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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 234-257
 Header Item Prison Service Strategies
 Header Item Deportation Orders
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Immigration Status
 Header Item Immigration Status
 Header Item Immigration Status
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Deportation Orders Re-examination
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Immigration Status
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Youth Justice Strategy
 Header Item Sentencing Policy
 Header Item Special Areas of Conservation Management
 Header Item Waterways Ireland Staff
 Header Item Waterways Ireland Staff
 Header Item Hare Coursing Regulation
 Header Item Hare Coursing
 Header Item Hare Coursing
 Header Item Maoiniú Údarás na Gaeltachta
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Ministerial Functions

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 95 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 234-257

Prison Service Strategies

 234. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his strategy to develop an open prison for women as an alternative to overcrowding in the Dóchas centre and Limerick women's prison. [42384/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I wish to advise the Deputy that in the joint Probation Service/Irish Prison Service Women's Strategy 2014-2016, An Effective Response to Women Who Offend, published in 2014, the Irish Prison Service made a commitment to explore the development of an open centre/open conditions for women assessed as low risk of re-offending.

This commitment was acknowledged in the Report on the Strategic Review of Penal Policy, which also recommended a greater focus on step-down facilities, supported accommodation, the use of more community-based open conditions for female offenders and the provision of an open centre for women.

A joint Irish Prison Service/Probation Service Working Group was then established to consider an open centre for women. The Working Group recommended that, rather than developing an open centre, the preferred option would be to pursue step-down facilities for women.

In this regard, approval was given to the Heads of the Irish Prison Service and Probation Service to proceed to scope the possibilities for the development of a step-down unit in Dublin. This project is ongoing.

A new development for females in Limerick, which work will commence on in early 2018, will when completed provide 42 rooms with eight independent living areas. This stand-alone facility with all the required ancillary services will enhance the regimes and supports available to women. .

Deportation Orders

 235. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if a deportation order in the case of persons (details supplied) can be set aside; if their case can be urgently reviewed and considered with a view to stamp 4 status. [42400/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that the persons concerned are the subject of Deportation Orders signed on 15 September 2017. These Orders require the persons concerned to remove themselves from the State and remain outside the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Orders are a matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

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

 236. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if the application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) who has been awaiting a decision for 18 years can be facilitated; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42401/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that there is no record of a current application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy. A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received.

  The records indicate that the person's permission to reside expired on 21 July 2016. All non-EEA nationals are required to keep their permission to remain in the State up-to-date at all times and failure to do so may adversely affect an application for a certificate of naturalisation.

  It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship through the naturalisation process if and when they are in a position to meet all the statutory conditions for naturalisation under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, as well as the relevant application forms, is available on the INIS website at: www.inis.gov.ie. The website also contains guidance on the completion of an application for naturalisation and an online residency calculator which may be of assistance in establishing if the statutory residency requirements are met.   

  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.

Immigration Status

 237. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if temporary residency status can be awarded in the case of a person (details supplied); if the person's case can be examined on humanitarian grounds, in view of the fact the person is receiving specialised medical treatment here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42404/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned has not submitted written representations.

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation. If any representations are submitted, they will be considered before a final decision is made.

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..

Immigration Status

 238. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if a new application for residency status has been received from a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42405/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that the person concerned applied for residence permission and a right to work based on the person's parentage of an Irish citizen child on 24 April 2017. I understand that, due to an administrative error, INIS returned the application to the person concerned on 24 April 2017. INIS would like to apologise for this mistake.

I am further advised that the person concerned submitted a new application to INIS on 28 April 2017. However, this application was returned to the person concerned, as the application form and supporting documentation provided were incomplete. To date, INIS has not received a new application for permission to remain in the State based on parentage of an Irish citizen child from the person concerned.

If the person mentioned by the Deputy wishes to apply for permission to reside in the State on the basis of the person's parentage of an Irish citizen child, then it remains open to re-submit a fully completed application using the relevant parent of Irish citizen child application form and to forward it with the relevant information and supporting documentation to INIS.

I am further advised by INIS that a separate application for residency in accordance with the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015 was submitted by the person concerned on 3 April 2017. As advised previously, this application is currently under consideration and a decision will issue in due course.

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. .

Immigration Status

 239. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will review the decision to grant stamp 0 status in the case of a person (details supplied); if stamp 0 status can be replaced by stamp 4 in the circumstances in view of the fact the person's family are Irish citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42408/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of my Department that the person in question, was offered permission to remain in the State on 14 August 2017 on stamp "0" for one year. No response was forthcoming to that offer. A second offer issued on 26 September 2017, to which INIS is still awaiting a reply. Based on the information available this person does not hold any entitlement to a stamp 4 immigration status.

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

 240. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will grant naturalisation in the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42409/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that there is no record of a current application for a certificate of naturalisation in respect of the persons with the family name referred to by the Deputy. A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received.

  It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship through the naturalisation process if and when he or she is in a position to meet all the statutory conditions for naturalisation under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, as well as the relevant application forms, is available on the INIS website at: www.inis.gov.ie. The website also contains guidance on the completion of an application for naturalisation and an online residency calculator, which may be of assistance in establishing if the statutory residency requirements are met.   

  Persons making an application for a certificate of naturalisation are required to provide satisfactory evidence of their identity and nationality. This is usually in the form of a currently valid passport and may include other original supporting documents, such as a birth certificate and marriage certificate. In rare circumstances where an applicant cannot produce their 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 the applicant has 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. INIS will consider the reasons 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 his or her identity and nationality.

  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

 241. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will grant naturalisation in the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42410/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that there is no record of a current application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy. A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received.

  The records indicate that the person's permission to reside expired on 22 November 2016. All non-EEA nationals are required to keep their permission to remain in the State up-to-date at all times and failure to do so may adversely affect an application for a certificate of naturalisation.

  It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship through the naturalisation process if and when he or she is in a position to meet all the statutory conditions for naturalisation under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended. Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, as well as the relevant application forms, is available on the INIS website at: www.inis.gov.ie. The website also contains guidance on the completion of an application for naturalisation and an on-line residency calculator, which may be of assistance in establishing if the statutory residency requirements are met.   

  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.

Deportation Orders Re-examination

 242. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if the deportation order made seven years ago in the case of a person (details supplied) can be reviewed in view of the time elapsed since the making of the order; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42412/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order made on 3 February 2010.

Representations were received from the person's legal representative, pursuant to Section 3 (11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), to revoke the Deportation Order. All relevant aspects of the case will be carefully considered before a decision is made. The Deputy might wish to note that any such decision will be to "affirm" or to "revoke" the existing Deportation Order. In the meantime, the Deportation Order remains valid and in place.

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.

The Deputy may wish to note that 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..

Visa Applications

 243. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will review the application for a visa in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42413/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that the person in question made an application for Family Reunification in respect of the individual concerned in December 2016. The case has recently been finalised and a decision letter issued to the applicant on 27 September 2017.

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 established specifically 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 INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long-awaited..

Immigration Status

 244. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the status of the determination of residency in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42414/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that the situation remains as set out in my reply to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question 17334/17 of 6 April 2017 in relation to the person concerned. To-date, the person concerned has failed to submit supporting documentation requested by this office on 21 February 2017, 16 June 2017 and 29 September 2017 to allow their application for residency in the State, arising from marriage to an Irish national, to be finalised.

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..

Visa Applications

 245. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if urgent consideration can be given to the granting of a visa in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42416/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, of my Department that it is open to any visa required national to apply for a visa for any purpose. No such application has been made at the present time.

  The INIS website, www.inis.gov.ie, contains comprehensive guidelines to assist the applicant with the application process. The information contained on the website is for guidance purposes only and does not limit the discretion of the Visa Officer in dealing with individual applications. The onus rests at all times with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer that any visa sought should be granted.

  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.

  In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to INIS: visamail@justice.ie.

Youth Justice Strategy

 246. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the steps being taken to develop a distinct criminal justice strategy for young adults aged 18 to 24 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42452/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy may be aware, the Programme for Government supports the expansion of Garda Youth Diversion Programmes for young people. This follows on from a recommendation of the Penal Policy Review Group that a programme similar to the existing Youth Diversion Programme to be introduced for young people above the age of 18 years, with an initial focus on 18 to 21 year olds.

The Review Group recognised that implementing the recommendation would require significant consultation with relevant agencies, including An Garda Síochána, as well as consideration of the resource implications, including the personnel requirements within An Garda Síochána and the Irish Youth Justice Service. A fundamental consideration is the extent to which the existing model for the Garda Diversion Programme for those under 18 years of age might be readily applied or adapted for an older age cohort.

I am advised that there is ongoing engagement between the Irish Youth Justice Service and An Garda Síochána, with a view to scoping out the detailed implications of introducing an extended Diversion Programme, initially for offenders aged 18 to 21 years old. Part of this work involves an analysis of the nature and scale of offending by persons in that age cohort.

In addition, I can advise the Deputy that a Group, established by the former Garda Commissioner, is undertaking a comprehensive review of the existing Youth Diversion Programme. The outcome of that review will help to inform the consideration of proposals for a programme for young offenders over 18 years of age.

I can assure the Deputy that I will keep progress in this area under review but, clearly, there is a range of issues that require very careful consideration in this regard..

Sentencing Policy

 247. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the position regarding requiring the Judiciary to take account of a young person's age and maturity as a mitigating factor in determining a penalty. [42453/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will be aware, judges are independent in the matter of sentencing, as in other matters concerning the exercise of judicial functions, subject only to the Constitution and the law.

In regard to sentencing, the approach of the Oireachtas has generally been to specify in law a maximum penalty for an offence, so that a court, having considered all the circumstances of a case, may impose an appropriate penalty up to that maximum. The court is required to impose a sentence which is proportionate, not only to the crime but to the individual offender, and in that process identifying where on the sentencing range the particular case should lie and then applying any mitigating factors which may be present.

The decision reached in any court case is a matter entirely for the presiding judge and if a person is not satisfied with the decision the judge makes, it is possible to appeal any decision of that judge to the appropriate appeal court..

Special Areas of Conservation Management

 248. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will address a matter (details supplied) regarding a clubhouse; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42541/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys As the Deputy is aware, the location in question is within a National Park, a Biosphere Reserve, Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area. The identification and development of an alternative site in the proximity of the lake would thus be extremely challenging and would be subject to screening for appropriate assessment, a full environment assessment and also planning applications to the relevant county council. Given the over-riding conservation and ecology concerns in this sensitive area, it is unlikely my Department could be supportive of such a proposal at this heritage site.

  In the event that the club managed to identify a suitable site where planning permission could be secured, a significant budget would be required to develop same. In this context, it should be noted that the club in question has benefited considerably, and still does, from their current premises being made available to it by my Department without charge. Given the limited resources available for capital investment within the National Parks and Nature Reserves, my Department recognises the need to focus on the core responsibilities relating to the management and conservation of our existing National Parks and Nature Reserves portfolio. Accordingly, we would not be in a position at present to provide any financial assistance for such a development.

The club could consider applying under the Sports Capital Programme run by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, or alternatively it could apply under the Rural Recreation Scheme, operated by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Waterways Ireland Staff

 249. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there is no civil engineer working on the north and mid-Shannon for Waterways Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [42934/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I have been informed by Waterways Ireland that it has a full complement of Civil Engineering staff working on the North and Mid-Shannon navigations.   

Waterways Ireland Staff

 250. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the position regarding the recent job advertisement on a website (details supplied) in which ten positions were advertised; the reason only one position was available here in view of the fact that in the lower Shannon area there are six unfilled posts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42935/17]

 251. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there is deep upset among workers of Waterways Ireland with regard to the fact they are of the view that the apportionionality of positions between Enniskillen and here do not appear to be balanced between both jurisdictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [42951/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 and 251 together.

  I am informed by Waterways Ireland that it undertakes recruitment campaigns throughout the year when required. The recent job advertisement seeking to fill ten positions was part of Waterways Ireland’s ongoing recruitment to vacant positions in 2017. On that occasion, one of the positions was located in Ireland with the rest located in the North.

  I have also been advised by Waterways Ireland that, in 2017 to date, there have been 59 permanent and temporary posts recruited. Of these, 12 posts were in Northern Ireland and 47 posts were in Ireland.   

  In 2016, there were 39 permanent and temporary posts recruited, five of which were in Northern Ireland and 34 of which were in Ireland.   

  Approximately 25% of Waterways Ireland’s current workforce is based in Northern Ireland, where its Headquarters and central functions are located.

  There is no basis therefore to support any inference that Waterways Ireland is geographically disproportionate in filling posts.

Hare Coursing Regulation

 252. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if each coursing club affiliated to a club (details supplied) in the 2016 to 2017 season contacted their local ranger to advise them of the locations netting of hares was to take place; if so, if there are records of such contact; if contact has been made by clubs in 2017 to 2018 regarding netting; and if it will be ensured that a directive of the club is adhered to and that records will be kept by NPWS rangers of such contact.  [42526/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The current Condition No. 5 of the Licence under Section 34 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (as amended) issued by my Department to the club referred to by the Deputy to capture hares provides that, “details of the numbers and locations of the capture of all hares made by the coursing clubs listed in the schedule attached hereto shall be made to the relevant conservation ranger, on or before the weekend of the meeting for which the hares were captured”. While this does not specifically require pre-notification of the netting of hares, this does happen in some cases although all such details are not formally recorded. The conditions of licenses issued by my Department in respect of coursing meetings will be kept under review in light of any issues brought to my attention by National Parks and Wildlife officials or by others and I will make any changes that I consider appropriate..

Hare Coursing

 253. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of hares coursed in 2015 to 2016 and to date in 2017, by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42564/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The total number of courses run during the years in question were as follows: 8,811 during the 2014-15 season; 8,408 during the 2015-16 season and 8,278 during the 2016-17 season. To date in the 2017-18 season, four coursing meetings have been held and I am awaiting reports on these meetings.

  A more detailed breakdown of the statistics is available on the website of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department at: https://www.npws.ie/licences/hare-coursing.

Hare Coursing

 254. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of staff assigned to monitor hare coursing in each of the years 2014 to 2016 and to date in 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42565/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Of the total Departmental staff, 330 work in the area of natural heritage in the National Parks and Wildlife Service, NPWS, of my Department. In addition, my Department takes on about 70 seasonal staff during the year to assist the NPWS. Front-line conservation rangers are deployed through a regional structure and assignments are determined in light of Departmental business needs and priorities.

   Staffing levels across my Department are kept under regular review in line with emerging business needs, and Government policy on public sector pay and staffing as advised by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. As well as managerial regionally based officers of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department, there are 68 NPWS conservation rangers stationed around the country.

  My Department, in conjunction with the Public Appointments Service, PAS, recently created a Conservation Ranger Panel. Some ten rangers have been appointed to date from this panel, with a further two expected before the end of the year. Any further appointments will be made across the country, taking account of financial resources to meet pay costs in the context of Government policy on public sector pay and staffing.

 Within those staffing contexts, officials of my Department monitor compliance with the Wildlife Acts across the country on an ongoing basis and carry out patrols and site visits to enforce the various provisions of these Acts, as required. Many of these officers carry out work in more than one county and are engaged in an extensive array of work under the Wildlife Acts, in relation to out National Parks and Reserves and in regard to our obligations under the Birds and Habitats Directives. They also investigate reports of breaches of the Acts including illegal snaring of badgers, habitat protection issues, as well as monitoring compliance at coursing events, etc. Members of An Garda Síochána are also empowered under the Acts to investigate alleged offences and to prosecute if they see fit.

  Where resources allow, local National Parks and Wildlife Service conservation rangers and staff attend coursing meetings, on a spot-check basis, to monitor compliance with licences issued to the Irish Coursing Club and its affiliated clubs. During the 2016-17 coursing season, conservation rangers attended seventeen coursing meetings and the same number of meetings was monitored during the 2015-16 season. During the 2014-15 season, six meetings were monitored. While my Department does not have resources to provide 100% attendance at coursing meetings, it endeavours to attend as many meetings as possible having regard to the various calls on its staffing complement. Since the 2017-18 coursing season began in the last two weeks, staff of NPWS have monitored six coursing events.

Maoiniú Údarás na Gaeltachta

 255. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys an bhfuil sé i gceist aici maoiniú breise a chur ar fáil d’Údarás na Gaeltachta do 2018; an ndéanfar cuid den airgead breise sin a chur ar fáil do na comharchumainn agus na comhlachtaí pobalbhunaithe le hordachán ón Aire chuige sin a bheidh ag dul leis an airgead; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [42586/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh Is tríd an bpróiseas meastacháin agus cáináisnéise a dhéantar leithdháileadh ar an soláthar airgid a chuirtear ar fáil ar bhonn bliantúil do mo Roinn ón státchiste agus, go deimhin, do na Ranna Rialtais go léir. Sa chomhthéacs sin, is cúis áthais dom a chur in iúl don Teachta go bhfuil maoiniú breise de €100,000 curtha ar fáil d'Údarás na Gaeltachta le cur i dtreo forbairt teanga, cultúir agus pobail sa Ghaeltacht in 2018. Tugann an maoiniú breise seo leithdháileadh breise de €350,000 san iomlán don Údarás i leith an réimse seo thar dhá Bhuiséad.

Ós rud é gur eagraíocht í Údarás na Gaeltachta a bhfuil feidhm neamhspleách aici, tuigfidh an Teachta gur faoin Údarás féin atá sé breithniú a dhéanamh ar chonas an chistíocht a chuirtear ar fáil dó go bliantúil a úsáid.

Is féidir a bheith cinnte de go n-aithním go maith an clár oibre fónta atá idir lámha agus beartaithe ag an Údarás agus go leanfaidh mé orm ag déanamh gach iarracht chun tacú le feidhmiú an chláir oibre sin, oiread agus is féidir, laistigh de na hacmhainní a bheidh ar fail dom.

Heritage Projects

 256. Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if a number of items from both the W.B. Yeats collection on display in Dublin and artefacts recently raised from the Spanish Armada off the coast of County Sligo, which are not currently on display, can be returned to be displayed to the public in County Sligo with special consideration being given to a centre (details supplied) hosting them; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [42711/17]

: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The matters to which the Deputy refers are day-to-day matters for both the National Library and the National Museum. I have, however, referred the Deputy's question to both the National Library and the National Museum for separate consideration and direct reply..

Ministerial Functions

 257. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the powers she has delegated to the Ministers of State in her Department; the date on which such delegation was made; if there were changes in powers delegated relative to the situation in place prior to 14 June 2017; if so, the details of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42776/17]

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question Number 119 of 27 September last. The Government Chief Whip, Joe McHugh, T.D., is the only Minister of State currently attached to my Department. Details of the responsibilities delegated by me to Minister of State McHugh are set out in Statutory Instrument No. 315 of 2017, signed by the Taoiseach on 5 July 2017.

  The powers delegated to Minister of State McHugh in respect of his role as Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs are the same as those delegated to the previous holder of that office, Minister of State Seán Kyne, T.D., as set out in Statutory Instrument No. 332 of 2016, which was signed by the Taoiseach on 28 June 2016.

Both of these Statutory Instruments can be viewed on: www.irishstatutebook.ie.


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