Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (131)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

131. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position with regard to the development of a mechanism to recognise a person’s practical work experience and expertise in order to enable the person to take on an apprenticeship. [41141/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

SOLAS has established a Recognition of Prior Learning [RPL] mechanism which enables an individual, with the appropriate work experience, to gain access to an apprenticeship programme.

An individual must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible:

1. Must be 16 years or older

2. Have a min 5 'D' grades in the Junior Certificate, a pre- apprenticeship programme or be a mature applicant

3. The individual must source an approved employer

4. They must register to their particular craft apprenticeship with an Education and Training Board (ETB)

5. Seek exemptions through the submission of an evidence based portfolio.

Once an individual has registered with an appropriate ETB, they can request the support of an Authorised Officer in the ETB to have their formal, non-formal and informal awards and work experience considered. Thereafter, they can seek exemptions from a programme through the submission of a portfolio of evidence relevant to the respective craft apprenticeship. On receipt of a portfolio SOLAS engages the services of a subject matter expert to map the portfolio to the precise requirements of the relevant craft apprenticeship.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (132)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

132. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the outcome of works at schools (details supplied); if these works are consistent with those announced under the prefab replacement programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41142/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is taking an integrated approach with prefab replacement through the replacement of prefabs as part of large-scale projects or as part of new projects approved under the Additional School Accommodation Scheme (ASA).

In respect of the schools referred to by the Deputy, all of the schools are having their prefabs replaced as part of the major project.

Institutes of Technology

Ceisteanna (133)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

133. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of refurbishment works at Dundalk IT. [41143/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The refurbishment of the North & South Blocks at Dundalk IT will be delivered in phases over the period up to 2023. The project design team was appointed in Q2 2019 and it is anticipated that work will commence on site in Q3 2020. Delivery of this project is devolved to Dundalk IT.

Institutes of Technology

Ceisteanna (134)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

134. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of fitting out the building works at a college (details supplied). [41144/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The enabling work element of phase 1 of the LIT Coonagh Engineering Facilities is completed. The fit out work element of phase 1 is due to go to tender in Q4 2019. This project is devolved to LIT for delivery.

Institutes of Technology

Ceisteanna (135)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

135. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of refurbishment works at a campus (details supplied). [41145/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Work has commenced on the refurbishment of the GMIT Castlebar Campus. Stage 1 of the works is due to be completed this month. This project is devolved to GMIT for delivery.

Third Level Facilities

Ceisteanna (136)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

136. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of a building (details supplied). [41146/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Approval in principle for co-funding of the project was provided by the Department in 2018.

DCU appointed the design team for the Future Tech Building in Q3 2019. It is envisaged that the project will go on site in Q1 2021. The project is devolved to DCU for delivery.

Third Level Facilities

Ceisteanna (137)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

137. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of the expansion of a campus (details supplied). [41147/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The F-Block extension on the DCU St Patrick’s Campus was completed in 2018.

Technological Universities

Ceisteanna (138)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

138. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of a recreation department (details supplied). [41148/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Planning permission for the Sports Science, Health & Recreation Building at TU Dublin Tallaght Campus has been granted. The Institute has recently received approval to proceed to tender. It is envisaged that construction will commence after the tender process has been completed.

Legislative Reviews

Ceisteanna (139)

Hildegarde Naughton

Ceist:

139. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the review his Department is conducting into the effectiveness of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40543/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

My Department is currently reviewing the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989, to determine what amendments are required in order to ensure it is effective and fit for purpose in a modern democracy. The public consultation on the Act which the Deputy is referring to is due to commence shortly and details will be published on my Department's website.

Separately, my Department is undertaking research into hate crime (offences under the general criminal law, such as assault or criminal damage, that are committed with a hate or bias motivation), to learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions who have taken different legislative approaches . That separate research project is well underway. This research will be completed in Q4 of this year and the results will help develop new approaches to ensure hate crime is addressed effectively in Ireland.

Taken together, this work will significantly advance our understanding of what is needed to ensure that legislation in this important area protects and supports those who are targeted by expressions and acts of hatred.

There is widespread public interest in reforming our approach to hate crime in this jurisdiction and this is something I welcome. I will consider the outcomes of all of the exercises which are now taking place in my Department on this subject, and will draw on this evidence to bring forward the necessary proposals for change.

Sentencing Policy

Ceisteanna (140)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

140. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the establishment of the sentencing guidelines and information committee; and when he expects draft sentencing guidelines to be published. [40583/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Judicial Council Bill was enacted on 23 July 2019 and provided for the establishment of the Judicial Council. I intend to have the Judicial Council established by the end of this year and steps are being taken to achieve this within that time frame.

The establishment of the Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee will take place after the Judicial Council has been set up. As set out in the Judicial Council Act, the Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee is to be established no later than 6 months after the first meeting of the Judicial Council.

In terms of other progress in this area, I recently signed a commencement order (S.I. No. 457/2019) which brings certain provisions of the Judicial Council Act into operation. These provisions allow for the appointment of the interim Secretary to the Council. They also provide for the process of identifying and recommending to the Government persons who are suitable for appointment to be lay members of the Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee, the Judicial Conduct Committee and panels of inquiry.

My commencement of these provisions will enable the Council to begin its work on establishment day and will allow the Committees of Council to undertake their functions within the time frames specified in the Act.

Refugee Status Applications

Ceisteanna (141)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

141. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will make contact with a person in respect of the recommendation from his Department that the person (details supplied) will be given a refugee declaration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40643/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, if an application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been made in the State, for confidentiality reasons, it is not the practice to comment on such applications. The applicant or his legal representative should contact either the International Protection Office (IPO) or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) directly, as appropriate.

The IPO may be contacted: by email to info@ipo.gov.ie; by telephone to the IPO Customer Service Centre at 01 6028008 or in writing to Customer Service Centre, International Protection Office, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. The International Protection Appeals Tribunal may be contacted either: by email to info@protectionappeals.ie; by telephone at 01-4748400 (or Lo-Call 1890 201 458), or in writing to Corporate Services Division, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal, 6-7 Hanover Street East, Dublin D02 W320.

Following the commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 on 31 December 2016, new arrangements for the investigation and determination of applications for international protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) and cases involving permission to remain in the State have been introduced. Such applications are now processed, as part of a single application procedure, by the International Protection Office (IPO) which has replaced the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) from that date. The staff of that Office (the Chief International Protection Officer and International Protection Officers) are independent in the performance of their protection functions.

For your information, on 27 February 2017, the Chief International Protection Officer, following consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), published a statement on the Prioritisation of Applications under the International Protection Act 2015, which is available to view on the website of the International Protection Office (www.ipo.gov.ie).

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.

Refugee Status Applications

Ceisteanna (142)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

142. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when he will make contact with a person in respect of the recommendation from his Department that the person (details supplied) will be given a refugee declaration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40644/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, if an application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been made in the State, for confidentiality reasons, it is not the practice to comment on such applications. The applicant or his legal representative should contact either the International Protection Office (IPO) or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) directly, as appropriate.

The IPO may be contacted: by email to info@ipo.gov.ie; by telephone to the IPO Customer Service Centre at 01 6028008 or in writing to Customer Service Centre, International Protection Office, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. The International Protection Appeals Tribunal may be contacted either: by email to info@protectionappeals.ie; by telephone at 01-4748400 (or Lo-Call 1890 201 458), or in writing to Corporate Services Division, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal, 6-7 Hanover Street East, Dublin D02 W320.

Following the commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 on 31 December 2016, new arrangements for the investigation and determination of applications for international protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) and cases involving permission to remain in the State have been introduced. Such applications are now processed, as part of a single application procedure, by the International Protection Office (IPO) which has replaced the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) from that date. The staff of that Office (the Chief International Protection Officer and International Protection Officers) are independent in the performance of their protection functions.

For your information, on 27 February 2017, the Chief International Protection Officer, following consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), published a statement on the Prioritisation of Applications under the International Protection Act 2015, which is available to view on the website of the International Protection Office (www.ipo.gov.ie).

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.

Prisoner Releases

Ceisteanna (143)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

143. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the basis upon which a person (details supplied) was granted temporary release from prison in circumstances in which the person had only served six years of a life sentence for murder; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40647/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can assure the Deputy that I had regard to the expert advice of the Parole Board, the Irish Prison Service and my own officials in making a decision in this very sensitive and difficult case - as I do in all such cases.

Reducing the risk that offending behaviour will recur is the key priority and the approaches taken in this jurisdiction are evidence-based and represent best international practice.

I will write to the Deputy directly with further information on this matter.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (144)

John Curran

Ceist:

144. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) who was granted a stamp 4 visa status based on the naturalisation of the person's parent as an Irish citizen is eligible to reside away from the residence of the parent on a temporary basis without affecting the visa status granted to the person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40655/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department that the permission granted to the person referred to will not be affected by a temporary relocation to an alternate address in Ireland, while their circumstances remain the same i.e they are the dependent of an Irish national. The person concerned is therefore free to relocate closer to their college should they wish to do so.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the Immigration Service of my Department by 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.

International Protection

Ceisteanna (145)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

145. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 320 of 2 July 2019, the number granted labour market access permission and who reside in direct provision; the number of self-employed returns and employed returns since the same date; the number of persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40700/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 came into effect from 30 June 2018. The Regulations 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 Immigration Service of my Department that as of the 3rd October, 2019, 3,223 applications for a labour market access permission have been granted. A total of 2,392 of these grants are for persons residing in accommodation provided by the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS).

When an international protection applicant is issued with a labour market access permission under the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 and takes up employment, the employer (or applicant in the case of self-employment), is obliged to inform the Minister for Justice and Equality within 21 days. A standard form for this purpose is available on the website of the Immigration Service of my Department.

I am advised by the Immigration Service that, based on the returned declaration forms received to date, a total of 1,593 applicants have indicated they have commenced employment or self-employment, of which 1,127 are living in accommodation provided by IPAS. As the employer or applicant has 21 days from the time they take up employment or self-employment to return the declaration form, there is likely to be a time lag between the actual date of commencement of employment and the Immigration Service being notified of same.

Garda Deployment

Ceisteanna (146)

James Lawless

Ceist:

146. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in County Kildare in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40712/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for managing An Garda Síochána and for the allocation of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for personnel matters and the distribution of personnel across the various Garda Divisions. 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.

The Garda strength of Kildare Division in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, as provided by the Commissioner, is available on my Department’s website through the following link.

www.justice.ie/en/JELR/003_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_2006_to_August_2019.xlsx

/Files/003_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_2006_to_August_2019.xlsx

.

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

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

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

Assisted Decision Making

Ceisteanna (147)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

147. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider the need of wards and families for a link and-or liaison and-or position on the steering group regarding the process of the establishment of the decision support service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40717/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides a modern statutory framework to support decision-making by adults with capacity difficulties. The Act was signed into law on 30 December 2015 but has not yet been fully commenced. The Act provides for the establishment of new administrative processes and support measures, including the setting up of the Decision Support Service (DSS) within the Mental Health Commission (a body under the Department of Health).

The 2015 Act will also abolish the current Wards of Court system by repealing the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871. Part 6 of the 2015 Act which deals with wards of court will be commenced when the Decision Support Service is open for business and ready to roll out the new decision-making support options. The adults currently in wardship will transition to the new decision-making support arrangements provided for in the 2015 Act on a phased basis over 3 years from the commencement of Part 6.

The Director of the Decision Support Service is working towards being operational and ready for the commencement of the main provisions of the 2015 Act in 2020. This lead-in timeframe ensures that the necessary staff resources, processes, IT system, expert panels, codes of practice and regulations will be in place so that the DSS will have the capacity to be up and running effectively. There are many complex strands to this work, including involvement of multiple organisations, and the situation is being kept under ongoing review as the preparatory work on implementation moves forward.

A high-level Steering Group comprised of senior officials from the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Health, the Mental Health Commission and the Courts Service, together with the Director of the Decision Support Service, is overseeing the establishment and commissioning of the DSS and this work is ongoing. I am of the view that the current Steering Group is composed of the most appropriate stakeholders to deal with the high level issues involved in the establishment and commissioning of the DSS and I have no proposals to add additional members to the Group at this point in time.

However, as we move closer to the DSS being operational in 2020, I will give consideration to the inclusion of more stakeholders in the governance structures.

Crime Prevention

Ceisteanna (148)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

148. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if An Garda Síochána working group has published its national strategy to deal with assaults against the person; if not, when the strategy will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40745/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, An Garda Síochána in 2018 established a Working Group to formulate a National Strategy to Deal with Assaults against the Person. The first phase of this strategy involved the ‘Use Your Brain Not Your Fist’ national awareness campaign in July 2018.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Assaults in Public Reduction Strategy 2019- 2021 has now been approved by the Garda Executive and that implementation commenced on a national basis on 2 September, 2019 under the operational name ‘Operation Soteria’.

I understand that the assault reduction strategy uses Garda Síochána Analysis Service data to identify and target the primary locations where assaults are occurring. I am further informed that the strategy has been communicated throughout An Garda Síochána for implementation and that it will be under constant progress review by local and national Garda management.

Refugee Data

Ceisteanna (149)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

149. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of refugees staying in a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40747/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

My Department is responsible for offering accommodation and related services to international protection applicants while their claim for protection is being examined. These services are demand led and generally it is difficult to predict demand far in advance.

I am advised that as of 29 September 2019, 7,462 persons were being provided with accommodation by the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS, formerly the Reception and Integration Agency) of my Department.

Currently, there are 6,063 persons residing in the 38 accommodation centres located nationwide across 18 counties. As these centres are at full capacity, there are also a further 1,399 applicants residing in 34 emergency accommodation locations in hotels and guest houses. I can inform you there are currently 139 persons residing in the accommodation centre the Deputy has enquired about.

Every effort is being made to re-accommodate applicants in emergency locations to a dedicated accommodation centre as quickly as possible. My Department is actively working on securing additional capacity, both in its existing centres and through sourcing new accommodation centres.

IPAS has sought expressions of interest from parties who would be interested in providing accommodation and related services to people in the international protection process and has also launched a nationwide, regional tendering process to source new accommodation centres.

Refugee Data

Ceisteanna (150)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

150. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of refugees staying in a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

My Department is responsible for offering accommodation and related services to international protection applicants while their claim for protection is being examined. These services are demand led and generally it is difficult to predict demand far in advance.

I am advised that as of 29 September 2019, 7,462 persons were being provided with accommodation by the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) of my Department, formerly the Reception and Integration Agency. I can inform you there are currently 123 persons residing in the accommodation centre that the Deputy enquired about.

Currently, there are 6,063 persons residing in the 38 accommodation centres located nationwide across 18 counties. As these centres are at full capacity, there are also a further 1,399 applicants residing in 34 emergency accommodation locations in hotels and guest houses.

As places become available in a dedicated accommodation centre they are offered to protection applicants accommodated in the emergency accommodation. Every effort is made to re-accommodate applicants in emergency locations to a dedicated accommodation centre as quickly as possible and my Department is actively working on securing additional capacity, both in its existing centres and through sourcing new accommodation centres.

IPAS has sought expressions of interest from parties who would be interested in providing accommodation and related services to people in the international protection process and has also launched a nationwide, regional tendering process to source new accommodation centres.

Visa Applications

Ceisteanna (151)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

151. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for a visa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40749/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Immigration Service of my Department that the application referred to by the Deputy was decided on 12 March 2019 and that the applicant was informed of the decision to refuse the application. An appeal against the decison was received in the Visa Office in Dublin on 22 May 2019.

Appeals are generally processed in the chronological order in which they are received. While every effort is made to process appeals as quickly as possible, processing times will vary having regard to the volume of appeals received, the resources available to process them, the individual complexity of the application and any subsequent appeal. It is not possible to indicate at this time when the appeal decision will be finalised.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to Immigration Service 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.

In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to the Immigration Service (visamail@justice.ie).

Departmental Reform

Ceisteanna (152)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

152. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide the costs incurred to date in respect of a consultancy regarding the reorganisation of his Department (details supplied); the number of staff by grade who were reassigned to new roles as part of the departmental reform; the number of disputes and-or appeals by staff regarding their reassignments within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40829/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

In January 2019, the Department commenced work on a significant Transformation Programme, most notably in response to the recommendations of the Effectiveness and Renewal Group (ERG) which was established by Government in January 2018 to identify the changes necessary to enable the Department to meet the changed demands of the environment in which it now operates.

EY was selected as the Department's Implementation Partner for the programme following a competitive tender process. The cost incurred to date in respect to the consultancy regarding the reorganisation of the department is €3,513,114. This information is publicly available on the Department’s website.

Number of staff by grade that were reassigned to new roles

The Programme moves the Department from a traditional, divisional structure to a functional structure and is the largest change programme in the Department’s history.

In line with ERG recommendations, the work of the Department has been aligned under a Civil Justice and Equality Pillar and a Criminal Justice Pillar.

In the new operating model, the work in each Pillar will be structured by functional area (e.g. Policy, Governance) rather than thematic area (e.g. Policing, Equality).

The move to a functional operating model means that most staff have experienced some level of change to their role, with almost 500 staff relocating to a different building.

The following is the breakdown of staff who were reassigned into new roles by grade as part of the Departmental reform.

Grade

No

Assistant Secretary

6

Director

3

Principal Officer

50

Assistant Principal

87

Administrative Officer

28

Higher Executive Officer

58

Executive Officer

81

Clerical Officer

88

Total

401

Number of disputes and/or appeals by staff regarding reassignments

There were three cases referred to human resources in respect of reassignments. In each case, an appropriate resolution was found to accommodate the needs of the individual and in all instances this was done informally. No formal disputes or appeals arose.

Deportation Orders Data

Ceisteanna (153)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

153. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of asylum seekers who have been returned from Ireland to Zimbabwe in each of the years 2016 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40836/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) gives the Minister for Justice and Equality powers to make a Deportation Order. Section 3(2) of that Act sets out the nature of persons in respect of whom such an Order can be made. This includes, among other categories of person, a person who has served or is serving a term of imprisonment imposed on him or her by a court in the State, a person whose deportation has been recommended by a court in the State before which such person was indicted for or charged with any crime or offence, a person whose application for asylum, based on the provisions of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), has been refused by the Minister and a person whose deportation would, in the opinion of the Minister, be conducive to the common good.

Section 3(3) of the Act provides the procedure to be followed before any such Order can be made while section 3(4) sets out the three options open to any person put on notice of a proposal to make a Deportation Order in respect of them. These options are to leave the State voluntarily, to consent to deportation or to submit written representations against the making of such an Order.

I am informed by the Immigration Service of my Department, that the State has not returned any individual to Zimbabwe in the years mentioned in the Deputy's query.

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

Ceisteanna (154)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

154. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if correspondence regarding the proposed move of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; if the person can remain in County Monaghan in view of the person's attachment and involvement in the Carrickmacross area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40855/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS, formally the Reception and Integration Agency), that the person referred to by the Deputy was initially accommodated in one of the emergency accommodation locations under contract to my Department. Accommodation in these locations is provided on a temporary basis until an applicant can be transferred to an accommodation centre at a future date. Suitable accommodation subsequently became available in September 2019 and the individual concerned received a letter notifying them of the proposed transfer.

While I appreciate the move to a new accommodation centre may cause upheaval, my Department cannot permit a person to remain in an emergency location when a suitable vacancy has become available in an accommodation centre. The individual concerned was advised of this and moved to their new accommodation in a location that offered minimum disruption to them on 30 September.

It is important to note that there is no obligation on any applicant to accept the offer of accommodation. Applicants may source their own private accommodation or choose to stay with friends or family.

Disability Act Employment Targets

Ceisteanna (155)

Colm Brophy

Ceist:

155. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the results to date of the national disability inclusion strategy recommendation 4.49 to increase the public sector employment target of persons with disabilities from 3% to 6% by each Department. [40896/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, Part 5 (section 47) of the Disability Act 2005 requires public sector bodies to ensure, unless there is good reason to the contrary, that 3% of the persons employed by that body are persons with disabilities.

Implementation of Part 5 of the Act is monitored on an ongoing basis by the National Disability Authority. The Authority reports each year on progress made towards the statutory 3% target for employment in the public sector.

The Authority's most recent report on compliance shows that at the end of 2017, 3.5% of staff employed in public sector bodies were people identifying with disabilities, this was the seventh successive year of exceeding the statutory 3% target.

The Deputy will also be aware of the Government's Comprehensive Employment Strategy (CES) for Persons with Disabilities 2015 - 2024. This strategy sets out a ten-year cross-Government approach to ensuring that people with disabilities who are able to, and want to, work are supported and enabled to do so, with different Departments and State agencies acting in a concerted effort to address the barriers and challenges that impact on employment of people with disabilities.

In addition Action 40 of the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 commits to increasing the statutory target of persons with disabilities employed in our public services from 3% to 6% on a phased basis by January 2024. To give effect to this commitment, legislative proposals are currently being progressed through the Oireachtas as part of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016.