Wards of Court

Question No. 273 answered with Question No. 271.

Ceisteanna (272)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

272. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the families of the Wards of Court will be facilitated to represent their situation as the main stakeholders in the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47565/19]

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 operational and ready to deliver on 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 three years from the commencement of Part 6.

The Director of the DSS is working towards having the DSS 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 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 comprising senior officials from my Department, 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 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 becoming operational, I will give consideration to the inclusion of more stakeholders in the governance structures.

Question No. 273 answered with Question No. 271.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems Provision

Ceisteanna (274)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

274. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has considered an extension to community CCTV schemes beyond the end of December 2019 to allow communities that are working through proposals for schemes with their local authorities and gardaí to avail of the funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47623/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, Community CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006 (SI No 289 of 2006). This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

- be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

- have the prior support of the relevant local authority, which must also act as data controller, and

- have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded and these key legal requirements have not changed since 2006. The possibility of establishing a Community CCTV scheme is available to groups that meet these legal requirements, anywhere in the country.

Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area.

Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities nationwide, can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000. As the Deputy may be aware, I expanded the grant aid scheme to cover not only new CCTV systems but also to allow funding applications for extension or upgrade of existing Community CCTV systems which are incomplete or obsolete. Applicants can now also seek a once-off grant of up to €5,000 for minor maintenance costs.

I can confirm that the grant aid scheme remains open for applications from interested groups in 2019 and that all fully completed applications received before the end of 2019 will be considered.

I am pleased to announce that I have recently approved extension of the CCTV grant aid scheme for a further year in 2020.

I must emphasise that grant funding can be considered only for CCTV systems which meet the legal requirements for CCTV, in other words CCTV systems which have been approved by the relevant Joint Policing Committee, the relevant Local Authority (also acting as Data Controller) and which have received the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address communitycctv@justice.ie.

Shared Services

Ceisteanna (275)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

275. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 138 of 10 October 2019, when the report from the Garda authorities on the matter of An Garda Síochána ceasing to share information with Tusla due to differences of opinion on the protocols will be issued. [47750/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed that the Garda Síochána has not ceased or withdrawn from sharing information with Tusla.

Every day, on a national basis, there are numerous examples of information sharing between the agencies either through the medium of mandated reporting under the Children First Act 2015 or via the Children First guidelines 2017 which amounts to thousands of individual data sharing transactions annually. In addition, daily Children First Strategy meetings and Child Protection Conferences serve as other mechanisms for sharing of information.

The practice of sharing information is necessary and appropriate and this is the context for the Data Sharing Agreement which I understand is currently being considered at a senior level in both organisations.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (276)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

276. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí by station as at 30 December 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47752/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

It is important to be clear that 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 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.

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 and this is increasing to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for 2020.

In relation to the information requested on the number of Gardaí by station as at 30 December 2018, the Deputy may find it helpful to be aware that this information is available on my Department’s website. This information is updated every month with the latest data provided by An Garda Síochána. This information is available at the following link:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_September_2019.xlsx/Files/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_September_2019.xlsx

Information on Garda staff is available at the following link:

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

For more information on the Garda Workforce as well as general information on Garda facts and figures, the Deputy may also wish to see the information on the links below:

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

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

Parliamentary Questions

Ceisteanna (277)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

277. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will raise with the Garda Commissioner the possibility of An Garda Síochána setting up a dedicated communication channel for queries from members of the Oireachtas in view of the fact that most parliamentary questions pertaining to Garda matters are disallowed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47756/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department engages with An Garda Síochána in relation to information for which I am accountable to the House and this responsibility is taken most seriously.

There are a range of other matters for which the Commissioner is responsible under the law and in respect of which I have no role.

My objective is always to be as helpful as possible to Deputies bearing in mind the law and the Standing Orders of the House. It is with this in mind that my Department has begun to proactively publish more routine information in relation to An Garda Síochána. For example, my Department now publishes information which the Deputy may find useful in relation to the Garda workforce, broken down by rank and location, which is updated on a monthly basis. This ensures that accurate and up to date information on Garda strengths is available not only to members of Dáil Éireann but also to members of the public, researchers etc.

I am also examining other areas in which a similar programme of publication can be pursued, to ensure that appropriate levels of information are made available to the widest possible range of stakeholders. I will explore the Deputy’s proposal further in this context.

Garda Data

Ceisteanna (278)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

278. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the staffing numbers in Macroom Garda station in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47757/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

It is important to be clear that 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 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.

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 and this is increasing to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for 2020.

In relation to the personnel assigned to Macroom Garda station as referred to by the Deputy, I would point out that the number of Gardaí by rank, attached to each Garda station is available on my Department’s website and is updated every month with the latest data provided by An Garda Síochána. This information is available at the following link:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_September_2019.xlsx/Files/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_September_2019.xlsx

Information on Garda staff is available at the following link:

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

For more general information on the Garda Workforce and additional Garda facts and figures, the Deputy may also wish to see the information on the links below:

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

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

Cross-Border Co-operation

Ceisteanna (279)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

279. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the proposals to increase co-operation on a cross-Border basis on the need to tackle criminality and paramilitarism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47758/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Tackling cross-border crime is a high priority for this Government, the Gardaí and our other law enforcement authorities.

Policing in the border region has always presented particular challenges that necessitate a collaborative approach to policing between law enforcement agencies north and south of the border. There is close ongoing cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI and other law enforcement agencies who all work closely together on a broad range of policing responsibilities.

As I have outlined in the Houses previously, the existing multi-agency cooperative arrangements in place to tackle cross-border crime are already quite structured and successful.

The Deputy will be aware that in November 2015 the British and Irish Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive agreed a series of measures in the Fresh Start agreement, as part of a concerted and enhanced effort to tackle organised and cross jurisdictional crime. These measures included the creation of the Joint Agency Task Force which is led by senior officers from An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Revenue Commissioners and UK Revenue and Customs. A number of other relevant bodies, including the National Crime Agency and the Criminal Assets Bureau are also closely involved.

The objective of the Task Force is to build on existing law enforcement frameworks and to increase the collective effectiveness of operational actions. In this format, the senior management level of the two police services provide strong strategic direction and oversight to front-line operational activities.

The Task Force has had some notable success in tackling cross-border criminal activity across a range of crime areas. These include not just traditional smuggling activities, but also rural and farm crimes, organised burglary and drug crime.

The regrettable absence of an Executive in Northern Ireland means that the work of the Task Force is less visible than it might have been. It was designed to report to Justice Ministers north and south and it is my hope that the restoration of power sharing in Northern Ireland will allow the Task Force to reach its full potential.

The multi-agency nature of the Task Force is critical to its success. It is a strong example of the extensive North-South cooperation between the police, customs services and other law enforcement agencies involved in tackling crime and enhancing the safety of all communities on both sides of the border. The Task Force complements both the ongoing formal and informal co-operation between AGS and PSNI.

The Deputy may also be interested to note that the collaboration between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI was recently extended with establishment of the first ever AGS-PSNI Joint Investigation Team involving Eurojust. This is a very significant and positive development will further strengthen the already close and positive cooperation between police services on the island of Ireland.

Finally, I would assure the Deputies that An Garda Síochána has the full support of the Government in its ongoing work in addressing cross-border criminality and we are providing record resources to enable it to perform this critical role. The Northern region continues to benefit from the accelerated recruitment to An Garda Síochána as part of the Government’s plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, supported by the unprecedented level of Government funding to the organisation.

Garda strength in the Northern Region has increased to approximately 1,500, an increase of 150 Gardaí since the end of 2017. These Gardaí are supported by approximately 160 Garda staff in the region, which represents an increase of almost 35% over the past 3 years, with the result that additional Gardaí can be redeployed from administrative to operational policing duties where their training and policing expertise can be used to best effect.

Prisoners Temporary Release

Ceisteanna (280)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

280. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on whether a meeting of the parole board (details supplied) which led to a number of escorted absences from prison was legitimately held in view of the fact that it occurred less than seven years from the commencement of a life sentence; the steps he plans to take to remedy the situation; if he has sought the advice of the Attorney General on the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47868/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on individual cases.

However, in general terms it is important to note that limited day release under escort and supervision should not be confused with the release of an offender on parole. Nor do escorted day releases necessarily lead to release of a person on parole in the short or medium term.

As I am sure the Deputy will appreciate, the Irish Prison Service work on an ongoing basis with offenders with a view to reducing any future risk to society in the event of their release, should that occur. The approaches taken in this jurisdiction are evidence-based and represent best international practice.

Life sentence prisoners are currently eligible to engage with the Parole Board after they have been in custody for seven years, although in practice and over the past 10 years, the average sentence served by a life sentence prisoner before being released on parole has been more than 19 years.

Finally, the Parole Act 2019 provides for the establishment of an independent, statutory Parole Board, which will make decisions in relation to parole for all eligible prisoners. There are a number of practical steps required for commencement of the Act and establishment of the Parole Board, for example selection of Board members, the appointment of a Chief Executive and staff, putting in place the funding for the new Board and various other matters including determining where the Board’s premises will be. The Parole Act also establishes a new threshold of 12 years which must be served by life sentence prisoners before they are eligible to be considered for parole. This will apply to life sentenced prisoners regardless of whether the relevant sentence was imposed by the Courts prior to or after the commencement of the Act.

Parole Boards

Ceisteanna (281)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

281. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the plans he has to commence all sections of the Parole Act 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47869/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Parole Act 2019 provides for the establishment of an independent, statutory Parole Board, which will make decisions in relation to parole for all eligible prisoners.

There are a number of practical steps required for commencement of the Act and establishment of the Parole Board, for example selection of Board members, the appointment of a Chief Executive and staff, putting in place the funding for the new Board and various other matters including determining where the Board’s premises will be.

As soon as the statutory Parole Board is in place and the Parole Act is commenced, all parole applications will be considered by that Board.

Prisoners who have applied under the old system but have not yet been granted parole will, once they meet the criteria set out in the Parole Act, be considered by the new Board, in accordance with the provisions of that Act. There will be no parallel or alternative process for granting of parole.

The Deputy will be aware that under the 2019 Act, prisoners serving a life sentence will be eligible to be considered only after they have served 12 years of that sentence.

The Parole Act does not affect other forms of early release such as temporary release or remission, which have a different legislative basis and will continue to operate on that basis as before.

Criminal Law Review

Ceisteanna (282)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

282. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the terms regarding the upcoming three year review of the Criminal Offences Bill 2017 in view of the fact that there has been an increase in attacks on sex workers; the measures being taken by the Garda protective services bureau to combat such attacks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47871/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, Part 4 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 is due to be reviewed in 2020, after 3 years of its operation.

My Department is at present undertaking the necessary preparatory work for the preparation of this report, including through the funding of relevant research. I will follow up with the Deputy when that work is further advanced and submissions will be sought from interested parties when the review commences.

I have sought further information from the Garda authorities regarding the measures in place to tackle attacks on sex workers and will ensure that it is directly provided to the Deputy.

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Funding

Ceisteanna (283)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

283. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the budget allocation for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and the budget allocation for GSOC for 2020. [47874/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has a hugely important role in ensuring that public confidence in An Garda Síochána is safeguarded. GSOC has extensive powers under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, to enable it to carry out its responsibilities.

The assigned annual budgets for GSOC since 2017 are as follows:

2017

2018

2019

€9,577,000.00

€10,051,000.00

€10,658,000.00

The budget allocation for 2020 is €11,181,000.00.

I can assure the Deputy that resources and funding are kept under ongoing review to ensure that GSOC is enabled to continue to operate effectively, efficiently and in accordance with its statutory remit.

Garda Transport Data

Ceisteanna (284)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

284. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of four wheel drive vehicles attached to each division in the Dublin region as of 12 November 2019. [47875/19]

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. I am also pleased to have secured an overall increase of €122 million to increase An Garda Síochána budget for 2020 to an unprecedented €1.882 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. A total of €10 million capital funding was made for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019 and I understand from the Garda authorities that this is being used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles this year. €9 million capital funding has been allocated for the Garda fleet for 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.

In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. The Commissioner 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 among the various Garda divisions. As Minister, I have no role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that as at 31 October 2019, there were ten 4x4 vehicles in the DMR. I understand that on that date, 3 were assigned to DMR North Central, 2 were assigned to DMR South, 1 to DMR East, 1 to DMR North and 3 were assigned specifically to DMR Traffic.

It is important to note however that the Garda fleet is made up of vehicles in a range of different categories. I am informed that as of 31 October 2019, there were a total of 529 vehicles assigned to the Divisions in the Dublin Metropolitan Region.

Criminal Law Review

Ceisteanna (285)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

285. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the review of the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences here by a person (details supplied) will be published in view of the fact that it was promised initially for the end of 2018, then pushed back to early 2019; the reason for the delay of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47800/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, Tom O’ Malley, Senior Lecturer in Law at the National University of Ireland, Galway and member of the Law Reform Commission, is chairing the working group carrying out this review. He is joined by representatives of the Garda Síochána, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Probation Service, the Courts Service and my own Department.

I understand that the review is at an advanced stage and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

As the Deputy may be aware, the review is examining the adequacy of measures available to protect vulnerable witnesses during the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences, to help ensure the best quality evidence is available to the jury in making their decision, while respecting the dignity of the victim and their right not to be re-victimised by the investigation or trial process itself.

It will examine the entire legal process around sexual offences, from the initial reporting of an offence through to the end of any court proceedings. The review is particularly concerned with the treatment of complainants and vulnerable witnesses throughout this process.

The terms of reference encompass a broad range of issues and I understand that the working group has received a large number of submissions. Although the process is taking somewhat longer than intended, it is important that these complex and sensitive issues are considered carefully.

While the outcome of the review cannot be pre-empted, I look forward to its recommendations. These will be given careful consideration alongside the recent work of the Law Reform Commission on Consent in Rape Law.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (286)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

286. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if universal accessibility and universal design and the creation of a special sub-committee on disability will be considered in view of commitments under the UNCRPD and in the interests of a holistic approach to disability. [41991/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in March 2018. The Government’s approach to meeting the terms of the UNCRPD, which came into force for Ireland in April 2018, is one of sustained and on-going improvement. Work is continuing on the reforms needed in this regard.

The National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) 2017 – 2021 contains a wide range of practical commitments to improve the position of people with disabilities. It provides a mechanism for joined-up working to deliver on Ireland’s commitments to implementing the UNCRPD; and the NDIS Steering Group, which oversees and monitors the implementation of the Strategy, will have an important role in guiding progress in this area. The Group is currently undertaking a mid-term review of the Strategy and examining how it can support the implementation and progressive realisation of key obligations under the CRPD. The National Disability Authority (NDA) will also play a critical part in the implementation of the Convention, and will be carrying out a review of progress with respect to the Strategy’s key indicators in this regard.

Ireland is unique in having a statutory Centre for Excellence for Universal Design, which has functions to promote universal design of the built environment, products, services and ICT so that they can be easily accessed, used and understood by everyone regardless of their age, size, ability and disability. Universal design while it applies to the population in general, is particularly important for persons with disabilities and older persons. The Centre advise on standards in this regard and to promote their adoption, and supports a number of advisory committees in working with the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) in this regard. The Centre engages with many stakeholders in relation to age, disability, varying abilities and size, as well as government departments and agencies, professional and educational bodies, designers, planners, architects and others to progress and understanding and adoption of universal design in practice.

The work of the Centre will be helpful in enabling Ireland to progressing its compliance with the UNCRPD which requires research and development of universally designed goods, services equipment and facilities, which require the minimum possible adaption and the least cost, promoting their availability and use, and promoting universal design in the development of standards and guidelines. Any further actions in this regard will be considered in the context of a national action plan for continued progressive implementation of the Convention.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (287)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

287. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the plans of the OPW for new builds for Garda stations in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46900/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As a result, all works to the Garda estate involve close cooperation between the OPW and the Garda authorities.

Major investment is being made in the Garda estate, to provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff, as well as the public interacting with them. This is a significant undertaking, as there are over 560 stations nationwide.

The Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is based on agreed Garda priorities. It continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country and is underpinned by significant Exchequer funding across the Garda and OPW Votes. In addition, other major ongoing works to the Garda estate include the development of a new facility at Military Road and the major refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street station as well as the Pilot Garda station reopening project.

As the Deputy will be aware, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement is included in the Building and Refurbishment Programme is intended to deliver new stations in Clonmel, Sligo and Macroom. The OPW has agreed to provide its expert services in the design of the three stations in question. Macroom is the only new build station in County Cork currently included in the programme.

PPP projects are progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA). My Department, An Garda Síochána, the OPW and the NDFA are working closely in order to progress this project.

It is not possible to say at this stage when the stations will be completed. The establishment of PPP projects can be complex and it is vital to get the projects right at the planning and design stage. Pending delivery of the new stations, I am informed that Garda management and the OPW have been working to improve conditions and facilities at the existing stations in Macroom, Sligo and Clonmel.

Work Permits Applications

Ceisteanna (288)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

288. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47573/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Employment Permits Section of my Department inform me that an application for a General Employment Permit for the person concerned was received on 15th August 2019. On 5 November 2019, this application was refused as the position on offer, a Metal Working Machine Operative, is on the List of Ineligible Categories of Employment for Employment Permits,

In addition:-

- the employer failed to fulfil the Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT), as prior to submitting the application for an Employment Permit the employer did not advertise the vacancy in the required manner;

- the remuneration on offer is less than the minimum annual remuneration required for this employment permit type, that of €30,000 for a standard 39 hour week; and

- the application did not include required documentation, including a copy of the signed Contract of Employment.

As well as being informed of this decision in writing, which set out all reasons for the refusal, parties were also notified that they had 28-days to request a review of the decision to refuse this application and my officials inform me that on 8 November 2019, the prospective employer requested a review of the decision. As the Employment Permits Section is currently processing reviews requested on 23 October 2019, this review should be considered in 2-3 weeks.

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Staff

Ceisteanna (289)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

289. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of full and part-time staff employed in the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by grade, legal personnel and other staff; the funding allocated to the commission in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and the amount expended in each year in tabular form. [47152/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The information sought by the Deputy is set out in the table in the following link.

Staff

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Staff

Ceisteanna (290)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

290. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of staff working on competition enforcement in absolute terms and as a percentage of staff on an annual basis since the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was established in tabular form. [47153/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State. Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. As enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in these matters.

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to staff working on competition enforcement has been provided by the CCPC and is set out in the following table for the period 2014 to 2019.

Overall No of Staff

Full-Time

Part-Time

No. of staff working on competition enforcement in absolute terms*

Percentage of total staff

No. of Commission Members

2019

100

100

0

30

30.00%

4

2018

90

90

0

29

32.20%

4

2017

85

85

0

27

31.76%

4

2016

85

85

0

23

27.06%

4

2015

85

85

0

17

20.00%

4

2014

82

82

0

21

25.60%

4

* Please note that a number of these staff also work on car crime and pyramid selling

Not included in the table: A Detective Sergeant on secondment from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) 2010-2019 inclusive

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission

Ceisteanna (291)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

291. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of investigative cases commenced for suspected anti-competitive conduct that does not fall within the definition of a cartel to the end of quarter 3 2019 on an annual basis since the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was established; the number of inspections carried out; the number of prosecutions made; the number of fines issued; the value of fines issued; the number of collected and uncollected fines; the average fine per case in which fines issue; and the average length of anti-competitive investigations to date in tabular form. [47154/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State. Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. As investigation matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in these matters.

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to civil investigative actions has been provided by the CCPC and is set out in the table in the link below for the period 31 October 2014 to 30 September 2019.

CCPC Data