Garda Data

Ceisteanna (252)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

252. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda attached to the Garda Economic Crime Bureau in each of the years 2013 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47238/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including personnel matters and deployment of resources. As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters. I am informed however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) (formerly the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation) was established on 1 September 2016. The Bureau has dedicated expert staff, including professional forensic accountants, to address white collar and other fraud and economic crimes, and includes the restructured Garda Cyber Crime Bureau, the Money-laundering Investigation Unit and a new Foreign Bribery and Corruption Unit.

I am further informed by the Commissioner that as of 31 October 2019, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 72 Garda assigned to the GNECB, supported by 19 Garda civilian staff and 3 accountants.

The Commissioner advises that Garda management within the Bureau are working with local Garda management, at District and Divisional levels, to ensure the necessary tools and training are provided to enable and empower District and Divisional resources to investigate cases of economic crime at that level, with advice and guidance available from within the Bureau. I understand that the Bureau has recently placed a greater emphasis on ensuring that economic crime of lesser amounts that are currently reported to the Bureau are assessed and transmitted to District Officers for investigation, with more complex cases, routinely involving significant amounts, being investigated by the Bureau.

For the Deputy’s information the following table sets out the number of gardaí by rank attached to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau in each of the years sought by the Deputy and for the current year up until 31/10/19, as provided to me by the Garda authorities.

Strength Of The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau by rank (formerly Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation 2013-2019

Year

CS

SU

IN

SG

GD

TOTAL

2013

1

2

5

14

47

69

2014

1

2

5

16

38

62

2015

1

2

3

13

42

58

2016

1

2

3

11

36

53

2017

1

2

3

17

43

66

2018

1

1

2

13

49

66

2019 (as of 31/10)

1

2

3

10

56

72

Public Service Vehicles

Ceisteanna (253)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

253. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of small public service vehicle licences that have been revoked and-or cancelled by An Garda Síochána in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 due to drug and-or alcohol test failure by the drivers of taxis, limousines and mini buses; if he will provide a breakdown by vehicle category, year and drug and or alcohol test failures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47261/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have asked An Garda Síochána to provide information in relation to the matter raised by the Deputy. The information requested is detailed and it was not possible to complete the task in the time available. I have requested the Commissioner to provide me with this information and I will provide it directly to the Deputy once it is received.

Direct Provision Data

Ceisteanna (254)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

254. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons granted asylum but continuing to reside in direct provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47278/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that as of 13 November 2019, there were 847 people who have been granted a protection status residing in accommodation centres provided by my Department.

My Department, through the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) which administers the system of accommodation for protection applicants, provides such persons with accommodation while they source their own accommodation. I am particularly mindful of the reality of the housing situation in the State and the pressures on the Community Welfare Service in respect of Rent Supplement and on the City and County Councils in respect of Housing Assistance Payments and Housing Lists. That said, the provision of housing for persons coming out of the protection process has been incorporated in the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.

Following on from the McMahon report, my Department developed a guide to independent living for persons with status to provide practical assistance for them. The guide is available in all accommodation centres and has been published on the IPAS website (www.ria.gov.ie) in a number of different languages. The guide was published in parallel with information sessions provided in the accommodation centres, coordinated by the Citizens Information Bureau, which gave an opportunity for such persons to seek assistance and clarification on the services provided. The IPAS, its centre managers, the Community Welfare Service (by way of provision of Rent Allowance), Citizens Information and those City and County Councils operating the Housing Assistance Payments link with such persons in accessing the appropriate supports and services, including in respect of sourcing and securing private accommodation.

I can also say that my Department has, in conjunction with a number of charities and NGOs who were awarded funding for projects, assisted a total of 675 people to transit from state provided accommodation to permanent homes in the community. This figure relates to the period from the beginning of the year to the end of October. I am confident that the services provided with this funding will prove of great assistance and benefit to all concerned.

Direct Provision System

Ceisteanna (255)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

255. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the completion of the upgrade works and signing of the contract by an organisation (details supplied) for a direct provision centre; when the contract will be signed; when the upgrade works will be completed; and the other tenders in place for the Dublin region for the provision of accommodation services for asylum seekers. [47285/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that my Department advertised a tender competition in September 2018 for suitable premises within 40km of Newbridge, Co. Kildare for accommodation and ancillary services for international protection applicants.

Successful bidders were required to undertake mobilisation works to provide for cooking facilities for residents, a foodhall (where residents can procure ingredients and food items as well as toiletries and household items through a points system) and to provide designated living space for families outside of the bedrooms. A period of 12 weeks was permitted for the completion of any required mobilisation works prior to the inspection of the premises by staff of the International Protection Accommodation Service of my Department (formerly known as the Reception and Integration Agency). Successful bidders were advised that no contract would enter into effect until the mobilisation works were completed and the premises inspected.

The provider of premises at the Towers Centre in Clondalkin, Dublin 22 was successful in being placed on the tender framework. The owner of the premises was advised that the 12 week mobilisation period commenced on 11 April 2019, which required all works to be complete by the 4 July 2019. The contractor has subsequently advised this Department that the same premises were to be entered into the Regional Tender competition for Dublin where a longer contract duration (5 years plus 2 years extension by mutual agreement) is on offer compared to the contract duration under the Newbridge contract (2 years plus 2 years extension by mutual agreement). The contractor has indicated that they will not complete the mobilisation works until the results of their tender for the Dublin Region is known.

The competition for the Dublin Region is currently under assessment and it is anticipated that the results will be known in January 2020.

In the meantime, the premises continues to operate as an accommodation centre under the terms of an earlier contract.

Garda Recruitment

Ceisteanna (256)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

256. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider increasing the age limit for applying to An Garda Siochána for members of the Garda Reserves only; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47296/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

There are currently no plans to change the age which members of the Reserve can join currently An Garda Síochána, which is 35 years of age. However the Deputy may be interested to know that the issue of entry routes into An Garda Síochána, in a broader context, is currently under review. This work will be taken forward as part of the ongoing implementation of A Policing Service for the Future which is bringing forward the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing.

The Deputy may also be interested to know that An Garda Síochána is currently conducting a strategic review of the Garda Reserve to inform future decisions around its use. This approach is in line with the recommendation in the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. I look forward to receiving the findings of this review, which I understand is nearing completion and is intended to inform the development of and preparation for a new Garda Reserve recruitment drive.

As the Deputy may be aware, entry to the Garda Reserve is governed by the Garda Síochána (Reserve Members) Regulations 2006, which states that 'a person is eligible to apply for admission as a reserve where, on the closing date specified in the advertisement for the competition for the vacancy to which the admission relates, the person is not less than 18, but under 60, years of age when commencing the prescribed training' .

The compulsory retirement age for members of the Garda Reserve is 65 years of age.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (257)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

257. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda mountain bikes purchased in 2018 and to date in 2019; if funding has been secured in 2020 for the purchase of extra mountain bikes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47305/19]

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. The Commissioner is also responsible for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources, including purchase and allocation of mountain bikes, in light of operational demand. As Minister I have no 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 resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion which is increasing further to a total of €1.88 billion for 2020.

Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including €92 million this year, increasing further to €116.5 million for 2020.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that 30 mountain bikes were purchased in 2018. I am further informed that no mountain bikes have been purchased to date in 2019, but that it is intended to purchase additional mountain bikes in 2020.

The number of additional mountain bikes which will be purchased in 2020 has yet to be determined by Garda management. However Garda management has confirmed to me that the Garda vote for 2020 includes sufficient funding for the purchase of such additional mountain bikes as are determined by the Commissioner to be required for operational use.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (258)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

258. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the budget allocation to the Garda national cybercrime unit in each of the years 2017 to 2019; the budget allocation for 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47306/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

A record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019 by the Government and this is increasing to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020.

The Garda Commissioner is by law responsible for the management of An Garda Síochána, including the allocation of resources and deployment of personnel. This includes responsibility for operational and organisations issues, such as the establishment and resourcing of individual Garda units. As Minister, I have no responsibility for these matters.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the allocation to the Garda national cyber crime unit for each of the years requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table:

Year

Amount

2017

€1,549,918

2018

€2,557,933

2019

€2,156,076

The Garda authorities have advised that the budget allocations for individual Garda Units have not yet been set for 2020.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (259)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

259. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the budget allocation to the Garda national economic crime bureau in each of the years 2017 to 2019; the budget allocation for 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47307/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources. 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 am advised by the Garda authorities that the following table sets out the cost of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau in the years 2017 to 2019, as requested by the Deputy.

Year

Spend

2017

€5,611,983

2018

€6,447,755

2019*

€5,121,532

*as of 13/11/2019

I am further advised that budget allocations for individual Garda Units for 2020 have not yet been set.

As the Deputy will be aware, a record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to €92 million this year. I am pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget for 2020 to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (260)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

260. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a person (details supplied) will receive a decision in relation to an application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47352/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted to my Department on behalf of the person concerned.

These representations will be fully considered under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of a final decision being made.

This case is amongst many to be considered at present and, as such, it is not possible to provide a specific indication as to when the case will be finalised. However, the person concerned can be assured that there will be no avoidable delay in having their case brought to finality.

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

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (261)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

261. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he or his officials met senior prison officers of Limerick prison on 7 October 2019; the reason for the meeting; the matters discussed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47372/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

On the date referred to by the Deputy, I was in Luxembourg attending a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council.

I am not familiar with the meeting referred to by the Deputy but he would be welcome to contact my office directly if there is any issue he wishes to raise with me.

Road Traffic Offences Data

Ceisteanna (262)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

262. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of fines issued for driving in bus lanes in 2017 and 2018, in tabular form. [47397/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion and a further increase to an unprecedented €1.882 billion in 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. This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

The Garda Commissioner has responsibility for managing An Garda Síochána including the allocation of Garda resources, in light of identified operational demands. 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.

In relation to enforcement in the case of private vehicles using bus lanes, I have asked An Garda Síochána to provide detail on the national figures. However the Deputy may be particularly interested in data relating to the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) and I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table sets out the number of Fixed Charge Notices issued in 2017, 2018 and 2019 (Jan-Sept) within the DMR:

-

2017

2018

Jan-Sep 2019

Driver Entering a Bus Lane

3133

4035

3072

Driver Entering a Contra Flow

Bus Lane

28

71

22

Driver entering Bus Only Street

20

25

15

Total

3181

4131

3109

Note: All figures provided are provisional, operational and subject to change.

As the Deputy will appreciate, this data indicates a significant increase in the number of Fixed Charge Notices issued in respect of these matters in 2018 when compared with 2017. Levels of Fixed Charge Notices issued to date in 2019 appear generally consistent with the level seen in 2018.

Court Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (263)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

263. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the capital funding allocated between January 2020 and 2023 for the refurbishment of existing courthouses or the construction of new courthouses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47538/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Government's National Development Plan 2018 -2027 includes a number of key Courts Service accommodation projects including:

- Family Law and Children's Court Complex on Hammond Lane site in Dublin followed by the redevelopment of the Four Courts as a campus for Civil Courts;

- Further new or refurbished courthouses in regional cities and county towns where facilities remain substandard (including Roscommon, Galway City, Wicklow Town, Portlaoise and Tralee)

- Construction of standard county town type court facilities at a number of locations in County Dublin and also in North Kildare, Bray and Navan;

- Regional Family Law Centres;

- Further provincial locations such as An Clochan Liath (Dungloe) to serve as the Gaeltacht court for the region, and Tuam.

The precise allocation and timing of additional funding over the period of the National Development Plan remains to be fully determined. The highest priority for the Courts Service at present is the delivery of the Hammond Lane Family Law/Children's Court project, for which €80m is available for the proposed Hammond Lane Family Law court complex from a Justice sector allocation of €150m for PPP projects. Any additional capital funding allocation that will be available in 2022 and 2023, has yet to be determined.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (264)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

264. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of full-time digital forensic specialist posts in the Garda computer crime unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47539/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including by arranging for the recruitment and training of personnel. Further, the allocation of Garda resources and distribution of personnel are a matter for the Commissioner, in light of identified operational demands.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table outlines the number of Garda assigned to the Cyber Crime Unit as at 31 October 2019.

Cyber Crime Bureau 31/10/2019

SU

INS

SG

GD

Total

1

1

4

20

26

I am further informed that the digital forensic specialist posts within the remit of the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau has a personnel strength of 20 sworn members, including four Sergeants and 16 Gardaí, as of 31 October 2019.

Garda Training

Ceisteanna (265)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

265. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost in 2020 if the training and development budget for An Garda Síochána increased by 17%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47540/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels.A record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019 and this is increasing further to a total of €1.882 billion for 2020. This level of funding will allow the Garda Commissioner to recruit up to 700 new Gardaí next year and additional Garda staff, the balance of which will be an operational matter for the Commissioner to decide.

It is important to note that under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including the training of its members and staff. The Commissioner and his management team are also responsible for the effective and efficient use of Garda resources.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the budget for training and development is now included under the Garda College subhead. I am further informed by the Garda authorities that the budget for training and development in 2018 was €31.8 million. The budget for training and development for 2019, including all payroll costs, increased to €37.566 million. A 17% increase in this budget would therefore involve additional costs of €6,386,220.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (266)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

266. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda by rank attached to each community policing unit in each Garda District in Dublin as of 8 November 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47541/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources in light of identified operational demand. This includes deployment of personnel among the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. I am assured however that Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use. I understand that it is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to him or her, having regard to the profile of the area and its specific needs.

It is however important to note that that community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána and that all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in carrying out their duties. To date, the official categorisation as a Community Garda has simply referred to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others.

The information requested by the Deputy is available on my Department's website at:

http://justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Community_Policing

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

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

The Deputy may be interested to note the implications for community policing of the new Operating Model for An Garda Síochána, the roll-out of which meets a key commitment in A Policing Service for the Future, the four-year implementation plan for the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

The Garda Operating Model reorganises resources around the delivery of frontline policing, placing an increased emphasis on engaging with communities and supporting victims of crime. I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that in each Division, there will be a dedicated Superintendent leading a community engagement team. I am confident that this reorganisation will further strengthen community policing and engagement, and provide a more localised, responsive policing service for each Division nationwide.

The Deputy may also be interested to note that a new Community Policing Framework has been developed and is being piloted in 4 Garda Divisions and that it will be reviewed in early 2020. I understand that this new Framework takes into account the recommendations of the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, under which it is envisaged that community policing may be a specialism in some urban areas.

Garda Equipment

Ceisteanna (267)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

267. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the issuing of body worn cameras to frontline gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47543/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, a record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, as well as capital investment amounting to €92 million this year. I am pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána's budget for 2020 to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for next year.

Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021. The Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of these resources and decisions in relation to the provision and allocation of equipment and resources, including ICT resources, are for the Commissioner in light of identified operational demands.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland included a recommendation that An Garda Síochána develop a plan to deploy body worn cameras. The Implementation Plan for that report - A Policing Service for the Future - includes a related action in relation to legislative preparation for deployment of body worn cameras.

In June 2019, the Government approved the drafting of the general scheme of a Bill to allow for the introduction of body worn cameras by the Gardaí. My Department is working to progress a Bill to deal with that and related matters – it is intended to publish the general scheme by the end of this year; and to publish the Bill in 2020.

Both privacy and data protection issues are being fully addressed during the drafting of the general scheme of the Bill. Relevant stakeholders such as the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission have been consulted.

I understand that in parallel, a business case is being prepared in An Garda Síochána in relation to the introduction of these cameras for operational members. I expect that this will be submitted to my Department after approval by the Commissioner.

Garda Resources

Ceisteanna (268)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

268. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the new divisional protective services unit for DMR north will be fully operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47544/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources. This includes responsibility for 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.

I have been informed by the Commissioner that to date, Divisional Protective Services Units have been established in 13 locations nationwide, namely Carlow, Cork City, DMR South Central, DMR West, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick, Louth and Waterford Garda Divisions as well as the newly established units in DMR East, DMR South and Tipperary which became operational in recent weeks.

Rollout of these units will meet a key commitment in A Policing Service for the Future , the four-year implementation plan giving effect to the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.

In terms of the timeline for roll-out of the remaining units, as the Deputy may know, it was originally envisaged in A Policing Service for the Future that this would be achieved by the end of 2019. However I am informed by Garda management that it is now expected the remaining units will be rolled-out on a phased basis by the end of Q1, 2020.

Although this is somewhat later than the originally intended schedule, roll-out is continuing and I understand that internal competitions in An Garda Síochána for selection of personnel for these units is complete in some cases and progressing or expected to commence shortly in others.

Supreme Court Rulings

Ceisteanna (269, 270)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

269. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps that have been taken to reform the process for applications for naturalisation in view of the recent judgments of the Supreme Court (details supplied) of 31 May 2019 in respect of the failure to provide reasons for the refusal of an application for naturalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47551/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

270. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps that have been taken to put in place an enhanced process for the consideration of applications for naturalisation as directed by the Supreme Court (details supplied) in judgments delivered on 31 May 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47552/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 269 and 270 together.

I wish to inform the Deputy that I am carefully considering the findings of the court and any attendant implications for the consideration of similar applications.

My Department has sought legal advice on this complex matter and is currently considering the options for an alternative or ‘enhanced’ process for naturalisation in appropriate cases.

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 as well as international level. It is therefore important that appropriate procedures are in place to ensure that the integrity of the regime for granting Irish citizenship through the naturalisation process is held in high regard both at home and internationally.

Assisted Decision Making

Ceisteanna (271, 273)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

271. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the provisions of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 will be fully operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47564/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

273. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amendments being made in relation to the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015; the reason they are being carried out late; when they will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47566/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 271 and 273 together.

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 Director of the DSS is working towards having the Service being operational and ready for the commencement of the main provisions of the 2015 Act. A lead-in timeframe is essential to ensure that the necessary staff resources, processes, IT system, expert panels, codes of practice and regulations will be in place. This will ensure 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 comprising 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 DSS, is overseeing the establishment and commissioning of the Decision Support Service and this work is ongoing.

A number of provisions of the 2015 Act were commenced in October 2016 in order to progress the setting up of the DSS. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 515 of 2016) commenced provisions of the Act to enable the recruitment of the Director of the DSS. Ms Áine Flynn was appointed Director of the DSS on 2 October 2017.

The commencement of Part 8 of the Act, which provides a legislative framework for advance healthcare directives, is a matter for the Minister for Health. The Minister for Health, under the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (Commencement of Certain Provisions) (No. 2) Order 2016 (S.I. No. 517 of 2016), brought some provisions of Part 8 of the Act into operation on 17 October 2016. The commenced provisions provide for the establishment by the Minister for Health of a multi-disciplinary group to make recommendations to the Director of the DSS in relation to codes of practice on advance healthcare directives. In anticipation of the completion of that process, the Minister for Health commenced the remainder of section 91 on 17 December 2018 (S.I. No. 527 of 2018).

The key preparations are being put in place under the oversight of the Steering Group to allow for further commencement orders for the provisions of the 2015 Act to be made when the DSS is ready to roll out the new decision-making support options.

Work has been ongoing in the Department of Justice and Equality on the drafting of necessary amendments to the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, taking account of issues raised by the Mental Health Commission, the codes of practice working groups and submissions received from other bodies. The intention was to bring forward these amendments by way of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016. However, when Dáil Committee Stage took place on the Bill on 30 January 2019, a number of amendments were agreed which had previously been ruled out of order by the Ceann Comhairle, thus giving rise to a procedural matter. Work is ongoing to resolve this issue. I am now giving consideration to proposing a separate, stand-alone Bill to progress amendments to the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015.