerequisite step to enable the future development/extension and refurbishment of courthouse facilities at a number of County town venues;

- Preparations for courthouse developments at Dungloe and Tuam.

The Courts Service has also advised that the contractual commitment relating to the PPP contracts for the Criminal Courts of Justice Complex in Dublin is €22.973 million and the seven Regional Courthouses is €14.744 million, amounting to €37.717m of the overall capital allocation for 2019.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (131)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

131. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the €92,340,000 capital allocation in An Garda Síochána within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 20 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project in tabular form; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6010/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Justice and Equality Vote Group includes the Department of Justice and Equality, An Garda Síochána, the Prison Service, the Courts Service, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Policing Authority. Vote 20 relates to the An Garda Síochána.

The Deputy will be aware that the resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels. As the Deputy has indicated, the overall capital allocation for 2019 is over €92 million, in addition to a further almost €3.6 million in unspent capital carried over from 2018. This total is divided across the Garda estate, the Garda fleet and Garda ICT as in the revised estimates.

It is a matter for the Commissioner to efficiently manage the resources provided to An Garda Síochána, based upon operational requirements. I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review so as to ensure their optimum use.

In that context, I am not in a position to provide a list of all projects for 2019 at this stage. Nonetheless, the following general information may be of interest to the Deputy.

A capital allocation of €10 million will be available to An Garda Síochána for the Garda fleet in 2019. The allocation across Divisions is a matters to be determined by the Commissioner, in accordance with operational needs.

A total of €61 million has been allocated to Garda ICT infrastructure and Communications for 2019. I understand that a full list of ICT projects for 2019, together with a breakdown of the roll-out of additional ICT infrastructure across the Divisions, is still being finalised within An Garda Síochána.

In terms of the Garda estate, I would recall that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation and accordingly the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the OPW.

Funding for the ongoing investment in the Garda estate is spread across the Garda and OPW votes. Insofar as concerns the Garda vote, a total of approximately €21.5 million supports relevant building programmes for 2019, together with a further almost €3.6 million in unspent capital carried over from 2018.

The Garda Building and Refurbishment programme 2016-2021 will continue to be delivered during 2019. The programme includes planned works at over 30 locations, including:

- major refurbishment of selected stations and facilities, including facilities for meeting victims of crime;

- essential remedial works to selected existing stations; and

- development of large scale Property and Exhibit Management Stores (PEMS).

The programme also includes a Cell Refurbishment Programme and provision of improved Custody Management Facilities.

Other major building projects which will continue to be progressed in relation to the Garda estate during 2019 include the ongoing refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station; development of a facility at Military Road, Dublin; and the Garda Station Pilot Re-opening Project.

The clear goal of this significant 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.

As the Deputy will be aware, the current investment in An Garda Síochána has also reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, representing an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018.

This significant current and capital investment in An Garda Síochána is 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.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (132)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

132. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the €100,000 capital allocation in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 25 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6011/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Justice and Equality Vote Group includes the Department of Justice and Equality, An Garda Síochána, the Prison Service, the Courts Service, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Policing Authority. Vote 25 relates to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).

As the Deputy is aware, IHREC is an independent statutory body, established under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act, 2014. The Act provides that the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be independent in the performance of its functions. Furthermore, the Director of the IHREC is the Accounting Officer for Vote 25 and not the Secretary General of my Department.

In accordance with my responsibility to the Oireachtas to report on the use of funds which IHREC receives, my officials contacted IHREC in relation to the Deputy's question. IHREC has indicated that an estimated €50,000 is budgeted for office refurbishment works to accommodate new staff and to improve their library facility and an additional €50,000 is earmarked for office equipment costs. These works are to be commenced and completed in 2019.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (133)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

133. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the €32,330 capital allocation in the prisons division within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 21 of the Budget 2019 Expenditure Report by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, In tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6012/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have been advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that the allocation of Capital Funding is subject to change as projects progress through various phases of their lifecycle. Below is the latest estimate for 2019.

Project

Estimated Expenditure

Commencement

Completion

Limerick New Build Prison

19,100,000

2019

2022

D Block Demolition & Military Compound Refurbishment

600,000

2017

2019

Cloverhill Windows Replacement

500,000

2019

2019

Midlands Windows Replacement

530,000

2018

2018

Final Payment 2019

Retentions due on 2018 Projects

1,000,000

n/a

2018

Final Payment 2019

IPS College

700,000

2018

2018

Final Payment 2019

Mountjoy - Training Unit Refurbishment

4,000,000

2019

2020

*ICT

1,500,000

2019

2019

Fleet Replacement

1,350,000

2019

2019

Estate Wide Works

3,050,000

2019

2019

Total Capital Funding Envelope

32,330,000

* This relates to capital expenditure allocated to use on IT Projects. There are a range of projects which will be completed during 2019 including prisoner phone system, core routers upgrade, email encryption and network hardware.

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (134)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

134. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the practice of having a large number of gardaí present at court proceedings outside the Dublin area; the reason a similar arrangement to contract out court security in the Four Courts does not apply nationally in view of the necessity to get the best possible use of Garda resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6108/19]

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 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 reason a large number of gardaí are present at court venues both within Dublin and in provincial venues is that they are generally in court to give evidence in the prosecution of criminal cases. As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution and allocation of Garda resources and, as Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. However, I understand that in relation to court security, there is a Garda presence in each courthouse location/complex. The level of Garda presence is determined by various criteria, including the size of the courthouse location/complex, the number of court sittings and the nature of the court cases, and this is done in liaison with the Courts Service.

As the Deputy will be aware the Commission on the Future of Policing published its report on 18 September 2018. The Government endorsed the Commission’s report on 18 December and accepted all 157 key recommendations, including in relation to court security arrangements, which stated 'there should be scope to relieve Gardaí of duties which do not require police powers' which was accepted in principle. I also published a high level plan, ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, which sets out the approach to implementation over the next four years of the Commission’s recommendations, which will be overseen by a dedicated programme office in the Department of the Taoiseach, as recommended in the Commission’s Report. As set out in the implementation plan, work will commence on a review of court security arrangements in Q3 2019.

Prisoner Data

Ceisteanna (135)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

135. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners sleeping on mattresses on the floor each night in all prisons during November and December 2018 and January 2019. [6138/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to inform the Deputy that the information in relation to the number of prisoners sleeping on mattresses on the floor each night in all prisons during November and December 2018 and January 2019 is available in the tables attached in the link below as provided by the Irish Prison Service.

I am advised that the attached tables reflect the number of instances of prisoners sleeping on mattresses on cell floors in Cloverhill, Wheatfield, Midlands, Castlerea, Cork and Limerick prisons each night during the period in question. I am further advised that in the remaining 6 prisons, no prisoner slept on the floor.

The Deputy will appreciate that prison Governors are required by law to accept all prisoners into their custody who have been committed to prison by the Courts. The Irish Prison Service therefore has no control over the numbers committed to custody at any given time.

My officials in the Irish Prison Service work closely with the Governors of affected prisons to alleviate capacity issues, by identifying prisoners who may be suitable for transfer to other prisons or prisoners who may be suitable for structured early release.

Decisions in relation to temporary release are considered on a case by case basis and the safety of the public is paramount when decisions are made.

Numbers of Prisoners

Garda Investigations

Question No. 137 answered with Question No. 127.

Ceisteanna (136)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

136. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 1046 of 24 July 2018, if there has been further progress concerning the need for a full and comprehensive investigation both here and in Northern Ireland into the bombing in Belturbet in December 1972 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6165/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The murder of two innocent young people in Belturbet in December 1972 was a appalling act of brutality. The perpetrators of this bombing demonstrated a callous disregard for human life which, as the Deputy has stated, claimed two lives and injured many other people.

The Deputy will be aware that this crime was methodically investigated by An Garda Síochána at the time with technical assistance from the Defence Forces and the close cooperation of the authorities in Northern Ireland. It is a source of great regret that in spite of a comprehensive investigation, it was not possible for those responsible to be prosecuted for their crimes. In the absence of justice, the bombing of Belturbet continues to inflict an intolerable suffering on the families of those who died and those who were injured.

As I previously informed the Deputy in my response to his question of 24 July 2018, the passage of 45 years and the absence of new evidence being produced has diminished the prospect of a successful prosecution in this case. Nonetheless, the Garda investigation remains open and any new information or evidence will be thoroughly investigated both in Ireland and in Northern Ireland with the assistance of the PSNI. I would call on anyone with information about this crime to bring it to the attention of the Garda authorities.

Question No. 137 answered with Question No. 127.

Garda Equipment

Ceisteanna (138)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

138. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost of the roll-out of body cameras for all gardaí; if he has received such a request from the Garda Commissioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6189/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of his identified operational demands. In keeping with these arrangements, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the provision of equipment for An Garda Síochána.

I have been informed by the Garda authorities that a working group within An Garda Síochána is considering the operational, legal and financial issues connected with body cameras and is overseeing the development of a business case on the matter. I understand that upon approval by the Garda Commissioner, any final business case will be submitted to my Department for consideration. As such, I have not, as of now, received a request from the Garda authorities for funding for body cameras for issue to operational members of An Garda Síochána.

I am informed that given the working group is still considering the various issues involved, it is not currently possible to provide an estimated cost of the roll-out of body worn cameras to all members of An Garda Síochána.

Proposed Legislation

Ceisteanna (139)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

139. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the progress on the independent commission on information retrieval Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6191/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

My Department, with close cooperation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is finalising a General Scheme for a Bill to establish the Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR). The ICIR will be a cross-border institution which will be established to receive information on troubles-related deaths and to prepare a report on the circumstances of the death for the families of the victims. The ICIR will require legislation to be enacted both in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The Deputy will be aware that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland held a public consultation between May and October last year on the draft UK legislation to establish the legacy bodies provided for in the Stormont House Agreement. I understand that over 17,000 responses to the consultation were received and these are currently being considered by the British government. There may be issues raised in the course of the consultation which the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the British Government will wish to reflect on further.

Dealing with the legacy of the troubles on this island is a difficult and complex task. The Government remains fully committed to giving effect to the measures agreed in the Stormont House Agreement. While the political impasse in Northern Ireland has delayed the roll-out of these measures, the Government will continue to work with the British Government and the parties in Northern Ireland to seek the re-establishment of the Executive.

Residency Permits

Ceisteanna (140)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

140. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in respect of the correspondence submitted to the INIS on 4 April 2017 in respect of regularisation of residency in the case of persons (details supplied); if consideration of the case is being progressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6201/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted on behalf of the persons concerned.

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of a final decision being made. I can advise you that this case is currently under active consideration and a decision on the above named will be made shortly. 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.

Leave to Remain

Ceisteanna (141)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

141. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when an application for leave to remain will be processed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6203/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

In accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 24 January 2019, to submit representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days.

The applicant’s judicial review proceedings were dismissed by the High Court, meaning that the earlier decisions of the Ministerial Decisions Unit and the then Minister stand. The applicant may now proceed to respond to the options set out in his intention to deport letter which was issued to him on 08 October 2012. Any such response should be communicated within the 15 working day period referred to in the Department's letter of 24 January 2019 which expires on 14 February 2019. It is open to the person concerned to make representations to the Minister within that period. The person concerned has not yet submitted written representations. In any event, the case of the person concerned will not be further processed until the 15 working day period referred to has elapsed.

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.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (142)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

142. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current and or expected position in regard to the determination of naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6204/19]

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 ongoing. On completion of the necessary processing the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. Should further documentation be required it will be requested from the applicant in due course.

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. 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.

Family Reunification Applications

Ceisteanna (143)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

143. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of a spousal application to join in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6205/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the application referred to will be examined shortly, and a decision will issue directly.

For applications of this type, the Deputy will know that the Policy Document on Family Reunification published in December, 2013 contains a stated business target that visa applications to join Irish citizens should be dealt with within six months of receipt of application. However, it should be noted that this is a business target and does not constitute a legal obligation. The business target reflects the detailed and often complex assessment that is required to be carried out in relation to applications for family reunification.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to INIS (visamail@justice.ie).

Leave to Remain

Ceisteanna (144)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

144. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the necessary documentation required has been received by the relevant section in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6206/19]

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 has applied for the renewal of their permission to remain which expires on 19 February 2019.

The application is under consideration at present. Such applications are examined having regard to, among other things, the relevant applicant’s compliance with the conditions attaching to their earlier permission to remain which include; that they have obeyed the laws of the State; that they have not become involved in criminal activity; that they have made every effort to gain employment and not be a burden on the State and that they have resided continuously in the State, allowing for reasonable periods of absence from the State for holidays, exceptional family circumstances or commitments outside the State arising from business or employment carried on within the State. Such factors will also be considered in the context of the case of the person concerned.

Once a decision has been made on this application – to renew or to refuse to renew their permission to remain – this decision will be conveyed in writing.

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.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (145)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

145. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current and expected position in regard to an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); if the required documentation has been received by the relevant section; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6209/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that an application for a certificate of naturalisation has been received from the person referred to by the Deputy. This application has entered the final stage of processing. A letter has issued to the person concerned requesting them to submit the prescribed certificate fee and other documents, a reply to which has been received. Subject to no adverse information arising in the meantime, an invitation will be issued to attend a citizenship ceremony at which the person concerned will make a declaration of fidelity to the Irish Nation and loyalty to the State and receive his certificate of naturalisation.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (146)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

146. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if updated stamp 4 evidence has issued to the relevant section in the case of a person (details supplied); when the application for naturalisation is likely to be processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6212/19]

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, who currently has permission to reside in the State until 26 November 2019 is ongoing. On completion of the necessary processing the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. Should further documentation be required it will be requested from the applicant in due course.

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. 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.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (147)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

147. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an extension of time will be provided in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6215/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that it is unclear from the details supplied as to exact nature of the delay in the submission of the required documentation by the person concerned. If the Deputy is in a position to provide additional details, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service will be happy to consider same.

I am sure that the Deputy would agree that in the interests of fairness and transparency in application processes, all applicants must be treated in a similar manner and accordingly, save in the most exceptional of circumstances, extensions of time to submit required documentation are not permitted.

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.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (148)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

148. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the breakdown of the €251,946,000 capital allocation in jobs and enterprise development within her Department for 2019 by specific project; the projects that will be commenced and completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6042/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The following table sets out the breakdown of the capital allocation of €251,946,000 across my Department’s Jobs & Enterprise Development programme.

REV 2019

€,000

Capital

A - JOBS AND ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

251,946

A.4 - INTERTRADE IRELAND

6,695

A.5 - IDA IRELAND

142,000

2. IDA Ireland - Grants to Industry

95,000

3. IDA Ireland - Grant for Buildings

47,000

A.6 - NSAI - G-I-A FOR ADMIN & GEN EXPS

500

A.7 - ENTERPRISE IRELAND

65,750

2. Enterprise Ireland - Grant to Industry

63,250

3. Enterprise Ireland - Grant for Capital Expenditure

2,500

A.8 - LOCAL ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT

27,500

A.9 - TEMPORARY PARTIAL CREDIT GUARANTEE SCHEME

500

A.10 - MATCHING FUNDING FOR INTERREG

3,000

A.14 - FUTURE GROWTH LOAN SCHEME

6,000

A.15 - HUMANITARIAN RELIEF SCHEME

1

As the Deputy will be aware, much of the Department’s Capital expenditure is by way of multi-annual programmes and commitments. The Deputy will appreciate that capital supports provided through the Department’s Jobs and Enterprise Development Programme are focused on developing and promoting enterprise. These supports are mainly by way of grants to our Enterprise Agencies such as the IDA to enable them to attract Foreign Direct Investment and to EI, the Local Enterprise Offices and Intertrade Ireland to enable them to support local indigenous and cross border businesses to start, scale and export. My Department’s Jobs and Enterprise Development Programme also supports a number of specific initiatives in the area of access to finance for SMEs and other indigenous businesses.

The 2019 capital allocation to the Department’s Enterprise Development Programme represents an increase of 10.9% on the 2018 allocation of €227.195m for this Programme. The additional €24.75m in capital monies secured for the Department’s Programme in 2019 will ensure for;

- the provision of a further €6m in capital funding to support the continued roll out of the new Future Growth Loan scheme which addresses a specific lack of availability of finance to businesses, particularly SMEs, of loan terms longer than 5-7 years

- €1m in additional funding for Intertrade Ireland which will enable it to meet the growing demand from businesses in border regions in its existing programmes, and develop initiatives and support firms affected by Brexit;

- €5m in additional funding to the Local Enterprise Offices to enable them to expand the range of supports to indigenous enterprises across the various sectors, including through the provision of a new customs training programme for all businesses, exporters and importers, to be rolled out in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland;

- €10m in additional funding for the IDA's Regional Property Programme;

- €2.75m in funding to support a Regional Innovation and Technology Clusters Programme targeted at SMEs thereby building enterprise capability across the regions

The provision of this additional capital funding demonstrates the Government’s determination to continue to ensure that the Department’s Enterprise Agencies has the necessary capital resources to enable them to support businesses in their responses to Brexit including support them in delivering jobs and enterprise development in all regions of the country in these challenging times.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (149)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

149. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the breakdown of the €368,054,000 capital allocation in innovation within her Department for 2019 by specific project; the projects that will be commenced and completed in 2019, in tabular from; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6043/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The table below sets out the breakdown of the capital allocation of €368,054,000 across my Department’s Innovation programme.

REV 2019

€,000

Capital

B - INNOVATION

368,054

B.4 - SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

300,250

Enterprise Ireland

122,000

Science Foundation Ireland

172,750

Tyndall Institute

5,500

B.5 - PROGRAMME FOR RESEARCH IN THIRD LEVEL INSTITUTIONS

24,300

PRTLI Cycle 5

1,878

SFI PhD Programme

15,500

E-Journals

5,700

ICHEC (Inc. PRACE 2.0)

1,222

B.6 - SUBSCRIPTIONS TO INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS, ETC.

23,504

European Molecular Biology Conf

202

European Molecular Biology Laboratory

1,248

EUREKA - Involved in S&T Research

33

COST

11

European Space Agency

18,313

CECAM

30

LOFAR

91

ELIXIR

76

ESO (European Southern Observatory)

3,500

B.9 - DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES INNOVATION FUND

20,000

The Deputy will appreciate that much of the capital supports provided through the Department’s Innovation Programme are by way of grants to develop and promote Innovation including supporting research focused bodies such as SFI, Enterprise Ireland, Tyndall Institute, supporting Ireland’s membership of International Research Organisations such as the European Space Agency, the European Southern Observatory and other Research focused Agencies.

The 2019 capital allocation to the Department’s Innovation Programme represents an increase of 12.28% on the 2018 allocation of €327.8m. The additional €40 m in capital monies secured for the Innovation Programme in 2019 will support a number of new initiatives, including

- The provision of €20million to roll out First Phase of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund; The provision of an additional €2.75million in capital monies to meet the full year cost of European Southern Observatory membership;

- The provision of an additional €10million in capital funding to meet the full year cost of the new PhD/Research Masters Programme;

- The provision of an additional €500k in capital funding to further support our membership of the European Space Agency

- The provision of additional €5million in capital to support the renewal of six SFI world-class research centres,

- The provision of an additional €1million in capital for SFI’s Strategic Partnership Programme;

- The provision of an additional €1million in funding to support the development of the Tyndall Institute

The provision of this additional capital funding demonstrates the Government’s commitment to supporting business to enable them to innovate and compete in a global marketplace as envisaged in Innovation 2020 the Government’s national strategy for Research & Development.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (150)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

150. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the entitlements of a third year apprentice in respect of travel expenses in cases in which the apprentice is using their own vehicle in circumstances (details supplied). [6085/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Statutory responsibility for the management of the National Apprenticeship System in Ireland falls under the remit of SOLAS, an agency under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills.

I understand that craft ?apprentices get paid during their training. The rates of pay can vary, depending on the apprenticeship and on the employer. Furthermore, a craft apprentice allowance is paid during off-the-job training.

In the context of my own Department, the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 provides the legal basis for Sectoral Employment Orders (SEOs) which set out the terms and conditions for workers in the economic sector to which they apply. Currently, there are SEOs in place in the construction and mechanical engineering sectors. Both of these SEOs set out the terms and conditions of employment for the relevant sector and specifically set out the rates of pay applicable to apprentices in the sector.

The SEOs currently in place are based on recommendations made by the Labour Court following a statutorily prescribed process which includes a public consultation.

While I understand that consideration was given to the inclusion of provisions relating to travel in the construction SEO, as there was no consensus among the parties on the matter, the Labour Court did not recommend its inclusion in the Order. However, the Court did note that some workers in the construction sector may have had contracts of employment that provide for the payment of travel time and that these contractual arrangements should not be affected by the terms of the Court’s recommendation and should remain in place and continue to apply as before.

In the broader context of apprenticeships, the payment of travel expenses remains a contractual matter between employer and employee.

IDA Ireland Portfolio

Ceisteanna (151)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

151. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if a facility will become available to persons (details supplied) in County Kerry and nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6235/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

I have asked IDA Ireland to bring the availability of this property to the attention of any of its clients who may be interested in investing in County Kerry.

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (152, 153)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

152. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health the number of persons on the waiting list for residential care for adults with an intellectual disability in County Wexford in each of the years 2012 to 2018, by county in tabular form. [5970/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

153. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Health the criteria for determining priority and highest need when allocating residential care places for adults with a disability. [5971/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 and 153 together.

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives.

This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

As the Deputy's questions relates to service matters, I have arranged for the questions to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.