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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 769 - 785
 Header Item Firearms Licences
 Header Item Firearms Licences
 Header Item Magdalen Laundries
 Header Item Garda Vetting of Personnel
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Garda Vetting of Personnel
 Header Item Courts Service
 Header Item Joint Policing Committees Remit
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Ministerial Staff
 Header Item Immigration Policy
 Header Item Garda Career Breaks
 Header Item Courts Service
 Header Item Garda Deployment

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 118 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 769 - 785

Firearms Licences

 769. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the recommendations he has received from An Garda Síochána and his Department in relation to changes to firearm licences; if he accepts the recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13493/14]

 772. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his proposals to change the firearm licensing system to involve compensation for affected owners, a risk analysis of the changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13496/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 769 and 772 together.

My Department is examining key issues relating to licensing in conjunction with An Garda Síochána. The issues include the rationale for and matters arising in relation to any proposed changes. Recommendations are currently being finalised and I expect to receive a report in due course. No decisions will be made in advance of consideration of these recommendations. Opportunities for consultation with relevant stakeholders will be explored when work on the proposals is further advanced.

Firearms Licences

 770. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the current total number of restricted handguns currently licensed to sports persons here; the total number of non-restricted handguns currently licensed to sports persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13494/14]

 771. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the total number of firearm licences presented in tabular form broken down by type; if membership of a sports club is necessary and on a per county currently held in the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13495/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 770 and 771 together.

  I have asked the Garda Commissioner for a report in relation to these matters and will write to the Deputy when I have further information.

  Question No. 772 answered with Question No. 769.

Magdalen Laundries

 773. 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. 420 of 11 March 2014, if he will confirm which of the two congregations have responded to his request for a financial contribution to the Magdalene Laundries Redress Scheme. [13507/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can confirm that the Sisters of Mercy and the Religious Sisters of Charity have responded to my request to reconsider their positions on making a financial contribution.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

 774. 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 the position regarding Garda clearance in the case of a person convicted of a criminal offence more than 30 years ago (details supplied) who is now seeking work in the health care area; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [13549/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Garda Vetting Disclosures are predicated on the signed authorisation of a vetting subject for An Garda Síochána to disclose to the registered organisation “details of all prosecutions, successful or not, pending or completed, and/or convictions which may be recorded in respect of them in the State or elsewhere”; or alternatively that there are “no prosecutions or convictions recorded in respect of them”. The disclosure is made by the Garda Central Vetting Unit to the requesting, registered organisation of the position at the time when it is issued.

Elements of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 relating to the disclosure of convictions are under review at present having regard to a recent judgment of the UK Court of Appeal in (On the Application of) T and others v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2013]. The UK Court considered the circumstances in which it is appropriate to disclose convictions for old, minor offences with particular regard to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Having considered the judgement in that case, I intend bringing proposals before the Oireachtas to provide that certain old minor convictions will not be disclosed under the provisions of the 2012 Act. Given the close relationship between this Act and the Spent Convictions Bill, which is before the Oireachtas at the moment, any changes to the Vetting Act will have to be reflected in the Spent Convictions Bill. The amendment of the Vetting Act will also be done via the Spent Convictions Bill.

Until now all records of all criminal convictions have been disclosed by the Gardaí when vetting people for various employments. However, in future certain minor offences that are more than seven years old, where the person has not subsequently reoffended, will not be disclosed. In addition, cases of minor offences where charges are struck out will not be disclosed. More serious offences, however, such as all sexual offences, offences against the person, serious motoring offences, firearms offences, robbery, or any offence for which the person is convicted on indictment will continue to be disclosed in all cases.

Pending commencement of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 the revisions in approach outlined above will, in the interim be applied on an administrative basis by the Garda Central Vetting Unit.

The Deputy will appreciate that a decision as to the employability of a specific individual rests with the relevant employer who may have to take into account a wide variety of considerations in the context of making that decision. The Garda Central Vetting Unit has no role in this decision making process nor is it the function of the vetting process to make recommendations in this regard.

Garda Recruitment

 775. Deputy Damien English Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of Garda Reserve members that made it to stage three of the recruitment process for An Garda Síochána; the weighting given to those applicants that had indicated to have been attested by An Garda Síochána as a reserve; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13582/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Public Appointments Service (PAS) is managing the recruitment process for the Garda Commissioner and I have no direct involvement in the matter.

  The number of Garda reserve applicants who made it through to the current round of assessments and tests is not readily available. The Admission and Appointment Regulations provide that, as part of the competitive selection process organised by the Public Appointments Service for full-time membership of An Garda Síochána, "due recognition to any satisfactory service by the person as a reserve member"  shall be given to such candidates. This provision was introduced in order to acknowledge the beneficial experience and skills gained by a reserve member and to allow them, at assessments and at interview, the opportunity to highlight that experience and skill. It is important that all persons wishing to join the full time force undergo the same competitive selection and recruitment process. In doing so the integrity of the process is maintained at all stages of the competition.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

 776. Deputy Áine Collins Information on Áine Collins Zoom on Áine Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when a charge is stuck out, if no reference to it will appear on a Garda vetting report (details supplied).  [13606/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Garda Vetting Disclosures are predicated on the signed authorisation of a vetting subject for An Garda Síochána to disclose to the registered organisation “details of all prosecutions, successful or not, pending or completed, and/or convictions which may be recorded in respect of them in the State or elsewhere”; or alternatively that there are “no prosecutions or convictions recorded in respect of them”. The disclosure is made to the requesting, registered organisation of the position at the time when it is issued. Any decision regarding the suitability for a position of a particular vetting subject is a matter for the organisation concerned.

Elements of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 relating to the disclosure of convictions are under review at present having regard to a recent judgment of the UK Court of Appeal in (On the Application of) T and others v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester [2013]. The UK Court considered the circumstances in which it is appropriate to disclose convictions for old, minor offences with particular regard to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Having considered the judgement in that case, I intend bringing proposals before the Oireachtas to provide that certain old minor convictions will not be disclosed under the provisions of the 2012 Act. Given the close relationship between this Act and the Spent Convictions Bill, which is before the Oireachtas at the moment, any changes to the Vetting Act will have to be reflected in the Spent Convictions Bill. The amendment of the Vetting Act will also be done via the Spent Convictions Bill.

Until now all records of all criminal convictions have been disclosed by the Gardaí when vetting people for various employments. However, in future certain minor offences that are more than seven years old, where the person has not subsequently reoffended, will not be disclosed. In addition, cases of minor offences where charges are struck out will not be disclosed. More serious offences, however, such as all sexual offences, offences against the person, serious motoring offences, firearms offences, robbery, or any offence for which the person is convicted on indictment will continue to be disclosed in all cases.

Pending commencement of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 the revisions in approach outlined above will, in the interim, be applied on an administrative basis by the Garda Central Vetting Unit.

Courts Service

 777. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter further to Parliamentary Question No. 194 of 22 May 2013, if the report referred to in the reply is now to hand. [13654/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, which includes the provision of information on the courts system, is the responsibility of the Courts Service. The Deputy will appreciate that the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions and the conduct of any court case including the reasons for a decision is a matter for the presiding judge.

  However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that when a driver fails to pay a fixed penalty notice within 56 days, the Gardaí apply to the Courts Service for the issue of a summons. The Courts Service fixes a date for the hearing of the case and the summons is issued to the Gardaí for service on the defendant who is required to appear on the date specified on the summons. Therefore, all summonses that are issued are listed for court. All of the persons summoned, however, may not appear before the court.

  If a summons is not served then the court has no jurisdiction to hear the case and a result of strike out not served is recorded. You will appreciate that summonses may not have been served by An Garda Síochána for a number of different reasons. The Garda authorities may be unable to serve summonses in instances where they are unable to make contact with the individual concerned; there may be inaccurate or false name and address data relating to the person; the person may no longer be resident or known at the address; or the person may be residing outside this jurisdiction or indeed may have taken steps to avoid receipt of a summons.

  As the Deputy will be aware, under the Action Plan which I published along with the Garda Inspectorate Report into the Fixed Charge Processing System, I set out how An Garda Síochána has already commenced a review of the summons serving process. The outcome of this process, which is taking place in consultation with the Courts Service, will be examined by the recently established Criminal Justice (Fixed Charge Processing System) Working Group and will form part of the regular reports from that Group to myself and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

  As already indicated to the Deputy in my reply to Parliamentary Questions numbers 462, 463 and 464 of 14 May 2013, the number of defendants summoned to court having failed to pay a fixed charge penalty point notice within 56 days of receipt of the notice in 2011 was 51,462 and in 2012 was 53,927. It should be noted that where an individual was summonsed in respect of more than one offence they are included once in those figures.

  The following table shows outcomes in respect of all of the penalty point summonses issued following a failure to pay the fixed charge notice. The statistics contained in the table are based on the number of outcomes rather than the number of defendants. A defendant may incur a number of outcomes for different offences and the outcomes are counted separately.    The number of outcomes, therefore, is greater than the number of defendants referred to above. Mandatory court appearances for other penalty point offences are not included.   

Outcomes
2012
2011
Strike out not served
29,261
29,791
Strike out in court
10,203
9,230
Fine
10,919
9,610
Poor Box
1,090
532
*Other
1,420
1,524
Withdrawn
863
780
Dismissed
772
679
Total
54,528
52,146
* The category “other” includes offences that were taken into consideration with other offences, defendants dealt with under the Probation of Offenders Act, peace bonds, community service, etc.

Report on the cases in the District Court in 2012 for failure to pay a fixed penalty notice within 56 days  
District No.CSODismissDismiss on ProbationDisqualifiedFineImp/Imp SuspendedNo OrderOther*Peace BondPoor BoxProbation OrderStrike OutStrike Out Not ServedTaken Into ConsiderationWithdrawnTotal
DISTRICT NO. 1
1
27
1
 
107
1
   
45
 
88
380
3
 
653
DISTRICT NO. 2 
5
20
9
213
    
85
 
247
1,266
11
 
1,856
DISTRICT NO. 3 
25
12
4
56
    
4
 
62
203
3
110
479
DISTRICT NO. 4 
4
2
1
458
    
10
 
568
1,422
7
 
2,472
DISTRICT NO. 5 
25
6
 
136
    
96
 
310
829
10
 
1,412
DISTRICT NO. 6
1
23
12
1
260
 
1
  
18
2
236
1,066
10
 
1,630
DISTRICT NO. 7 
2
2
1
292
  
1
 
2
 
194
471
3
28
996
DISTRICT NO. 8 
2
3
 
80
    
2
 
152
540
18
5
802
DISTRICT NO. 9 
1
88
6
282
1
   
55
 
268
1,073
14
6
1,794
DISTRICT NO. 10 
3
 
4
174
 
5
  
11
 
268
1,128
10
1
1,604
DISTRICT NO. 12
2
59
8
5
261
    
13
 
521
751
10
20
1,650
DISTRICT NO. 13 
111
24
 
618
    
44
1
582
2,242
75
422
4,119
DISTRICT NO. 15 
9
6
11
224
    
27
 
215
654
20
 
1,166
DISTRICT NO. 16 
33
5
9
473
 
3
18
   
475
1,153
7
5
2,181
DISTRICT NO. 17 
26
4
 
119
      
257
697
13
75
1,191
DISTRICT NO. 18 
24
90
4
216
2
   
50
 
58
472
16
80
1,012
DISTRICT NO. 19 
17
24
15
828
1
5
    
1,122
1,239
42
 
3,293
DISTRICT NO. 20 
10
1
 
459
1
1
  
93
 
319
1,095
12
4
1,995
DISTRICT NO. 21 
7
  
115
  
1
 
54
1
116
610
9
35
948
DISTRICT NO. 22 
63
38
2
343
    
15
 
373
1,066
33
1
1,934
DISTRICT NO. 23 
32
1
36
326
 
2
  
2
 
284
596
5
7
1,291
DISTRICT NO. 24 
11
2
8
285
  
6
 
11
 
347
586
22
 
1,278
DISTRICT NO. 25 
39
182
8
583
 
1
  
2
 
254
1,478
19
38
2,604
DUBLIN METROPOLITAN DISTRICT
1
214
51
31
4,011
5
25
1
2
451
6
2,887
8,244
213
26
16,168
Grand Total
5
772
582
155
10,919
11
43
27
2
1,090
10
10,203
29,261
585
863
54,528
* Other refers to Endorsement & Unusual Results

Report on cases in the District Court in 2011 for failure to pay a fixed penalty notice within 56 days  

District No.CSODismissDismiss On ProbationDisqualifiedFineImp/Imp SuspNo OrderOTHERPeace BondPoor BoxProbation OrderStrike OutStrike Out Not ServedTaken Into ConsiderationWithdrawnTotal
DISTRICT NO. 1
1
10
2
 
117
1
   
8
 
103
451
16
13
722
DISTRICT NO. 2 
16
9
21
256
3
   
35
 
245
1,148
11
1
1,745
DISTRICT NO. 3 
21
10
9
99
 
1
  
5
 
42
265
7
109
568
DISTRICT NO. 4 
2
2
 
248
    
4
 
297
869
7
 
1,429
DISTRICT NO. 5 
57
8
 
166
1
   
51
 
255
937
8
 
1,483
DISTRICT NO. 6 
39
14
 
298
 
2
1
 
2
 
226
1,000
13
 
1,595
DISTRICT NO. 7 
6
2
2
218
 
1
  
6
 
196
442
10
25
908
DISTRICT NO. 8 
7
15
4
103
  
5
 
6
 
235
818
19
1
1,213
DISTRICT NO. 9 
1
14
2
188
    
37
 
267
682
19
1
1,211
DISTRICT NO. 10 
5
8
14
251
 
8
  
2
 
202
1,161
13
1
1,665
DISTRICT NO. 12
1
62
3
4
257
 
2
1
 
3
 
404
934
22
43
1,736
DISTRICT NO. 13 
75
34
 
517
  
2
 
1
 
676
1,933
91
258
3,587
DISTRICT NO. 15 
10
13
13
295
  
1
 
7
1
191
788
19
 
1,338
DISTRICT NO. 16 
14
10
2
352
      
420
802
14
3
1,617
DISTRICT NO. 17 
16
115
 
116
      
93
443
9
146
938
DISTRICT NO. 18 
18
81
8
150
  
1
 
13
 
3
286
16
53
629
DISTRICT NO. 19 
28
49
12
776
4
 
2
 
9
1
765
1,269
41
 
2,956
DISTRICT NO. 20 
59
1
 
273
2
   
21
 
145
845
7
2
1,355
DISTRICT NO. 21 
5
 
1
222
    
80
 
162
931
22
51
1,474
DISTRICT NO. 22 
3
3
15
294
    
2
 
385
1,040
18
8
1,768
DISTRICT NO. 23 
34
78
6
441
     
1
488
865
24
7
1,944
DISTRICT NO. 24 
9
2
10
240
1
 
14
 
5
 
299
834
18
 
1,432
DISTRICT NO. 25
1
1
115
15
540
 
1
  
1
 
271
1,533
22
38
2,538
DUBLIN METROPOLITAN DISTRICT 
181
50
35
3,193
1
4
 
2
234
3
2,860
9,515
197
20
16,295
TOTAL
3
679
638
173
9,610
13
19
27
2
532
6
9,230
29,791
643
780
52,146

Joint Policing Committees Remit

 778. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when his Department, together with the Garda authorities and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government will outline the outcome of the review process of the role of the joint policing committees in the context of the Programme for Government commitment to build on existing community policing partnerships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13657/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy is aware, I initiated the review of the operation of Joint Policing Committees in the context of the commitment in the Programme for Government to build on existing community policing partnerships. My Department, together with the Garda authorities and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has examined the feedback obtained during the review process, as well as related issues arising from the broader process of local government reform, and recommendations concerning revisions to the JPC guidelines are at an advanced stage of preparation.

Garda Deployment

 779. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if it is the intention of senior management in An Garda Síochána to remove the gardaí from escort duties for cash in transit deliveries.  [13660/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will appreciate that it would be contrary to the public interest for me to comment on matters of a security related nature or on the procedures in place for the secure transport of cash.

  What I can say is that the Garda authorities work very closely with the banking sector and the cash in transit industry. In this regard the commitment of An Garda Síochána to the protection of cash in transit vehicles is unaltered.

Ministerial Staff

 780. 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 the number of civil servants engaged in constituency work on his behalf; and the salaries, accommodation costs and expenses involved or associated with these duties. [13688/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The current staffing of my constituency office, and their salary ranges, is as follows:

GradeSalary Range
1.6 Clerical Officers €23,177 - €37,341
1 Personal Secretary €23,820 - €47,755


  My Personal Assistant (salary range €43,715 - €56,060) acts as a Press Officer for the Department.

  The accommodation costs of my constituency office in the Department's Head Office is subsumed in the Department's overall accommodation costs, which are met by the Office of Public Works. The costs associated with other services such as furniture, telephone, ICT supports are similarly met from the Department's allocation.      

  Staff in this office would be entitled to travel and subsistence expenses in accordance with relevant Department of Finance circulars for civil servants where such travel might arise.

  The Deputy may wish to note that this Government has reduced the number of staff in a Minister's Constituency Office from 6 to 4 and that the staffing of my office complies with these guidelines.

Immigration Policy

 781. 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 is concerned that funds from the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals, that is, non-EEA nationals, may be used to support those other than the target group Third Country Nationals (details supplied). [13726/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The aim of the Fund in question is to facilitate the integration of third-country nationals into European societies. A third-country national is any person who is not a citizen of the European Union, that is, who does not hold the nationality of a Member State of the Union. If the Deputy has any concerns about the use of the Fund in a particular case, I would welcome it if he would bring those concerns to my attention.

Garda Career Breaks

 782. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the reason for encouraging current members of An Garda Síochána to take an incentivised career break while at the same time recruiting new members. [13732/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Incentivised Career Break Scheme for members of An Garda Síochána is part of the agreed terms set out in the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013 - 2016 (The Haddington Road Agreement). Appendix 3, the Collective Agreement for An Garda Síochána, provides that, among other things, the use of short-term career breaks, Incentivised career breaks, unpaid leave and family friendly schemes will also be made available.

This agreement was entered into between the Garda Staff Associations and the management side.

My objective is to maintain Garda strength at 13,000 and the number of trainees to be recruited will be determined taking that objective into account along with the rate of departures from the force over the coming years, including those who take up the option of the incentivised career break.

Courts Service

 783. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 507 of 4 February 2014, the position regarding the review being conducted by the Courts Service across Dublin city and county; if Swords and Balbriggan Court houses will stay open, as the option of travelling to the city centre is inconvenient for persons and the courthouses and office provide a very efficient service to the area. [13745/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions.

As outlined in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 507 of 4 February 2014, the Courts Service, during 2013, undertook a review of court services in the greater Dublin Area which included Swords and Balbriggan District Courts. The purpose of the review was to examine options to ensure that the Courts Service can continue to maintain an appropriate level of front line services to court users throughout Dublin city and county. I am advised that the review is still under consideration by the Courts Service and no definitive proposals have been formulated in relation to any court venue being reviewed, including Swords and Balbriggan District Courts.

The Courts Service has assured me that any proposal to change the status of Swords or Balbriggan District Courts will be subject to a comprehensive and detailed assessment and the criteria which would be taken into consideration would include an assessment of travelling distances which court users might have to undertake in travelling to any alternative venue. It should be noted that the final decision in relation to the closure of any venue is entirely a matter for the Board of the Courts Service.

Garda Deployment

 784. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of Garda station closures there have been in County Mayo for the years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.  [13747/14]

 785. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of gardaí who retired and were not replaced in County Mayo for the years 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.  [13748/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 784 and 785 together.

  There were no station closures in the years 2000 to 2011 inclusive. There were however 39 Garda Stations closed in 2012 of which 4 were in the Mayo Garda Division (Glenisland, Tourmakeady, Mulranny and Bellacorrik). There were 100 Garda Stations closed in 2013 of which 6 were in the Mayo Garda Division (Ballyvary, Ballyglass, Ballycastle, Lahardane, Blacksod and Hollymount).

  As the Deputy will be aware, the closure of the stations was proposed by the Garda Commissioner in his Policing Plans for 2012 and 2013. The key objective involved was 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. I fully agree with the Commissioner's proposals in this regard.

   While the number of retirements of Gardaí in the Mayo Garda Division in 2000 to 2010 is not readily available, there have been 33 retirements of Gardai in that Division since 2011. The personnel strength of the Mayo Garda Division from 2011 to 31 January 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, is shown in the following table. There are also currently 35 Garda Reserves and 32 Civilians attached to the Mayo Garda Division.

Year
Strength
Retirements
2011
309
11
2012
300
16
2013
307
3
31/01/2014
306
(up to 14/03/14) 3
 

  As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of all personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources. This necessary ongoing flexibility in the distribution of personnel means that it is not feasible to identify specific vacancies within specific areas or Divisions of the Force.


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