Crime Levels

Ceisteanna (224)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

224. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the annual number of crimes by category recorded by Garda stations (details supplied) in each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46046/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) is the responsible authority for official recorded crime statistics. The CSO publishes these frequently and the Deputy and any other member of the public may review statistical releases on the CSO website through this link: www.cso.ie/en/statistics/crimeandjustice/.

The Deputy may also be interested to note the CSO Crime Counting Rules document, available at the following link https://statbank.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?maintable=CJA07&PLanguage=0.

That document sets out the approach to recording of criminal offences as being against the Garda sub-district in which the particular offence was committed. 

“A.6  

A criminal offence should be recorded (and counted) against the Garda Sub-district in which the particular offence was committed. Where the place of commission cannot be determined the offence should be recorded against the Garda Sub-district in which it was reported. Criminal offences under Irish law that are committed abroad (such as those under the Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act, 1996) should be recorded against the Garda Sub-district in which it was reported.”

I understand that it is possible to search CSO Table CJA07, which breaks down data by offence group and Garda station, by post code of the relevant Garda station or indeed by place-name.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (225)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

225. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí assigned to the local drugs units attached to Garda stations (details supplied) in each of the past ten years. [46048/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the administration and management of An Garda Síochána is a matter for the Garda Commissioner.

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matters raised by the Deputy. I will write directly to the Deputy once I receive it.

International Protection

Ceisteanna (226)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

226. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay between an initial application for refugee status from the International Protection Office, the notification that the application is successful and a letter from his Department confirming same, which the applicant needs to receive a GNIB card. [46054/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

International protection is a complex legal process driven by both national and international law which works to protect the rights of those genuinely seeking protection by ensuring that all applications are examined in a consistently rigorous and fair manner. This means treating all applications on their individual merits which inevitably takes time.

Following the commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 (‘the 2015 Act’) on 31 December 2016, the International Protection Office (IPO) inherited a significant backlog of cases already in train under the Refugee Act, 1996.  In keeping with the principle of fairness, these older cases had to be processed first, resulting in delays for new applications made from that time.

In addition to the complexities of each case at an operational level, many applicants for international protection do not speak English.  Therefore, the requirement to ensure that the facts of each case are recorded accurately often involves both interpretation and document translation which can add to the overall time it takes to process an individual case.

Applicants can assist in ensuring the more efficient processing of their applications.  Completion of the IPO2 International Protection Questionnaire is a key element of the protection process.  The sooner this document is returned, the sooner it can be translated and the application can progress to the next stage of the process.  Similarly, the personal interview is at the core of the protection process.  Applicants should ensure that they do not postpone these interviews without good reason as this will delay the processing of their claim.

The Deputy will be interested to note that applications for international protection have increased year on year since the commencement of the 2015 Act:

Year

No. of Applications for asylum/international protection

2016

2,244

2017

2,926

2018

3,673

2019

3,762 (to end September)

Applications in September 2019 alone saw a 42% increase on the figure for the same period in 2018.  When applications for persons arriving in Ireland under the EU relocation mechanism are excluded, the increase for the same period in 2018 rises to 60.2%.

A recommendation letter from the International Protection Office is not in itself a grant or status letter but, rather, a recommendation as to whether a grant of international protection should be made or not made.

Once the necessary due diligence has been carried out by my Department, a declaration of status will issue as soon as possible.  Recommendations received from the International Protection Office and decisions of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal are processed in chronological order based on the date the file is received  from the IPO or IPAT.

I am assured that applicants receive a decision as soon as possible following a recommendation letter from the IPO in relation to their application.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (227)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

227. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason a person (details supplied) is still awaiting a GNIB card having successfully applied for refugee status in March 2019; and when the International Protection Office will be in a position to confirm same in writing in order to facilitate the granting of a GNIB card. [46055/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, for reasons of maintaining full confidentiality, it is not my Department's practice to comment on whether an application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been made in the State.

An applicant for such protection status, or their legal representative, should contact either the International Protection Office (IPO) or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) directly, as appropriate.

However, I can inform the Deputy that an applicant for international protection is awarded international protection, whether refugee status or subsidiary protection status, upon a declaration of status being issued from the Ministerial Decisions Unit of the Immigration Service of my Department. This is done on foot of a grant recommendation from the International Protection Office (IPO) or a decision of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) to set aside a refusal recommendation of the IPO. The Ministerial Decisions Unit processes the recommendations received from the International Protection Office and the decisions of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal in chronological order based on the date the file is received in that Unit. Once the necessary due diligence has been carried out by the Ministerial Decisions Unit, a declaration of status will issue as soon as possible.

The International Protection Office 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.

The Ministerial Decisions Unit operates an email service for responding to queries - mduinfo@justice.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.

Prison Staff

Ceisteanna (228)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

228. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the name of each person appointed as governor in each prison and place of detention; the dates of each respective appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46075/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the name of each person currently appointed as Governor in each prison and the dates of each respective appointment to their current position is in the following table.

It should be noted that since 15th July 2019, the status of Wheatfield has changed from a Place of Detention to a Prison.

Further information is available on the website of the Irish Prison Service www.irishprisons.ie.

Prison

Grade

Name

Date of Appointment to current position

Arbour Hill

Acting Governor III

Joe Hernon

5/10/19

Castlerea

Governor II

Martin Reilly

9/12/09

Cloverhill

Campus Governor

Martin O’Neill

10/10/15

Governor II

Frances Daly

3/9/16

Governor III

Tony Harris

2/6/18

Cork

Governor II

Pat Dawson

1/9/15

Limerick

Governor II

Mark Kennedy

26/9/15

Loughan House

Governor III

Mark Lydon

5/1/19

Midlands

Acting Governor I

Mary E Gavin

2/6/18

Governor III

Dave Conroy

2/6/18

Mountjoy Female

Governor III

Raymond Murtagh

14/9/19

Mountjoy Male

Acting Governor I

Edward Mullins

16/6/18

Governor III

Geraldine Carrick

9/6/18

Portlaoise

Governor I

John Farrell

2/6/18

Governor III

Ultan Moran

2/6/18

Shelton Abbey

Governor III

Joseph Donohue

4/1/19

Wheatfield

Campus Governor

Martin O’Neill

10/10/15

Governor II

Frances Daly

3/9/16

Governor III

Maria Connolly

15/8/18

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (229)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

229. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number, date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by his Department since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46096/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that Standing Order 164A of Dáil Eireann Standing Orders 2016 and Standing Order 168 of Seanad Eireann Standing Orders 2017 provide that "twelve months following the enactment of a Bill, save in the case of the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill, the member of the Government or Minister of State who is officially responsible for implementation of the Act shall provide a report which shall review the functioning if the Act and which shall be laid in the Parliamentary library."

The information requested by the Deputy of the date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by my Department since March 2011 is set out below in tabular form.

I can further confirm to the Deputy that work is underway in my Department to complete such reports on a number of other Acts.

Post-Enactment Reports – Department of Justice & Equality

No.

Title of Act

Date of publication of Post-enactment Report

1

Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014

5 May 2015

2

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014

13 July 2015

3

Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act 2015

1 March 2016

4

Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) (Amendment) Act 2015

22 March 2017

5

Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016

22 March 2017

6

Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act 2014

19 June 2017

7

Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2016

28 July 2017

8

Court of Appeal Act 2014

20 February 2018

9

Courts Act 2015

20 February 2018

10

Legal Services Regulation Act 2015

27 February 2018

11

Garda Síochána (Amendment) Act 2015

09 March 2018

12

Garda Síochána (Policing Authority and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015

9 March 2018

13

Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015

22 March 2018

14

Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017

29 March 2018

15

Criminal Justice (Suspended Sentences of Imprisonment) Act 2017

29 March 2018

16

Courts Act 2017

18 May 2018

17

Criminal Justice Act 2017

7 August 2018

18

Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Act 2015

30 August 2018

19

Criminal Justice (Offences Relating to Information systems) Act 2017

12 September 2018

20

Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017

22 November 2018

21

Mediation Act 2017

4 January 2019

22

Civil Liability (Amendment) Act 2017

4 January 2019

23

Children and Family Relationships Act 2015

7 January 2019

24

Marriage Act 2015

11 April 2019

25

Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Act 2015

11 April 2019

26

Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015

12 April 2019

27

Domestic Violence Act 2018

16 July 2019

28

Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Act 2018

22 August 2019

29

Data Protection Act 2018

23 August 2019

30

Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Act 2018

27 August 2019

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (230)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

230. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda cars and vans attached to Garda R and J districts as of 1 January 2019 and 28 October 2019, in tabular form. [46149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

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. He is also responsible for the efficient use of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles across the various 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 responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official Garda vehicles within each Division lies with the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between stations as required by operational circumstances.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that Coolock (R District) & Raheny  (J District) Garda Districts are part of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) North Division. I am further informed by the Garda authorities that the following table sets out the number and type of Garda vehicles assigned to the DMR R and J Districts as of 31 October 2019.

 

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4 x 4

Others

Total

COOLOCK-R

22

3

0

0

0

25

RAHENY-J

18

3

0

0

0

21

I am further informed that the following table sets out the number of Garda cars and vans attached to the DMR R and J Districts as on 1 January 2019.

 

Cars

Vans

Motorcycles

4 x 4

Others

Total

COOLOCK-R

21

3

0

0

0

24

RAHENY-J

16

4

0

0

0

20

Finally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that the resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, increasing to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020. 

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.  I understand from the Garda authorities that this year's capital allocation of €10million for the Garda fleet is  being used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year. A further €9 million capital funding has been allocated for the Garda fleet in Budget 2020.

This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

Family Reunification

Ceisteanna (231)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

231. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a residence permit will be issued in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46156/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As set out in the Government's Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification, an immigration permission granted for the purposes of family reunification will be dependent on the continued residence status of the sponsor. In the event of the death of the sponsor, departure from the State of the sponsor, divorce or annulment of a civil partnership, the family member must notify my Department and may apply for a change of status. The "changed status" which may be granted to the family member will depend on that family member’s new situation (e.g. are they working, studying, dependent on another resident, etc.) and the circumstances of the change.

The circumstances of the case will be considered on its own individual merits, and taking into account factors such as the length of time the sponsor has resided in the State, compliance with previous immigration conditions, conduct, the duration of the relationship, any children of the relationship. Where a sponsor dies, a sympathetic view would be taken. As a guideline, a person who has resided in the State for two years prior to the death of the sponsor should be granted immigration permission in their own right.

If a person wishes to apply for a change to their immigration status, they should submit the following documentation:

- Death Certificate for the sponsor

- Applicant’s current tenancy agreement

- Applicant’s recent Utility Bills

- Applicant’s previous 6 months bank statements

- Letter regarding applicant’s business/employment

- Applicant’s 3 recent payslips

- Applicant’s confirmation of private medical insurance cover

Documentation should be submitted to Unit 5, Domestic Residence and Permissions Division, Immigration Service Delivery, Department of Justice and Equality, PO Box 12695, Dublin 2.

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.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (232)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

232. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the amount being issued to an organisation (details supplied) will be reviewed. [46173/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The National Collective of Community based Women's Networks (NCCWN) consists of 17 women's groups located in various parts of the country, and is involved broadly in activation and outreach for disadvantaged women. In 2019, my Department provided funding of €1,439,000 to the NCCWN. This funding is towards salaries, administration and overhead costs incurred in the implementation of the activities set out in the agreed Women's Equality and Development Programme, NCCWN Support Scheme to Enhance the Inclusion of Women in Communities 2019, in line with the objectives contained in the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020.

The allocation provided for this organisation in 2020 will be €1,490,000, an increase of €51,000.

Garda Reports

Ceisteanna (233)

John Lahart

Ceist:

233. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to a practice by which gardaí do not release reports to motor insurance companies without a fee being paid by the insurance company to the Garda station; if this is common practice; his views on whether it is having a negative impact on the processing of insurance claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46186/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act, 2005, as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the administration and management of An Garda Síochána.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that persons involved in road collisions, their legal advisers, insurers or other interested parties, may, on written request and on payment of the prescribed fee, be supplied with an abstract report, copies of statements of witnesses, sketches and maps of the scene.

I am further advised that abstracts are not supplied until any criminal proceedings are concluded and, in the case of fatal traffic collisions, until the inquest concerning the death has been completed by the Coroner.

I am informed that the fee for provision of an abstract report stands at €60 and the fee for providing a copy of a statement increased to €40, with effect from 7 October, 2011. I am informed that since 2017 and under HQ Directive 36/2017, fees in respect of collisions resulting in serious injury have been capped at €1000, and fees are not applied in the cases of road fatalities.

Finally, I am informed that the fees charged are intended to recoup the administration costs to An Garda Síochána in providing these materials, such as staff time in processing the requests for abstracts and statements and disbursement costs such as stationary, photocopying and postage. I understand that these fees are kept under ongoing review.

Human Trafficking

Ceisteanna (234)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

234. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he has taken on foot of correspondence from four special rapporteurs of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights raising allegations of people trafficking and exploitation of migrant fishermen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46212/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The correspondence referred to by the Deputy was received by my Department in February 2019 and a response to same issued from my Department on 29 March 2019. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has advised that the response was received by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 12 April 2019. A full copy of the response to this correspondence is available on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights -   https://spcommreports.ohchr.org/TMResultsBase/DownLoadFile?gId=34620.

The Atypical Scheme for non-EEA Crew in the Irish Fishing Fleet was established as a cross Departmental response to address the matter of non-EEA workers on certain categories of vessels in the Irish fishing fleet.  A number of Departments are involved in the scheme and it is monitored by an Oversight Committee, chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine with members from relevant Departments and State Agencies, including my own Department.

The application process includes the drawing up of a contract which includes, for example, payment of wages in line with the minimum wage that the medical needs of the employee must be provided for by the employer and when an employment is terminated the employer must repatriate the employee to their home country.

This contract, prepared by a solicitor practising in the State on behalf of the employer, is submitted in the first instance to the Central Depository administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and thereafter an application is made to Immigration Service Delivery in my Department for an immigration permission. I am advised that each contract is certified by a solicitor as follows:

that the terms of the scheme are met

that the conditions of employment are in accordance with the relevant legislation and that annual wages are not less than the National Minimum Wage – currently €9.80 per hour and

that there is a statement from the vessel owner that they will enroll the crew member in a Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Safety Training Scheme prior to commencement of employment.

It should be noted that the Scheme requires that the crew member be provided a copy of their contract of employment in both English and in their native language.

The enforcement of appropriate employment law is not a matter for my Department. Primary responsibility for this matter is shared between the Workplace Relations Commission (enforcement) and the Department of Employment, Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP – Policy).

Any abuses or otherwise of the employment conditions of any non-EEA National in the Irish fishing industry is a matter for the Workplace Relations Commission, the Marine Survey Office, the Gardaí and other appropriate authorities of the State.

The vessels encompassed by the scheme are subject to regular inspection by a number of State Agencies. The WRC in particular has inspected  all but two of the 171 vessels within the scope of the scheme a number of times, and maintains a risk-based inspection and compliance regime which is informed by intelligence, including information from concerned NGOs. There have been four multi-agency specifically targeted operations within the sea fishing industry between October 2016 and present, and robust engagement will continue.

Where an individual believes themselves to be a victim of human trafficking or where another person believes that this situation applies, they should contact An Garda Síochána (AGS), or an NGO or State authority (e.g. WRC) who will be able to refer their case to AGS. AGS will be in a position to take the victim to a place of safety and arrange for immediate accommodation, food and medical needs.

AGS will refer the person’s case to the competent authority for the identification of victims, the Human Trafficking investigation and Coordination Unit (HTICU) of AGS.

Where an individual is identified as a suspected victim of human trafficking by HTICU they will be eligible to receive State supports and services, including immigration permission, through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to assist their recovery.

I am informed by my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport that Ireland supports the International Labour Organisation Work in Fishing Convention 2007 (No. 188), which seeks to ensure decent conditions of work in the commercial fishing sector.  I am further informed that a provision is to be included in the Merchant Shipping (International Conventions) Bill currently being prepared by the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport which will enable Ireland to ratify and implement the ILO Work in Fishing Convention.  I understand that secondary legislation is also required in order to facilitate compliance with obligations under the Convention. Furthermore, I also understand that work is at an advanced stage in the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport on the transposition of EU Directive 2017/159 which will implement the standards of the Convention. The Directive aims to enhance the working and living conditions for fishers working on vessels registered in an EU member state.

Migration Data

Ceisteanna (235)

Mick Barry

Ceist:

235. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of minors living here without residency status; the measures he is taking to provide these minors with residency status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46213/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, irregular migration, by its very nature, is clandestine. It is not uncommon for people who are here illegally to go to extreme lengths to avoid contact with the authorities. Consequently, it is inherently difficult to quantify the extent of irregular migration.  This is particularly so with respect to minors.

I recognise that there are some cases where young people have grown up here but who, as a result of their parents’ illegal status, find themselves in a difficult situation. My officials and I have ongoing engagement with non-governmental organisations about these cases.  I met with the Migrant Rights Council of Ireland in June of this year to discuss the issue of children who have grown up here in such circumstances. The MRCI presented an outline proposal to deal with legacy cases of people who have been undocumented for six years or more for consideration. I assured the MRCI that I am willing to explore all legal solutions.

However, it is important to emphasise once again that when it comes to people living here illegally, the only option for regularisation is on a case by case basis. People must engage with the authorities if they wish to be permitted, legally, to remain here.

For those who are in the State illegally, a full consideration of all aspects of their case is carried out before a decision is made to grant permission to remain in the State or to make a Deportation Order. This will include a consideration of their private and family life rights, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

I would encourage any person who is resident in the State without permission to contact the Immigration Service of my Department or their local immigration office and to take all appropriate steps to regularise their status.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (236, 237)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

236. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of sworn and unsworn members of An Garda Síochána on sick leave; the number in receipt of pay; the number absent due to occupational injuries with pay; the number absent due to non-occupational injuries with pay; the number on sick leave without pay in each category; the cost to date in 2019; the cost in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46235/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

237. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of sick pay within An Garda Síochána for the past five years by occupational and non-occupational absences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46236/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 236 and 237 together.

As the Deputy is aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. This includes responsibility for personnel and human resources matters. I do not have a direct role as Minister in the matters raised by the Deputy.

However, I have requested the information sought by the Deputy. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table details the number of Garda members and staff absent on sick leave due to occupational and non-occupational illness or injury.

Garda Members absent on sick leave as of 5/11/2019:

Occupational Injuries/Illness/Injury On Duty

Non-Occupational Injuries/Illness

Total

153

489

642

Garda Staff absent on sick leave as of 5/11/2019:

Occupational Injuries/Illness

Non-Occupational Injuries/Illness

Total

2

95

97

I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are not in a position to provide the details of the number with/without pay in each category.

As the Deputy will be aware, the provisions for the payment of sick leave in respect of non-occupational injuries/illness are set out in the Public Service (Management) Sick Leave Regulations 2014 (SI 124 of 2014), as amended by the Public Service Management (Sick Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (SI 384 of 2015).

I understand that the provisions for the payment of Sick Leave in respect of occupational injuries/ illness for Garda Staff are set out in Department of Finance Circular 25/75 and for Garda Members in the Garda Síochána (Finance) Code.

Finally, the Deputy may be interested to know that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform publishes statistics in relation to sick leave and costings for each sector on an annual basis. The figures for 2018 are available on their website https://hr.per.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Appendix-A_-Sectoral-Statistics-2018-and-Trends-2013-2018_V2.FINAL_.pdf.

Garda Compensation

Ceisteanna (238, 243)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

238. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the State is liable for the legal costs on both sides of the claim in respect of compensation claims lodged by sworn and non-sworn members of An Garda Síochána; if so, the number of such claims; the nature of the claims; if they relate to sworn or non-sworn members in each of the past five years; the Vote that is liable and-or accountable for the liability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46237/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

243. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a contingent liability is in place for compensation claims within An Garda Síochána; if so, the amount; if it relates to sworn and unsworn members; the vote this is attached to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46243/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 243 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945 provide for a scheme of compensation for sworn members of An Garda Síochána who are maliciously injured in the course of their duty or in relation to the performance of their duties as members of An Garda Síochána and for the dependants of members who have died from injuries maliciously inflicted on them.

In relation to the specific issues raised by the Deputy, I can confirm that sworn members of An Garda Síochána are eligible to make an application for compensation under the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945, as amended. In these cases, the State is liable for legal costs on both sides in respect of applications authorised by the Minister to apply to the High Court under the terms of the legislation.

More generally, the Deputy may wish to be aware that under the Acts, as Minister I have the responsibility to approve or refuse applications for compensation to be put forward to the High Court, having regard to the circumstances of the case and the legislation. This assessment is discharged by officials of my Department. Before deciding if an applicant should be authorised to apply to the High Court for compensation in respect of the injury, all medical reports submitted by the applicant, together with a report on the incident by An Garda Síochána and a report on the injury by the Garda Chief Medical Officer must be considered. The process of progressing an application for compensation from the date of its receipt to the date it is authorised, may take a considerable period of time. Once an application is approved, it is for the individual concerned to apply to the High Court for compensation.

I can inform the Deputy however that the number of applications received under the Garda Síochána Compensation Acts 1941 and 1945 in the last five years are as follows:

Year

No of Applications received under the Garda Síochána Compensation Acts 1941 and 1945

2015

191

2016

204

2017

181

2018

161

2019 (to 30 October)

124

Relevant compensation awards are paid from the Garda Vote. It is not possible to give a breakdown of the nature of the claims submitted under the Act.

As the Deputy will be aware from my previous replies in this regard, I am informed that the amounts paid under the Scheme and legal costs arising in the period 2015- September 2019 are set out in the following table:

Year

Number of cases Completed

Awards paid (€m)

Costs Paid (€m)*

Year

Number of cases Completed

Awards paid (€m)

Costs Paid (€m)*

2015

93

€3.60

€1.30

2016

66

€4.70

€1.60

2017

111

€5.80

€2.00

2018

126

€4.60

€1.80

At September 2019

68

€5.60

€0.81

*Legal costs paid in any particular year do not necessarily correspond to the awards made in that year.

It should be noted that the above information relates only to Garda compensation cases under Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts 1941 and 1945 Acts and does not relate to claims from An Garda Síochána staff under management by the State Claims Agency.

In relation to the issue of contingent liability, the Deputy may wish to note the content of the Appropriations Account 2018 for Vote 20, which sets out further information in that regard. www.audit.gov.ie/en/Find-Report/Publications/2019/Vote-20-An-Garda-Siochana.pdf.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (239)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

239. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of allowances available to be claimed by members of An Garda Síochána; when each allowance was introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46238/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I would first point out that as the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote, the Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of the organisation.

The report of the Commission on the Future of Policing (CoFPI) recommended that a review of Garda allowances should be expedited, to rationalise the allowance system and simplify its administration. As Deputies will be aware, Government last December endorsed that report and 'A Policing Service for the Future' , the four year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission, was published.

I understand that in line with the timelines set out in A Policing Service for the Future, a review of the current allowance system has commenced.

While allowances were first introduced by Government to An Garda Síochána by way of Allowances Orders 1924 and 1926, these allowances, in addition to others, have been amended and negotiated over time.

I am informed that with the exception of the 2012 Government Decision on abolition of allowances, the standard practice of introduction and amendment or repeal of any allowance has been, and remains, the remit of the Conciliation/Arbitration scheme. I would remind the Deputy that the Conciliation/Arbitration scheme was established for the purpose of enabling my Department, the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform and the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána on the one hand, and the Representative Associations on the other hand, to provide means acceptable to both the Government and the Garda Representative Associations for the determination of:

- Claims, including pay and allowances; and

- Proposals relating to conditions of Service of members of the ranks they represent.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are preparing a table setting out not only the current allowances but all those which have been available to be claimed by members of An Garda Síochána, including the date of introduction of each allowance; and I will provide that table to the Deputy directly.