I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. The Deputy will be glad to know that female genital mutilation has been an offence in Ireland since 2012. It is barbaric and should never happen. The Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act was enacted in 2012. It was sponsored by the then Minister for Health and the Act created the offence of female genital mutilation and related offences. Addressing this serious issue in Ireland falls primarily under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, and the Health Service Executive is responsible for addressing the health implications arising from female genital mutilation.
Insofar as concerns my remit, the second national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence runs from 2016 to 2021 and we are finalising a review to set in train a new strategy for 2022 onwards. The current strategy contains a commitment to raise awareness of female genital mutilation within An Garda Síochána. This is being actioned through the delivery of a training module twice a year to front-line gardaí; and the development and dissemination of an information guide for all members of An Garda Síochána. The latest report of the monitoring committee for the strategy notes that this action is meeting the targets as set out in the strategy. Action 61 of the migrant integration strategy sets out the State’s obligation across Departments to provide intercultural awareness training to staff where it is appropriate to their role. For front-line staff such as medical workers and members of the Garda, this is particularly important as they may be the first point of contact with at-risk women and girls. An Garda Síochána is committed under action 63 of the migrant integration strategy to continue to implement a victim-centred policy and good investigative practices in racial or similar crimes. I note that the first conviction under the legislation was secured in the courts in November of last year and An Garda Síochána took the opportunity to highlight the dangers through the national media and the illegal nature of the practice.