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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 142-155
 Header Item Building Regulations Compliance
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Garda Stations Refurbishment
 Header Item Garda Districts
 Header Item Legislative Programme
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 79 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 142-155

Building Regulations Compliance

 142. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views on the way the safety of residents will be protected in Temple Court, Santry, Dublin, in view of the fact that serious fire safety concerns were made to Fingal County Council in early October, which were passed on to Fire Prevention Services, however, no investigation has taken place due to insufficient staff resources. [57357/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations rests with the designers, builders and owners of buildings. Implementation and enforcement of the building control system is a matter for the relevant building control authority.

Under section 18 of the Fire Services Act 1981 and 2003 it is the duty of every person having control over premises, such as apartment complexes, to take all reasonable measures to guard against the outbreak of fire and to ensure the safety of persons on the premises in the event of an outbreak of fire. Fire authorities have a range of powers available to them, from providing advice to taking High Court proceedings, to deal with situations where fire safety is in question.

I understand that Fingal County Council has received a number of complaints regarding the Temple Court development and has been in touch with the relevant parties to obtain further information on the issues involved. The specific concerns raised are in relation to possible fire safety hazards which may arise due to the manifestation of pyritic heave in the development , while there are more general concerns about construction issues.

I also understand that the residents ’ concerns have been raised directly with Dublin Fire Brigade and also passed to them by Fingal County Council, and that Dublin Fire Brigade responds to all specific complaints it receives in relation to fire safety. In this case safety advice has been provided in relation to possible impact by pyrite on the gas supply lines to the apartments.

The pyrite issues in Temple Court will be addressed as part of the overall implementation plan for recommendations made in the independent Report of the Pyrite Panel.

Garda Recruitment

 143. 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 consider lifting the embargo on new Garda recruits in view of the fact that persons and families are now living in fear in rural, isolated areas and the fact that a large number of Gardaí retired in the recent past, the recent closure of rural Garda stations and the proposed closure of additional Garda stations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57132/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The present strength of An Garda Síochána is approximately 13,400 which is a strength similar to that during 2007. While the moratorium continues to apply to the Garda Síochána, the question of when recruitment to the Garda Síochána should resume will be kept under continuing review in the context of retirements and the availability of resources. I will remain in dialogue with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on this, but what is vital now is that the still significant resources of the Force are used with maximum efficiency and to the greatest effect. That is why the reforms being introduced by the Garda Commissioner, such as new rosters and the rationalisation of the Garda station and District networks, are essential.

Naturalisation Applications

 144. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a person (details supplied) who is living in the country since March 2003 on a continuous basis and formally received refugee status in 2009 could be eligible to become an Irish citizen having lived and been educated here since 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [57150/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Officials in the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) inform me that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's question.

  Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must -

- be of full age

- be of good character

- have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years

- intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation

- have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows -

(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and

(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

  A foreign national who is married to, or is the Civil Partner of, an Irish citizen for at least three years may apply for naturalisation under section 15A of the Irish Naturalisation and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, where they have been continuously resident in the island of Ireland for the year immediately prior to the date of their application and for two out of the four years prior to that year. The marriage or civil partnership must be subsisting and recognised under Irish law. Section 15A provides that the Minister may waive certain conditions for naturalisation if satisfied that the applicant would suffer serious consequences in respect of his or her bodily integrity or liberty if not granted Irish citizenship.

  Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended, provides that I can exercise my absolute discretion to waive some or all of the statutory requirements for naturalisation in certain circumstances, e.g. where the applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

  It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended.

  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.

Garda Stations Refurbishment

 145. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will outline the running costs of Garda stations (detail supplied) in County Mayo: and if he will separately outline any capital investment or expenditure in the same stations in 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57155/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and I have been informed by the Garda authorities that financial cost statements are maintained at District Headquarters level rather than at Garda station level. In the circumstances the Deputy will appreciate that the specific financial information he has sought is not readily available and I understand that the provision of such information would involve a disproportionate amount of Garda time and resources which are required for other purposes.

However, I have also been advised by the Garda authorities that the annual financial saving estimated to arise in respect of the closure of the stations referred to by the Deputy is Euro 4,000 per station. To a large extent these estimates relate to heating and lighting costs and they do not take account of specific repair bills, which will vary from premises to premises.

As the Deputy will be aware, the closure of the stations has been proposed by the Garda Commissioner in his Policing Plan for 2013 and I would stress that the key objective involved is to promote the more efficient and effective deployment of resources rather than to secure modest cash savings. In this context the Commissioner has concluded in relation to certain stations that Garda resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the front line if the stations no longer had to be staffed and maintained. In making his recommendations on the closure of Garda stations, the Commissioner reviewed all aspects of An Garda Síochána's policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the overall operation of Garda stations. In addition, the Commissioner has given a commitment that where a station is to be closed local Garda management will consult with local communities on the alternative policing arrangements to be put in place in their area.

Furthermore, the Garda Commissioner has indicated he is confident that the implementation of the restructuring proposals contained in the 2013 Policing Plan will not lead to any diminution in the service provided by An Garda Síochána. In that regard he has stated that the revised structures will continue to support the Garda community philosophy through the clustering of services at policing hubs. This centralisation of services will facilitate the introduction of enhanced patrolling arrangements which, in turn, will provide increased Garda visibility as well as maintaining existing Garda links with communities throughout the country.

Capital expenditure in respect of Garda accommodation is provided from the Vote of the Office for Public Works and, accordingly, I am not in a position to provide the information the Deputy has sought under this heading.

Garda Districts

 146. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will outline the staffing consequences, the consequences on opening hours and service provision and any other consequences for a Garda Station (details supplied) in County Mayo arising from the proposed downgrading of its current status as a district headquarters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57156/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Local Garda management in the Division and District referred to by the Deputy have been tasked with developing a comprehensive consultation strategy together with a tailored implementation plan that will meet the particular needs of the new Garda District. To this end, they will shortly commence the process of engaging with staff interests and local communities through partnership processes, the Joint Policing Committees and other fora to advise them of the revised policing arrangements, including any changes in opening hours, in the stations in the new District. The objective will be to ensure that the best possible policing service will continue to be provided to the affected communities.

The Garda Commissioner has clearly indicated that he is confident that the implementation of the restructuring proposals contained in the 2013 Policing Plan will not lead to any diminution in the service provided by An Garda Síochána. In that regard he has stated that the revised structures will continue to support the Garda community philosophy through the clustering of services at policing hubs. This centralisation of services will facilitate the introduction of enhanced patrolling arrangements which, in turn, will provide increased Garda visibility as well as maintaining existing Garda links with communities throughout the country.

Legislative Programme

 147. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the proposals he intends bringing before Dáil Éireann to combat the illegal exploitation of women; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57189/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I understand the Deputy is referring to exploitation in the form of sex trafficking.   

  The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 criminalises the trafficking of persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation. A person found guilty of this offence is liable to life imprisonment.

  In June of this year, I published a discussion document on the future direction of legislation on prostitution. The purpose of the discussion document is to facilitate a public consultation process. On its publication, I referred the discussion document to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. The joint committee is conducting the consultation process and will report back to me when it has completed its work.

  In addition, my Department hosted a conference on 13 October to discuss the consultation paper.

  The report of the joint committee and the views expressed at the October conference will be fully considered in the framing of any necessary legislative proposals to be submitted to Government in due course.

  For further background, I am appending the text of my statement of 22 June last when publishing the discussion document.

  Shatter Announces Publication of Discussion Document on the Future Direction of Legislation on Prostitution

  The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence today published a discussion document on the future direction of legislation on prostitution. Publication of the discussion document follows the Minister’s announcement that he would be arranging a public consultation process as part of the current review of prostitution legislation. Announcing publication of the discussion document, Minister Shatter said:

"The criminal law in this area is being reviewed primarily because of the changed nature of prostitution in Ireland. Prostitution was once mainly a street-based phenomenon. That is no longer the case. The organisation of prostitution is now much more sophisticated, highly mobile and is easily facilitated by the use of mobile phones and the internet.

There is, of course, already a clear consensus on the great evils of child prostitution and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. However, I am aware that there are differing and genuinely held views on the approach the criminal law should take to other aspects of prostitution. While there is a significant amount of criminal legislation in this area already, there is always scope for change and improvement. It is important to review the law periodically to ensure it is up to date and comprehensively responds to altered circumstances."   The Minister added that:

"Prostitution is an issue which affects individuals, communities and society as a whole. It is important that I facilitate the expression of all views on this subject and that those views are examined in due course. Public debate should therefore, be open to the widest possible audience and I want to ensure that everyone who wishes to make a contribution to this important debate is given the opportunity to do so. It is for that reason I have decided on a consultation process before charting the way forward.

My Department will hold a conference in the autumn to discuss the document. The widest possible participation will be encouraged in order that we have an open and transparent discussion on all aspects of this very important issue.

This discussion document will now be referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence. Interested groups and members of the public, I expect, will be invited to make submissions to the Committee which will hold such hearings as it deems appropriate. I am asking Mr. David Stanton T.D., Chairman of the Joint Committee, that it publish its report and recommendations by the 30th November 2012 and that the report be furnished to me together with any submissions received. I expect it is likely that the Committee’s report will also be lodged in the Oireachtas Library and that a debate on it will subsequently take place in both the Dáil and the Seanad. The report received by me from the Joint Oireachtas Committee will be fully considered in the framing of any necessary new legislative proposals to be submitted to Government in due course.

I look forward to the results of the consultation process."

The discussion document will be made available on the Department’s website, www.justice.ie   

  This discussion document does not favour any particular approach but simply tries to assist reflection. The arguments contained in the document are not exhaustive and the questions posed are not intended to limit in any way the range of questions readers might want to consider.

22 June, 2012.

Departmental Funding

 148. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide in tabular form, the total amount of capital funding his Department has allocated to Waterford for the years 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57293/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to advise the Deputy that a sum of €847 was spent on capital works in Waterford during 2011 and to date in 2012.

Departmental Funding

 149. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide in tabular form, the total amount of capital funding his Department has allocated to Waterford for the years 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57288/12]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter No capital funding was allocated by my Department to Waterford for the years in question. Capital funding is allocated internally in my Department for Defence related expenditure only.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications

 150. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will be paid their disadvantaged area payment for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57125/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney While an application under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 15 May 2012, payment has not issued as the conditions of the Scheme have not been satisfied, at this stage, in regard to inclusion of equines for the purposes of meeting the minimum stocking density requirement.

  The Terms and Conditions governing the Scheme require, inter alia, that in order for equines to be eligible, they must be in a registered breeding enterprise and meet certain qualifying criteria. The person concerned has already been advised by my Department of the outstanding matters in regard to stocking density. Once it has been established that this requirement has been satisfied, the application concerned can be further processed with a view to payment.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications

 151. 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 person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their disadvantaged area payment and single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57141/12]

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

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications

 152. 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 person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57145/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application under the Single Payment Scheme /Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 12th April 2012.

  In order to comply with EU requirements, the application was one of a number which was selected for inspection. The inspection and related processes have been completed and payments under the Single Payment Scheme and Disadvantaged Area Scheme will issue shortly to the nominated bank account.

Departmental Funding

 153. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will provide in tabular form, the total amount of capital funding his Department has allocated to Waterford for the years 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57284/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney It is not possible to provide this information in the required time. I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Appeals

 154. 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 person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their REP scheme payment following their successful appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57307/12]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named commenced REPS 4 in October 2008 and has received payments for the first four 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 and payments have commenced. I expect payment to issue shortly to the person named.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 155. 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 person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their disadvantaged area payment following their successful appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57308/12]

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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