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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 83-99
 Header Item Asylum Seeker Accommodation
 Header Item Prisoner Releases
 Header Item Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues
 Header Item Asylum Seeker Accommodation
 Header Item Property Transfers
 Header Item Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues
 Header Item Garda Transport Provision
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Garda Equipment
 Header Item Courts Staff
 Header Item Prison Accommodation
 Header Item Deportation Orders Data
 Header Item Court Orders
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 83-99

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

 83. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to address the concerns set out in the recent Irish Refugee Council report on conditions in State-funded accommodation for those seeking asylum. [54474/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) Report, which was launched in September, summarises many of the criticisms which have been made of the Direct Provision system since its inception over 12 years ago, concentrating specifically on issues relating to children. The report makes a number of recommendations for change to the direct provision system. Some of the recommendations - such as allowing asylum seekers work after 12 months, reinstating child benefit, allowing residents to choose and prepare meals themselves - are at odds with long standing Government policy in dealing with the issue of asylum, a key pillar of which is the Direct Provision system. I, and previous Ministers for Justice and Equality, have explained in response to previous Dáil Questions how the normal structures dealing with homelessness could not cope when the number of asylum seekers arriving in Ireland increased dramatically, and how the Direct Provision system was the only realistic accommodation solution.

  In relation to children living in a safe environment, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department, charged with running the Direct Provision system, takes the issue of child welfare, and the protection of residents generally, very seriously. All staff in centres must be Garda vetted and comply with RIA's Children Protection policy. One recommendation in the IRC report refers to the need for accommodation centres to be in good condition and that heating, hot water and cleanliness should be guaranteed. This recommendation is, in fact, a condition to be met by all contracted to provide accommodation. RIA has in place contractual obligations in this regard, backed up by an inspection system which has been described in answers to previous Dáil Questions.

  The report recommends that RIA should consult with families in relation to their religious and cultural needs before being dispersed to an accommodation centre. RIA does not, and will not, designate centres as being specifically for one ethnic or cultural group. The key objective for RIA is the provision of accommodation and coordination of services to asylum seekers who would otherwise be homeless. The system must operate within the inevitable constraint that RIA can only accommodate persons in centres where suitable vacancies exist. RIA will always consult management in accommodation centres who have knowledge of local services and who will advise newly arrived persons of cultural and religious facilities in the area.

  In relation to the issue of space generally, including the sharing of bedrooms and toilet facilities, there are a number of things to be said. Firstly, in sourcing accommodation RIA must ensure that the basic legal conditions, in terms of capacity and toilet and bathroom facilities, are met. Secondly, in relation to room sharing, where it comes to RIA's attention that accommodation is not suitable for a family where, for example, its size has increased, alternative accommodation in another centre is offered. In some cases, this offer is not accepted and families prefer to stay in a centre. Thirdly, in relation to families having to share bathrooms, a majority of families living in the system have sole access to their own bathroom and toilet facilities. Whilst the nature of Direct Provision is such that en suite facilities are not guaranteed, RIA will continue to seek over time to increase the percentage of families having access to non-shared bathroom/toilet facilities.

  In relation to the recommendation regarding education, in addition to all asylum seeker children being able to avail of mainstream primary and secondary education, they may also avail of the Department of Social Protection's Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. Further supports are provided to families through the Community Welfare service in the form of Exceptional Needs Payments (ENP's) to address once-off needs, including funding child-related activities. Children in pre-school year also avail of free placements in pre-schools under the Early Child Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme. Pre-schools are available on-site at some of the larger centres but the choice of pre-school under the scheme is a matter for the individual parents to decide. In relation to the recommendation regarding homework space, all family centres with school going children are asked to set aside a quiet space where children can do their homework under parental supervision.

  In terms of play spaces for children, the Direct Provision system is roughly analogous to other types of accommodation where children would reside, be it houses with gardens or apartment buildings. Some centres have on-site playgrounds and some do not. Children in centres can access recreational facilities available in the locality in which they are living.   Centre management work with local schools, community groups, sports clubs and NGOs to link children and families into community initiatives, sports and other activities to ensure access to the best available package of services. Many centres will, for example, facilitate parties and will also facilitate NGOs who organise outings etc.

  The Direct Provision system has been subject to criticism since its inception, and every effort is made to improve the system. RIA welcomes scrutiny in this regard. But it important also to acknowledge that no asylum seeker who has sought international protection from this State has ever been left homeless; that residents get nourishment on a par with, and in some cases superior to, that available to the general population; that they receive a health service on the same basis as Irish citizens; and that children are provided with primary and secondary education in the local community on the same basis as the children of Irish citizens.

  In relation to the broader asylum issue, particularly the complexity and length of the associated processes, my efforts are concentrated onspeeding up the processing of applications, primarily by redeploying staff from the refugee determination bodies. The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill which I plan to progress in 2013 provides for the introduction of a single procedure to determine applications for protection and other reasons to remain in the State. This should substantially simplify and streamline the existing arrangements. This reorganisation of the protection application processing framework will remove the current multi-layered processes and provide applicants with a final decision on their applications in a more straightforward and timely fashion.

Prisoner Releases

 84. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to place on a statutory footing, clear and transparent criteria for release of prisoners through remission, temporary release and parole, as well as provision of the disclosure of reasons to prisoners for all decisions taken and the remedy to appeal any decision taken. [54468/12]

 100. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to introduce a single piece of legislation dealing with the matters of remission, temporary release and parole law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54467/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 and 100 together.

  The power bestowed on the Minister for Justice and Equality to grant remission and temporary release is clearly set out in existing legislative instruments.   Rule 59 of the 2007 prison rules provides that a prisoner is eligible by good conduct to earn a remission of sentence not exceeding one quarter. Rule 59(2) allows for the discretionary granting of remission in excess of one quarter but not exceeding one third where a prisoner has shown good conduct by engaging in authorised structured activity and as a result is less likely to offend and better able to reintegrate into the community. The legislative basis for making decisions on temporary release is fully set out in the Criminal Justice Act 1960, as amended by the Criminal Justice (Temporary Release of Prisoners) Act 2003.

  The legislation sets out clearly the purpose of temporary release, the situations in which it may be granted and the criteria to apply to decisions to grant temporary release. Candidates for temporary release are identified by a number of different means but primarily on the recommendation of the Prison Governor or the therapeutic services in the prisons. The prisoner, their family or their legal representative can also apply for consideration of such a concession. Recommendations are also made to me in relation to long term sentence prisoners by the Parole Board. Each application is considered on its individual merits and evaluated using the following criteria as outlined in the Criminal Justice (Temporary Release of Prisoners) Act 2003: the nature and gravity of the offence to which the sentence being served by the person relates; the sentence concerned and any recommendation made by the Court in relation to the sentence imposed; the period of the sentence served by the person; the potential threat to the safety and security of the public should the person be released; the person's previous criminal record; the risk of the person failing to return to prison at the expiration of the period of temporary release; the conduct of the person while in custody or while previously on temporary release; any report or recommendation made by the Governor, the Garda Síochána, a Probation Officer, or any other person whom the Minister considers may be of assistance in coming to a decision as to whether to grant temporary release; the risk that the person might commit an offence during any period of temporary release; the risk of the person failing to comply with any of the conditions of temporary release; the likelihood that a period of temporary release might accelerate the person's reintegration into society or improve his prospects of obtaining employment.

  I announced my intention last year to enact legislation to place the interim Parole Board on a statutory footing which I believe will help to strengthen the Board and improve its functions. My Department is currently considering exactly what role a statutory Parole Board should play, what powers it should have, and the implications of same with a view to preparing the Heads of a Bill. An all encompassing strategic review of penal policy is also underway which is examining all aspects of penal policy including prevention, sentencing policies, alternatives to custody, accommodation and regimes, support for reintegration and rehabilitation and the issue of female offenders. I will consider the options when that review has been completed.

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues

 85. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of personnel in the Gardaí that are assigned to combating white collar crime; the number of forensic accountants in the force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55495/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of An Garda Síochána on 30 November 2012, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 13,459. There are also approximately 1,000 Garda Reservists and over 2,000 civilians in the Garda Síochána. All members of An Garda Síochána are tasked with investigating crime including fraud-related ‘white collar’ crime. Assistance is provided by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation to these members where required.

The term ‘White Collar Crime’ is not used in the gathering of statistics in this jurisdiction but is a generic term used to describe crime which is financially motivated, non-violent crime committed for illegal monetary gain. An Garda Síochána is not the sole authority charged with the investigation of fraud type offences. In this regard the organisation works on an ongoing basis with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Central Bank and the Competition Authority. The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is a specialist bureau that investigates fraud-related crime involving serious and complex cases of commercial fraud, cheque and payment card fraud, counterfeit currency, money laundering, computer crime and breaches of the Companies Acts and the Competition Act. There are 80 personnel assigned to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation including 9 members on temporary transfer from the Dublin region. There are two forensic accountants employed full time at the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

The Criminal Assets Bureau, which has 35 personnel assigned to it, has also been active in targeting the proceeds of deception, fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption and other types of criminal activity sometimes referred to as “white collar crime”. There are three personnel with forensic accountant qualifications employed at the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Asylum Seeker Accommodation

 86. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he has met with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs regarding the issue of separated children seeking asylum who are removed from Health Service Executive care at the age of 18 years at which point they enter accommodation funded by his Department; the legal barriers to allowing them to remain with their foster carers; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54475/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Asylum seekers deemed to be unaccompanied minors by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) under Section 8 of the Refugee Act, 1996, are referred to the HSE which has responsibility for their care under the Child Care Act, 1991 until they reach 18 years of age. At that point, as a general policy, they are transferred to asylum accommodation centres under contract to the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department.

  The care of all children in the Direct Provision System is of the utmost importance including those coming up to the age of 18. In this regard, RIA has an agreed policy in place with the HSE which deals with the transition of 'aged out minors. Details are contained on RIA's website www.ria.gov.ie. Before such transfers take place, detailed discussions take place between the Separated Children's Team in the HSE and RIA to ensure the best RIA centre match for the aged out minor concerned. It should be noted that the majority of aged out minors being discharged from the HSE care are transferred from foster care arrangements provided by the HSE throughout the State. RIA currently has 35 centres in 17 counties throughout the State and it is often the case that aged out minors do not transfer to areas where they had been in foster care.

  The issue of aged out minors remaining in foster home care is a matter for the HSE. In circumstances where the HSE deem an aged out minor to be particularly vulnerable, the HSE can, at its discretion, extend the period in care in a foster home beyond 18 years of age.

Property Transfers

 87. Deputy John Browne Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he has had any further discussion with the Law Society regarding changes recommended by the Conveyancing Task Force on property transfers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55466/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Conveyancing Conflicts of Interest Regulation, to which the Deputy refers, was adopted by the Council of the Law Society on 7 September 2012, following the recommendations of the "Conveyancing Conflicts Task Force Report" published by the Law Society the previous July. Section 5 of the Solicitors Act 1954 provides for the Society to make regulations which are necessary for the carrying out of its functions and requires that such regulations be laid by the Society before each House of the Oireachtas. In compliance with this provision, the Conveyancing Conflicts of Interest Regulation was duly laid before the Houses on 2 October by way of S.I. No. 375/2012. Under current legislation, the Law Society is the independent statutory body for the regulation of the solicitors profession in the State. Section 5 of the Solicitors Act 1954, under which this Regulation has been introduced, does not provide for my concurrence, as Minister, in relation to this particular matter.

The Deputy will wish to be aware that, under the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011, which is due to commence Committee Stage in the new year, the regulatory regime of the legal professions is set to change. Under the Bill, responsibility for the regulation of both solicitors and barristers will pass to the new and independent Legal Services Regulatory Authority that is to be established for that purpose.

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues

 88. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if any consultation process occurred between his Department and the British Government prior to the announcement of the G8 summit in Enniskillen in relation to the requirement for extra security forces; if there will be extra security required in Irish airports and on the border in the run up and during the G8 Summit in 2013; the loations from which resources will be taken in respect of this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54352/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Let me say at the outset that the decision to host the G8 Summit in Enniskillen next year is a matter entirely for the host Government to make and would not involve prior consultation with my Department. Having said that, I welcome the fact that it is a clear recognition of the capacity for Northern Ireland to host such a high profile event. Naturally, security will be an important element of the planning for this event. I have said on many occasions since taking office of Minister that cooperation between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI is excellent. That will continue to be the case and will make security planning all the more comprehensive and effective. Of course the Deputy will appreciate that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the detail of policing arrangements for this event. Nevertheless, I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are in consultation with the PSNI on security arrangements required to be put in place to police the G8 Summit on both sides of the border.

Garda Transport Provision

 89. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of new Garda cars which will be deployed as part of his recent announcement; the locations at which said cars will be deployed; if he has determined the allocation of new cars based on need; if he will state the number of cars that have been retired this year; if there will be similar commitments in terms of new Garda cars in 2013 and 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54442/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The deployment of Garda vehicles is a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the context of his identified operational requirements. I have no role in this area and, accordingly, I am not in a position to indicate the stations to which the new vehicles will be allocated. At Garda Divisional level, it is for the Chief Superintendent to make appropriate arrangements for the distribution of vehicles throughout the Division, in response to policing demands. The detailed allocation of vehicles is determined through a process of ongoing analysis.

However, I understand from the Garda authorities that, as a result of the recent investment of €3 million in the Garda fleet, arrangements are currently being made for the delivery of the 170 new Garda vehicles which have been purchased . It is anticipated that these vehicles will begin to come on stream over the coming weeks. The most recent order brings the number of new vehicles ordered this year to over 210 at a cost of approximately €4 million. I am also advised by the Garda authorities that 243 vehicles were withdrawn from service between January and November this year.

I am conscious of the need to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, the operational effectiveness of An Garda Síochána. It is for that reason that a further €5 million is being made available for the purchase and fit-out of new Garda vehicles in 2013. This level of expenditure, at a time of severe budgetary constraint, represents a very significant investment in Garda transport and I have no doubt that the additional funding will considerably strengthen the overall effectiveness of the Force in delivering a policing service to communities throughout the country. I am also confident that, when the relevant budgetary figures are being determined for 2014, the importance of investment in Garda transport will continue to be recognised.

Departmental Funding

 90. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the amount of funding allocated to disability groups and organisations over each of the past ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54477/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter At the outset I would like to draw the distinction between funding from my Department for Disability Organisations which took the form, during this period of time, of once-off grants for innovative projects capable of being mainstreamed, and the continued funding of disability organisations to administer their organisations which has always been funded and is still funded via other Government Departments including for instance Department of Social Protection, Department of Health and Department of Education and Skills.

  The table circulated with this reply provides the annual total amount of funding allocated by my Department to disability groups and organisations over the past ten years. The vast majority of the funding was made available through once off grant schemes which were administered by Pobal and were funded from Dormant Accounts monies. One example of such a scheme was "Enhancing Disability Services Funding" (EDS) for voluntary, not for profit organisations, working in the Irish disability sector. Funding in this case was provided from Dormant Accounts monies under the Multi-Annual Investment Programme as announced in Budget 2005. This funding was provided over five years for disability groups and organisations operating at national / regional level who provided details of once-off projects which showed an innovative, efficient and cost-effective approach to service provision for people with disabilities and which had the capacity to be main streamed in the future. Many worthwhile projects emerged from the programme, with benefits to both participants and the formulation of policy and practice for the future.

  Another example was "The Independent Living Support Programme" (ILSP) for which funding was provided and administered over the period 2007/ 2008 by my Department and which assisted voluntary organisations and service providers, who worked with people with disabilities, to purchase practical supports which enabled independent living for such people. Other grant funding was provided by my Department to Disability organisations and groups over this period for example to, People with Disabilities in Ireland (PwDI) and Vantastic to assist them to provide services to PWDs. My colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, provides funding to Vantastic since I passed over the funding of this organisation to him at the end of 2010. Additionally, funding was provided by my Department to disability organisations and groups over this period of time to fund awareness raising initiatives.

YEAR-AMOUNT PAID

2003-€1,668,448

2004-€2,036,861

2005-€2,489,366

2006-€2,054,159

2007-€6,637,937

2008-€5,749,056

2009-€3,543,393

2010-€1,491,309

2011-€1,111,000

2012-€75,757

TOTAL- €23,151,977

Garda Equipment

 91. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans for increasing the numbers of patrol cars for an Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54498/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that I recently announced a substantial investment in Garda transport, with funding of approximately €3 million being made available for the purchase of new vehicles. In that regard arrangements for the provision of 170 vehicles are currently being made and it is anticipated that they will begin to come on stream in the coming weeks. In addition, a further provision of €5m will be made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2013. I am confident that these packages of funding will considerably strengthen the overall effectiveness of the Force in delivering a policing service to communities throughout the country.

Courts Staff

 92. Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter in view of the resignation of convicted District Court judge (details supplied), a judge found guilty of attempting to deceive an elderly client, if he will outline the salary that the judge was in receipt of; the length of time they were a Justice of the District Court; if their resignation entitles them to any pension, gratuity, lump sum payment, severance or any other such payment from the Courts Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54351/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy may be aware, my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is responsible for the pay and pensions of the judiciary. The salary payable to a District Court Judge appointed prior to 1 January 2012 is €136,124. Judges' pensions are calculated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in accordance with the relevant legislative provisions and paid from Central Funds. Pensions in respect of District Judges are payable at 65 years based on 1/40th of salary per year of service up to a maximum period of twenty years. A gratuity is calculated at 3/40ths of salary per year of service up to a maximum of 1.5 times salary. Under the Pensions Act 1990 (as amended), a judge who has served a minimum of two years may apply for a preserved pension on reaching 65 years. Alternatively, a judge over the age of 60 who has served a minimum of two years may apply for Cost Neutral Early Retirement (provided for in the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012). Under this scheme benefits are payable immediately subject to cost neutral reduction on an actuarial basis. The individual referred to by the Deputy was appointed to the District Court on 12 February 2009 and resigned on 26 November 2012.   

Prison Accommodation

 93. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to increase the number of child-friendly visiting areas in prisons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54465/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can advise the Deputy that many prisons including Limerick, Wheatfield, Dóchas, St. Patrick's Institution, the Training Unit, Loughan House and Shelton Abbey have designated areas to facilitate family visits for family occasions such as confirmations or communions. In addition temporary release (depending on security concerns) for access/visits to children for family occasions is regularly approved in most prisons. I can further inform the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service is currently setting up a working group to consider a report recently published by the Irish Penal Reform Trust which contains a number of recommendations in relation to contact between prisoners and their families including family visits.

Deportation Orders Data

 94. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the average length of time it takes to provide decisions on applications for leave to remain; his plans to ensure that these applications are resolved in a speedy manner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54487/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  In the interests of clarity, what is referred to as 'an application for leave to remain' refers to the submission of written representations to the Minister for Justice and Equality against the making of a Deportation Order, pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended). all such cases, before a final decision is made, consideration is given to the eleven separate headings set out in Section 3 (6) of the 1999 Act, the provisions of Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement and other relevant legal and constitutional provisions. Such decision making is also guided by, among other things, international law and Supreme and High Court Judgments. The ultimate decision will be to make a Deportation Order or to grant Leave to Remain in the State for a specified period and subject to stated conditions.

  The consideration of cases under Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) is a resource intensive process. It is not, however, possible to provide an average waiting time for the processing of such cases primarily because no two cases will be the same in terms of their nature or complexity. An indication of the complexities involved is outlined in my reply to Parliamentary Question Number 450 of 27th November which is appended below.

  However, I am anxious that cases are processed as quickly as possible and to this end, additional staff members have been deployed to this area of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service in recent years and substantial investment has been made in the development of technology required to support the processing of such cases.   Additionally, the current multi-layered approach to the processing of cases of asylum origin means that persons who claim asylum, and have their claims refused, almost invariably proceed to lodge an application for Subsidiary Protection and if this is also refused, their ultimate position in the State must then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. This multi-layered approach is clearly not resource efficient, nor applicant friendly, and that is why I am providing for a single-procedure based approach in the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill, which I plan to progress in 2013. This proposed single-procedure will require applicants to advance, at the outset, all reasons, protection or otherwise, behind their request to stay in the State. As a result, the days of the multi-layered approach to dealing with such cases will cease.

  Finally, I might add that I recently approved an initiative to put in place a panel with legal expertise who will assist the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service in processing a cohort of repatriation cases thus speeding up the overall process and reducing the time spent by persons in the Direct Provision system. I would expect to see significant dividends from this initiative in the coming months.

Extract from PQ No. 540 of 27th November, 2012

The processing of cases at the repatriation stage is a complex one with obligations to adhere to both domestic and international law and to make decisions in accordance with the UN

Convention on Human Rights.   The process can be a lengthy one often punctuated with judicial reviews taken by the applicants at various stages including at deportation stage.

Accordingly, not all cases fit neatly into particular categories. For example, in the case of families, one member of the family may have lodged a judicial review which in turn may mean

that the remainder of the family may not be processed until its outcome is determined.   In addition, some applicants may also be party to an application under EU Treaty Rights or

through marriage to an Irish citizen or may have been granted leave to remain as a result of these applications. Therefore, it is not possible to provide figures in respect of the remainder

of the case load without engaging in a very detailed exercise which could not be justified as it would divert resources from case processing.

Court Orders

 95. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when he proposes to provide for the commencement of the section 15 the Fines Act 2000 dealing with the payment of fines by instalments; his plans to deduct fines by instalments from State payments such as social welfare or wages made to a convicted person; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54357/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy will be aware, the Government recently approved the drafting of the Fines (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Scheme of which is available on my Department's website (www.justice.ie). The Scheme provides, inter alia, for the introduction of attachment of earnings to recover unpaid fines from a person's earnings. The Scheme also recasts a number of the key provisions in the Fines Act 2010, including those relating to the payment of fines by instalments (section 15). Whereas under the 2010 Act, a person had to apply to the court to be permitted to pay a fine by instalments, the Scheme provides that this will become an automatic right. Given this significant change to the nature and scope of the instalment provisions in the Act, it is not my intention to commence section 15 until after it has been amended. I hope that it will be possible to enact the Fines (Amendment) Bill during 2013.

  Question No. 96 answered with Question No. 58.

  Question No. 97 answered with Question No. 80.

Garda Deployment

 98. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the extent to which he continues to monitor the deployment of Garda numbers at various stations throughout the country with a view to ensuring a strong and visible deterrent to all forms of crime but with particular reference to organised criminality; if he will ensure that the network of Garda stations is retained in such a way as to represent best practice in the fight against crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54505/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The Policing Plan for 2013, which I laid before the House last week, outlines the Commissioner's proposal for the continued re-organisation and consolidation of the Garda station and District network and includes details of station closures and District re-organisation throughout the country. I must stress that the principal aim of this consolidation process is to allow the more efficient deployment of personnel and the more effective delivery of policing services to the public across the country. The Deputy will appreciate that organised crime, by its very nature, is constantly evolving and diversifying in both its structures and activities so as to exploit opportunities for criminal gain. However, I can assure the Deputy that addressing such criminality remains a key ongoing priority for both the Government and for An Garda Síochána.

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues

 99. Deputy Derek Keating Information on Derek Keating Zoom on Derek Keating asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will consider introducing a free flow traffic management programme under the auspices of the Garda Traffic Corps; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the main N4 and N7 motorways regularly have minor incidences which lead to delays at extremely busy commuter times particularly in the morning and the effect that this is having on commuters getting to work, commerce and indeed shopping in the city area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54350/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that the general movement of traffic is dependant on traffic volume, road design and traffic signals. An Garda Síochána works in close partnership with the relevant local authorities who have responsibility for these matters.

While one of the primary responsibilities of the Garda Traffic Corps is traffic management, all Garda resources respond to and deal with traffic management issues including response to minor and major traffic incidents. Each Garda region has developed, in conjunction with relevant state agencies, Major Emergency Plan to deal with such incidents. Contingency plans are also in place to deal with motorway incidents within the respective regions.

I am also informed by the Garda authorities that the M4 and M7 motorways are within the Eastern Region and are patrolled on a daily basis by Divisional Traffic Units based in the Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Laois/Offaly Divisions. I am assured that serious and minor incidents occurring on these motorways are dealt with promptly and efficiently to ensure minimal disruption to motorists.


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