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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 373-390
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Parental Leave
 Header Item Victim Support Services
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item Crime Data
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Closed-Circuit Television Systems
 Header Item Immigration Status
 Header Item Probate Applications
 Header Item Deportation Orders
 Header Item Garda Operations
 Header Item Courts Service
 Header Item Courts Service

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 999 No. 2
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 100 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 373-390

Visa Applications

 373. Deputy Patrick Costello Information on Patrick Costello Zoom on Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if her Department will issue a visa (details supplied). [30004/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The person concerned originally applied for a Short Stay, category “C”, visa on 25 October 2019. This visa was refused on 18 November 2019, and was subsequently granted on appeal on 15 April 2020.

As part of the combined efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure customer safety, the Immigration Service of my Department took the decision to temporarily cease issuing visas from 20 March 2020. It remains the position that the Immigration Service is not accepting or issuing any short stay visa applications, except for cases that fall under the Emergency/Priority criteria, which was expanded to include those specific categories of travellers, identified as having an essential function or need in EU Council Recommendation (EU) 2020/912 of 30 June 2020.

It appears that the applicant's circumstances have changed and, based on the information available to the Immigration Service, a short stay, category “C” visa is no longer appropriate. The applicant should apply for a long stay, category “D”, Join Spouse visa. The visa office in Abuja is currently awaiting additional information from the applicant, to assist in the processing of this application.

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

Parental Leave

 374. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee further to Parliamentary Question No. 587 of 6 October 2020, her views on a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30133/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Bill 2019 provides for two weeks of parent’s leave and benefit for all new parents in employment or self-employment in respect of children born or placed for adoption on or after 1 November 2019. This is to facilitate parents to spend more time with their children in their critical first year of life.

  The Minister for Public Expenditure announced in Budget 2021 that he would extend Parent’s Benefit by a further three weeks.

  This will be a matter for Minister O'Gorman to progress following the imminent transfer of this function to his Department.

Victim Support Services

 375. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if her attention has been drawn to the Changing Places Ireland initiative (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30340/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The objective of Changing Places Ireland to introduce fully accessible toilets in public places such as shopping centres, libraries and sporting arenas across the country is important and requires careful consideration. While Part M of the Building Regulations do not, at present, require the installation of changing place facilities, some local authorities have installed them. An example of a public body going beyond the minimum requirements in Part M is the motion passed by Dublin City Council to install changing place facilities in all new build and green field developments. I would certainly encourage all local authorities to be as far-sighted as this to enable the dignity, and indeed safety, of the person with the disability to be maintained at all times.

Citizenship Applications

 376. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the number of citizenship applications granted in 2019 and to date in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29579/20]

 377. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if there has been a delay in the processing of citizenship applications due to the Covid-19 pandemic; if so, the size of the application backlog; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29580/20]

 378. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if she has considered moving citizenship ceremonies online due to the Covid-19 pandemic; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29581/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I propose to take Questions Nos. 376 to 378, inclusive, together.

  The number of citizenship applications granted in 2019 and to date in 2020 is set out in the table. Certificates issued in 2019 and 2020 relate to applications received in 2019, 2020 or earlier years.

Year Certificates Issued
2019 5,792
2020 5,473


  The processing of citizenship applications has had a number of challenges over the past 12 months. A legal challenge was taken in the High Court last year by an applicant who was refused a certificate of naturalisation due to his absences from the State during the last year continuous prior to the date of his application. The outcome of this ruling – which was subsequently successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal – resulted in significant delays to the processing of citizenship applications last year. This has been compounded by COVID-19 restrictions which has resulted in significant challenges to the delivery of normal services to date this year.

  Currently, there are approximately 21,000 citizenship applications on hand, at various stages of processing within the system, ranging from those just received by my Department to those where a decision has been made but it is not possible to issue an invitation to a ceremony.

  A series of measures have been approved to address this caseload over the coming period. As part of these measures I expect to bring clarity to the situation of those applicants awaiting an invitation to a citizenship ceremony very shortly.

Crime Data

 379. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the number of knife crime convictions in each of the years from 2015 to 2019 and to date in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29593/20]

 380. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the number of knife seizures by An Garda Síochána in each of the years from 2005 to 2019, including the age range of those holding the knives, by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29599/20]

 381. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the number of stabbing assaults in each of the years from 2005 to 2019, including the age range of perpetrators, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29600/20]

 382. Deputy Neale Richmond Information on Neale Richmond Zoom on Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee her plans to tackle the issues of knife crime and knife holding among teenagers and young persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29601/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I propose to take Questions Nos. 379 to 382, inclusive, together.

  I can inform the Deputy that An Garda Síochána are currently operating an Assaults in Public Reduction Strategy 2019-2021, which is targeted at tackling all types of assaults in public. This national strategy is informed by a pro-arrest, early-investigation and proactive high-visibility approach to assault reduction. It places particular emphasis on prevention, education and awareness. The strategy promotes early prosecution of offenders where feasible and appropriate.

  A comprehensive and robust legal framework is in place with respect to knife crime including heavy penalties for breaches of the laws concerned. Under the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, the maximum penalty for a conviction for possessing a knife in a public place without good reason or lawful authority was increased from one to five years. An Garda Síochána also have an extended power of search without warrant in relation to knives and offensive weapons.

  An Garda Síochána also address the issue of knife crime through education and engagement with community initiatives.

  At an operational level, An Garda Síochána pro-actively targets public disorder and anti-social behaviour, including knife-related crime, through the strategic deployment of Garda resources, and areas identified as public order hot-spots by local Garda management are the subject of additional foot and mobile patrols.

  The Deputy will also be aware that my Department has published a draft new Youth Justice Strategy in tandem with an online consultation, which has been completed recently. The draft Strategy is currently being refined with reference to the outcome of the public consultation and the views of key stakeholders, with a view to presenting the finalised version to Government by the end of the year.

  A key priority for this new Strategy will be to strengthen and expand the role of the Garda Youth Diversion projects and other community-based initiatives, including those working with the Probation Service. Bringing the full range of relevant interventions together in a coherent and holistic response to youth crime will support the objective of diverting young people from crime and anti-social behaviour, including knife crime.

  I have requested the number of knife crime convictions in each of the years 2015 to 2019 and to date in 2020 from the Courts Service and I am advised that there are no separate code for various categories of knife crime, the code supplied to the Courts Service by An Garda Síochána includes knives or other articles which could include screwdrivers, knuckledusters, guns etc.

  The following table shows the number of convictions and number of persons convicted for Possession of Knives & other Articles under Section 9(1) Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act, 1990:

Year No of convictions No of Persons convicted
2015 467 422
2016 429 390
2017 466 417
2018 548 482
2019 593 513
Jan – 31 July 2020 280 250


  The following report shows the number of convictions and number of persons convicted for Possession of Flick-Knife under Section 9(4) Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act, 1990:
Year No of convictions No of Persons convicted
2015 55 53
2016 54 53
2017 44 43
2018 53 53
2019 59 57
Jan – 31 July 2020 30 28


  The Deputy should note that the Courts Service can only provide data in relation to where offence codes provided on the system were used by prosecutors. Prosecutors may have used uncoded free text offences and any such offences would not be included in the data provided in the tables above. Furthermore, a person may be convicted for both offences and will appear more than once on the report.

  I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table provides the number of knife seizures by An Garda Síochána in each of the years 2005 to 2019 by Garda Division:
Division
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Cavan/Monaghan * 14 45 23 23 26 26 12 25 37 28 27 21 29 53
Clare 10 13 26 43 40 24 18 17 26 21 29 15 35 37 28
Cork City 42 65 58 139 118 91 107 68 90 68 65 65 97 101 121
Cork North * 16 12 13 14 18 17 20 25 24 28 20 49 41 56
Cork West * 10 13 24 22 27 28 16 25 17 10 * 13 26 16
D.M.R. Eastern 13 24 28 22 34 50 40 35 32 46 32 35 31 66 77
D.M.R. North Central 61 113 143 184 167 197 175 164 140 131 144 98 168 189 185
D.M.R. Northern 36 58 98 143 136 148 143 109 95 82 96 86 112 184 169
D.M.R. South Central 30 70 120 155 166 178 143 151 105 112 143 128 175 194 209
D.M.R. Southern 24 49 68 89 80 99 97 105 78 90 85 95 72 96 129
D.M.R Western 45 61 76 132 166 151 155 119 148 113 116 100 120 169 194
Donegal * 17 21 38 46 34 22 17 15 21 23 17 31 28 43
Galway Div * 22 38 49 45 37 46 26 42 43 38 42 76 48 89
Kerry * 10 39 36 50 38 26 40 24 34 21 26 25 39 37
Kildare Div * 10 22 28 20 39 25 28 25 21 25 32 46 64 52
Kilkenny/Carlow * 10 32 32 31 36 35 29 33 67 19 18 27 32 35
Laois/Offaly * 9 19 26 30 36 27 29 33 26 29 35 49 71 47
Limerick 31 53 59 58 83 93 89 77 79 81 79 67 102 86 74
Louth Div * 15 30 47 46 48 39 40 37 53 36 47 59 87 109
Mayo * * * 20 26 * 15 * 11 15 16 16 18 25 48
Meath Div * * 19 39 50 45 32 39 16 38 37 26 47 50 53
Roscommon/Longford Div * * 19 14 30 13 23 8 11 12 23 26 22 38 69
Sligo/Leitrim * 20 25 24 28 40 29 20 27 42 27 21 43 42 39
Tipperary * 32 63 48 53 42 28 23 43 27 26 24 44 35 47
Waterford Div 11 17 25 55 57 64 44 51 52 41 40 49 50 66 49
Westmeath Div * 11 13 27 21 20 17 22 27 19 24 21 20 23 45
Wexford Div * 16 22 35 36 21 23 24 19 24 45 27 37 36 48
Wicklow Div * 17 39 42 35 66 50 42 58 33 61 28 24 29 24
National 400 768 1177 1585 1653 1689 1519 1336 1341 1338 1345 1198 1613 1931 2145


  * count is less than 10.

  That Deputy should be aware that An Garda Síochána have noted that the increase in knives seized since 2017 is likely due to a change in recording practice. The Property and Exhibits Management System (PEMS) was implemented on 30/03/2016. It is expected that PEMS has had a significant impact on the electronic recording and tracking of property and exhibits across the organisation, moving from the traditional property book. This increase in records of property seized has been seen across all objects/categories since the introduction of PEMS, not just knives. The impact of PEMS implementation is clear and should be considered alongside evidence of an increase in any object being seized in the later period.

  The following is a summary of the age range of Suspected Offenders associated with those same incidents whereby a knife was seized over the same period from 01/01/2005 to 31/12/2019:
Age of Person 12-17 years 18-23 years 24-29 years 30-35 years 36-41 years 42-47 years 48-53 years 54-59 years 60 years+
Proportion of Incidents 16% 28% 21% 15% 10% 6% 3% 1% 1%


  I am advised by An Garda Síochána that to extract the number of stabbing assaults in each of the years 2005 to 2019, including the age range of perpetrators, a significant manual trawl of both the PULSE database would be required. This is not possible to do in time available.

Visa Applications

 383. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan Information on Cian O'Callaghan Zoom on Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if automatic renewals of visas for Venezuelans whose passports expired will be provided, similar to what is currently provided in the UK; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29631/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee At various times, nationalities will have difficulties renewing or obtaining passports due to conflict, etc. The Immigration Service of my Department takes this into account when considering the renewal of an immigration permission of a person who does not hold a valid passport, if the applicant can provide a satisfactory explanation of any circumstances that may prevent them from producing a valid passport. This is subject to all other aspects of their application being in order and each case is considered on its individual circumstances.

Applicants from Venezuela should utilise the online registration renewal system. My Department is aware of the current difficulties with procuring passports from Venezuela and an applicant should include a note to that effect when they apply. My Department can assist such people by issuing a six month permission pending receipt of the new/extended document.

On 18 September 2020, I announced that immigration and international protection permissions due to expire between 20 September 2020 and 20 January 2021, are automatically renewed to the 20 January 2021. The renewal of permission is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions attach. This measure also applies to Venezuelan nationals who are legally resident here.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems

 384. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the number of CCTV schemes that have been approved for funding since the scheme commenced; the way in which many of these schemes have been approved in 2020; if all local authorities are now signed up to the scheme; the areas that have been successful in their applications, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29701/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee As the Deputy may be aware, community-based CCTV is governed by section 38(3)(c) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (CCTV) Order 2006. This legal framework requires that any proposed community CCTV scheme must:

  - be approved by the local Joint Policing Committee,

  - have the prior support of the relevant Local Authority, which must also act as data controller, and

  - have the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

  This is the legal basis for all community CCTV schemes, regardless of how they are funded and these key legal requirements have not changed since 2006. The option to establish a Community CCTV scheme is available to groups that meet these legal requirements, anywhere in the country.

  Since 2017, my Department has administered a grant aid scheme supporting groups wishing to establish a community-based CCTV system in their area. To date, 29 applications have been approved under the scheme, involving approved grants awarded totalling more than €752,000. Eligible groups, including community groups and local authorities nationwide, can apply for grant aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum total of €40,000. The table details the Local Authorities that have been approved funding under the scheme.

  As the Deputy may be aware, last year the grant aid scheme was extended to cover not only new CCTV systems but also to allow funding applications for extension or upgrade of existing Community CCTV systems which are incomplete or obsolete. Applicants can now also seek a once-off grant of up to €5,000 for minor maintenance costs.

  However in all cases, grant funding can be considered only for CCTV systems which meet the legal requirements, in other words CCTV systems which have been approved by the relevant Joint Policing Committee, the relevant Local Authority (also acting as Data Controller) and which have received the authorisation of the Garda Commissioner.

  If the Deputy is aware of groups wishing to avail of the grant aid scheme, further details are available to download from my Department's website - www.justice.ie and support and guidance is available to help interested groups through a dedicated email address fundsadmin-comm-based-cctv@justice.ie

Local Authority Name of Applicant No of cameras
Leitrim County Council Carrick on Shannon 11
Wexford County Council Wexford County Council 12
Wicklow County Council Arklow Town, Wicklow 11
Wexford County Council Courttown/Riverchapel 8
Wexford County Council Gorey Town Park 5
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Newcastlewest 12
Sligo County Council Cranmore Regeneration Sligo 3
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Castleconnell 6
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Askeaton 4
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Abbeyfeale 6
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Kilmallock 7
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Rathkeale 7
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Adare 5
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Caherconlish 4
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Croom 5
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Murroe 4
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Pallasgreen 3
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Cappamore 2
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Patrickswell 5
Limerick City and County Council Limerick - Foynes 3
Monaghan County Council Monaghan Town 8
Kilkenny County Council Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny 10
Carlow County Council St Mullins 16
Laois County Council Mountmellick Neighbourhood Watch 48
Laois County Council Woodenbridge 11
Laois County Council Donaghmore Community Alert 18
*Borris in Ossory Community Alert *Borris in Ossory Community Alert Group *
Louth County Council Moneymore 6
Louth County Council Rathmullen 6


  * Funding provided to Borris in Ossory Community Alert Group was to cover costs associated with relocating a base station. The original CCTV system had been installed in 2016 and this was funded by Pobal. The Department of Justice only started funding this scheme in 2017. My Department does not have access to the Pobal files which would detail the camera numbers/locations.

Immigration Status

 385. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if she will provide details of the procedure to be followed by a person (details supplied) to regularise his status; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29702/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The person referred to was notified by letter dated 24 February 2020, from the Immigration Service of my Department, that they were granted permission to remain on a Stamp 4 basis, for one year effective from 11 February 2020 until 11 February 2021.

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

Probate Applications

 386. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the last time a personal application was accepted by the Probate Office; the current post-Covid-19 wait time for personal applications; if personal application interviews are currently being conducted face to face, online or over the phone; if not, when the Probate Office will reopen for personal applications; the various fees charged for personal and law firm applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29750/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Probate Office is an office of the High Court and management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions under the Courts Service Act 1998.

  However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that personal applications to the Dublin Probate Office are being accepted and were accepted during the period of the Covid 19 restrictions.

  This work is not conducted online or over the phone. While face to face interviews were suspended temporarily, I am informed that they have recommenced as of 21 September and are continuing during the current restrictions. The waiting times for interview are approximately ten weeks.

  The fees are set out in the relevant fees order which is published on the Courts Service website and can be viewed via the following link - https://www.courts.ie/content/fees-payable-probate-office-and-district-probate-registries. The difference in fees is due to the significant additional work which is required to process a personal application.

  The Courts Service has advised me that the priority project in the probate area for 2020 is to remove the manual Revenue affidavit from the probate process and to replace it with an on line system. This project, which is in partnership with the Revenue Commissioners, went live on 14th September 2020 and will reduce the waiting times for all applications.

Deportation Orders

 387. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if her attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29788/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The person concerned is the subject of a transfer decision to the United Kingdom by the International Protection Office (IPO) of my Department, under the EU Dublin III Regulation, which determines the State responsible for examining a protection application. The transfer decision was subsequently affirmed on appeal to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal.

  I understand that the matter is now the subject of judicial review proceedings and it would not be appropriate therefore to make any further comment at this time. The person concerned remains legally obliged to comply with any reporting requirements placed on them by the Garda National Immigration Bureau, until this process has been concluded.

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

Garda Operations

 388. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if she will provide extra funding to An Garda Síochána to increase overtime and reinitiate the public order units that were available during the acute phase of the pandemic during April and May 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29789/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee As the Deputy is aware, the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer of An Garda Síochána and is responsible for the Garda budget including the Garda Overtime Budget. In addition, under Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána which includes the allocation of human resources. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

There is ongoing engagement with the Garda authorities in terms of the expenditure arising as a consequence of the increased mobilisation of Garda resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including in connection with the recent Government decision to move the country to Level 3 on the Framework for Restrictive Measures.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is no change to the capacity of the National Public Order Unit and sufficient personnel are trained in each Region to meet operational demands. Each Region continues to monitor the current situation, reviewing it regularly, to ensure the Regional Public Order capacity is sufficient to meet potential policing demands, in line with current policy. I am further informed that there is currently no standing requirement in any Region to deploy a Public Order unit on a full time basis. Deployment will be on a case-by-case basis following completion of the necessary risk assessment.

As the Deputy will be aware, An Garda Síochána recommenced Operation Fanacht from midnight on 6th October 2020 as a nationwide policing operation focused on supporting public compliance with the public health measures. In this work, An Garda Síochána continues to adopt the approach of the Four E’s which sees Gardaí engage, educate, encourage, and as a last resort, enforce. Where Gardaí find potential breaches of the public health regulations, a file is prepared for the DPP in each case.

In support of this announcement there will be high visibility patrolling by Garda members across the country with the focus of this activity on continuing to encourage people to adhere to national public health measures.

Courts Service

 389. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the waiting times for hearings of family law issues (details supplied) in each of the District Courts, in tabular form; the District Courts not taking new applications for hearings of family law issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29816/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee 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.

  However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that all District Court venues are taking new applications from litigants and their legal representatives.

  The number of days until the next available hearing date, as at 12th October 2020, are as follows:

District Family Court  
Athlone 23
Ballina 21
Bray 56
Carlow 43
Carrick on Shannon 26
Castlebar 15
Cavan 90
Clonakilty 21
Clonmel 34
Cork 90
Donegal 6
Dublin DMD 123
Dundalk 111
Ennis 2
Galway 25
Kilkenny 32
Letterkenny 55
Limerick 60
Longford 5
Loughrea 25
Monahgan & Carrickmacross 90
Mullingar 23
Naas 179
Nenagh 92
Portlaoise 76
Roscommon 7
Sligo 28
Thurles 34
Tullamore 187
Waterford 42
Wexford 52
Youghal 1


I hope the information provided is of assistance to you.

Courts Service

 390. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the family law hearings (details supplied) heard by each District Court from 20 March 2020 to the latest available date, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29817/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee My officials have requested information from the Courts Service and I will revert with a reply to the Deputy as soon as it is received.


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