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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 354 to 370
 Header Item Garda Strength
 Header Item Crime Data
 Header Item Garda Equipment
 Header Item Air Ambulance Service Provision
 Header Item Public Services Provision
 Header Item Overseas Missions
 Header Item Coillte Teoranta Lands
 Header Item Animal Welfare Issues
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Appeals
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Appeals

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. 354 to 370

Garda Strength

 354. 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 total strength of An Garda Síochána, male and female, all ranks at present, the number of posts if any to be filled or waiting to be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55693/12]

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 as of the 30 November 2012, the latest date for which figures are readily available, there were 13,459 Gardaí, 993 Reserve Gardaí and 2,028 civilian staff in the Garda Síochána. With the exception of recruitment to the Garda Reserve, which is of a voluntary, unpaid nature, the moratorium on recruitment still applies to the Garda Síochána. Notwithstanding this, there have been a number of supervisory and senior management appointments in the Garda Síochána, including 51 in 2012 at Assistant Commissioner, Chief Superintendent and Superintendent levels to ensure the supervisory and management capacity of the Force is maintained.

   A promotion competition has been held for promotion from Sergeant to Inspector and 34 successful candidates were placed on a list for future promotions. Promotion competitions for promotion from Garda to Sergeant, from Inspector to Superintendent and from Superintendent to Chief Superintendent are currently ongoing. There are four vacancies at Chief Superintendent rank and thirteen vacancies at Superintendent rank, where the current strength is 41 and 153 respectively, and these will be filled from the promotion competition currently under way. The approved numbers in those ranks are 45 and 166 respectively.   Discussions are ongoing with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on settling the precise strengths at the ranks of Sergeant and Inspector in the Garda Síochána.

  The personnel strength of An Garda Síochána on 30 November 2012, broken down by rank and gender, was as set out in the table.

Rank
Total
Male
Female
Commissioner
1
1
0
D/Commissioner
2
1
1
A/Commissioner
9
9
0
C/Superintendent
41
37
4
Superintendent
153
138
15
Inspector
263
242
21
Sergeant
1912
1630
282
Garda
11078
8034
3044
Total
13459
10092
3367

Crime Data

 355. 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 trends if any emerging in respect of violent crimes in respect of death and or serious injury that continue to be monitored by his Department; the likely action to be taken to address such issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55694/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner about all aspects of serious and violent crime and the Gardaí respond robustly to those who engage in such offences. While incidents of serious and violent crime continue to be committed and have a substantial impact on victims and their families, it is important to note that the most recent recorded crime statistics, which are for the 12 month period to the end of June 2012, show that most categories of crime are in fact falling. This reflects well on the work of An Garda Síochána and the figures show that murder had decreased by 8% and assault offences were down by 9.7%. Public order and damage to property offences were also down (by 13.1% and 10.8% respectively).

Notwithstanding the positive messages from the latest crime figures, it remains imperative that we confront and disrupt violent criminals and the Gardaí have the full support of the Government in this. I am advised that Garda management closely monitors the allocation of all resources 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. There is already a range of strong legislation in place to counter the sorts of crime referred to by the Deputy and I have also made it clear to the Garda Commissioner that if he feels there are other measures which might usefully be taken I will look at that very positively.

Garda Equipment

 356. 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 modern technology and upgraded transport continues to be made available to An Garda Síochána throughout the country with particular reference to the need to focus on areas suffering from high incidents of organised crime and criminality; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55695/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The provision and deployment of Garda resources, including modern technologies and transport, are matters for the Garda Commissioner in the light of his identified policing needs. In this context the Garda authorities have indicated that significant resources have been, and will continue to be, devoted to tackling organised crime.

As the Deputy will be aware the Gardaí are bearing down very hard on criminal gangs. Week in week out, An Garda Síochána is making arrests and bringing persons before the courts, with substantial sentences being imposed in many cases. Considerable success has also been achieved in disrupting the illicit drugs trade on which much organised crime depends. In excess of €90m of drugs were seized in the first nine months of the year, including the largest inland seizure of cocaine in Ireland. Other seizures are taking place on a continuous basis.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that in recent years considerable progress has been made within the Force in the deployment of modern technological support in the fight against organised crime. These advances include the full roll out of the National Digital Radio System, the Automated Fingerprint Information System and Automated Number Plate Recognition.

With regard to transport, the Deputy will be aware that a recent investment of €3 million in the Garda fleet has resulted in an order for 170 new vehicles being placed this year. These vehicles are due to begin coming on stream in the coming weeks. This investment brings to more than 210 the number of new vehicles ordered this year, at a cost of €4 million. In addition, 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. I have no doubt that the additional funding, in conjunction with the advanced policing technologies available to An Garda Síochána, will contribute to the effectiveness of the force in preventing and detecting organised crime.

Air Ambulance Service Provision

 357. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of missions to date undertaken by the air ambulance at Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55419/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter A twelve-month pilot Emergency Aeromedical Support (EAS) service was established by agreement between my Department and the Department of Health for Air Corps support to the Health Service Executive National Ambulance Service. The purpose of the pilot is to assess the level and type, if any, of dedicated emergency aeromedical support needed to assist the National Ambulance Service in the west of Ireland for certain types of patient, particularly in light of the requirements of the HSE Clinical Care Programmes such as Acute Coronary Syndrome and Stroke.

The service commenced on 4 June 2012 and it is operated by the Air Corps out of Custume Barracks, Athlone. Since its inception there have been 101 EAS call-outs undertaken by the Air Corps. A full evaluation of the EAS service will be undertaken by the stakeholders within three months of the end of the pilot programme (June 2013).

Public Services Provision

 358. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Defence 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. [55428/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The external delivery of some public services is an element of the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan dated November 2011. All proposed new services across the Public Service will be tested for external service delivery before any approval to provide the service internally will be granted. No new services have been identified or tested for external service delivery since March 2011. However, an evaluation of the potential options to deliver medical services in the Defence Forces through outsourcing is currently ongoing.

Overseas Missions

 359. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will report on the participation of members of the Defence Forces in the UN Mission to Syria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55681/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Six members of the Permanent Defence Force are deployed in Syria as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO). The Defence Forces have participated in UNTSO since 1958. Defence Forces personnel serving with this mission are based in Syria, Israel and Lebanon. The main functions of UNTSO are to maintain regional dialogue, monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements and to assist UN peacekeeping operations in Lebanon and Syria. The six UNTSO Defence Forces personnel based in Syria are part of Observer Group Golan responsible for the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. One Irish officer is the Chief of Observer Group Golan and has responsibility for the conduct of operations by UN Military Observers within Israeli Occupied Golan and Syria. The remaining five Defence Forces personnel are deployed as UN Military Observers and conduct their duties in support of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Their duties include manning Observation Posts, conducting fortnightly inspections of the deployment of Syrian Arab Armed Forces and conducting patrols within the Area of Limitation in order to ensure that no activities occur which could lead to the breach of the ceasefire between Israel and Syria.

  As the security situation in Syria remains highly volatile, Defence Forces personnel normally based in Damascus were relocated by UNTSO to offices and accommodation at UNDOF Headquarters in the Golan Heights, on 15 October 2012, as a temporary force protection measure. The Irish personnel continue to fulfill their roles from this temporary location. It is intended that they will return to offices and accommodation in Damascus should there be an improvement in the security situation.

  Six members of the Permanent Defence Force who had been deployed as unarmed military observers to the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) were withdrawn in August 2012 when the mission’s mandate came to an end.

Coillte Teoranta Lands

 360. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney his plans to include provisions which will ensure public access to Coillte land for recreational purposes, as part of any move to sell any assets of Coillte in the future. [55266/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Further to the Government decision that a concession for the harvesting rights to Coillte’s forests be considered for sale, Coillte Board and management have been actively engaged in recent months with NewERA, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department to examine the financial and other implications of developing the potential of Coillte’s forest assets.

  The process is at an advanced stage and, aside from the valuation of the forestry assets, a number of issues have been identified in relation to the possible harvesting rights concession. These include, inter alia, the possible impact on the timber industry, implications for the company and levels of employment, environmental and social impacts, and public access to recreational land and the protection of the recreational amenities. These issues and the measures, if necessary, to address them require detailed consideration.

  I am aware that Coillte’s forests provide a range of recreational opportunities for the general public continuing a long tradition of open access to state owned forests. I am also conscious that such recreational facilities are very valuable resources as tourism attractions in the various regions. In view of the importance of such recreational opportunities for citizens for ongoing recreation and for visitors during their stay in Ireland, the issue of public access to recreational land forms part of the overall analysis.

Animal Welfare Issues

 361. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 489 of 27 November 2012, the review procedures he intends to take to ensure that dog welfare standards being developed in the Animal Health and Welfare Bill will apply to dog pounds, rescue and dog transportation operators, as well as dog breeders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55397/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Animal Health and Welfare Bill which I am bringing forward consolidates a wide range of existing legislation. As such, it will apply in many situations affecting the welfare of animals and so can be enforced by a range of state bodies such as An Gardai, customs officers and local authorities. The Animal Health and Welfare Bill enshrines the so-called Five Freedoms of animal and, in doing so, sets out general horizontal rules on feed, shelter, healthcare and welfare that will apply to all animals.

The Animal Health and Welfare Bill does not set out detailed rules for individual species or sectors. These can be brought forward through a variety of means such as Codes of Practice, Regulations or other primary legislation, which can lay down more detailed laws for specific animals in certain cases, such as the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010, which was brought forward by the Minister for Environment, Heritage and local Government. That Act sets out detailed rules applying to premises at which bitches are kept, “not less than 6 of which are more than 6 months old, and capable of being used for breeding purposes”. The Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010 empowers local authorities to appoint “authorised persons” for the enforcement of the requirements of that Act.

Separately, under EU Regulations in respect of animal transport, my Department has put in place guidelines for the welfare of non-farming animals (“other species”) during commercial transport.

Agriculture Schemes Appeals

 362. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a decision will issue an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55055/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Suckler Welfare Scheme was introduced in 2008 for animals born between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2012. The objective of the Scheme was to improve the welfare standards in beef breed animals and develop over time a breeding database from which Suckler farmers could identify the breeding stock which best suited their requirements. Accordingly, it is a condition of the Scheme that a Suckler farmer had to participate in the Scheme from its inception or from the time they became active in this area. It was possible for new entrants to Suckler farming to join the Scheme in the year that they commenced Suckler farming.

While the person named only applied to join the Suckler Welfare Scheme in 2012, Department records show that beef-breed animals were present in the herd since 2009. The applicant was informed in writing of the non acceptance of her application on 30 August 2012. An appeal was received on 5 September 2012 and, following review, the decision was upheld.

The person named was advised of the position in a letter dated 17 September and was advised of her right to appeal the decision to the Agriculture Appeals Office. To date no appeal has been received.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 363. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an application for a disadvantaged area scheme payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55093/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The appeal of the person named was recently forwarded to the DAS Appeals Committee for consideration; immediately that Committee has adjudicated on this appeal, the person concerned will be notified of their decision, in writing.

Agriculture Schemes Appeals

 364. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an application for a derogation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55099/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The appeal of the person named was recently forwarded to the DAS Appeals Committee for consideration; immediately that Committee has adjudicated on this appeal, the person concerned will be notified of their decision, in writing.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 365. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an application for single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55100/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The derogation application of the person named having been successful, the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application was further processed and recently finalised, with payment shortly due to issue to the nominated bank account.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 366. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a disadvantaged area scheme payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55104/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As processing of the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application has recently been finalised, payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 367. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a payment for disadvantaged area aid will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55107/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Payment under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme has not yet issued as, at this stage, the holding concerned has not yet satisfied the Scheme minimum stocking density requirements for 2012. Immediately the holding concerned is confirmed as having met these requirements, the case will be further processed with a view to payment at the earliest possible date thereafter.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 368. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding outstanding headage payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55116/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As processing of the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application has recently been finalised, payment will shortly issue to the nominated bank account.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 369. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if the single farm payment and older REPS 4 payment will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55132/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In processing the 2012 Single Payment Scheme application of the person named, an over-claim was identified on one of the land parcels declared. Following direct contact with the person named, the matter has recently been resolved and payment will issue to the nominated bank account shortly.

The person named commenced REPS 4 in May 2010 and received payments for the first two years of their contract. REPS 4 is a measure under the 2007-13 Rural Development Programme and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. This process has been completed for the person named and the 75% payment for Year 3 amounting to €4425.14 issued on 10 December 2012. The remaining 25% balancing payment will issue shortly.

Agriculture Schemes Appeals

 370. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a payment under the disadvantaged area scheme will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55134/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The appeal of the person named was recently forwarded to the DAS Appeals Committee for consideration; immediately that Committee has adjudicated on this appeal, the person concerned will be notified of their decision, in writing.


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