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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 320 - 336
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Deportation Orders Data
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Asylum Applications
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Property Services Regulation
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item Legal Aid Application Numbers
 Header Item Garda Vetting of Personnel
 Header Item Prison Building Programme
 Header Item Public Services Provision
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Court Accommodation Provision

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 320 - 336

Proposed Legislation

 320. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the date on which legislation will be introduced to allow charities to make their financial accounts information public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55138/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Charities Act 2009 was enacted with the objective of strengthening the regulation of charitable organisations and increasing their transparency and accountability in order to maintain and enhance public confidence in the sector. The Act provides for the financial reports of registered charities to be made publicly available. However, these provisions are contingent on the establishment of a new Charities Regulatory Authority and a statutory register of charities as also provided for under the Act. Due to the anticipated costs of these measures, the further implementation of the Act had to be deferred. I intend to consult publicly in the near future on cost-effective options for bringing the provisions of the Act into force.

There is, at present, a range of regulatory oversight measures that can apply to charities. Many charities are already subject to scrutiny by various State Bodies. The Revenue Commissioners have granted charitable tax exemptions to almost 8,000 charities and have significant powers to ensure that such charities comply with tax law. A full list of these charities is available to the public at www.revenue.ie. Many charities are companies limited by guarantee and, as such, are also subject to the provisions of company law and are generally required to provide financial information to the Companies Registration Office under the Companies Acts. This information can then be accessed by the public. Such charities would also potentially be subject to scrutiny by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. Charities that take the form of a trust are subject to the provisions of trust law. And, of course, any business entity is subject to general criminal and fraud legislation. Finally, it is of course open to charities themselves to make such information available in line with existing legislative provisions.

  Question No. 321 answered with Question No. 61.

Residency Permits

 322. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the position regarding an application for a permanent residence card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55150/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I refer the Deputy to my reply to his earlier Parliamentary Question No. 188 of 15 November, 2012, which relates to the same person. The position in relation to the application referred to by the Deputy remains the same.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS 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 Data

 323. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will review the deportation order in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kerry. [55167/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I refer the Deputy to my reply below to Parliamentary Question Number 54977/12 of 6th December, 2012. The situation is unchanged since then.

  ''Following a comprehensive and thorough examination of their asylum applications in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996, (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement the family were informed that the Minister proposed to make Deportation Orders in respect of them. Their respective applications were also examined under Subsidiary Protection and this was found not to be an issue.

  Deportation Orders were signed on 16 November, 2012. The effect of Deportation Orders is that the persons concerned must leave the state and remain thereafter outside the State.

  The enforcement of Deportation Orders is an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau''.

  Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS 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.

Residency Permits

 324. 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 progress made to date and the expected position in the determination of eligibility for residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55181/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned applied for asylum on 28th January, 2008. Her asylum application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The person concerned initiated Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court, challenging the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal in her case. As these proceedings are ongoing, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the case of the person concerned at this time.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS 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.

Asylum Applications

 325. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the case of two persons (details supplied) in County Kerry; if he will review this case; if he will outline the possible avenues of appeal available in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55200/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Following a comprehensive and thorough examination of their asylum applications in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996, (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement the persons concerned were informed that the Minister proposed to make Deportation Orders in respect of them. Their respective applications were also examined under Subsidiary Protection and this was found not to be an issue.

  Deportation Orders were signed on 16 November, 2012. The effect of Deportation Orders is that the persons concerned must leave the state and remain thereafter outside the State. The enforcement of Deportation Orders is an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau. I am satisfied that the applications made by the persons concerned for asylum and for temporary leave to remain in the State were fairly and comprehensively examined and, therefore, the decision to make Deportation Orders against them is justified. However, if new information or circumstances have come to light, which have a direct bearing on their case and which have arisen since the original Deportation Orders was made, there remains the option of applying to me for revocation of the Deportation Orders pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 (11) of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended. However I wish to make clear that such an application would require substantial grounds to be successful.

  Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS 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.

Garda Investigations

 326. Deputy John McGuinness Information on John McGuinness Zoom on John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 200 of 20 October 2011 and 515 of 19 June 2012, if he will now respond in view of the fact that the civil proceedings have been dealt with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55281/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I expect to be in a position to write directly to the Deputy in the coming days, enclosing the relevant information.

Property Services Regulation

 327. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the contact details of the Property Service Appeals Board; and the procedure that must be adopted to make an appeal. [55288/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Property Services Appeal Board may be contacted via the Secretary to the Property Services Appeal Board, c/o Dept. of Justice & Equality, 51 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2 or by email at propertyservicesappealboard@justice.ie. Section 74 and Schedule 5 to the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 set out the provisions governing the operation of the Property Services Appeal Board. An appeal must be made within 30 days from the date of receipt of notice of the decision of the Property Services Regulatory Authority, by serving on the Appeal Board a notice of appeal which shall state: the name and address of the appellant; the subject matter of the appeal; the appellant's interest in the outcome; and the grounds of the appeal and the reasons, considerations and arguments on which they are based. The 2011 Act explicitly provides that the Appeal Board shall not consider an appeal if the notice of appeal is not received by it before the expiration of the period of 30 days or if the notice does not comply with the requirements set out above.

Visa Applications

 328. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide the number of persons that have applied for, and the number of persons that have received a visa under the visa investment scheme programme, the start-up visa scheme, and any visa programmes available to senior executives coming to work in foreign owned companies based here. [55325/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Questions 52766/12, 52767/12, 52768/12 and 52769/12 and include the relevant extract from these replies below for the Deputy's information.

  On foot of recommendations from the Evaluation Committee meeting of 9 August 2012, I have approved immigration permissions for one successful applicant under the Immigrant Investor Programme and two successful applicants under the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme. The Deputy will be aware that I cannot give details of individual immigration cases, however I will say that the three successful candidates originate from North America, Africa and Asia. Both projects under the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme fulfilled the requirement for a minimum of €75,000 funding for their respective high potential start-ups. The investment proposal in an existing Irish business approved under the Immigrant Investor Programme significantly exceeded the requirements of the scheme.

  Most recently the Evaluation Committee has met to consider further applications under the Immigrant Investor Programme and the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme. However, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the outcome of those deliberations until the full application process has been completed and appropriate permissions have been issued. The matter of senior executives of foreign owned businesses coming to Ireland relates to intra-corporate transfers which is the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Citizenship Applications

 329. Deputy Patrick Nulty Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if an application for naturalisation will be expedited in respect of persons (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55347/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the applications for a certificate of naturalisation were received from the persons referred to by the Deputy in December and October 2010 respectively. The applications are at an advanced stage of processing and will be submitted to me for decision in due course. As well as being a significant event in the life of its recipient, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation as provided for in law is also a major step for the State which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

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

Legal Aid Application Numbers

 330. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if legal aid will be provided to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 and if he will expedite that matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55350/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to inform the Deputy that I have no function or responsibility in relation to the matter raised. Under the terms of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995, as passed by the Oireachtas, the Legal Aid Board is independent in the operation of its functions and decisions on individual cases are a matter for the Board. Under Section 7(3) of the Act, I am precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case with which the Legal Aid Board is or may be concerned. The Deputy might further wish to note that the solicitor/client relationship is protected by privilege in accordance with the terms of Section 32 of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 and therefore the Board does not provide information to third parties regarding a person who may or may not be a client of the Board.

However, I am informed that the Legal Aid Board provides a priority service in cases where it considers that an immediate, or near immediate, service was needed. These include cases of domestic violence, child abduction, cases involving applications by the State to take children into care, and cases that have statutory time limits close to expiry. Finally, while I can advise the Deputy that a person who is refused legal aid has the right to appeal this decision to an Appeal Committee which is made up of non-executive members of the Board, again I have no role in this process.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

 331. 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 the reason for the delay in having Garda vetting clearance issued in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12. [55353/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that a vetting application on behalf of the person concerned was received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit on 20 November 2012. The application is currently being processed and it is anticipated that a response will issue to the registered organisation involved in the coming weeks.

Prison Building Programme

 332. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide an update on a prison (details supplied). [55370/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The construction of new prison facilities at Thornton Hall is now not possible in the short to medium term due to economic constraints. However, the recently published Irish Prison Service 3-Year Strategic Plan contains a commitment to implement a 40 month capital plan to provide in-cell sanitation in all cells and radically improve prison conditions in the older parts of the prison estate. The provision of a gross budget of €333.8 million for the Prisons Vote includes a capital allocation of €24 million which will allow construction work on the much needed new prison in Cork to commence in 2013, as well as other essential refurbishment and construction works in Mountjoy and Limerick Prisons.

The Prison Service is continuing with a refurbishment and in-cell sanitation project in Mountjoy Prison. The Refurbishment of the C and B wings have been completed resulting in 317 cells in the prison having in-cell sanitation (almost 60% of the total prison) and a significantly improved physical environment. A tender for the refurbishment of the prison's A wing is currently under evaluation and a contract is expected to be placed before the end of this year. The project will take 9 months to complete. The Prison Service is developing its plans for the modernisation of the D wing together with a range of supporting facilities for the prison such as workshops, kitchens laundry etc. It is expected that this final phase in the renewal of Mountjoy prison will go to tender in July 2013 and that the entire programme will be completed in April 2015.

The new facility in Cork will be built on a site immediately adjacent to the existing prison and will house 275 prisoners and have a maximum capacity of 310 prisoners. Planning and design are at an advanced stage and it is expected that, subject to planning permission, the project will go to tender in February 2013 with construction works commencing in August 2013. Construction of the new prison will take approximately 2 years and, allowing for commissioning of systems etc., it is expected that the new prison will be operational by September 2015. In addition, the Irish Prison Service is preparing plans for the demolition of the early 19th century A and B wings of Limerick Prison and their replacement with modern cellular accommodation on a site adjacent to the prison. The new development will include full in-cell sanitation, showers and a range of ancillary facilities. Following the necessary approval, planning and tender processes, it is hoped that construction will commence in August/September 2013 with completion/commissioning in June/July early 2015.

  Question No. 333 answered with Question No. 71.

Public Services Provision

 334. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter further to Parliamentary Question No. 237 of 4 December 2012, if he will provide a list of all new services across his Department that have been tested for external service delivery since March 2011. [55435/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter My Department is committed to achieving a focused and integrated approach to external service delivery of non-core processes with the objective of reducing cost and focusing staff on priority areas as agreed by the Government last July. The Department of Justice & Equality is responsible for a broad range of public administration concerns, many of which go to the heart of what is vital in a democratic society, and, as such, are not always suitable for external service delivery. However, within this constraint, the Justice Sector delivers the following services by means of external service delivery:

 1. An Garda Síochána speed camera system and associated administrative processes;

 2. The collection of fines and payments for the Fixed Charge Processing System and Firearms Certificates for An Garda Síochána;

 3. The printing of Fixed Charge Processing System notices and firearms certificates for An Garda Síochána;

 4. The collection, towing and storage of seized motor vehicles in certain Garda divisions (to be extended to other divisions over time);

 5. The Justice IT Shared Service to the Department and a large number of offices and agencies in the Sector is provided through external service delivery;

 6. Maintenance of small vehicles for An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service;

 7. The collection of court imposed fines for the Courts Service (it is intended this contract will coincide with the full implementation of the Fines Act 2010 which includes the payment of fines by instalment).

  I also 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. All new services will be tested for suitability for external service delivery as they arise and in line with Government policy.

Garda Investigations

 335. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will update Dáil Éireann on the protocol that is in place for an Garda Síochána in circumstances where its members are dealing with situations of sudden death, homicide, suicide and deaths in suspicious circumstances. [55458/12]

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 protocol for An Garda Síochána for dealing with situations of sudden death or deaths of unknown causes is set out in the Coroners Act 1962. It is Garda policy to appoint a Family Liaison Officer to act as a liaison with the family of victims of murder, manslaughter, homicide, kidnapping, victims of fatal traffic collisions and in relation to crimes which result in life changing injuries or other crimes where the District Officer (Superintendent) deems it necessary to appoint a liaison officer. The Family Liaison Officer will provide the immediate family with timely and accurate information on the progress of a Garda investigation.

Court Accommodation Provision

 336. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he has had any update from the Court Service regarding Kells District Court, County Meath and the plans for the future of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55508/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy may be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and have been informed that the Courts Service has been reviewing all aspects of its organisational and operational structures throughout the country with the specific objective of ensuring that the Service can continue to maintain the delivery of front line court services and an appropriate level of service to court users. I understand that no court venue has been singled out for or indeed exempted from the review and that Kells District Court has been identified as a venue to be considered for closure subject to a detailed assessment and the preparation of a business case.

In this context the Courts Service has established a general framework within which such venues are being assessed taking into account a range of criteria such as caseload, proximity to an alternative venue, physical condition of the building, availability of cells etc. The likely impact on other Justice agencies, such as An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service, is also taken into account. The review identified a range of venues nationwide which, based on the criteria applied, could be considered for closure subject to a detailed assessment and the preparation of a business case in respect of each identified venue which has now commenced. However, the Courts Service has assured me that no decision in relation to the future of Kells District Court will be taken without prior consultation with local interested parties and court users. This consultation will commence shortly and the views received will be taken into account in the decision making process which will be a matter for the Courts Service Board.


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