Court Accommodation Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (352)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

352. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the capital project at Roscommon courthouse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23775/19]

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 inquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that in 2018 the Courts Service acquired full ownership of the historic Roscommon Courthouse from Roscommon County Council. The Courts Service intends to refurbish the courthouse and to use the space previously occupied by the council to provide additional facilities for court users.

Witness Protection Programme

Ceisteanna (353)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

353. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 26 of 16 May 2019, if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the information (details supplied) was previously sent to his office by email on 1 March 2019; and if he will follow up this matter with An Garda Síochána and ensure that contact is made with the person. [23794/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I understand that the Deputy's Office contacted my Department with the further details sought in relation to this case. I have arranged for these details to be brought to the attention of the Garda authorities and I will contact the Deputy directly when I receive further information.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (354)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

354. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the determination of applications pursuant to section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, in the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23798/19]

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 final decisions 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.

Residency Permits

Ceisteanna (355)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

355. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date in the determination of an application for residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23801/19]

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 was issued with a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) in light of the fact that they had no valid basis to remain in the State. This notification advised the person concerned of the options open to them as a result. I am advised that the person concerned has not responded to this notification. I am also advised that the person concerned has no application pending with the INIS since October, 2018.

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of 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 (356)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

356. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current and expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23837/19]

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 Investigations

Ceisteanna (357)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

357. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23841/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the manner in which any criminal investigation is conducted is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no role in such matters.

Under our law, criminal investigations can only be carried out by An Garda Síochána who then submit a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).  The DPP, who operates independently of my Department, then decides whether or not someone should be prosecuted and for what crime. The Deputy will appreciate it would be completely inappropriate for me as Minister to intervene in this independent process.

I would encourage the person in question to continue to engage directly with An Garda Síochána in this matter.

Road Traffic Offences Data

Ceisteanna (358)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

358. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons convicted for driving while using a mobile telephone in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the average fine for each of the same years; his plans to introduce stronger deterrents for this offence in the near future; the number of repeat offenders and the average fine a repeat offender was charged over the same time period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23851/19]

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, and this includes the provision of information on the courts system.

I have requested information from the Courts Service and it has provided the following data. I should add that the Courts Service has informed me that there is no data available on the number of repeat offenders.  

The Deputy has asked about stronger deterrents, and I can inform him that in so far as this would appear to relate to steps in relation to road traffic legislation that this is not a matter for my Department.   

Report on the number of persons convicted for driving while using a mobile phone and the average fine for 2016, 2017, 2018 & Jan – June 2019.

Year

No of Persons Convicted

Average Fine

2016

1,887

€205.40

2017

1,659

€219.35

2018

1,598

€224.51

Jan –   Jun 2019

693

€215.42

Direct Provision Data

Ceisteanna (359, 360, 361)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

359. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of direct provision, emergency reception and orientation centres here; the number of women, men and children residing in each centre in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23866/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

360. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of women who have resided in each direct provision, emergency reception and orientation centre in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the length of their stay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23867/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

361. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of children who have resided in each direct provision and emergency reception and orientation centre in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the length of their stay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23868/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 359 to 361, inclusive, together.

Due to the large volume of information requested by the Deputy, it is not possible to supply the statistical data in the format required.

However, the data requested for the period 2010-2017 is available on www.ria.gov.ie under Annual Reports.

In addition, please find the requested information for 2018 and up to 6 June 2019 in the following link.

Tables

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (362)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

362. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda public service vehicles inspectors attached to the Galway Garda division in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24092/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is statutorily responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters, and I, as Minister, do not have responsibility for this 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 informed by the Commissioner that there is one Public Services Vehicle Sergeant for the Galway Division and this is sufficient to provide the service for this Division.

Garda Public Service Vehicles Inspectors

2017

2018

2019

Galway Division

1

1

1

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 Expenditure

Ceisteanna (363)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

363. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost of purchasing ten additional horses for the Garda mounted unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24093/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána as well as for decisions in relation to the allocation and management of Garda equipment and resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda Mounted Unit is based at Áras an Uachtarain, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8. The unit has a national remit under the direction and control of the Assistant Commissioner, Roads Policing and Major Event Management and the operational control of the Superintendent, Operational Support Services.

I understand from the Garda authorities that as of the 6 June 2019, there are 14 horses attached to the unit. I am informed that the estimated cost of purchasing 10 additional horses for the Garda Mounted Unit is approximately €60,000. This estimated cost is for the purchase of the horses only and does not include other costs including those which would arise in relation to equipment, training or personnel.

Inspector of Prisons

Ceisteanna (364)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

364. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated full year cost if the budget for the Inspector of Prisons increased by 50%. [24109/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Inspector of Prisons has an important role in ensuring an effective independent oversight of our prison system.  Following her appointment in May 2018, Ms. Patricia Gilheaney contracted PA consultants to carry out a review of the functions and arrangements of her office.  The report was submitted to my Department and discussions regarding resources, legal powers and other related issues are ongoing.  The 2020 budget for the Inspectors office will be considered as part of the normal estimates process later this year.

The revised estimates for 2019 is available on www.gov.ie. The Inspector of Prisons current estimate is €496,000 and is listed as A3 Prisons Inspectorate under Vote 24 Justice and Equality.

Garda Transport Data

Question No. 366 answered with Question No. 299.

Ceisteanna (365)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

365. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new marked and unmarked Garda vehicles attached to the Garda technical bureau in 2018 and to date in 2019; and the number of vehicles withdrawn from the bureau during the same period. [24124/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €46 million which is being invested in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

A total of €10 million has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from the Garda authorities that this allocation will be used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles this year.

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. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles among the various Garda divisions. As Minister, I have no role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that as of 31 December 2018, there were a total of 14 vehicles assigned to the Technical Bureau, consisting of 9 cars, 4 vans and 1 4x4 vehicle. I am further informed that as of 6 June 2019, there are a total of 13 vehicles assigned to the Technical Bureau, consisting of 8 cars, 4 vans and 1 4x4 vehicle.

I understand that 2 vehicles were removed from the Garda Technical Bureau fleet in 2018 and that 1 has been removed in 2019. I am informed by the Garda authorities that no additional vehicles have been allocated to the Technical Bureau in 2018 or to date in 2019.

Question No. 366 answered with Question No. 299.

Coroners Service

Ceisteanna (367, 368, 369, 370)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

367. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the circumstances surrounding the death and burial of a person (details supplied) who was residing at a direct provision centre in Galway city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24196/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

368. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an inquest is to take place in respect of the death and burial of a person (details supplied) who was residing at a direct provision centre at Galway city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24197/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

369. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the protocols in place for the custody and burial arrangements of persons who die while in direct provision and who have no next of kin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24198/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

370. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the person or persons responsible for informing friends and-or colleagues of persons who die while in direct provision and who have no next of kin of attendant burial arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24199/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 367 to 370, inclusive, together.

My Department was made aware of the circumstances surrounding the death and burial of the person concerned.

I want to express my deepest sympathies and condolences to that person's friends and colleagues on their loss.

It is a matter of profound regret to me, and to the Department, that her friends heard of her burial after the event. This must have been deeply distressing to all involved and I offer my unreserved apology for the breakdown in communication, which led to this unintended event.

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) supported the organisation of a memorial for the person concerned, which was held shortly after her passing and was attended by her friends, centre management and members of staff from RIA. I have written to her friends with the offer of assistance to organise an appropriate commemoration following her burial.

By way of background, where a person dies while she or he is being provided with accommodation by RIA, RIA works closely with the centre manager to assist the family in accessing the supports provided by the State, and to ensure that any residents affected by the death are assisted in accessing services that can support them. All deaths and serious incidents that occur within accommodation centres provided by the Department are referred to the Gardaí as a matter of course and the Gardaí in turn refer all deaths to the local Coroner’s office. As is the case with all Gardaí/coroner matters, RIA is not privy to information held by the Gardaí or by a coroner.

The decision on whether to hold an inquest into the death of any person reported to the coroner, is a matter for the coroner who is independent in the conduct of their functions under the Coroners Act 1962. I am informed by the relevant coroner in this case that an inquest will not be required as the post-mortem examination disclosed that death was due to natural causes. The coroner, as required by law, provided details to the Registrar’s Office to register the death.

In an effort to better understand the communications between all parties concerned, a senior Departmental official spoke to the Coroner on 7th June 2019. The Coroner pointed out that the normal practice, where someone is interested in the outcome of a coroner’s consideration of whether an inquest will be held into the death of a person is necessary or when a person’s remains are to be released for burial, is that a letter would be on file. However as there was no formal request made in writing to record an interest in the release of the deceased's remains, he arranged for the appropriate and dignified burial of the deceased, through the relevant State agencies, as is the standard practice in these cases.

While thankfully, the occurrences of deaths where the deceased remains unidentified, unclaimed or no next of kin is identified, are very rare, the Department will take all possible steps to ensure that this outcome is avoided in future and that friends or colleagues who have expressed an interest are properly informed through appropriate communications with the coronial service and by liaising with other agencies involved in this case.