Court Accommodation Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (336)

John Brady

Ceist:

336. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of refurbishment works at Wicklow courthouse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23629/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be 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, a number of developments in relation to Courts Service accommodation requirements are outlined in the Government's recent National Development Plan 2018 - 2027. They include:

- Further new or refurbished courthouses in regional cities and county towns where facilities remain substandard (including Galway City, Wicklow Town, Portlaoise, Tralee and Roscommon) and further provincial locations such as An Clochan Liath (Dungloe) to serve as the Gaeltacht court for the region, and Tuam;

- Regional Family Law Centres;

- A nationwide condition survey of all court buildings in the estate will be undertaken to determine their condition and identify works required in relation to any issues identified and meet ongoing maintenance requirements.

The precise allocation and timing of additional funding over the entire ten year period remains to be fully determined. It will be dependent on the outcome of further detailed planning and analysis of costs which will determine prioritisation of projects from a timing and budgetary perspective.

Furthermore, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that, as part of its provincial capital building programme, one of the objectives is to extend and refurbish the courthouse in Wicklow town to provide a significantly larger 4 courtroom venue together with a range of facilities for staff, the judiciary, persons in custody, jurors, legal professionals, other state agencies and members of the public.

The Courts Service has indicated that while detailed planning or design work has not yet commenced, it has purchased a number of adjacent properties, some of which will be demolished in order to create a larger site capable of accommodating a courthouse building on the scale envisaged. Assistance has been sought from the OPW in this regard and it is hoped that demolition work will proceed in 2019.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Ceisteanna (337)

James Lawless

Ceist:

337. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the issues regarding the provision of CCTV in local communities with regard to adherence to the GDPR rules; the steps he has taken in examining this issue; the advice available to local community groups in the provision of CCTV in towns and villages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23631/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access 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 prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also undertake to act as data controller and

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes and these key legal requirements have not changed since 2006.

In terms of the question of data protection, the Deputy may wish to be aware that on 29 November 2018, the Data Protection Commission issued a note (available on its website www.dataprotection.ie) confirming that there is a legal basis for community-based CCTV and that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does not introduce new barriers in that regard. In particular, the Office in its note confirmed that:

“Data protection legislation does not stand in the way of the roll-out of Community-based CCTV schemes that have been authorised by the Garda Commissioner. Once the local authority in the administrative area concerned is willing to take on and deliver on its responsibilities as a data controller for the schemes concerned, there is no legal impediment under data protection legislation to the scheme commencing.”

The Data Protection Commission recently also circulated broad guidance for data controllers on CCTV (also available at www.dataprotection.ie ) which I am confident will be of interest and assistance to all stakeholders and in particular, to local authorities.

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.

In establishing the grant-aid scheme, the Department consulted broadly, including with the Office of the Data Protection Commission, An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Attorney General and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). My Department continues to engage with all relevant parties, including the LGMA, reflecting the reality that all stakeholders have the same objective – safer and more secure communities.

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. 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

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (338)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

338. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in the Kildare division. [23657/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. 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.

The Garda strength of the Kildare Division from 2009 to 30 April 2019 , as provided by the Commissioner, is available on my Department’s website through the following link:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/003_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_2006_to_April_%202019.xlsx/Files/003_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_2006_to_April_%202019.xlsx

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the following link: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

Ceisteanna (339)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

339. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to commission existing CCTV cameras on motorways for the detection and prevention of crime. [23658/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €1.76 billion for 2019. 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.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands. I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use.

CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access fall into two distinct but complementary categories, namely Garda CCTV systems and community-based CCTV systems. Neither may be established without authorisation by the Garda Commissioner, among other requirements.

Garda CCTV systems are established and maintained in areas or at locations decided upon by the Garda authorities.

Community based CCTV schemes are 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 prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller, and

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

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 at key locations along the road network and in urban centres. This commitment is being progressed in a number of ways, including in particular through a grant-aid scheme administered by my Department to support local communities meeting the statutory requirements for community based CCTV and who wish to install systems in their localities, including access roads to their localities where necessary and appropriate.

Eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum grant of €40,000. Full details are available to download from my Department's website www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups to apply for this funding through a dedicated email address communitycctv@justice.ie I encourage any interested groups to make contact with my officials for further assistance.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the majority of the CCTV systems on the motorways are controlled by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and operated on their behalf by the Motorway Traffic Control Centre. More generally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government also recognises that Gardaí must have the modern technology and resources necessary to detect and investigate crimes, and to prevent loss and harm to citizens and their property on a 24/7 basis. In support of this commitment, €342 million is being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to utilise appropriate technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community and €46 million is being invested in the Garda fleet over the same period, to ensure that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

I can also confirm that Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology is fitted in a number of official Garda vehicles which are allocated around the country and used on a daily basis to assist in the prevention and detection of crime, particularly on our roads network.

Domestic Violence

Ceisteanna (340)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

340. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost of domestic violence to the economy per year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23659/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, last November the Government approved a new national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland and I am pleased to say that the Central Statistics Office have since begun the work on the large scale survey, called the Sexual Violence Survey (SVS), which will look in detail at the experience of sexual violence and abuse for both women and men in Ireland, with repeat surveys every decade which will take up to five years to complete including a full first year of technical research, design, specialist training and preparation this year. The preparatory phase will also involve a stakeholder consultation process, consideration of best international practice and the conducting of a full pilot survey in the field in 2020. 

Following the conclusion of the survey the state will have robust data on the prevalence of sexual violence, which in some cases will relate to such violence which occurs in a  domestic setting. This will inform Government policy and provide some insight into the cost of such violence.

Internationally, the Deputy may be aware that the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has completed a study to identify and recommend appropriate methodologies to measure the cost of gender-based and intimate partner violence in EU-28 Member States. Three main types of costs were identified: lost economic output, provision of services, including health, legal, social and specialised; and the personal (physical and emotional) impact on the victim. The report is structured around these types of costs, providing accounts of the investigations into the methodologies in each of these fields found in the relevant literature.

The EIGE report concluded that its detailed case study would not be easy to replicate in other countries as the data requirements are high. To illustrate the difficulties involved, a Council of Europe Study examined a range of estimates of the cost of gender-based violence. Depending on data and methods used, the lowest cost estimate was just 1.6% of the highest cost estimate, rendering any estimation meaningless in the context of such a broad divergence. I am informed that EIGE concluded that there is currently insufficient available data to robustly cost the impact of intimate partner violence separately for each EU-28 Member State.

My Department has engaged with various EIGE meetings in relation to administrative data on gender-based violence and will continue to do so as practice develops.

Crime Data

Ceisteanna (341)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

341. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of offences committed by perpetrators of all ages while on bail in each of the past five years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23661/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to this matter, and I will contact the Deputy directly once the information is to hand.

Refugee Status

Ceisteanna (342)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

342. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has the power to revoke the refugee status of a person if the person engages in serious criminal behaviour and has been convicted of certain offences before the courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23678/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the power to revoke a declaration of refugee status is dependent on the specific provisions of the legislation under which the status was initially granted.

Where refugee status was granted under the former Refugee Act 1996, status may be revoked in accordance with Section 21(1)(g)of that Act where the persons presence in the State poses a threat to national security or public policy.

The law has been strengthened somewhat in this area since the introduction of the International Protection Act 2015. Section 52 of the International Protection Act  2015 provides for the revocation of refugee status by the Minister in a number of circumstances.

Specifically, section 52(2) of the Act provides that the Minister "...may, in accordance with this section, revoke a refugee declaration given to a person if satisfied that -

(a) there are reasonable grounds for regarding him or her as a danger to the security of the State, or

(b) the person, having been by a final judgment convicted, whether in the State or not, of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of the State.". 

This legal provision is invoked from time to time.  In consideration of cases for revocation and continuation of their immigration permission to be in the State, detailed consideration must be given to a wide range of factors including the nature of offences, other ties to the State,  non-refoulement considerations as well as jurisprudence in this area.   

It should be noted that the legal principle of non-refoulement means a state cannot expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his or her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The State’s non-refoulement obligations arise under the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

Prisoner Data

Ceisteanna (343, 344, 345)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

343. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of men and women, respectively, who were granted temporary release in 2019 in terms of days out by prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23691/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

344. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of men and women, respectively, who were granted full temporary release in 2019 by prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23692/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

345. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of sentence left to serve when full temporary release was granted for male and female prisoners in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23693/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 343 to 345, inclusive, together.

I can advise the Deputy that in relation to Temporary Release, decisions are considered on a case by case basis and the safety of the public is paramount when those decisions are made. Before a final determination is made a number of additional factors are taken into account including:

- the nature and gravity of the offence to which the sentence being served by the person relates

- the sentence concerned and any recommendation made by the Court in relation to the sentence imposed

- the person's previous criminal record

- the risk that the person might commit an offence during any period of temporary release

- the risk of the person failing to comply with any of the conditions of temporary release

The Irish Prison Service has provided the information set out in the tables.

The table outlines the number of male and female prisoners who were approved am/pm temporary release from prison between the period 1 January to 31 May 2019. I can inform the Deputy that prisoners are approved temporary release for education, training, work, compassionate and re-socialisation reasons.

Establishment

Female

Male

Total

Arbour Hill Prison

N/A

16

16

Castlerea Prison

N/A

1

1

Cloverhill Remand Prison

N/A

2

2

Cork Prison

N/A

4

4

Limerick Prison

0

7

7

Loughan House

N/A

92

92

Midlands Prison

N/A

7

7

Mountjoy Prison (Female)

26

0

26

Mountjoy Prison (Male)

N/A

51

51

Portlaoise Prison

N/A

10

10

Shelton Abbey

N/A

125

125

Wheatfield Place of Detention

N/A

11

11

Total

26

326

352

The following table outlines the number of male and female prisoners who were approved Full Temporary Release between the period 1 January to 31 May 2019.

Establishment

Female

Male

Total

Arbour Hill Prison

N/A

9

9

Castlerea Prison

N/A

88

88

Cloverhill Remand Prison

N/A

8

8

Cork Prison

N/A

124

124

Limerick Prison

41

91

132

Loughan House

N/A

9

9

Midlands Prison

N/A

150

150

Mountjoy Prison (Female)

119

n/a

119

Mountjoy Prison (Male)

N/A

292

292

Portlaoise Prison

N/A

21

21

Shelton Abbey

N/A

11

11

Wheatfield Place of Detention

N/A

104

104

Total

160

907

1,067

The following tables outline the number of male and female prisoners who were approved Full Temporary Release between the period 1 January to 31 May 2019 and the amount of time left to serve when Full Temporary release was granted.

Establishment

0 - 10 days

11 - 20 days

21 - 30 days

31 days +

Total

Arbour Hill Prison

9

0

0

0

9

Castlerea Prison

70

8

8

2

88

Cloverhill Prison

4

1

0

3

8

Cork Prison

106

17

1

0

124

Limerick Prison

74

9

5

3

91

Loughan House

4

4

1

0

9

Midlands Prison

134

10

4

2

150

Mountjoy Prison ( Male )

236

28

16

12

292

Portlaoise Prison

19

2

0

0

21

Shelton Abbey

7

3

1

0

11

Wheatfield

97

4

1

2

104

Total

760

86

37

24

907

Establishment

0 - 10 days

11 - 20 days

21 - 30 days

31 days +

Total

Limerick Prison (Female)

31

3

3

4

41

Mountjoy Prison (Female)

93

14

7

5

119

Total

124

17

10

9

160

The statistics provided in relation to the number of prisoners approved Full Temporary Release includes prisoners who were serving less than 3 months for the non-payment of fines and prisoners who were approved Full Temporary Release in order to facilitate their removal from the State.

Garda Vetting

Ceisteanna (346)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

346. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the dispute between Tusla and the Garda National Vetting Bureau which is causing delays in persons obtaining Garda clearance; the reason for the dispute; when it is likely to be resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23718/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Vetting is carried out by An Garda Síochána primarily in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012-2016. 

I am informed that there are no backlogs or delays in Garda vetting. The current turnaround time for applications submitted via the evetting system is five working days for 80% of applications received.

I am aware that the Garda National Vetting Bureau engages on an ongoing basis with relevant organisations for the purposes of the Act with regard to the operation of the provisions of the Act.

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that they are not aware of any dispute between the Garda National Vetting Bureau and Tusla.

Forensic Science Ireland Laboratory

Ceisteanna (347)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

347. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the new headquarters for Forensic Science Ireland. [23729/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can assure the Deputy that I, and the Government, are fully committed to the delivery of the new Forensic Science Laboratory at the Backweston campus, Co Kildare. The new laboratory will provide for a purpose built facility, achieving best practice standards for evidence processing, analysis and storage. The project is being managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) on behalf of the Department of Justice and Equality.

The OPW has informed the Department that the main construction tender will be received in June 2019, with the return date for the specialist sub-contractor tender scheduled for August 2019. Thereafter, an assessment of these tenders by OPW will begin, with the main contractor and specialist sub-contractors due to be appointed as soon as possible. Subject to approval of the contract, it is expected that works on the site will commence later this year, with substantial construction work carried out over the next two years or so, and the new laboratory to be ready in late 2021/early 2022.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (348)

Seán Barrett

Ceist:

348. Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce legislation to legalise premarital agreements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23736/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the institution of marriage is afforded constitutional protection under Article 41.3.1º of the Constitution. Under Article 41.3.2º, a court may grant a divorce only where specific conditions have been met. The Thirty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Dissolution of Marriage) Bill 2016, which was approved by the people in a referendum on 24 May 2019, provides for the amendment of Article 41.3.2º of the Constitution to remove the minimum living apart period for spouses seeking a divorce and for the amendment of Article 41.3.3º which deals with the recognition of foreign divorces. The existing provisions in Article 41.3.2º of the Constitution which require that there be no prospect of reconciliation and that “such provision as the court considers proper having regard to the circumstances exists or will be made for the spouses and any children of either or both of them and any other person prescribed by law” will continue in force in the Constitution.

Pre-nuptial agreements are related to the concept of “proper provision”. Currently, pre-nuptial agreements have no basis in law in Ireland and consequently, they are not strictly binding. However, couples are free to enter pre-nuptial agreements and such agreements can serve as guides for the court in divorce cases. If a pre-nuptial agreement makes “proper provision” for each spouse, it is more likely to be persuasive on the court.

The Law Reform Commission has included in its new Fifth Programme of Law Reform an examination of the “proper provision” requirement for divorce. The Law Reform Commission has indicated that it will “consider to what extent any further guidance may be provided in order to ensure a consistency in the approach taken to the exercise of this judicial discretion, in particular to assist spouses to reach settlements and resolve disputes more efficiently and at lower financial or cost.” The outcome of the Law Reform Commission’s examination of this issue will inform future proposals for any legislative reform in this area and I have no plans in the meantime to introduce legislation to legalise pre-nuptial agreements.

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (349)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

349. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a reference number will be issued to an applicant for naturalisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23753/19]

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 was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 2 April 2019. An application reference number has been assigned to the file.

Processing of this application is on-going in order for a determination to be made as to the eligibility of the application. INIS will be in touch with the applicant in this regard in due course and the relevant application number will be supplied as part of the correspondence.

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 Deployment

Ceisteanna (350)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

350. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí attached to each divisional burglary response unit in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [23770/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. 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 have been advised by the Commissioner that An Garda Síochána does not hold personnel strength figures for ‘divisional burglary response units’ in the format requested.

The deployment of resources in each Garda Division is the responsibility of the corresponding Divisional Officer and responds to operational and administrative exigencies. The allocation of such resources is dynamic and is not recorded in a role-based fashion.

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the following link: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures

Garda Equipment

Ceisteanna (351)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

351. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost of ensuring all gardaí have a secure encoded USB device for compiling evidence. [23771/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, there has been an unprecedented level of 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 total, €342 million is being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to support Garda reform and enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies.

As the Deputy will appreciate, decisions in relation to the allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources are matters for the Garda Commissioner. As Minister, I have no direct role in that regard.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda policy strictly limits the use of encrypted USB storage devices. These devices are only to be utilised in unavoidable situations in which data needs to be securely transferred. I am further informed that in certain instances, such as the gathering of CCTV footage from a business premises, unencrypted devices may have to be used due to particular systems being unable to read encrypted devices. I further understand that Garda policy requires this data to be transferred to a secure medium as soon as practicable.

Garda ICT also has a USB management solution in place to assist with this process. The Deputy may wish to be aware that all Garda personnel are also provided with centralised secure storage for files on Garda systems.

In keeping with this policy, I am informed by the Garda authorities that encrypted USB storage devices are allocated to Garda personnel on application and where approved as necessary to meet operational requirements.

I am informed that Garda ICT utilise Government frameworks for the purchase of encrypted USB devices with an approximate cost of between €12 and €150, depending on the capacity of the device.