Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (257)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

257. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which his Department can favourably consider offering a stamp 4 visa to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49775/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed that the person concerned has submitted written representations in response to a notification of an intention to deport, under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended).

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, 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.

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 Question process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the Department is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Community Policing

Ceisteanna (258, 270)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

258. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of community police in each of the districts in the Dublin metropolitan region division as of 25 November 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49776/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

270. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí attached to the community relations unit by rank in the Dublin metropolitan region north to date in 2019. [49846/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 and 270 together.

The Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. 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 would point out however that community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. It provides a means of recognising that every community – both urban and rural – has its own concerns and expectations. The official categorisation as a Community Garda simply refers to those who are exclusively assigned to building relationships with local communities and civil society including giving talks to schools, community groups and others. 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.

The following table details the number of Community Gardaí by rank in each of the Garda Districts in the Dublin Metropolitan Region, as of 31 October 2019.

The Deputy will be interested to note that a new “Community Policing Framework” is currently at an advanced stage. I understand that this new Framework will take into account the recommendations of the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI), under which it is envisaged that community policing may be a specialism in some urban areas. In rural areas, community policing may be more of a hybrid model whereby all Gardaí in a District have a community responsibility but also attend to normal policing duties.

I think it is also important to note the welcome roll-out of the new operating model of An Garda Síochána. This meets 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.

The Garda Operating Model re-organises resources around the delivery of front-line 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.

Garda DIVISION

Inspector

Sergeant

Garda

Figures as of 31/10/2019

D.M.R. EAST

4

22

26

D.M.R. NORTH

5

34

39

D.M.R. NORTH CENTRAL

2

7

70

79

D.M.R. SOUTH

1

6

37

44

D.M.R. SOUTH CENTRAL

1

5

43

49

D.M.R. WEST

7

58

65

TOTAL

4

34

264

302

Refugee Resettlement Programme

Ceisteanna (259, 260)

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

259. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the community sponsorship initiative that resettles refugees; the steps he has taken to promote and to draw the attention of communities aware to the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49784/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jim O'Callaghan

Ceist:

260. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of community groups that have accessed the community sponsorship initiative; the supports in place for communities availing of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49785/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 259 and 260 together.

I established the Community Sponsorship Ireland pilot programme in 2018 as a complementary refugee resettlement stream to the traditional state-centred model. A number of organisations including UNHCR Ireland, Amnesty International, NASC and the Irish Red Cross worked closely with me and my Department officials in the development of this programme, which is being delivered under our Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

The programme is a complementary refugee resettlement stream to the traditional state-centred model. A key feature of this programme is to give private citizens and community-based organisations an opportunity to directly support a refugee family who are newly arrived to Ireland. Sponsoring communities support the integration of refugee families into Irish society by providing a home and offering opportunities for the family to connect with the local services they need, such as English language tuition, employment, and education pathways.

The refugee families taking part in the programme do so voluntarily and are identified during selection missions undertaken by my Department. The families have already been granted refugee status by the UNHCR. Matching of communities with families is done in collaboration with the Irish Red Cross and UNHCR. Refugees arriving through this programme are afforded the same access to services as Irish citizens including health, education and welfare services.

Under the pilot programme, five communities (in Dunshaughlin, Midleton, Carrigtwohill, Kells and Lismore) welcomed refugee families to their areas. The five refugee families comprised 17 people in total. The experience of the communities and the families has been very positive. Last month, the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI) presented an International Award to Ireland in recognition of the success of the Community Sponsorship Ireland pilot programme.

I formally launched the Community Sponsorship Ireland Programme on 15 November 2019 last in Cork with the support of Nasc, who worked with community groups and refugee families during the pilot programme.

To further promote the programme, an information leaflet has been prepared outlining the benefits of the programme, for communities and refugees alike. This leaflet will shortly be distributed to all local authority members throughout the country with an accompanying letter seeking their support in positively promoting the programme in their local communities. In addition, I organised a briefing with Oireachtas members in Leinster House on 19 November.

To provide supports for groups wishing to set up a Community Sponsorship Group in their area, funding is being provided for a number of regional support organisations based around the country. An additional family will be received by a host community in Dublin in the coming weeks. I hope that more communities will come forward and support this rewarding initiative, which empowers refugee families and local communities alike.

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service Administration

Ceisteanna (261)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

261. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when INIS will address the backlog of cases that have been put on hold awaiting the outcome of a decision (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49787/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

In relation to cases impacted by the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Chenchooliah case, my Department is currently working to develop the new processes necessitated by the ruling.

As soon as those processes have been finalised, officials from my Department will be in written contact with the people whose immigration cases are impacted by that ruling vis a vis their position in the State.

There are also a very small number of other, somewhat similar, cases which remain before the High Court. As the people involved in those particular cases have ongoing legal proceedings, it would not be appropriate to comment further on those cases at this time.

Bail Law

Ceisteanna (262)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

262. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce legislation on bail reform; if so, the organisations he has or will consult with in advance of proposed changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49791/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the Criminal Justice Act 2017 made a number of changes to the bail laws. Under the Act, the court has the power to refuse bail where there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is likely to commit a serious offence. In assessing this likelihood, the court must take into account the nature and seriousness of the offence, the accused person’s previous offending and may also take into account the danger he or she poses to the public if bail is granted.

The new law also strengthened Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail providing a power of arrest without warrant in certain circumstances, and made provisions to increase the use of curfews and to facilitate the introduction of electronic tagging for those on bail in certain circumstances.

While I am open to revisiting the law if the changes introduced in 2017 are shown to be insufficient, I think the Deputy will agree that it would be premature to do so at present. It is important to await the evidence of the impact of this legislation and take the time to evaluate the effect of these new provisions before further changes in the law can be considered.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (263)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

263. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the plans to ratify the protocols as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49798/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Government’s approach to meeting the terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of sustained and ongoing improvement. Work is continuing on the reforms needed for an optimum level of compliance with the Convention's requirements.

The National Disability Inclusion Strategy (NDIS) 2017 – 2021 provides an important mechanism for joined-up working to deliver on Ireland’s commitments to implementing the UNCRPD. The NDIS Steering Group, which oversees and monitors the implementation of the Strategy, has an important role in guiding progress in this area. The Group is currently carrying out a mid-term review of the Strategy, which will examine how it is aligned with the articles of the Convention and how the Strategy could be revised and built upon in order to continue progressive realisation of the aims of the Convention. The National Disability Authority also plays a critical role 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.

The Deputy will also be aware of a number of legislative developments to support the implementation of the Convention.

Of particular relevance to Article 12 is the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, which 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 2015 Act will abolish the current Wards of Court system by repealing the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871. Part 6 of the 2015 Act provides that adults currently in wardship will transition to the new decision-making support arrangements provided for in the Act on a phased basis over 3 years from the commencement of Part 6 of the Act.

New administrative processes and support measures, including the setting up of the Decision Support Service within the Mental Health Commission (a body under the Department of Health), must be put in place before the substantive provisions of the 2015 Act can be commenced. The Decision Support Service is working towards being operational and ready for the commencement of the main provisions of the Act. This lead-in timeframe ensures that the necessary staff resources, processes, IT system, expert panels, codes of practice and regulations will be in place so that the Service will have the capacity to be up and running effectively. The 2019 Revised Estimates Volume provides for an allocation of €3.5 million in the Justice and Equality Vote for the establishment of the Service.

The Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016, which contains key legislative amendments needed for compliance with the Convention, was published in December 2016. The Bill includes provisions to establish the monitoring framework required by Article 33 of the Convention to promote, protect and monitor implementation of the Convention. It requires the involvement and participation of civil society, in particular, persons with disabilities, in the monitoring process.

The monitoring framework will include both the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) and the National Disability Authority and will be governed by a formal Memorandum of Understanding. In January of this year, IHREC established a Disability Advisory Committee, composed of a diverse group of persons with lived experience of disability. This will ensure the direct participation of persons with disabilities and the organisations representing them in monitoring how the Convention is implemented in Ireland.

IHREC is best placed to make periodic independent reports to the UN, supported by progress assessments and statistical information supplied by the NDA. The NDA has expertise and information resources in relation to reporting on disability issues and is carrying out work in a range of areas to support implementation; including the preparation of non-healthcare Codes of Practice under the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015, and review of progress with respect to the key indicators of the NDIS.

The Minister for Health is progressing Heads of a Bill to provide legislative clarity on the issue of deprivation of liberty. A report of a recent public consultation on these draft legislative provisions is nearing completion, and every effort is being made to progress this legislation as quickly as possible.

The Optional Protocol is not being ratified at this time but will be ratified at the earliest opportunity following completion of Ireland's first reporting cycle, which will identify any additional actions needed to ensure the highest possible level of compliance with the Convention.

Bail Law

Ceisteanna (264)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

264. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is considering introducing legalisation which would allow judges to impose restrictions on bail conditions, such as curfews, exclusion or restricted zones and or ankle bracelets and so on, for those charged with murder or manslaughter and who have a previous conviction involving violence; if so, the groups he has consulted with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49803/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Criminal Justice Act 2017 made a number of changes to the bail laws. Under the Act, the court has the power to refuse bail where there are reasonable grounds to believe the person is likely to commit a serious offence. In assessing this likelihood, the court must take into account the nature and seriousness of the offence, the accused person’s previous offending and may also take into account the danger he or she poses to the public if bail is granted.

The new law also strengthened Garda powers to deal with breaches of bail providing a power of arrest without warrant in certain circumstances, and made provisions to increase the use of curfews and to facilitate the introduction of electronic tagging for those on bail in certain circumstances.

Extensive preparations are underway to ensure these provisions can be implemented and, more importantly, to ensure they can be effective. My Department is chairing a Working Group on Electronic Monitoring which includes the Irish Prison Service, the Probation Service, the Courts Service, An Garda Síochána and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The Working Group submitted a report to my Department's Management Board and these recommendations were considered. Following on from this, my Department has been engaging with the Office of the Government Procurement (OGP) to try and identify a suitable expert to advise the Department on Electronic Monitoring pre-market consultations. Discussions between the Department and the OGP in this regard remain ongoing.

While I am open to revisiting the law if the changes introduced in 2017 are shown to be insufficient, I think the Deputy will agree that it would be premature to do so at present. It is important to await the evidence of the impact of this legislation and take the time to evaluate the effect of these new provisions before further changes in the law can be considered.

Citizenship Applications

Ceisteanna (265)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

265. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position in relation to residency requirements for acquiring Irish citizenship, specifically for long-term residents with UK passports who wish to become Irish citizens; if an appeal mechanism is available when applications are refused due to time spent outside of the State in a given period; if an appeal of a decision can be made to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49820/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Full details of the eligibility criteria, along with the relevant application forms and extensive guidelines are available on the Citizenship pages of my Department's Immigration Service website at www.inis.gov.ie.

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 level and I know the Deputy will appreciate that it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

I can advise the Deputy that there is no provision under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, for an appeal in relation to applications for naturalisation. However, it is open to a person to re-apply if they they are subsequently in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

Domestic Violence

Ceisteanna (266)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

266. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the development of a domestic violence risk assessment matrix by An Garda Síochána will be completed and operational across all divisions. [49824/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

Under the second National Strategy on Domestic Violence, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021, An Garda Síochána are responsible for the development and implementation of a Risk Assessment Matrix for all victims of domestic violence and sexual crime.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that good progress is being made on this action. Trinity College Dublin has conducted an academic review of the risk assessment tool and the An Garda Síochána pilot tool which was completed in Q1 2019. A process review was then commenced which was completed at end of Q2 2019. I am informed that it is expected that implementation of a risk assessment tool will be completed as soon as possible. This will then be introduced on a phased basis, to commence in Divisions where Divisional Protective Services Units (DPSUs) are located.

I have been informed by the Garda 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.

I am informed by Garda management that the remaining Divisional Protective Services Units will be rolled-out on a phased basis by the end of Q1 2020.

Coroners Service

Ceisteanna (267)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

267. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a family (details supplied) in County Louth can expect the post-mortem report following the sudden death of a person. [49836/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that, as Minister for Justice and Equality, I have no role in the directing of post-mortem examinations by a coroner, who is independent in the conduct of their functions.

The Deputy may be aware that final post-mortem examinations reports can take a number of months to prepare depending on the circumstances of the death.

In the particular case raised by the Deputy, in order to be of assistance, my officials contacted the Coroner who has indicated that he hopes to receive the post-mortem report shortly and will, no doubt, be in contact with the next of kin thereafter.

Garda Strength

Ceisteanna (268)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

268. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí based at stations (details supplied) in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49842/19]

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 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.

A record €1.76 billion was allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019 and this is increasing to an unprecedented €1.882 billion for 2020. With the benefit of this investment, An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation. Following the attestation of almost 200 new Gardaí last week, we now have over 14,300 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,900 Garda staff. And as part of the Government’s plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, there is ongoing recruitment of Garda staff which is facilitating the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative to mainstream policing duties where their training and expertise can be used to best effect.

In relation to the information requested on the number of Gardaí assigned from 2009 -2019, 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_October_2019.xlsx/Files/002_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_District_and_Station_2009_to_October_2019.xlsx

Information on Garda staff is available at the following link:

http://www.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 Deputies may also wish to see the information on the following links:

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

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

Garda Deployment

Question No. 270 answered with Question No. 258.

Ceisteanna (269)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

269. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí assigned to the drugs unit in the R district of the Dublin metropolitan region north division in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [49843/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

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

As the Deputies 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.

I have been informed by the Commissioner that the additional resources coming on stream have enabled him to assign resources to Specialist Bureaus such as the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau. This Bureau leads on the strategy for tackling drugs and works with Garda Divisional Drug Units nationwide in demand reduction and supply reduction at local level.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the attached spreadsheet outlines the number of Gardaí assigned to Coolock (R) District Drugs Unit for the period specified by the Deputy.

I am further informed that it is anticipated to hold a competition in 2020 to fill vacancies in the Coolock District Drugs Unit. Garda management informs me that the number of personnel that will be allocated to the Drugs Unit will be considered in conjunction with the current strength levels at the appropriate time, in addition to the overall policing demands of the Coolock District.

More generally, the Deputy may wish to know that as of 31 October 2019 there were 223 Garda members assigned to the Coolock District and 19 Garda staff. I can confirm that 117 Garda members are assigned to Coolock Garda Station, supported by 16 Garda staff members.

The following table outlines the number of personnel in the Coolock District Drugs Unit for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 to date.

Date

Sergeant

Garda

November 2017

1

5

November 2018

1

3

November 2019

2

Question No. 270 answered with Question No. 258.

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service Administration

Ceisteanna (271)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

271. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of requests to get an earlier appointment with INIS for a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that the date they have received is past the expiry date of their present visa; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49872/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I can inform the Deputy that the onus rests with all applicants to secure their own appointments and apply to have their permission renewed in good time. The person referred to by the Deputy has an appointment with the Registration Office on 6th January 2020. Unfortunately, my Department is not in a position to facilitate the person concerned with an earlier appointment on this occasion.

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.

Garda Vetting

Ceisteanna (272)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

272. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a speeding offence committed in the UK should be listed as a criminal record on Garda vetting disclosure documents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49873/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The processing of vetting applications by the National Vetting Bureau is an operational matter for the Garda authorities and is carried out in accordance with the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012-2016 and other relevant law. My Department, and I, as Minister, have no role in the processing of individual vetting applications.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the primary purpose of the employment vetting carried out by the Garda National Vetting Bureau is to seek to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. This is a very important task which must be done thoroughly and correctly.

I understand that applicants can track the process of their application online using the e-vetting tracking system, details of which are contained in the email received by applicants when completing their application online.

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the Garda National Vetting Bureau (GNVB) is the central authority in Ireland for the exchange of Criminal Record Information via the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).

I am further informed that criminal records of Irish nationals which are obtained in EU member states are notified to the GNVB by the Member State where the conviction occurred, in accordance with the EU Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA on the exchange of criminal record information between EU member states.

I am further informed that criminal records held on the Garda Criminal Records Database are disclosed to vetting applicants subject to the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016.

I further understand that the National Vetting Bureau has a dispute process for vetting applicants who wish to dispute the detail contained in a vetting disclosure.

Finally, I am informed that if a speeding conviction is notified to the Irish Central Authority by the UK in respect of an Irish National, this criminal record will be disclosed as part of a vetting disclosure, unless the GNVB is advised of an update to the status of the court outcome.

Refugee Resettlement Programme

Question No. 274 answered with Question No. 253.

Ceisteanna (273)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

273. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the evaluation review of the community sponsorship Ireland pilot programme has been published; if so, the location in which a copy of the review can be viewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49879/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I established the Community Sponsorship Ireland Programme in 2018 as a complementary refugee resettlement stream to the traditional state-centred model. Community Sponsorship is based on the coming together of a group of people in an area who commit to support a family arriving in Ireland through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme by accessing accommodation locally for the family and supporting them as they access services.

The Community Sponsorship Programme allows private citizens and community-based organisations an opportunity to directly support a refugee family who are newly arrived to Ireland and offers the opportunity for communities to welcome refugees to their communities in practical ways.

The people who arrive in Ireland and are assisted through this programme will already have been accepted by the Government as UNHCR approved refugees. They are immediately afforded the same access to services as Irish citizens including health, education and welfare services.

I formally launched the Community Sponsorship Programme on behalf of the government on 15 November 2019 in Cork with the support of Nasc, who worked with community groups and refugee families during the pilot programme. I issued a press release on the Programme on the same date, which is available on my Department's website - http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR19000282

A successful Pilot Programme preceded the formal launch of the Programme. This pilot saw 5 communities welcoming families to their areas in 3 counties. The communities, and the Syrian families who were supported, in Dunshaughlin, Midleton, Carrigtwohill, Kells and Lismore have had a very positive experience of the Programme to date.

The evaluation review of the Pilot Programme will be made available publicly following a meeting of the key stakeholders involved, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

Question No. 274 answered with Question No. 253.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (275)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

275. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each year from March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of each report; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report in tabular form. [49908/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

The information requested by the Deputy on the number of external consultant reports commissioned by the Department is provided in the following table based on the information available up to September 2019.

I wish to further advise the Deputy that in January 2019, the Department commenced work on a significant Transformation Programme. This programme was established on foot of the recommendations of the independent Effectiveness and Renewal Group (ERG) for a radical restructuring of the Department.

Given the scale and ambition of the programme, which involved moving from a conceptual design to a fully implemented new operating model within nine months, the ERG recommended the procurement of an external resource to assist the internal team in the Department to implement the transformation.

Following a competitive procurement process (supported by the Office of Government Procurement), EY were appointed to partner with the Department on the project.

The total cost that the Department will incur in respect to the consultancy fees regarding the reorganisation of the Department is €3,513,114. Information on costs related to external consultant support is also available as a matter of public record on the Department website at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/WP15000153 under the ‘Timeline and key facts & figures’ heading. All costs quoted are inclusive of VAT.

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.

External Consultant Reports