School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (140)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

140. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the definition of reasonable accommodation for a teacher who is diagnosed with a disability. [14467/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The provisions regarding reasonable accommodation for teachers are set out in paragraph 16, Chapter 3 of the Sick Leave Scheme contained in the ‘Terms and Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools’. This paragraph states:-

“The Employment Equality Acts require employers to take reasonable steps to accommodate the needs of employees and prospective employees with disabilities. Reasonable accommodation typically involves some modification to the tasks/structure of a job or workplace environment, which would enable such an employee to fully perform their work role and enjoy equal employment opportunities. An employer will make reasonable adjustments for teachers who have a disability, or who have acquired a disability, to have reasonable accommodation made to facilitate their return to work. However, employers are not obliged to provide special treatment or facilities if the cost of doing so is excessive or disproportionate. The employer should explore in conjunction with the teacher and the OHS any appropriate enabling options, for example: (these examples are not exhaustive):

- Making reasonable adjustments to the school building and/or working space

- Acquiring relevant equipment or modifying existing equipment

- Partial Return to Work as detailed below”

Under Section 24 of the Education Act, 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment Act, 2012) the employer is the Education and Training Board (ETB) for vocational schools/community colleges, community national schools and the Board of Management/Manager in the case of primary (excluding community national schools) voluntary secondary, community and comprehensive schools.

School Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (141)

James Browne

Ceist:

141. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to a 1967 transportation agreement (details supplied) facilitating a specific route serving an open school and a closed school; if he has evidence of the agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14510/19]

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.

School Transport services under the 'Closed School Rule' had their origin in the amalgamation of primary schools in the late 1960's. It was the practice in the case of such amalgamations to provide transport to the amalgamated schools and it is likely that this was conveyed as part of the overall process. Given that there were in excess of 800 schools covered by such amalgamations, and given the time removed since the date of many of these amalgamations, it is not feasible to source individual school records.

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.

In general, children at primary level are now eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 3.2 kilometres from and are attending their nearest national school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

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

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (142, 143, 144)

Hildegarde Naughton

Ceist:

142. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of additional gardaí that have been allocated to the western division in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14306/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Hildegarde Naughton

Ceist:

143. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí that have been allocated to the western division directly from Templemore Training College in each of years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14307/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Hildegarde Naughton

Ceist:

144. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to the western division as of 20 March 2019 compared with 20 March 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14308/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 to 144, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of the Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard.

Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I am informed by the Commissioner that the Cohort model of resource allocation is currently utilised for the general allocation of personnel within An Garda Síochána, including newly attested probationer Gardaí from the Garda College. The allocation and transfer of Garda Personnel using the Cohort Model is determined by a number of factors, including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, area, policing arrangements, operational strategies and transfers applications, including welfare issues. When allocations are taking place, comprehensive consultation is carried out with Local Management during which all factors are taken into consideration. Where a deficiency in resources is identified the matter is considered fully and addressed accordingly.

I am advised by the Commissioner that the Garda strength of the Galway Division on 31 January 2019, the latest date for which figures are readily available was 606. There are also 28 Garda Reserves and 77 Garda civilian staff attached to the Galway Division. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,600 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, of whom 41 members have been assigned to the Galway Division.

In relation to the allocation of newly attested Gardaí, it is important to keep in mind that they have a further 16 months of practical and class-room based training to complete in order to receive their BA in Applied Policing. To ensure that they are properly supported and supervised and have opportunities to gain the breadth of policing experience required, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme. While not all Garda Stations are training stations, it is important to note that the allocation of probationer Gardaí to a Divisional training station facilitates the reassignment of Gardaí to other stations within the Division, if required, by the Divisional Officer.

The Government remains committed to the recruitment of additional Gardaí and accordingly has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda Civilian Staff. This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019.

I believe that the injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions.

The Garda strength of the Galway Division from 2009 to 31 January 2019 as provided by the Garda Commissioner is available on my Department’s website through the link below.

Garda Numbers 2009-2019

The information requested by the Deputy regarding the number of newly attested Gardaí who were assigned to the Galway Division since recruitment recommenced, as provided by the Garda Commissioner, is available on my Department’s website through the link below.

Probationer Gardaí 2014-2019

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link below:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures

Money Laundering

Ceisteanna (145)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

145. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of suspicious transaction reports that have been made to his Department on an annual basis in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019; his role in ensuring high-cash businesses comply with the Criminal Justice Act 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14317/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Suspicious Transaction Reports

My Department has no role in relation to the submission of Suspicious Transaction Reports, which are made to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of An Garda Síochána and to the Revenue Commissioners, by designated entities under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (as amended). Up-to-date figures as to the numbers of STRs submitted to the FIU have been requested from An Garda Síochána and I will provide them to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Compliance with the Criminal Justice Act 2013

The Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit in the Department of Justice and Equality is responsible for ensuring compliance with certain elements of national Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing legislation.

The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2013 and the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2018, consolidated Ireland’s existing anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws and transposed the Third and Fourth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directives.

The Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit (AMLCU) has been established within the Department to administer the functions of the competent authority under the Acts. A number of competent authorities are designated by the Acts, with responsibility for specific sub-sectors of businesses designated under the Acts. The AMLCU is the competent authority for

- high value cash traders such as car sales and jewellers etc

- trust or company service providers

- private members gaming clubs

- unregulated accountants/tax advisers.

The AMLCU pursues a risk-based approach to supervision. This means that, following inspections, entities/businesses are assigned one of four risk ratings (low, medium-low, medium-high or high) in accordance with a scoring template containing a range of questions. This rating, along with information on compliance levels within the different sectors, forms the basis for the prioritisation of inspections on an annual basis.

Compliance monitoring inspections are carried out by AMLCU on an ongoing basis. The businesses involved include high value cash traders such as car sales and jewellers etc., trust or company service providers, private members gaming clubs and unregulated accountants/tax advisers.

Many other agencies have a significant role in the issue of combatting money-laundering; these include the Department of Finance, Central Bank, Revenue Commissioners, certain professional regulatory bodies and An Garda Síochána.

The AMLCU continues to hold industry outreach events to inform industry stakeholders of their obligations to comply and how to do so. These events are welcomed and well attended by industry representatives. The most recent event was held on March 22nd and was specifically targeted at high value goods dealers.

Money Laundering

Ceisteanna (146)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

146. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there is a formal working group between the Central Bank, the Revenue Commissioners and his Department on sharing important information that can be obtained from suspicious transaction reports; the frequency with which meetings are held between the Central Bank, the Revenue Commissioners and his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14318/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (as amended), designated entities are required to file Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) to the Financial Intelligence Unit of An Garda Síochána and to the Revenue Commissioners.

The Central Bank of Ireland and the Department of Justice and Equality have no direct role in relation to STRs.

No formal working group of the type described by the Deputy exists. However, both the Central Bank of Ireland and the Department of Justice and Equality, along with the other State agencies tasked with combatting money laundering, are members of the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Committee (AMLSC), a multi-agency body chaired by the Department of Finance.

The AMLSC’s membership includes the Central Bank, the Department of Justice and Equality, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) within the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), as well as a number of other relevant Departments and bodies.

The AMLSC meets regularly, with its meetings aligned to the working schedule of the Financial Action Task Force.

Residency Permits

Ceisteanna (147)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

147. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of an application for leave to remain in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14330/19]

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 person 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.

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 (148)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

148. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application for citizenship by a person (details supplied); and when a decision will issue in respect of same. [14362/19]

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.

Garda Vetting Applications

Ceisteanna (149)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

149. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14366/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will understand, given the nature of the functions of the Irish Prison Service, it is necessary for checks, secondary and in addition to vetting, to be carried out on persons considered for employment.

These checks can take time to complete for a variety of reasons, depending on the individual case. However, I can assure the Deputy that every effort is made to expedite this process to the greatest extent possible and to ensure that there is no undue delay arising.

I have been in contact with the Garda Authorities to make the necessary enquiries in respect of the individual case the Deputy has raised and I will correspond directly with the Deputy when they have been completed.

Missing Persons

Ceisteanna (150)

James Browne

Ceist:

150. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the use of sniffer dogs when searching for missing persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14374/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The use of sniffer dogs, in relation to the search for missing persons, is a matter for An Garda Síochána. However, to be of assistance, I have sought a report into the matter.

I will contact the Deputy directly on receipt of said report.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (151)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

151. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) applied for and was granted citizenship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14384/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that they have no record of an application for naturalisation under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, from the person referred to by the Deputy.

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.

Crime Data

Ceisteanna (152, 153)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

152. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons arrested for cannabis-related offences in each of the years 2013 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14385/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

153. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cannabis grow house seizures in each of the years 2013 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14386/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

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

As the Deputy will appreciate, data of this nature is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the information he requested is not available in the manner specified as the offences are not categorised in such a manner on PULSE.

Data on drugs generally is provided in PULSE incidents recorded by An Garda Síochána. Table 1 (2013 - 2018) attached relates to Drug Offences, including Simple Possession; Possession of Drugs for Sale or Supply; Importation of Drugs and Cultivation or Manufacture of Drugs. Table 2 (2013 -2018) attached relates to Cultivation or Manufacture of Drugs Offences.

I can inform the Deputy that intelligence-led operations have resulted in the recent discovery by An Garda Síochána of a number of grow houses, including cannabis material with an estimated street value of €235,000 in Carlow; and material with an estimated street value of €40,000 in Louth.

Table 1 - PULSE incidents recorded* for Drug Offences including Simple Possession; Possession of Drugs for Sale or Supply; Importation of Drugs and Cultivation or Manufacture of Drugs for the past six years, from 2013 to 2018

Year

Number of Individuals

2013

12,695

2014

12,683

2015

12,221

2016

13,257

2017

14,261

2018

15,462

Table 2 - PULSE incidents recorded* for Cultivation or Manufacture of Drugs Offences for the past six years, from 2013 to 2018

Year

Number of Incidents

2013

419

2014

360

2015

251

2016

272

2017

265

2018

211

*Information is based on operational data as of 26 March 2019, and is provisional and subject to change.

Crime Data

Ceisteanna (154, 155)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

154. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons imprisoned for cannabis-related offences in each of the years 2013 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14387/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

155. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons with no previous convictions that were imprisoned for cannabis-related offences in each of the years 2013 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14388/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 154 and 155 together.

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that it is not possible to provide statistics relating specifically to cannabis related offences as the manner in which records are collated does not allow them to differentiate between the type of substance the offence relates to.

The Irish Prison Service have further advised that it does not record data in the format requested in relation to the number of persons with no previous convictions that were imprisoned for cannabis related offences.