Citizenship Applications

Ceisteanna (543)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

543. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the eligibly for citizenship in regard to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34796/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Full details of the eligibility criteria and extensive guidelines are available on the Immigration Service website at www.inis.gov.ie 

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 I know the Deputy will appreciate that it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service 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 Immigration Service is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Public Order Offences

Ceisteanna (544)

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

544. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of fixed-charge penalty notices issued in each of the years 2007 to 2018, for public order related offences by Garda sub-district in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34801/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Since 31 July 2008, offences under section 4 and section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994, as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2006, may be dealt with by way of a fixed charge notice.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the collating the information sought by the Deputy by Garda sub-district would require a disproportionate amount of Garda time.  

However, An Garda Síochána has provided detail of the fixed charged notices issued for public order offences by Garda Division from 2008 – 30 June 2019.  This information is set out in the attached table, for the information of the Deputy.  I would emphasise that An Garda Síochána has informed me that these figures are provisional, operational and subject to change.

Fixed Charge Notices for Public Order Offences

Division

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total

Cavan/Monaghan

4

83

92

189

329

256

268

265

298

304

365

154

2607

Clare

1

105

298

196

241

283

228

178

249

261

289

87

2416

Cork City

48

511

730

653

732

441

288

235

209

259

307

132

4545

Cork North

52

241

353

460

504

390

395

388

435

435

345

162

4160

Cork West

6

99

166

132

157

111

137

126

117

129

135

53

1368

D.M.R. Eastern

14

51

44

40

36

44

20

15

41

125

126

47

603

D.M.R. North Central

33

62

48

42

26

34

31

21

29

89

190

77

682

D.M.R. Northern

14

72

56

66

92

95

55

77

130

142

204

75

1078

D.M.R. South Central

49

214

142

156

154

148

66

63

108

184

209

72

1565

D.M.R. Southern

27

66

20

42

48

38

40

49

91

154

185

95

855

D.M.R. Western

12

96

94

120

231

119

91

79

164

236

319

158

1719

Donegal

48

127

173

354

369

251

245

312

412

395

487

258

3431

Galway

6

518

634

876

935

787

737

891

928

861

810

353

8336

Kerry

2

28

134

339

759

605

585

691

574

558

515

261

5051

Kildare

16

39

9

35

33

52

83

68

176

263

387

197

1358

Kilkenny/Carlow

66

608

786

839

824

600

594

455

562

657

684

353

7028

Laois/Offaly

17

65

80

111

140

114

146

142

223

217

233

142

1630

Limerick

7

11

151

234

331

235

215

222

336

342

367

189

2640

Louth

3

36

37

58

92

29

45

50

89

155

206

72

872

Mayo

5

142

363

346

433

328

340

376

436

320

362

143

3594

Meath

14

39

34

28

94

69

64

63

112

181

118

83

899

Roscommon/

Longford

3

28

24

29

25

47

48

112

165

149

42

672

Sligo/Leitrim

6

5

25

62

170

153

177

297

258

215

285

133

1786

Tipperary

1

21

124

194

175

207

238

246

210

405

461

187

2469

Waterford

75

466

461

500

441

505

366

329

323

225

237

118

4046

Westmeath

31

62

87

110

143

148

136

171

220

209

190

103

1610

Wexford

5

42

112

203

236

243

166

230

353

348

407

184

2529

Wicklow

8

82

61

65

92

182

244

183

161

238

235

107

1658

Total

570

3894

5342

6474

7846

6492

6047

6270

7356

8072

8807

4037

71207

Note: Figures supplied from An Garda Síochána for the period 2008-30 June 2019 and compiled as of the 08/08/2019. All figures are provisional, operational and subject to change.

Crime Data

Ceisteanna (545)

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

545. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cautions issued under the adult scheme in each of the years 2007 to 2018, by Garda sub-district and category of public order, criminal damage and assault in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the attached table outlines the number of cautions issued by offence under the adult scheme in each of the years requested by the Deputy. The information provided is up 30 August 2019 and is operational and subject to change.

It should be noted that to produce this report, data was collated from PULSE of incidents where the suspected offender was issued with an Adult Caution for the years 2007 to 2018 for crime categories Assault, Public Order and Criminal Damage offences. 

Only Sub-Districts where 10 or more Adult Cautions were issued between 2007 and 2018 are listed. Where no Adult Caution was issued in a particular Sub-District in a give year, this is shown as "0".  Where less than 10 incidents are recorded within a particular Sub-District is shown as "*" 

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the attached table outlines the number of cautions issued by offence under the adult scheme in each of the years requested by the Deputy. The information provided is up 30 August 2019 and is operational and subject to change.

It should be noted that to produce this report, data was collated from PULSE of incidents where the suspected offender was issued with an Adult Caution for the years 2007 to 2018 for crime categories Assault, Public Order and Criminal Damage offences. 

Only Sub-Districts where 10 or more Adult Cautions were issued between 2007 and 2018 are listed. Where no Adult Caution was issued in a particular Sub-District in a give year, this is shown as "0".  Where less than 10 incidents are recorded within a particular Sub-District is shown as "*" 

Number of Cautions

Immigrant Investor Programme Data

Ceisteanna (546)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

546. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the ongoing review of the immigrant investor programme; his plans for the programme in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34806/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) was introduced in April 2012 to encourage inward investment and create business and employment opportunities in the State. The programme provides investors with the opportunity to invest in Ireland. Key to the programme is that the investments are beneficial for Ireland, generate or sustain employment and are generally in the public interest.

Successful applicants under the Immigrant Investment Programme and their nominated family members may be granted a residence permission in Ireland under Stamp 4 conditions. Stamp 4 conditions permit non-EEA nationals to work, study or start their own businesses in Ireland. Therefore, given the significant immigration benefits accruing and to ensure the highest degree of transparency and accountability for the programme, it is essential that all applications are subject to a robust due diligence process in respect of both personal and financial checks to protect the State's interests, several enhanced control mechanisms have been introduced within the past 12 months.

Following a tender process, a contract to carry out the review was signed in June and work is underway. The Terms of Reference for the review have been published on the Immigration Service website on the "Investor & entrepreneur schemes"  page (link provided) - the relevant document is the third one at the bottom of the page. The first phase of the review is scheduled to be presented to my Department by the end of September.  In the meantime, applications continue to be assessed by a panel, accepted and processed.

Immigrant Investor Programme Data

Ceisteanna (547)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

547. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to speed up the process by which applications are made under the immigrant investor programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34807/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that, in 2019, processing times for applications will be between 6-9 months.  I am advised that timeframe compares very favourably to international peers, some of whom operate a decision-making framework of between 12 and 24 months.

Successful applicants under the Immigrant Investment Programme and their nominated family members may be granted a residence permission in Ireland under Stamp 4 conditions. Stamp 4 conditions permit non-EEA nationals to work, study or start their own businesses in Ireland. Therefore, given the significant immigration benefits accruing and to ensure the highest degree of transparency and accountability for the programme, it is essential that all applications are subject to enhanced levels of due diligence processes in respect of both personal and financial checks to protect the State's interests.

Garda Resources

Ceisteanna (548)

Kate O'Connell

Ceist:

548. Deputy Kate O'Connell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the additional resources assigned to the Garda specialist units that come within the ambit of special crime operatives, including the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34835/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. An unprecedented €1.76 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to €92 million this year.

This significant investment is supporting progress towards achievement of the Government's plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians.

We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal. Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,800 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. We currently have over 14,200 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,600 Garda staff. And these numbers are increasing, with ongoing and increased recruitment both of new Gardaí as well as Garda staff, allowing for redeployment of experienced Gardaí to operational duties at the front-line.

It is important to note that the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for managing An Garda Síochána as well as for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for personnel matters. I understand 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.

The Deputy raised the specific question of resources assigned to the Garda specialist units and I have set out in the attached tables data, provided to my Department by the Garda authorities, in relation to the current strength of Garda national units. This information will also be added to my Department's website www.justice.ie in the near future.

In relation to the attached tables, it is important to note that national specialist units which form Garda Special Crime Operations support the work of all Garda Divisions nationwide, where necessary and appropriate. These include national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the National Immigration Bureau, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

I should point out, in relation to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), that responsibility for border management function in Dublin Airport moved from GNIB to my Department in recent years as part of a programme of “civilianisation” designed to ensure that trained Garda officers are available for frontline duties nationwide. Further, GNIB is a national unit which supports the immigration-related work of Gardaí in all Divisions nationwide. Only those Garda members assigned deployed to GNIB are included in the table attached.

The Special Detective Unit (SDU) also comes under this heading. As the Deputy may be aware, the SDU is responsible for the investigation of threats to state security and monitoring of persons who pose a threat to the security of the State on both national and international fronts, as well as security for visiting VIPs, cash in transit movements and further is the operational wing of the Witness Security Programme. The highly trained and equipped specialist intervention unit, the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), is also part of SDU. For security and operational reasons the strength of the SDU, ERU, Regional Support Units and the Special Tactics and Operational Command (STOC) Unit cannot be provided.

Tables:

Strength of Garda Special Crime Operations 31 May 2019

CR

DC

AC

CS

SU

IN

SG

GD

TOTAL

Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau

0

0

0

1

3

4

12

86

106

Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau

0

0

0

0

1

1

4

21

27

Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (formerly Garda Bureau of  Fraud Investigation)

0

0

0

1

2

3

10

43

59

Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation

0

0

0

1

4

5

12

52

74

Garda National Protective Services Bureau

0

0

0

1

3

2

16

40

64

Garda National Technical Bureau

0

0

0

0

1

2

15

46

64

Criminal Assets Bureau

0

0

0

1

1

2

6

34

44

*As of 31 May 2019

Key: GD= Garda; SG= Sergeant; IN= Inspector; SU= Superintendent; CS= Chief Superintendent; AC= Assistant Commissioner; DC= Deputy Commissioner; CR= Commissioner

Garda National Immigration Bureau 2009 - 2019*

Year

Garda

Sergeant

Inspector

SU

CS

Total

2009

164

22

5

2

1

194

2010

154

19

5

2

1

181

2011

149

17

5

2

1

174

2012

134

15

5

2

1

157

2013

126

15

3

1

1

146

2014

120

12

3

1

1

137

2015

105

9

2

2

1

119

2016

99

9

4

2

1

115

2017

102

15

2

2

1

122

2018

96

12

4

2

1

115

2019

93

13

4

2

1

113

*As of 31 May 2019

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (549)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

549. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the name of each person employed as an adviser or special adviser to him and the Ministers of State in his Department; the salary of each in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34850/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

There are two special advisers employed in my Department. Both advisors are remunerated on the Principal Officer standard scale (PPC).

- Ms Sarah Kavanagh, whose salary is €101,114.00, i.e. the fifth point of the Principal Officer Scale  

- Ms Caroline Murphy, whose salary is  €98,082.00, i.e. the fourth point of the Principal Officer scale

Ms Kavanagh holds a BA degree in History and Politics, an MA degree in Politics, an MA degree in Political Communication, a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies and a Barrister at Law Degree.  Ms. Kavanagh worked in the Houses of the Oireachtas as a Parliamentary Assistant and Senior Policy Officer for nine years and as a Special Advisor in three Government Departments over the last five years.

Ms. Murphy has over 30 years’ experience in the fields of communications and media and is qualified as an Organisational Psychologist.

Legislative Programme

Ceisteanna (550)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

550. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress of the legislation to amend section 5 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 following the referendum in May 2019; when he plans to have the Bill progress in both Houses of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34856/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I published the General Scheme of the Family Law Bill 2019 on 11 July 2019, following its approval by Government. The main purpose of the Family Law Bill will be to amend the law in relation to divorce following the enactment of the Thirty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Dissolution of Marriage) Act 2019, which was approved by the people in a referendum on 24 May.  

The Bill will reduce the minimum living apart period specified in section 5 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 to two years during the previous three years.

The Bill will enable spouses whose judicial separation application is pending before a court to be granted a divorce if they have been living apart for at least two years during the previous three years on 11 June 2019 (the date of enactment of the Thirty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Dissolution of Marriage) Act 2019).

The Bill will clarify the meaning of the “living apart” requirement for divorce applications by giving certainty to the interpretation that has been given by the Irish courts to the phrase “lived apart from one another” as including spouses who are living in the same dwelling but are otherwise living separate lives.

The Bill will reduce to one year the living apart period of three years that applies to judicial separation applications on the basis of living apart where the respondent does not consent to the decree of judicial separation being granted.

Finally, the Bill will ensure, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, that the recognition in Ireland of divorces granted in the United Kingdom after EU legislation in this area came into operation on 1 March 2001 will continue to be on the basis of habitual residence, rather than the domicile requirement which applies to divorces granted in non-EU states. This provision will be brought into operation only if and when the UK withdraws from the EU without an agreement.

The General Scheme of the Bill has been submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality for pre-legislative scrutiny and to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting.

The Deputy will appreciate that it is not possible for me to predict the outcome of the legislative process with regard to this or any other Bill.  However, my aim is that the Bill will be enacted as soon as possible this year.

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (551)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

551. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda juvenile liaison officers assigned to the Dublin metropolitan region north and north central respectively. [34857/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters, and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution under review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure optimum use is made of the resources. 

I am advised by the Commissioner that Garda Juvenile Liaison Officers (JLOs) are specially trained to fulfil a key role in implementing the Garda Diversion Programme. Their role includes the administration of formal and informal cautions as well as appropriate supervision of children who have been admitted to the Diversion Programme, as provided in Part 4 of the Children Act 2001.

I am informed by the Commissioner that JLOs are assigned on a Garda Divisional basis. Accordingly, for the Deputy's information I have set out in the attached table, as supplied by the Commissioner, the figures by Division in each of the years 2008 to 30 June 2019, the latest date for which figures are currently available.

Juvenile Liaison Officers by Division 2008 -2019

DIVISION

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Jun-19

D.M.R. EAST             

6

6

6

6

4

6

6

6

5

5

6

6

D.M.R. NORTH            

12

12

11

11

11

12

13

13

13

12

12

11

D.M.R. NORTH CENTRAL    

4

4

3

4

4

4

4

4

3

4

5

3

D.M.R. SOUTH            

10

10

10

10

8

10

10

10

10

10

10

8

D.M.R. SOUTH CENTRAL    

5

6

5

5

5

6

5

5

5

5

5

9

D.M.R. WEST             

10

10

11

11

11

11

11

9

11

11

11

11

CARLOW/ KILDARE

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

KILDARE                 

0

2

3

3

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

LAOIS/ OFFALY          

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

MEATH                   

2

2

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

LONGFORD/ WESTMEATH

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

WESTMEATH               

0

1

2

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

WICKLOW                 

3

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

3

4

CAVAN / MONAGHAN        

3

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

2

2

2

DONEGAL                 

3

3

3

3

4

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

LOUTH                   

2

1

2

3

2

3

3

3

3

3

2

3

SLIGO/ LEITRIM         

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

WATERFORD/ KILKENNY

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

KILKENNY/

CARLOW         

0

3

3

3

3

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

TIPPERARY               

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

WATERFORD               

0

4

3

3

4

4

4

4

3

4

4

4

WEXFORD                 

2

2

2

3

3

3

3

3

3

2

3

3

CORK CITY               

7

7

6

8

7

7

7

7

7

10

7

7

CORK NORTH              

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

3

CORK WEST               

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

KERRY                   

3

3

2

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

LIMERICK                

5

5

6

6

6

6

6

6

4

5

6

6

CLARE                   

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

GALWAY                  

2

3

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

3

4

4

MAYO                    

2

2

3

3

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

1

ROSCOMMON/ GALWAY EAST

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

ROSCOMMON/ LONGFORD    

0

2

2

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

TOTAL

109

108

109

115

111

117

116

114

110

114

114

114

For further information on the Garda Workforce please see the link below.

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

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

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

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (552)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

552. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a protective services unit has been established in the Dublin metropolitan region north and north central divisions respectively; and if so, if both divisions are fully staffed and operational. [34862/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the management and efficient use of Garda resources is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner. This includes responsibility for deployment of personnel.  As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.  I understand, 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 have been informed by the Commissioner that to date, Divisional Protective Services Units have been established in DMR South Central, Waterford, Kerry, Kilkenny, Carlow, Limerick and Galway Garda Divisions. These are in addition to the units previously established in DMR West, Cork City and Louth Divisions in the initial phase of this initiative. 

I am informed by Garda management that it is expected that Divisional Protective Services Units should be rolled-out to the remaining Garda Divisions, including the Dublin Metropolitan Region North and North Central Divisions, on a phased basis by the end of 2019. This expected timetable is in accordance with the target set out in 'A Policing Service for the Future', the implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission for the Future of Policing in Ireland.  

Finally and in terms of the current arrangements in the Divisions referred to, the Deputy may be interested to hear that Garda management has informed me that both DMR North and DMR North Central have Child Protection Units and further that DMR North has a Domestic Abuse Intervention Unit.

Prisoner Data

Questions Nos. 554 and 555 answered with Question No. 533.

Ceisteanna (553)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

553. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners born male located in women's prisons; and the number of sex offenders born male located in women's prisons. [34863/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that on 2 September 2019 there was one prisoner known to the Irish Prison Service who was born male, but is now recognised as female under the Gender Recognition Act 2015, being detained in a female prison.

I can further advise the Deputy that there is one prisoner known to the Irish Prison Service who was born male but is now recognised as female under the Gender Recognition Act 2015 being detained in a female prison for an alleged sexual offence.

The Irish Prison Service must accept all prisoners into custody into whatever prison a Judge orders under the Consolidated Committal Order which was signed by the Minister for Justice and Equality in 2015. 

Upon committal, all prisoners are brought to the reception/committal unit of the prison, where there is an opportunity to provide personal and physical details as part of the regular committal interview process. The assessment of the prisoner’s needs, may require the Prison Governor to consider the biological gender, legal gender, gender identity, transgender, gender expression, sexual orientation or gender recognition legislation.

In such cases the Governor may make a recommendation on the appropriate placement within the prison system, taking into consideration good order, security & operational issues, protection issues for both the prisoner and other prisoners, available accommodation and the healthcare needs of the prisoner.

Questions Nos. 554 and 555 answered with Question No. 533.

Bankruptcy Data

Ceisteanna (556)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

556. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons who availed of bankruptcy in each of the years since 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34892/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Bankruptcy is a formal High Court insolvency solution for people in debt over €20,000. During the bankruptcy process, the ownership of the person’s property and possessions transfer to the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy to be sold by him for the benefit of those to whom the individual owes debts (i.e., creditors).

 When the person’s property is sold, the Official Assignee makes sure that the proceeds are shared out among creditors and any outstanding debt will be written off.

On 03 December 2013, the Official Assignee officially transferred to the Insolvency Service of Ireland.

The Insolvency Service of Ireland publishes quarterly figures in relation to bankruptcy on its website at https://www.isi.gov.ie/en/isi/pages/media_&_statistics.

There have been 2,323 bankruptcy cases adjudicated from January 2014 to December 2018, inclusive; the breakdown by year of that figure is displayed in the table below. The number of Self Petitions (i.e. a debtor seeking their own bankruptcy) in the period was 2,178 or 94% while the number of Creditor Petitions (where a creditor sought to make an individual bankrupt for non-payment of a debt) was 145 or 6%.

To put the numbers in context, the total number of persons adjudicated in the previous 14 years (i.e. 2000 to 2013) was 225 cases - an average of 16 cases per year (and they were predominantly Creditor Petition cases).  The number of bankruptcies in Ireland is now falling from a peak in 2016, notwithstanding the reduction in the bankruptcy terms in 2015 from three years to one year.

Year

Self-Petition total

Creditor Petition total

Total   Cases

Self-Petition %

Creditor Petition %

2014

430

18

448

96%

4%

2014

446

33

479

93%

7%

2016

497

29

526

94%

6%

2017

432

41

473

91%

9%

2018

373

24

397

94%

6%

Overall Total

2,178

145

2,323

94%

6%

Garda Equipment

Question No. 558 answered with Question No. 533.

Ceisteanna (557)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

557. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the information requested in Parliamentary Question No. 139 of 28 May 2019 will be supplied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34953/19]

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 well as capital allocation of €92 million this year.

Very significant capital investment is being made in the Garda fleet. An allocation of €10 million has been made for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019, as part of a total €46 million 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.

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the 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.

The Deputy may wish to know that Garda authorities have informed me that this year's allocation of €10 million is being used for the purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles.

The Garda authorities have further informed me that the following table sets out the number of motorbikes allocated to and removed from Roads Policing Duties in 2018 and to date in 2019.

Roads Policing Duty

Motorbikes Allocated

Motorbikes Removed

2018

4

7

2019 (to 1 August 2019)

0

10

It is important to note that this table refers to new vehicles allocated to operational duty.  While I understand that no new motorbikes have been allocated to Roads Policing Duty to date in 2019, I am informed by the Garda authorities that orders have been placed for 25 motorbikes with a Garda Roads Policing specific fit-out.  I am advised that following delivery, it is expected that these motorbikes will be allocated to operational duty in the fleet early in 2020.

Question No. 558 answered with Question No. 533.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (559)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

559. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of staff working in his Department that were or are members of An Garda Síochána in 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34977/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

It is not possible to provide the information that the Deputy has requested.  The Public Appointments Service collects data on the previous career history of candidates as part of the recruitment process to the Civil Service.  However, this information is not recorded by the Department of Justice & Equality or linked to the file of any individual staff member.  The retention of such information would be contrary to the data minimisation principle under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal Data

Ceisteanna (560)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

560. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 466 and 549 of 8 May 2019, the position regarding the assessment of the caseload of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal which was due to be finished; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34979/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed that this assessment will be submitted to me shortly and I will provide the Deputy with a further update at that point.

Public Inquiries

Ceisteanna (561, 666)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

561. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the public inquiry will commence into the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34984/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

666. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to hold a public inquiry in to the death of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36387/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 561 and 666 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of the late Shane O'Farrell have been addressed by me on several occasions in both the Dáil and the Seanad.

Following the Dáil motion calling for a public inquiry last year, I sought the advice of the Attorney General on how best to proceed, given the fact that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission was still investigating certain matters in relation to the case. Following the conclusion of the GSOC investigation, I appointed retired District Court Judge Gerard Haughton to conduct a scoping exercise and to advise me in relation to the case.

Judge Haughton subsequently met with the O'Farrell family to discuss the terms of reference and to seek their views. Following his engagement with the family, I received a proposal from Judge Haughton for some changes to the terms of reference for the scoping exercise. Revised draft terms of reference have been provided to Judge Haughton and I understand that he has engaged further with the O’Farrell family.

I regret that it has taken longer than I would have liked to reach this point however it has been necessary to review the original draft terms of reference and the suggested amendments in light of the Supreme Court judgment in Shatter v Guerin . I am sure that the Deputy will appreciate the importance of ensuring that any new scoping exercise is framed and conducted in accordance with that judgment.

I expect that it will be possible for Judge Haughton to commence the scoping exercise shortly. Judge Haughton is required to provide me with an interim report within 8 weeks of commencement. He is free to make any recommendation he sees fit, including the establishment of any of the various forms of statutory or non-statutory inquiry. Should he consider it necessary to recommend an inquiry, of whatever type, I have asked him to provide me with draft terms of reference.

Commencement of Legislation

Ceisteanna (562, 640)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

562. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 with the exception of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act will be fully commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34986/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

640. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when all sections of the Family Relationships Act 2015 with the exception of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 562 and 640 together.

Many of the provisions of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 were commenced in January 2016. Parts 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13 of the Act were brought into operation at that time. 

In July 2017, part of section 47(c) of the Act was commenced and in November of that year, the provisions of the Act relating to adoption by civil partners and cohabiting couples were commenced.  

Section 177 of the Act has not been commenced  The purpose of the section was to amend the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 to provide access to adoptive leave and benefit to the “qualified adopter”, that is the member of a civil partnership or cohabiting same-sex couple chosen as such by the partners or couple.  Following the adoption of the 34th Amendment to the Constitution and the subsequent related legislative changes, this is no longer adequate as it does not cover the situation of same-sex married couples.  I intend to bring forward a provision on this for inclusion in a suitable Bill as soon as an opportunity arises. 

Part 9 of the 2015 Act provides for a number of amendments to the Civil Registration Act 2004, all of which have yet to be commenced. Most of these amendments are for the purpose of enabling the registration of the birth of a child born as a result of a Donor-Assisted Human Reproduction (DAHR) procedure, as defined under Parts 2 and 3 of the 2015 Act. Part 9 amends the 2004 Act to include a definition of “parent” in relation to a child born as a result of a DAHR procedure to which Parts 2 and 3 apply. The Civil Registration Act 2019, which was signed into law on 23 May 2019, provides for amendments to the Civil Registration Act 2004, including some amendments to address technical issues regarding the wording of some sections of Part 9 of the 2015 Act.

No provision of Part 9 of the 2015 Act has yet been commenced.  Section 1(7) of the 2015 Act, as amended by section 12 of the Civil Registration Act 2019, provides that Part 9 shall come into operation 54 months from enactment or on such earlier day or days as the Minister for Justice and Equality may, after consulting with the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, appoint by order.  Different days may be appointed for the commencement of different provisions of Part 9.  The provisions of Part 9 of the 2015 Act relating to the registration of the birth of donor-conceived children are so closely interlinked with and dependent on Parts 2 and 3 that those provisions of Part 9 cannot be operated until Parts 2 and 3 are brought into operation by my colleague, the Minister for Health. 

Part 10 of the Act, which amended the Passports Act 2008, was commenced by my colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in July 2015.  

Part 11 of the Act, which relates to adoption, was not commenced and was repealed by section 2(2) of the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017, which came into operation on in October 2017.

Constitutional Amendments

Ceisteanna (563)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

563. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the terms of the recent divorce referendum will pass into law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34988/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Thirty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Dissolution of Marriage) Act 2019 was signed into law on 11 June 2019, following its approval by the people in a referendum on 24 May.  

I published the General Scheme of the Family Law Bill 2019 on 11 July 2019, following its approval by Government. The main purpose of the Family Law Bill will be to amend the law in relation to divorce following the enactment of the Thirty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Dissolution of Marriage) Act 2019.  

The Bill will reduce the minimum living apart period specified in section 5 of the Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996 to two years during the previous three years.

The Bill will enable spouses whose judicial separation application is pending before a court to be granted a divorce if they have been living apart for at least two years during the previous three years on 11 June 2019 (the date of enactment of the Thirty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Dissolution of Marriage) Act 2019).

The Bill will clarify the meaning of the “living apart” requirement for divorce applications by giving certainty to the interpretation that has been given by the Irish courts to the phrase “lived apart from one another” as including spouses who are living in the same dwelling but are otherwise living separate lives.

The Bill will reduce to one year the living apart period of three years that applies to judicial separation applications on the basis of living apart where the respondent does not consent to the decree of judicial separation being granted.

Finally, the Bill will ensure, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, that the recognition in Ireland of divorces granted in the United Kingdom after EU legislation in this area came into operation on 1 March 2001 will continue to be on the basis of habitual residence, rather than the domicile requirement which applies to divorces granted in non-EU states. This provision will be brought into operation only if and when the UK withdraws from the EU without an agreement.

The General Scheme of the Bill has been submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality for pre-legislative scrutiny and to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting.

The Deputy will appreciate that it is not possible for me to predict the outcome of the legislative process with regard to this or any other Bill.  However, my aim is that the Bill will be enacted as soon as possible this year.

Direct Provision Data

Ceisteanna (564)

James Browne

Ceist:

564. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the provision of a direct provision centre in the south-east; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34997/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

There are currently five accommodation centres under contract to my Department to provide accommodation and ancillary services in the South East region (counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford).  Details of the these are given in tabular form below.

Name 

 Location

Capacity 

 Atlantic House

 Tramore, Co. Waterford

 82

 Birchwood House

 Waterford

 145

 Bridgewater House

 Carrick-on-Suir, Co.Tipperary

 161

 Ocean View

 Tramore, Co. Waterford

 100

 Viking House

 Waterford

 81

Last December, my Department, in conjunction with the Office of Government Procurement, published a Request for Tender (RFT) for accommodation and ancillary services for the South East region.  The purpose of the tender was to develop a framework of premises,  the members of which would then be offered services contracts depending on the level of demand for accommodation.  Each of the above premises was successful in being placed on the framework.  No new premises were offered as part of the RFT.  Due to the increase in demand for accommodation over the past year, contracts for services were offered to each of the framework members.

A contract for services will only be awarded to a framework member on the condition that they provide independent living (cooking facilities and a food hall) to residents, and family living spaces where applicable.  Each framework member is given a 16-week mobilisation period in which to implement these improvements.  Each of the premises listed above is currently undergoing mobilisation, and we anticipate that independent living will be in operation in each of the centres by Q4 of this year.  Introducing independent living will improve the standard of accommodation available to people seeking international accommodation in the South East, in particular for families and children.

Legal Aid

Ceisteanna (565)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

565. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration is being given to increasing the income threshold for free legal aid from the present level of €18,000 and also to increasing the mortgage or rent allowance in assessing means from €8,000 maximum per annum in view of the fact that these income thresholds are perceived as restrictive for persons on modest incomes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35004/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Legal Aid Board periodically reviews the operation of the civil legal aid scheme and submits proposals, including proposals related to eligibility, to my Department. My Department works with the Legal Aid Board on an on going basis  in evaluating all such proposals with the aim of optimising the ability of the Board to provide civil legal aid to persons of insufficient means.   It is not currently proposed to raise the income thresholds, having regard to competing resource demands on the part of the Board, and the overall funding available.

Ensuring that all eligible persons have access to civil legal aid and advice is a priority for the Government and the Legal Aid Board.  The Government has prioritised and maintained the Legal Aid Board budget in recent years, ensuring that its budget allocation has increased from nearly €30.37m in 2011 to €40.796m for 2019.  This represents an increase of over 34%.

Courts Service Data

Ceisteanna (566)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

566. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if information (details supplied) will be provided for each of the years 2015 to 2018 in the interests of planning to safeguard vulnerable adults. [35009/19]

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.  The Courts Service is independent in exercising its functions and these include the provision of information on the courts system.  

In order to be of assistance to the Deputy I have requested that enquiries made.  In response to those enquiries, the Courts Service has informed me that they do not compile data in a way that can provide the details sought by the Deputy.

The specific reasons why the details sought in parts a) to e) of the question cannot be provided are set out below:

- In relation to the details sought in parts a) and b), the Courts Service does not ask people to provide their age, gender or disability for applications under the Domestic Violence Acts (1996/2018).

- In relation to part c), the recording system cannot provide the categories of information that are sought.  The Courts Service can only provide information on the number of applications made by type (e.g. total number of applications for a safety order). These figures are published in the Courts Service annual reports.

- In relation to part d), the Courts Service does not ask people to provide their age, gender or disability or other personal information such as their vulnerability.  In addition, the system cannot create a report that shows how many applications were made by the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA) under section 11 of the 2018 Act/section 6 of the 1996 Act.

- In relation to part e), the Courts Service does not record this information on their systems.  

Legislative Programme

Ceisteanna (567)

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

567. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when section 39 of the Domestic Violence Act 2018 will be amended to take account of the issue of coercive control which is not limited to persons in intimate relationships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35010/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Section 39 of the Domestic Violence Act 2018, which came into effect on 1 January 2019, provides that the offence of coercive control is committed where a person knowingly and persistently engages in a behaviour that:

(a) is controlling or coercive

(b) has a serious effect on a relevant person and

(c) a reasonable person would consider likely to have a serious effect on a relevant person.

Section 39(4) of the Act provides that a person is a relevant person in respect of another person if he or she

(a) is the spouse or civil partner of that other person, or

(b) is not the spouse or civil partner of that person and is not related to that other person within a prohibited degree of relationship, but is or was in an intimate relationship with that other person.

The legislation was drafted following detailed discussion in the Oireachtas and in consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Garda Síochána and the Courts Service.

The Domestic Violence Act 2018 has been fully in operation since 1 January 2019 and improves the protections available to victims of domestic violence under both the civil and criminal law. While all new legislation takes some time to bed in, the effectiveness of the innovative new offence of coercive control for the  categories set out in Section 39(4) will take some time to evaluate, given that a pattern of persistent behaviour as provided for in Section 39(1) needs to be established. If the Deputy wishes to bring to my attention any issues in relation to the matter, I will arrange to have it examined.