Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (315)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

315. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is satisfied with the operational status of a Garda station (details supplied). [27561/19]

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 members assigned to Douglas Garda Station as of 31 May 2019, the latest date for which figures are available, are as follows:

Douglas Station

Inspector

Sergeant

Garda

Total

1

3

17

These figures have been subject to fluctuation due to the absence of members on maternity leave, promotions and retirements, and have led to the temporary curtailment of opening hours at the station as the working members are deployed to outdoor operational duties to service the needs of the community. The nearby Togher Garda Station is open to the public 24 hours a day.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the roll out of the Cork City Divisional Community Policing Model, which is currently being implemented as part of the Divisional Policing Model, will result in the allocation of four new Community Gardaí into Douglas station, with those members being deployed full-time on Community Policing Duties.

The Deputy will be aware that, as part of the ongoing reform programme, there is an ongoing civilianisation process in An Garda Síochána which will see an increase in overall Garda Staff numbers to 4,000 by 2021. The Garda Commissioner has indicated that the allocation of additional Garda staff will facilitate the continuing redeployment of Gardaí to operational policing duties. I am informed by the Commissioner that this may facilitate an increase in the opening hours of Douglas Garda Station which is an operational matter for An Garda Síochána.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (316, 317)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

316. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of patrol cars assigned to each Garda station in each Garda division by station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27588/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

317. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of marked and unmarked cars assigned to each Garda station in each Garda division by station; the number of other vehicles by station in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27589/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 316 and 317 together.

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 for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that 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 for operational use this year.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with 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 so as to ensure their optimum use.

The Garda authorities advise that the following table outlines the number of vehicles assigned to each Garda Division by District, excluding National Units and Garda Headquarters, as of 21 June 2019. For security reasons, a breakdown of marked and unmarked vehicles is not included in the table.

Cars

Vans

Motorbikes

4 x 4

Others

Fleet

DMR EAST DIVISION

40

9

0

1

2

52

BLACKROCK-W DISTRICT

18

1

0

1

1

21

DUNLAOGHAIRE-F DISTRICT

22

8

0

0

1

31

DMR NORTH DIVISION

74

18

0

1

4

97

BALBRIGGAN-Y DISTRICT

9

1

0

0

1

11

BALLYMUN DISTRICT

29

10

0

1

3

43

COOLOCK-R DISTRICT

21

3

0

0

0

24

RAHENY-J DISTRICT

15

4

0

0

0

19

DMR NORTH CENTRAL DIVISION

41

12

0

3

1

57

BRIDEWELL DISTRICT

6

3

0

0

0

9

FITZGIBBON STREET DISTRICT

12

3

0

2

0

17

STORE STREET DISTRICT

23

6

0

1

1

31

DMR SOUTH DIVISION

53

17

0

2

0

72

CRUMLIN-G DISTRICT

18

10

0

0

0

28

TALLAGHT-M DISTRICT

22

5

0

1

0

28

TERENURE-P DISTRICT

13

2

0

1

0

16

DMR SOUTH CENTRAL DIVISION

41

14

0

0

2

57

DONNYBROOK-E DISTRICT

11

6

0

0

0

17

KEVIN STREET-A DISTRICT

22

4

0

0

1

27

PEARSE STREET-B DISTRICT

8

4

0

0

1

13

DMR TRAFFIC DIVISION

17

1

48

4

3

73

DMR TRAFFIC-DUBLIN CASTLE DISTRICT

17

1

48

4

3

73

DMR WEST DIVISION

61

13

0

0

9

83

BLANCHARDSTOWN-K DISTRICT

33

6

0

0

2

41

CLONDALKIN-L DISTRICT

14

5

0

0

0

19

LUCAN-Q DISTRICT

14

2

0

0

7

23

KILDARE DIVISION

38

12

1

3

3

57

KILDARE DISTRICT

16

5

0

2

1

24

LEIXLIP DISTRICT

10

2

0

0

0

12

NAAS DISTRICT

12

5

1

1

2

21

LAOIS-OFFALY DIVISION

36

13

2

1

4

56

BIRR DISTRICT

5

2

0

0

0

7

PORTLAOISE DISTRICT

21

6

2

1

3

33

TULLAMORE DISTRICT

10

5

0

0

1

16

MEATH DIVISION

42

12

1

1

0

56

ASHBOURNE DISTRICT

16

4

1

1

0

22

KELLS DISTRICT

7

2

0

0

0

9

NAVAN DISTRICT

11

5

0

0

0

16

TRIM DISTRICT

8

1

0

0

0

9

WESTMEATH DIVISION

45

15

3

3

7

73

ATHLONE DISTRICT

12

2

1

1

1

17

MULLINGAR DISTRICT

33

13

2

2

6

56

WICKLOW DIVISION

41

10

1

5

2

59

BALTINGLASS DISTRICT

10

2

0

1

0

13

BRAY DISTRICT

19

4

1

1

1

26

WICKLOW DISTRICT

12

4

0

3

1

20

CAVAN-MONAGHAN DIVISION

38

14

2

1

3

58

BAILIEBORO DISTRICT

9

2

0

0

0

11

CARRICKMACROSS DISTRICT

7

2

0

1

0

10

CAVAN DISTRICT

14

4

1

0

1

20

MONAGHAN DISTRICT

8

6

1

0

2

17

DONEGAL DIVISION

46

14

3

3

2

68

BALLYSHANNON DISTRICT

14

4

0

2

1

21

BUNCRANA DISTRICT

8

2

2

0

0

12

LETTERKENNY DISTRICT

17

6

1

0

1

25

MILFORD DISTRICT

7

2

0

1

0

10

LOUTH DIVISION

32

9

2

3

4

50

ARDEE DISTRICT

4

3

0

0

0

7

DROGHEDA DISTRICT

11

1

2

1

2

17

DUNDALK DISTRICT

17

5

0

2

2

26

SLIGO-LEITRIM DIVISION

35

13

2

0

1

51

BALLYMOTE DISTRICT

6

2

0

0

0

8

LEITRIM DISTRICT

11

4

1

0

0

16

SLIGO DISTRICT

18

7

1

0

1

27

KILKENNY/CARLOW DIVISION

53

18

1

2

7

81

CARLOW DISTRICT

12

5

1

1

0

19

KILKENNY DISTRICT

26

8

0

1

4

39

THOMASTOWN DISTRICT

15

5

0

0

3

23

TIPPERARY DIVISION

45

13

2

4

1

65

CAHIR DISTRICT

13

2

0

2

1

18

CLONMEL DISTRICT

7

2

0

0

0

9

NENAGH DISTRICT

8

2

0

1

0

11

THURLES DISTRICT

13

5

2

1

0

21

TIPPERARY DISTRICT

4

2

0

0

0

6

WATERFORD DIVISION

41

14

3

4

3

65

DUNGARVAN DISTRICT

14

2

0

0

0

16

TRAMORE DISTRICT

9

1

1

1

0

12

WATERFORD DISTRICT

18

11

2

3

3

37

WEXFORD DIVISION

46

11

1

2

1

61

ENNISCORTHY DISTRICT

21

2

1

1

0

25

NEW ROSS DISTRICT

7

2

0

0

0

9

WEXFORD DISTRICT

18

7

0

1

1

27

CORK CITY DIVISION

86

21

8

3

9

127

ANGELSEA STREET DISTRICT

54

14

7

3

4

82

GURRANABRAHER DISTRICT

11

1

0

0

1

13

MAYFIELD DISTRICT

8

4

1

0

4

17

TOGHER DISTRICT

13

2

0

0

0

15

CORK NORTH DIVISION

35

12

2

0

1

50

FERMOY DISTRICT

11

3

0

0

1

15

MALLOW DISTRICT

11

4

1

0

0

16

MIDLETON DISTRICT

13

5

1

0

0

19

CORK WEST DIVISION

42

12

1

2

2

59

BANDON DISTRICT

15

6

1

0

2

24

BANTRY DISTRICT

6

3

0

0

0

9

CLONAKILTY DISTRICT

6

1

0

0

0

7

MACROOM DISTRICT

15

2

0

2

0

19

KERRY DIVISION

37

11

3

1

2

54

KILLARNEY DISTRICT

10

3

0

0

0

13

LISTOWEL DISTRICT

8

2

0

0

0

10

TRALEE DISTRICT

19

6

3

1

2

31

LIMERICK DIVISION

56

16

3

3

5

83

BRUFF DISTRICT

4

2

0

0

0

6

HENRY STREET LIMERICK DISTRICT

32

10

3

3

3

51

NEWCASTLEWEST DISTRICT

12

2

0

0

0

14

ROXBORO ROAD DISTRICT

8

2

0

0

2

12

CLARE DIVISION

36

13

2

1

1

53

ENNIS DISTRICT

25

10

2

0

1

38

KILRUSH DISTRICT

11

3

0

1

0

15

GALWAY DIVISION

65

23

6

3

5

102

BALLINASLOE DISTRICT

6

1

0

0

0

7

CLIFDEN DISTRICT

5

2

0

0

0

7

GALWAY DISTRICT

27

13

4

3

4

51

LOUGHREA DISTRICT

9

3

0

0

0

12

SALTHILL DISTRICT

8

2

0

0

0

10

TUAM DISTRICT

10

2

2

0

1

15

MAYO DIVISION

33

12

1

2

2

50

BALLINA DISTRICT

7

4

0

0

0

11

BELMULLET DISTRICT

2

1

0

0

0

3

CASTLEBAR DISTRICT

8

3

1

0

1

13

CLAREMORRIS DISTRICT

11

2

0

2

1

16

WESTPORT DISTRICT

5

2

0

0

0

7

ROSCOMMON-LONGFORD DIVISION

39

13

3

0

4

59

CASTLEREA DISTRICT

12

4

0

0

3

19

GRANARD DISTRICT

3

2

0

0

0

5

LONGFORD DISTRICT

14

2

1

0

0

17

ROSCOMMON DISTRICT

10

5

2

0

1

18

White Collar Crime

Ceisteanna (318)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

318. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the anti-corruption framework here; the major policy and legislative changes to tackle corruption in recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27606/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The responsibility to develop and implement anti-corruption policies does not rest with any one single body in Ireland. The competence to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute corruption is spread across An Garda Síochána and a number of other bodies with a mandate to tackle corruption.

These include, inter alia, the Central Bank of Ireland, the Standards in Public Office Commission, local authorities, the Ombudsman, Parliamentary Committees on Members' Interests, the Anti-Corruption Unit in the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Public Accounts Committee, other Oireachtas committees, regulators, Government Departments, the Director of Public Prosecutions and tribunals of enquiry and commissions of investigation.

In addition, Ireland has an extensive range of legislative provisions to prevent and combat corruption. These include the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995, the Standards in Public Office Act 2001, Freedom of Information Act 2014 and the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

In relation to recent legislative developments, the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018 was commenced in full on the 30 July 2018. The Act repealed and replaced the seven previous Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2010. The Act is not merely a consolidation of the old provisions. It strengthens and clarifies the law in relation to corruption.

Ireland is also a party to a number of anti-corruption international instruments. These are the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the Council of Europe's Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). As such, Ireland is subject to regular peer evaluations associated with the implementation of these international agreements with recommendations for improvement made following each review.

Mr James Hamilton, the anti-corruption expert and former Director of Public Prosecutions, is chairing an interdepartmental and multi-agency Review of Ireland’s Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption structures. The Review Group, which will report later this year, is examining the effectiveness of the State’s procedural, legislative and resourcing frameworks for the investigation, prosecution and prevention of fraud and corruption offences.

Criminal Assets Bureau

Ceisteanna (319)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

319. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on the Criminal Assets Bureau since its establishment; the quantity and value of assets seized; his plans to strengthen the legislation further; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27607/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Since the inception of the Criminal Assets Bureau in 1996 up to the end of 2018, in excess of €193.8 million has been returned to the State as a result of Bureau's actions. A breakdown of the returns is as follows:

- €32.357 million under the Proceeds of Crime Legislation;

- €157.078 million Tax and Interest;

- €4.391 million in Social Welfare overpayments.

I can assure the Deputy that the legislative framework underpinning the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau is kept under review to ensure its on-going effectiveness and robustness.

This is evidenced by the strengthening of the Proceeds of Crime legislative framework to further support the work of the Criminal Assets Bureau. In this regard, new powers were introduced under the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2016 which provide for Bureau Officers, subject to certain conditions, to immediately seize and detain property for a 24 hour period. Provision is also made for this period to be extended upon the authorisation of the Chief Bureau Officer, subject to certain conditions, for a further period not exceeding 21 days. The 2016 Act also lowered the thresholds applicable to seizures by reducing the value of property involved from €13,000 to €5,000. In addition, regulations were made to reduce the prescribed amount of cash suspected of being the proceeds of crime which can be seized, from €6,500 to €1,000.

Immigrant Investor Programme Data

Ceisteanna (320)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

320. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons that applied for, been refused and granted labour market access permission since 1 July 2018 under SI No. 230 of 2018 - European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018; the number of self-employed returns and employed returns since the same date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27613/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 came into effect from 30 June 2018, and included access to the labour market for eligible international protection applicants. The Regulations provide access to both employment and self-employment.

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that as of 28 June, 2019, 3,993 applications for a labour market access permission have been received. 2,713 permissions have been granted, 1,160 have been refused as ineligible, and 120 are under consideration by INIS.

In cases where a person issued with a labour market access permission under the Regulations and takes up employment, the employer is obliged to inform the Minister within 21 days. Similarly, a person taking up self employment must inform the Minister within the same timeframe. A standard form for this purpose is available on the INIS website.

I am advised that a total of 1,229 persons have commenced employment or self-employment to date. The Deputy will appreciate that, arising from the 21 day notification period, there is likely to be a time lag between the actual date of commencement of employment or self-employment and INIS being notified of same and those cases are not reflected in the figures above.

Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Ceisteanna (321)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

321. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he is taking to provide extra supports to victims of sexual offences; the steps he is taking to educate and change the behaviour of perpetrators of these crimes; the funding allocated to support victims and the investigation of sexual offences crimes in each of the past eight years in view of the fifth annual increase in sexual offences in a row in 2019, an increase of 55%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27661/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to addressing sexual violence and in fully supporting and assisting victims, including facilitating and enabling victims to come forward to report these horrific crimes. Key measures taken to support victims include:

- The development of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender based Violence 2016-2021 - a live strategy to which actions are added. This is the overall policy framework dealing with prevention, provision of services to victims and holding perpetrators to account

- Changes to legislation arising from the introduction of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and the Victims of Crime Act 2017

- The ratification of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence on 8 March, 2019

- The roll out of Divisional Protective Service Units within An Garda Síochána. These are specialised units tasked with improving services to victims, improving the investigation of sexual violence incidents, and identifying and managing risk

- The review that I initiated of the protections for vulnerable witnesses in the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences, being chaired by Tom O’Malley which is expected to report in Q3 of this year

- A major national awareness campaign on sexual harassment and sexual violence - ‘No Excuses’ - which I launched on 9 May. This is a high impact national media campaign, which aims to increase the awareness of sexual harassment and sexual violence and to bring about changes in societal attitudes and behaviours, with the aim of decreasing and preventing these offences.

A number of measures have also been taken to educate and change the behaviours of perpetrators of sexual crimes. The Irish Prison Service and the Probation Service provide a number of assessment and intervention treatment programmes for people convicted of sexual violence. These include the following:

- The Prison Service Psychology Service deliver a group intervention programme, in conjunction with the Probation Service, known as Better Lives, whereby a convicted sex offender can avail of relevant treatment to address their offending behaviour;

- Therapeutic one- to-one interventions with sex offenders in the prison setting, primarily delivered through the Prison Services’ Psychology Service;

- Probation Service engagement including work on reducing the risk following release and addressing child protection issues;

- Post Release Supervision Orders implemented by the Probation Service where supervision of offenders has been sanctioned by the Court, following release;

- The delivery by the Probation Service, in conjunction with PACE (a community based non-governmental organisation) of the Safer Lives Group Treatment Programme. This sex offender treatment programme runs on an inter-disciplinary, co-facilitated model, which includes psychologists, probation officers and safer lives staff members.

PACE also operates a number of other separate services. The Foothold Floating Support Service provides one to one support for men leaving custody convicted of a sexual offence. The Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) provides support to the offender by providing an inner circle of support, usually volunteers from the community, who are in turn surrounded by a professional circle and community.

While Tusla has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of domestic, sexual or gender based violence, and is providing €25.3 million for these services in 2019, my Department provides funding through its Victims of Crime Office to promote and assist the development of support services to victims of crime. Such services continue to provide important information and support to victims of crime, including emotional support, court accompaniment, accompaniment to Garda interviews, accompaniment to sexual assault treatment units, counselling and referral to other services. In this regard, the Victims of Crime Office has allocated a total of €12.5 million since 2011, to provide funding support to victim support services. In addition, Cosc, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, has provided funding of €380,000 since 2011 to the Rape Crisis Network Ireland's legal coordination service.

Details of the funding amounts made available for the period in question are set out in the following table.

Year

Victims of Crime Funding

Cosc Funding

2019

€1.712m

€50,000

2018

€1.712m

€40,000

2017

€1.712m

€40,000

2016

€1.462m

€40,000

2015

€1.212m

€40,000

2014

€1.212m

€40,000

2013

€1.196m

€40,000

2012

€1.141m

€45,000

2011

€1.205m

€45,000

In relation to the investigation of such crimes, as the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. I have sought information from the Garda Commissioner in relation to the issues raised by the Deputy. I will write to the Deputy when the information is to hand.

The Deputy may also wish to note that the Government has approved a new national survey approach to the collection of data on the prevalence of sexual violence by the Central Statistics Office in Ireland and work is underway on this project. Finally, while I am concerned at the year on year increases in sexual offences reported by the CSO, I welcome the fact that more and more victims are coming forward to An Garda Síochána. Increased reporting by victims of sexual offences to An Garda Síochána may also be interpreted as an increase in confidence of victims to report. I would continue to encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault to come forward and report the incident to An Garda Síochána.

Family Law Cases

Ceisteanna (322)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

322. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the provision of specialist family courts and judges; his plans in this regard in the context of Budget 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27686/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I intend to publish proposals in 2019 for a new approach to handling family law cases in Ireland at District, Circuit and High Court levels. A Family Court Bill will be introduced to create a new dedicated Family Court within the existing court structures. These courts will have new procedures aimed at less adversarial resolution of disputes and will have appropriate facilities and case management arrangements.

A working group was established in 2017, comprising officials from the Department of Justice and Equality, the Courts Service and the Legal Aid Board, to examine the operational aspects relating to the family court and develop an overall architecture for the new family court structure. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla also participated in the working group. Key issues that arose in consultations included family court venues and facilities, resources and capital investment in family courts and integration of relevant family and child services to provide the best possible family law outcomes.

In 2018, a task force on the Family Court comprising senior officials from the Department of Justice and Equality, the Legal Aid Board and the Courts Service was formed to seek agreement on core questions of policy and costs. A representative of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has also joined the group. The work of this group is at an advanced stage. Issues being examined include court areas and locations, use of courthouses, provision of facilities and services, arrangements for management of resources, and oversight arrangements.

Work is well advanced on the General Scheme of a Family Court Bill. When finalised, the General Scheme will be submitted for Government approval in the usual manner and will have to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny. The Bill will then be drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. It is not possible at this stage to estimate when the Bill will be ready for publication.

The Family Court Bill is only one component of a new Family Court system. The provision of appropriate court facilities and services, and the capital and current resources that may be required for this, will be just as important, if not more so, for the operation of a new family court system.

The Government is committed to building a new Family Law Centre and Children’s Court in Dublin 7. The Government’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Plan 2016-2021 provides for development of a Family Law and Children’s Court at the Hammond Lane site. The project is to be delivered as a Public Private Partnership.

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998 management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions.

My officials have been in ongoing discussions with the Courts Service who have been advised that €80 million in capital funding has been made available for the Hammond Lane project.

As the Deputy will be aware, Budget 2020 is still under consideration.

Courts Service

Ceisteanna (323)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

323. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the annual comparative Justice Scoreboard 2019 from the EU Commission in relation to the performance of the Courts Service and judicial system over the past year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27687/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Ireland contributes annually to the European Commission EU Justice Scoreboard report which provides comparable data on the independence, quality, and efficiency of national justice systems, the essential parameters of an effective justice system. Ireland also contributes to the Council of Europe, European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) report which compares data on justice systems and court efficiencies from 47 countries. Both reports are available online at www.ec.europa.eu and www.coe.int respectively. These reports assist in providing ongoing international benchmarking which can be used as reference points when undertaking analysis of Ireland’s justice system.

The seventh edition of the scoreboard was published on 26 April 2019 and it refers mostly to data from the year 2017.

I want to highlight in particular that in relation to online availability of information about the judicial system for the general public, Ireland is one of five member states to meet all criteria assessed including access to information on the justice system and presentation of tailor-made information for specific groups of society which would otherwise have difficultly accessing this information.

Ireland has the fourth highest general government expenditure on the law courts and the report shows that expenditure has increased year on year.

With regard to the perceived independence of the courts and judges among the general public and among companies, Ireland, which has traditionally scored well in these important metrics, was in fifth highest place.

While recognising the value of gathering international data in relation to the independence, quality and efficiency of national justice systems, it is important to note the existence of anomalies that can arise when comparing such data. In some cases, data is collated in different ways in different countries, underpinning the differing geographical, economic and legal systems and as such, the data is not always directly comparable.

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service Data

Ceisteanna (324)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

324. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the budget allocation to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27783/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The full year budget allocation to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service in respect of 2018 and 2019 is as follows:-

2018

2019

€’000

€’000

Pay

42,653

43,770

Non-Pay

26,118

27,618

Total

68,771

71,388

The actual expenditure in 2018 and to the 31st May, 2019 is as follows:-

2018

2019 (to 31 May)

€’000

€’000

Pay

40,066

17,626

Non-Pay

26,678

10,841

Total

66,744

28,467

Garda Strength

Ceisteanna (325)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

325. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda asset profilers attached to each Garda division as of 21 June 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27784/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is a multi-agency statutory body established under the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996. Its primary objective is to identify the proceeds of criminal activities and deprive people of the benefits of such criminal proceeds. The CAB operates nationally and is supported in its work by a network of over 425 trained asset profilers. These asset profilers work hand-in-hand with local Garda management and communities and I am pleased to say this has proved extremely effective.

The Criminal Assets Bureau conducts training courses for Asset Profilers twice per year.  For the most part Asset Profilers are members of An Garda Siochana from local divisions and from special units.  In addition, a small number have been trained from Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.  The information you have requested on the number of Garda asset profilers assigned to each Garda Division is contained in the following table.

Region

Division

Total

Crime & Security

Crime & Security Total

16

DMR

DMR West

27

DMR Traffic (SIU)

2

DMR South Central

14

DMR South

19

DMR North Central

22

DMR North

22

DMR East

11

DMR CTU

3

DMR Total

120

Eastern

Wicklow

8

Westmeath

12

Meath

10

Laois/Offaly

9

Kildare

10

Eastern Total

49

Garda - DSP

DSP

9

Garda - DSP Total

9

Northern

Sligo/Leitrim

9

Louth

12

Donegal

8

Cavan/Monaghan

9

Northern Total

38

Serious Crime Operations

ODCE

3

GNBCI

15

GNPSB

5

GNIB

6

GNECB

7

GNDOCB

12

DMR RSMU

3

Serious Crime Operations Total

51

South Eastern

Wexford

9

Waterford

9

Tipperary

8

Carlow/Kilkenny

7

South Eastern Total

33

Southern

Limerick

12

Kerry

9

Cork West

8

Cork North

7

Cork City

12

Southern Total

48

Western

Roscommon/Longford

9

Mayo

10

Galway

9

Clare

8

Western Total

36

Garda Total

400

Prison Service Staff

Ceisteanna (326)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

326. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a person (details supplied) will receive notice of an appointment. [27790/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can advise the Deputy that the person referred to in the details which he has supplied with the question was successful at interview stage of the 2018 Recruit Prison Officer campaign and following this stage, their security clearance application was sent for processing.

I can further advise that whilst the candidate has passed two of the three final stages of the Recruit Prison Officer assessments, their application cannot progress further until their security clearance application is successfully processed. In this instance, the time line for the clearance process has not been affected by the error referred to in the details supplied with the question.

Due to the unique nature of the prison environment, all matters concerning security are of the utmost importance, and the security clearance process is extremely thorough and extensive. As a result, some applications may take longer than others. Therefore, the Prison Service is not in a position to advise when the candidate in question will progress further. However, I have been assured that the candidate will be contacted as soon as the security clearance application has been completed.

Fines Data

Ceisteanna (327)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

327. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons issued with a third payment option to pay a fixed charge notice since the introduction of the third payment option on 1 June 2017; the number of persons that paid the third payment option fixed charge notice; the number that were listed to appear in court having failed to pay; the number convicted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27792/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Data in relation to the third payment option is maintained by the Courts Service. I have requested the statistics sought by the Deputy and will forward the relevant information directly to the Deputy on receipt.

Fines Data

Ceisteanna (328)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

328. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons listed to appear before the courts for not paying a fixed charge notice relating to driving while holding a mobile phone by District Court in each of the years 2017 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27793/19]

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 in relation to this matter and the Courts Service has stated it will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the information is to hand.

Fines Data

Ceisteanna (329)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

329. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons listed to appear in court for not paying a fixed charge notice for speeding by District Court in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27794/19]

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 in relation to this matter and the Courts Service has stated it will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the information is to hand.

Road Traffic Offences Data

Ceisteanna (330)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

330. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of e-scooters seized; the number of fines issued; the number of arrests and cautions made with regard to the use of an e-scooter under the Road Safety Act 1961; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27796/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As noted by my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Shane Ross, T.D., in response to parliamentary question 246 of 15 May 2019:

The Road Traffic Act 1961 defines a mechanically propelled vehicle as a vehicle intended or adapted for propulsion by mechanical means, including a bicycle or tricycle with an attachment for propelling it by mechanical power, whether or not the attachment is being used. It also includes a vehicle the means of propulsion of which is electrical, or partly electrical and partly mechanical. Whether or not a vehicle requires a push-start is legally irrelevant.

E-scooters and powered skateboards fall into this category, and are therefore considered to be mechanically propelled vehicles. Any users of such vehicles in a public place (as defined in the Road Traffic Act 1961) must have insurance, road tax and a driving licence, with penalties under road traffic laws (including fixed charge notices, penalty points, fines and possible seizure of the vehicle) for not being in compliance with these requirements .

As it is currently not possible to tax or insure e-scooters or electric skateboards, they are not considered suitable for use in a public place. There is no anomaly within the law.

Insofar as the specific statistics sought by the Deputy are concerned, I am advised by An Garda Síochána that, unfortunately, this data cannot be easily collated, as PULSE does not allow for the disaggregation of such statistics based on vehicle type. To collate the information, a manual trawl of all road traffic licence/insurance/tax offence records concerning mechanically propelled vehicles would have to be undertaken, which, I am advised, would require a disproportionate amount of Garda time and resources, and, therefore, cannot be justified.

Finally, in relation to the legal position of such vehicles, Minister Ross had requested the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to carry out research into how e-scooters and other such vehicles are regulated in other countries, particularly in other EU Member States, indicating that 'the goal is to understand the road safety implications of the use of such vehicles on public roads, especially when interacting with other vehicles'. I am informed that the Minister has since received this report, which is now being considered in his Department.

Garda Reserve

Ceisteanna (331)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

331. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a response will issue to an interim reply (details supplied) regarding Garda reserves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27798/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

A response to the correspondence in question has been drafted and will issue this week.

Departmental Reviews

Ceisteanna (332)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

332. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by him; and the date by which each study, review and research is scheduled to be completed. [27886/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As a Department with a wide policy remit, my Department undertakes research on a daily basis concerning a range of issues which impact on policy formation, the legislative process and service delivery, amongst other things. 

My Department has a Chief Information Officer who takes a leading role in structuring the commissioning and undertaking of research across the Department. The Department also benefits from membership of the Irish Government Economic Evaluation Service, an integrated cross-Government service that aims to support better policy formulation and analysis within the civil service, enhance the role of economics in policy making and provide Government with evidence-based policy advice. 

Details of research commissioned by my Department since 2016 is included in the following table.  The Deputy will also be aware that there are a range of agencies and offices operating under the aegis of my Department which from time to time may commission studies, reviews or research in addition to that which is outlined below. Furthermore, Annual Reports, whether of the Department itself, or in relation to particular aspects of the Department's work, are regularly published by the Department on its website.

Title of Live Study, Review, Research

Scheduled Date of Completion

Experience of women in the commercial sex trade in the context of the Criminal Law (Sexual

Offences) Act 2017

May 2020

An evidence review of recidivism and policy responses

Q1 2020

Evidence review of victim satisfaction in the Criminal Justice System

Q3 2019

Understanding the needs and experiences of sex trafficking victims in Ireland

Q1 2020

Evidence review of confidence in  criminal justice systems

Q4 2019

Research study on Familicide and domestic homicide reviews

Mid 2020

Mid-term review of National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and gender-based violence

2016-2021

Q3 2019

Research into existing Equality legislation. 

September 2019

Research and analysis on women’s participation at board and senior management level in private companies in Ireland.

December 2019

Review of the Office of the State Pathologist

September 2019

ESRI study on Citizenship

H2 2019

External review on Immigrant Investor Programme

H2 2019

Consultation on draft National Standards for Accommodation offered to People in the Protection Process

Date to be decided

Improving the use of Data to measure Effectiveness in the Irish Youth Justice System

Quarter 1 2020

Evaluation  of the Work to Learn Programme (Irish Youth Justice Service)

Quarter 4 2019

Evaluation  of the Janus project (Irish Youth Justice Service)

Quarter 4 2019

Evaluation of the Solas Project  (Irish Youth Justice Service)

Quarter 4 2019

Evaluation of QQI Programme (Irish Youth Justice Service)

Quarter  4 2019

Studies  to inform development of new Youth Justice Strategy, including policy review and consultations with young people

Quarter  1 2020

Action  Research Project (GYDP development) including examination of relationships  between participants and youth justice workers

On-going  research project, reports on a phased basis commencing in 2020

Children in Criminal Networks (Greentown Project) – Design for Intervention programmes

Q4 2019

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (333)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

333. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the documents published by his Department since 1 January 2016 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27917/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The following table contains the relevant information on policy documents and strategies published by my Department since 1 January 2016.

Year of Publication

Title of Policy Document/Strategy

2016

Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking in Ireland

2016

Report of Inter Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling in Ireland

2016

Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021

2016

First Interim Report of the Interdepartmental Group to examine issues relating to people with mental illness who come in contact with the criminal justice system

2016

Second Report of the Implementation Oversight Group to the Minister for Justice and Equality - This Group is overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Penal Policy Review

2017

Department of Justice and Equality Strategy Statement

2017

Third Report of the Implementation Oversight Group to the Minister for Justice and Equality - This Group is overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Penal Policy Review

2017

Fourth Report of the Implementation Oversight Group to the Minister for Justice and Equality - This Group is overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Penal Policy Review

2017

National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020

2017

National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021

2017

National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021

2017

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service(INIS) Policy Document on non-EEA Family Reunification

2017

INIS Policy Document on Revised Immigration Arrangements for the 3rd Level Graduate Programme

2017

INIS Policy Document on Revised Immigration Rules for Trainee Accountants (on Stamp 1A)

2017

INIS Policy Document on Immigration for Students

2017

Migrant Integration Strategy - A Blueprint for the Future (2017 – 2020)

2018

Department of Justice and Equality Data and Research Strategy 2018-2021

2018

Value For Money and Policy Review - Prisoner Escorts in the Criminal Justice System

2018

Fifth Report of the Implementation Oversight Group to the Minister for Justice and Equality - This Group is overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Penal Policy Review

2018

Sixth Report of the Implementation Oversight Group to the Minister for Justice and Equality - This Group is overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Penal Policy Review

2018

Children First Sectoral Implementation Plan - This Plan was published by the Minister for Justice and Equality in accordance with Section 27 of the Children First Act 2015

2018

Department of Justice and Equality Child Safeguarding Statement

2018

INIS Policy Document on Special Scheme for non-EEA nationals who held a Student Permission in the State during the period 1st January 2005 to 31st December 2010

2018

Irish Refugee Protection Programme Humanitarian Admission Programme 2 (IHAP)

2018

INIS Policy Document on Minister of Religion Permission

2018

INIS Policy Document on Volunteering in Ireland

2018

INIS Policy Document on Permission to Access the Labour Market

2018

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service(INIS) Service Improvement Plan

2019

Seventh Report of the Implementation Oversight Group to the Minister for Justice and Equality - This Group is overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Penal Policy Review

2019

Report of Inter Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling in Ireland

2019

Interdepartmental Working Group Report on the Regulation and licensing of security personnel assisting personnel in enforcingcourt orders by the Private Security Authority

2019

Department of Justice and Equality ICT Acceptable Usage Policy

2019

INIS Policy Document on De Facto Partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder, or of a Non-EEA Researcher on a Hosting Agreement

2019

Migrant Integration Strategy 2017 – 2020: Progress Report to Government

2019

Community Sponsorship Ireland Initial Policy Framework

Garda Vetting

Ceisteanna (334)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

334. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí by rank attached to national vetting bureau as of 1 June 2017, 1 June 2018 and 24 June 2019; the budget allocation for the bureau in 2017, 2018 and 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27929/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána including personnel matters, and I, as Minister, have no direct role in 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.

The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 provide a statutory basis for the vetting of persons carrying out relevant work with children or vulnerable persons. 

The Act stipulates that a relevant organisation shall not permit any person to undertake relevant work or activities on behalf of the organisation, unless the organisation receives a vetting disclosure from the National Vetting Bureau in respect of that person.

Garda vetting is conducted on behalf of registered organisations only and is not conducted for individual persons on a personal basis.

For the Deputy's information, I have set out below in tabular form, the number of Gardaí by rank attached to the national vetting bureau as of 1 June 2017, 1 June 2018 and 24 June 2019.

National Vetting Bureau

Sergeant

Superintendent

Total

31/05/2017

5

1

6

31/05/2018

4

1

5

31/05/2019

5

1

6

While a separate annual budget for the Garda National Vetting Bureau is not compiled, the table below details the total actual expenditure for the Garda National Vetting Bureau for the period 2017 to 30th June, 2019 inclusive.

Year

Expenditure

2017

€6,396,389

2018

€6,592,326

2019 (to 30 June)

€3,296,781

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

Garda Recruitment

Ceisteanna (335)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

335. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a competition for new Garda collision forensic investigators will be held in quarter 3 of 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27930/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána including personnel matters. I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the information requested and I will write directly to the Deputy when I receive it.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (336)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

336. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí allocated to provide security to concert goers at a concert (details supplied); the cost of such security; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27959/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters. I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the information requested and I will write directly to the Deputy when I receive it.

Legal Proceedings

Ceisteanna (337)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

337. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to media reports in relation to the collapsed trial regarding persons (details supplied); his views on the circumstances that led to the collapse; if he has been in discussions or contact with the Policing Authority regarding same; if discussions with the Garda Commissioner took place on same; if the matter has been referred to GSOC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27970/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised that the case referred to by the Deputy is one that has been the subject of discussion between the Policing Authority and the Garda Commissioner at a number of recent Authority meetings. The Commissioner also submitted a written report to the Authority, which he copied to me.

Having discussed the report with the Commissioner at its May meeting, the Authority exercised its power under section 102(7) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to refer the matter to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) for its consideration. GSOC advised me in recent days that it has decided to initiate an investigation under section 95 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

The Deputy will understand that it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on this case pending the outcome of the GSOC investigation.