Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (96)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

96. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status and proposed timeline for funding of the construction of a new school building at a school (details supplied) in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48471/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The delivery of a building project at the school referred to by the Deputy has been devolved to the school authority. The project is currently at Stage 1 for the architectural planning process. It is not possible at this early stage to give a definite timeline for construction.

School Accommodation Provision

Question No. 98 answered with Question No. 81.

Ceisteanna (97)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

97. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an assessment in respect of the current and projected needs of a primary school (details supplied) in County Kildare in order to determine the replacement of deficient facilities in terms of accommodation with a view to maximising the proposals in keeping with the current space requirement demographics and special needs with a view to addressing the issue at an early date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48497/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of an application, for additional school accommodation, from the school authority in question. The application is currently being assessed and the school will be informed of the decision shortly.

Question No. 98 answered with Question No. 81.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (99)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

99. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of times he has met with insurance companies and Insurance Ireland since 1 January 2016; the date of each meeting; the persons or bodies he met with; the purpose of each meeting in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48306/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that I did not have any meetings with insurance companies or Insurance Ireland during the period in question. For your information, I spoke at an Insurance Ireland conference held in 2017 at which the issue of fraud was the main topic on the agenda.

The need to tackle insurance fraud and other drivers of insurance costs on enterprise and business, in both employer liability and public liability terms, goes to the core of the Government’s on-going drive to reduce the burden on our economy of insurance costs.

As the Deputy will be aware, the focal point of this reform is the Cost of Insurance Working Group which was established by the Government in July 2016 and is chaired by Minister of State, Michael D'Arcy TD. The objective of the Working Group has been to identify and examine the drivers of the cost of insurance, and recommend short, medium and longer term measures to address the issue of increasing insurance costs. It has published two key reports with recommendations – one on the Cost of Motor Insurance (2017) and the other on the Cost of Employer and Public Liability Insurance (2018).

To date and on foot of these reports the Government has taken a substantial number actions including:

- New Guidelines for the Reporting of Allegations of Fraudulent Insurance Claims to An Garda Síochána were published on 1 October 2018.

- A new insurance claim fraud category on the Garda PULSE system went live on 2 November 2018, enabling the production of better statistics.

- The Personal Injuries Commission was established in January 2017 and presented two reports of its own over an 18-month work programme.

- The Personal Injuries Commission recommended that the future Judicial Council be assigned the function of compiling guidelines for general damages for personal injury. I envisage that the Judicial Council will be established before the end of this year and steps are being taken to facilitate establishment within that time frame.

- The Central Bank (National Claims Information Database) Act 2018 was commenced by Minister Humphreys in January 2019 to provide a better understanding of those factors influencing the cost of insurance.

- The Personal Injuries Assessment (Amendment) Act 2019 was commenced by Minister Donohoe in April 2019 reinforcing the role of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board which enables claims to be settled in a less costly fashion.

- Sections 8 and 14 of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 were amended in January 2019 in conjunction with my Department to improve their effectiveness against fraudulent claims with costs implications for the offending parties.

- With effect from 1 November 2019 new rules to improve motor insurance pricing have come into force.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (100)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

100. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the nature of the consultation that an external company (details supplied) is providing outside of their primary remit regarding the reform and restructuring of his Department; if he is satisfied that the staff of the company have been appropriately vetted in order to undertake roles in information sensitive projects and cases in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48310/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

EY have been engaged by my Department in two areas in 2019, further details of which are set out below. If the Deputy has further information with respect to the subject matter of her question, I would welcome her providing this to my Department to facilitate further inquiries.

Transformation

EY was engaged to support the recent Transformation Programme undertaken by my Department. This engagement has now concluded and the Secretary General of my Department, Mr Aidan O'Driscoll, briefed the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality in respect of this programme on 6 November 2019.

The Transformation Programme is the largest restructuring ever undertaken by any Government Department and involved changes to almost every aspect of our work. Our internal programme team, assisted by EY, worked with over 300 representatives from across the Department to design and shape our new organisational structure. Staff from EY engaged at every level of the Department to map and evaluate existing activities and processes to inform the design of the new operating model.

As part of this engagement, EY were also asked to provide specific assessments of corporate functions, immigration service delivery functions and ICT platforms, and to develop a cultural roadmap for the Department.

All EY staff working on the programme were fully vetted to the same standards as are applied to Department staff. Access to Department resources was appropriately limited and contractual non-disclosure provisions also apply.

Specialised Audit

EY is currently engaged to provide specialised audit staff to support the work of the Department’s Internal Audit Unit and also to carry out specific audit assignments. The contract to provide these services was procured under a framework put in place by the Office of Government Procurement in accordance with best practice. All external audit contractors are required to undergo appropriate vetting procedures.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (101)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

101. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of times he has met with the Garda Commissioner and other Garda officials to discuss insurance reform since he became Minister; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48315/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, I engage regularly and on an ongoing basis with the Garda Commissioner and members of his management team in my role as Minister for Justice and Equality, as do my officials.  These engagements take various forms and cover the full range of issues of relevance to our roles.

In addition, I am aware that Minister of State D’Arcy has met with the Commissioner earlier

this year in order to discuss insurance issues.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) specifically called for An Garda Síochána to explore the potential for further cooperation between it and the insurance sector in relation to insurance fraud investigation.  An industry-funded Garda insurance fraud unit was one option considered in this regard. While the Commissioner has indicated that he does not support industry funding of Garda units, he is open to considering other industry-funded proposals to combat insurance fraud. 

I am informed that the Commissioner is of the view that a Divisional focus on insurance fraud is preferable to the establishment of a centralised investigation unit. This approach is aligned with the Divisional-focused Garda model. It is the intention of the Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) will guide Divisions and provide training in the investigation of insurance fraud. Over a number of years, the GNECB and the Garda Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) have delivered training courses to Garda members engaged in economic crime-related investigations, across all Garda divisions.

Since 2015, in conjunction with the Garda Síochána Training College and University College Dublin (UCD), GNECB and GNCCB have offered an accredited course to over 40 members per annum, drawn from all Garda Divisions, as well as from specialist units engaged in the investigation of economic crime. Representatives from the private sector, including the insurance industry are invited to contribute to the course, thereby providing specialist insight into relevant insurance sector-related topics. On completion of training, successful candidates are awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Fraud and E-Crime Investigation from UCD.

Garda Expenditure

Ceisteanna (102)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

102. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 242 of 12 November 2019, if a retainer fee is due to each doctor on the established panel of nominated doctors that a Garda can visit free of charge; if he will provide a schedule of retainer fees for the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48326/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I note that 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, including human resources and personnel matters.

In my response to Parliamentary Question No. 242 of 12 November 2019, I set out information as conveyed to me by the Garda authorities in relation to the Doctor's Payments Scheme for Garda members.

In relation to the Deputy's follow-up query on this matter, I am informed that there are no retainer fees to Doctors or practices registered in the scheme. 

Departmental Reform

Ceisteanna (103)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

103. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the organisational structure and function of the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, Cosc following its closure will be replaced. [48327/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

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

The aim of the Transformation Programme is to create a Department that is more agile, more evidence-based and more open, while remaining loyal to traditional civil service values of integrity, impartiality and professionalism. This new operating model has been implemented in the Department to create a better platform for the professional delivery of services.

My Department's work was previously structured by subject areas relating to different parts of the Justice and Equality sector. Cosc - The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence was an example of this. By contrast, the Department is now divided into two pillars- Criminal Justice and Civil Justice and Equality. Within these pillars, the Department is divided into structured into four functional areas: Policy development, Governance, Legislation, Operations & Service Delivery. Support is provided across the pillars by Corporate and Transparency.

In terms of the work previously carried out by Cosc, the reorganised Department model means that specialist teams will now focus on specific functions relating to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. The work that was carried out by Cosc will be distributed under the new model in the following way:

Policy Function (Community Safety) will take over many of the responsibilities Cosc previously held. This Division will be the contact point for NGOs for issues such as the monitoring and implementation of the second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. This Division will be engaged with the development of Policy to determine requirements and challenges facing the domestic, sexual and gender based violence sector.

Governance Function will be responsible for overseeing the actions of criminal justice agencies in implementing the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

Legislation Function will be responsible for actions such as any proposed amendments to the Domestic Violence Act 2018.

Operations and Service Delivery Function will make decisions on funding, through a centralised Funding Administration team, to support best practice and centralised oversight of NGO funding.

Transparency will be responsible for actions such as the national awareness raising campaign under the second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

My Department has had a number of meetings with NGOs who work in the area, bilaterally and in larger groups, to discuss the Transformation programme. This has been done to ensure that they are appraised of the changes, personally are introduced to the new points of contact for individual functions and to ensure that a seamless customer service is provided.

The benefits of the new model include that the Department is in a better position to deliver on its strategic objectives. More clearly defined roles and responsibilities will mean improved accountability and services will be delivered in a better, streamlined way. Information will be shared with stakeholders and the public in a proactive way, through the dedicated Transparency function.

I am confident that with these changes, my Department has embarked on building a new and better model for the Civil Service and that the important issues within our responsibility, including in relation to tackling domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, will be handled in an even better way in future.

Departmental Inquiries

Ceisteanna (104)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

104. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will act on the instruction of the majority of Dáil Éireann who in a motion called on him to amend a person's (details supplied) terms of reference for the scoping exercise into the death of a person. [48328/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Shane O'Farrell have been addressed by me in both the Dáil and the Seanad on a number of occasions and in a number of earlier responses to Parliamentary Questions.

I have noted and take most seriously the motion approved by Dáil Éireann on 14 November. I would point out however that my actions in relation to the O'Farrell case are and must be carried out in accordance with the law.

The terms of reference for the scoping exercise were focused, as required by the law in particular the line of jurisprudence established by the Supreme Court in Shatter v Guerin, to reduce the risk of legal challenge to its recommendations. The judgment requires the terms of reference of a scoping exercise to be as specific as possible to remove potential ambiguity and focused enough to promote a timely outcome to ensure fairness to all parties. However they still allow for review of the issues intended.

Further, Judge Haughton is free to make any recommendation he sees fit in his final report, including the establishment of any form of statutory or non-statutory inquiry. It is also the case that the O’Farrell family is free to make any representations they wish to Judge Haughton in relation to any matter they wish to see inquired into, in any future inquiry. Should Judge Haughton recommend an inquiry, of whatever type, he has been asked to provide draft terms of reference for such an inquiry.

I welcome the fact that the O’Farrell family has decided to work with Judge Haughton and to supply him with the documentation they have.

While the process has taken some time, a clear process is now in place and it should be permitted to continue in accordance with the law and without the delay or additional risk of confusion which would arise if there were interference with the ongoing work of Judge Haughton.

Judge Haughton has submitted his initial report to me and this has been shared with the O'Farrell family. I intend to publish that initial report shortly, following consultation with the Attorney General.

Judge Haughton has committed to producing his final report in the coming months and the O’Farrell family is working with his scoping exercise to ensure that all the facts are fully considered and that recommendations are made to address this tragic case. I would ask Deputies to appreciate that I cannot and should not prejudge Judge Haughton’s report or change his terms of reference in a way that doesn’t comply with the law.

Drugs Seizures

Ceisteanna (105)

John Curran

Ceist:

105. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of the 2,200 seizures of illegal drugs made by the Revenue Commissioners officials going through the postal service that have resulted in follow-up operations by An Garda Síochána; the number of persons charged with offences as a result of the operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48354/19]

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.

Citizenship Applications

Ceisteanna (106)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

106. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address a matter regarding citizenship in a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48377/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

While I am not in a position to provide information in relation to individual cases or applications, I can inform the Deputy that applications for Citizenship are governed by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended, and for the purposes of the 1956 Act, a parent is understood to mean either the mother or father of the child. For the purposes of Irish law, the mother of a child is the person who gives birth to the child or a female adopter of the child. In general, the father is the person identified as the genetic father of the child or a male adopter.

Section 7, of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended addresses citizenship by descent and provides that a person is an Irish citizen from birth if at the time of his or her birth either parent was an Irish citizen. However, an additional requirement of registration is imposed in respect of children born outside the State of Ireland where the Irish citizen parent was also born outside the island of Ireland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and specifically the passport service, is tasked with processing passport applications in line with the requirements of the Passports Act 2008. The Passport Act 2008, sets out the legislative framework within which the passport service processes all applications for passports. Pursuant to section 7 of the Passport Act 2008, a passport cannot be issued unless the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade is satisfied the person is an Irish citizen and is also satisfied as to the identity of the person.

Therefore, under the current Irish law, Section 7, of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 does not apply, where the Irish citizen is neither the birth mother nor the genetic father or neither the male nor female adopter of the child. Consequently, the child does not qualify for Irish citizenship by descent and therefore does not qualify for the granting of an Irish passport.

I am informed that Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, which provide for parentage of children born through donor-assisted human reproduction, will come into operation on 4 May 2020, as provided for by the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (Parts 2 and 3) (Commencement) Order 2019 (S.I. No. 541 of 2019) recently made by the Minister for Health.

Where a child is born in the State through donor-assisted human reproduction prior to the commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act, depending on the particular circumstances, it may be possible after Parts 2 and 3 come into operation for a couple to seek a declaration under section 21 of the Act that the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the birth mother is the other parent of the child (with all of the parental responsibilities that entails), and ultimately to have a new birth certificate issued reflecting that legal parentage.  However, it is important to note that Parts 2 and 3 of the Act will only apply to children born in the State.

In light of the evolving situation relating to recognition of domestic births, and noting the very complex legal matters involved, I have asked my officials to consult with colleagues in other relevant Departments with the view to seeking an appropriate solution in relation to births that take place abroad.

Citizenship Applications

Ceisteanna (107, 108)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

107. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when legislation will be brought forward to resolve the High Court ruling that placed a ban on all travel for applicants for citizenship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48387/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

108. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps being taken to expedite citizenship applications in view of the excessive delays faced by applicants. [48388/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 108 together.

The Deputy will recall that I obtained Government approval to introduce legislation if required and depending on the outcome of an appeal to the Court of Appeal.  The Court handed down its decision on Thursday, 14 November and, while my officials and I will need to study the judgement in its entirety over the coming days, I very much welcome the decision of the Court with regard to citizenship applications.

I know that the past few months have been quite stressful for applicants, their families and their friends .  I am satisfied however, that the Court has provided legal clarity, and the decision has upheld the lawfulness of our residency rules governing citizenship through naturalisation.   

The processing of applications continued throughout the period in which the appeal decision was awaited. My Department also continued to accept new applications during this time.  I have directed my officials to do everything possible to arrange that a Citizenship Ceremony take place on 9th December and for further ceremonies to take place early in 2020.

Information will be provided to applicants, with as much notice as possible, in advance of the ceremonies to allow them to make any necessary arrangements. Details will be published on my Departments website over the coming weeks.

Road Traffic Legislation

Ceisteanna (109)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

109. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he is taking to address the widespread and dangerous use of scramblers; the dates on which the inter-agency group on this issue met since the group’s inception; the outcome of its deliberations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48422/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I would like to begin by stating clearly that my officials, alongside their colleagues in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and An Garda Síochána, are striving to find solutions to this complex policing issue.

As I have outlined in previous Parliamentary responses, a cross-agency group has been examining the misuse of scramblers. This process has involved my Department, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS), Housing, Planning and Local Government and Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as An Garda Síochána, the Road Safety Authority, the Revenue Commissioners and representatives of local authorities.  

On foot of advice from the Office of the Attorney General, it was agreed by all attendees at the last formal meeting of the group in March 2019 that, in the main, current legislative provisions appeared to be sufficient. Nonetheless it was also agreed that the group would remain open to considering workable legislative solutions to any specific legislative gaps specifically identified by An Garda Síochána. 

My officials wrote to the Garda Commissioner to seek his formal views on the matter. A response was received on 28 June and has since been shared with DTTAS, as a primary contributor to the work of the cross-agency group. The response from the Office of the Garda Commissioner does suggest potential legislative changes which the organisation believes could assist in improving policing in this area. 

These proposals are receiving detailed consideration in my Department, and have been shared with our colleagues in DTTAS who have responsibility for road traffic legislation.

My officials are currently in the process of reconvening the cross-agency group – proposed for early December – where the Garda proposals will be further scrutinised to ascertain whether they can be progressed alongside targeted enforcement measures, awareness raising and youth engagement, which are key to success in combatting this behaviour.

However I would stress that work and engagement on these issues continues on an ongoing basis between the relevant Departments and officials, between formal meetings.

Garda Stations

Ceisteanna (110)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

110. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the timeline for the relocation of a Garda station from a building which is not fit for purpose to a new suitable location in Tubbercurry, County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48484/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, 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.

I am informed that, in light of pressure on Garda accommodation in Tubbercurry, An Garda Síochána has requested the Office of Public Works to consider acquiring a suitable property in the area to meet Garda requirements.  I understand that the OPW is currently exploring options in that regard.   

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (111)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

111. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if transfer from stamp 3 to stamp 4 is possible in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48487/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the person referred to was awarded permission to reside in the State as a dependent person.  Dependent status permission is issued as a Stamp 3 residence permission and therefore the person referred to does not appear to currently meet the criteria for a stamp 4 permission.  

However, if the circumstances of the person referred to, or the person on whom they are dependent, has changed they may wish to apply for a change of status.  An application for a change of immigration status may include changing from one category or stamp to another this is dependent on the criteria for the new category being met.

Information on how a person can change their status and the required criteria is available on the website of the Immigration Service of my Department at: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/WP07000279 

Applications for change of status made on the basis of Section 4(7) of the Immigration Act 2004 can only be considered when the applicant has a valid current permission to be in the State. Applications made by or on behalf of persons who are not lawfully resident will not be considered.

A person seeking to change their immigration status is advised to apply well before their current immigration permission expires. The fact that an application for change of status has been made and is under consideration does not affect or extend the person's current permission.

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.  

Family Reunification Applications

Ceisteanna (112)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

112. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a join spouse visa will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48488/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that an application for a visa, for the purpose of joining with an Irish national spouse, was received in respect of the person referred to by the Deputy on 16 July, 2019.

The Policy Document on Family Reunification first published in December 2013 states that the business target for visa applications to join Irish citizens is to finalise such applications within six months of receipt of application.  However, it should be noted that this is a business target and does not constitute a legal obligation.  The business target takes into account the detailed and often complex assessment that is required in applications for family reunification. 

While every effort is made to process these applications as soon as possible, in line with the business target, processing times can vary having regard to the volume of applications, their complexity, the possible need to investigate, enquire into, or seek further information in relation to certain applications, and the resources available.   Any delays in achieving the business target are typically related to the processing of more complex cases where the provision of additional documentation is requested, or where detailed assessments of family rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights are required.

The Deputy should note that applicants are advised not to purchase airline or other travel tickets prior to a decision being received on the visa application.

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

Naturalisation Applications

Ceisteanna (113)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

113. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedure to be followed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48489/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that all persons making an application for a certificate of naturalisation are required to provide satisfactory documentary evidence of their identity and nationality. This is usually in the form of a current valid passport and may include other original supporting documents, such as a previously held or out of date passport, birth certificate or register of birth and marriage certificate.

In rare circumstances where an applicant cannot produce their current passport, or a previous passport, birth certificate or other supporting documents, the applicant will be required to provide a full explanation. Such explanation should, where possible, be supported by satisfactory evidence that they have attempted to obtain such documentation and correspondence from the relevant authorities or embassy responsible for the issuing of passports and birth certificates in their country, clearly stating the reasons the documentation cannot be provided. My Department will consider the explanation given and, if satisfied it is for reasons genuinely beyond the applicant's control, may suggest alternative means to the person to assist in establishing their identity and nationality.

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 email service except in the cases where the response is , in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (114)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

114. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position in regard to residency and stamp 4 in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48490/19]

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.

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

An applicant for international protection is awarded international protection, whether refugee status or subsidiary protection status, upon a declaration of status being issued from 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. My Department 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 officials in my Department, a declaration of status will issue as soon as possible.

The Ministerial Decisions Unit of my Department may be contacted by email - mduinfo@justice.ie.

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.

Visa Applications

Ceisteanna (115)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

115. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) can have their visiting visa extended for a further period to support their sibling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48491/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I have been informed that the person in question was granted a visit visa on the 27 September 2019, permitting them to travel to the State between the dates of 27 September 2019 and 26 December 2019. 

I can advise the Deputy that non-EEA nationals who visit the State may be granted a maximum of 90 days visitor permission by an immigration officer when they enter at the port of entry. This applies to both non-visa required nationals and visa required nationals.

It is a general policy of my Department not to grant an extension of a visitor permission. The visitor is expected to leave the State by the end of the original period for which permission was granted. If there is a change of circumstances since the original visitor permission or visa was granted then my Department will consider an application for an extension of the visitor permission.  However, it is generally only in cases where unforeseen circumstances arise that my Department will grant an extension of visitor permission - for example where there is an unexpected illness of the visitor or of a member of the sponsoring family.

If unforeseen circumstances occur which mean that a visitor needs to extend their visitor permission, they must apply in writing by post to:

Extension of Visitor Permission

Residence Division Unit 6

Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service

PO Box 12695

Dublin 2

I can further inform the Deputy that my Department has no current record of receiving such an application from the person concerned.

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.