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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 635-659
 Header Item Capital Programme Expenditure
 Header Item Garda Vetting of Personnel
 Header Item Cóiríocht Cúirte
 Header Item Cóiríocht Cúirte
 Header Item Law Reform Commission Reports
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Garda Vetting of Personnel
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Crime Prevention
 Header Item Garda Strength
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Community Policing
 Header Item Garda Resources
 Header Item Drug Treatment Court
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Crime Levels
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Court Accommodation Provision
 Header Item Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues
 Header Item Crime Levels
 Header Item Garda Stations Closures

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 791 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 635-659

Capital Programme Expenditure

 635. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the amount of his Department’s €61 million capital spending for 2013 that will go towards construction projects; the projects that are involved; the details of these projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5280/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The amount of Capital spending that will go towards construction projects in 2013 will be in the region of €30m. This will be mainly spent in the area of Prisons and Courts Estates.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

 636. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide details on the commencement of the National Vetting Bureau Act in March 2013; if all provisions in the Act will be commenced at this time; if the National Vetting Bureau will receive additional resources to process the applications in view of the fact that it is taking approximately 12 weeks for applications to be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5301/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Act was signed by the President on 26 December 2012. I am currently in consultation with relevant Departments in regard to setting an appropriate date for commencement of the National Vetting Bueau (Children & Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012.

The average processing time for vetting procedures is currently 9 weeks. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion. All organisations are aware of the processing time frames for the receipt of Garda vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection processes. The Garda Central Vetting Unit currently processes some 300,000 vetting applications per year.

The Garda Central Vetting Unit, which will become the National Vetting Bureau under the provisions of the Act will have a substantially expanded role. The Minister is currently engaged with An Garda Síochána and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in addressing the staffing issues relevant to the coming into force of the 2012 Act. It is the Minister's objective to keep processing times as short as possible consistent with the need to maintain the overall integrity of the vetting system.

Cóiríocht Cúirte

 637. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter an bhfuil aon chinneadh déanta chun aon cheann de na tithe cúirte seo a leanas a dhúnadh - An Spidéal, Contae na Gaillimhe agus Doire an Fhia i gCasla, Conamara, Contae na Gaillimhe; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [5355/13]

 638. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter an bhfuil sé i gceist leanúint le héisteacht chásanna na Cúirte Dúiche i gCill Rónáin, Contae na Gaillimhe; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [5356/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 637 and 638 together.

Mar is eol don Teachta, faoi fhorálacha an Achta um Sheirbhís Chúirteanna, 1998, is í an tSeirbhís Chúirteanna atá freagrach as bainistiú na gcúirteanna agus tá an tSeirbhís neamhspleách i bhfeidhmiú a feidhmeanna, ar a n-áirítear cóiríocht a chur ar fáil le haghaidh suíonna cúirte.

Chun cuidiú leis an Teachta, áfach, chuir mé fiosrúcháin á ndéanamh agus tá curtha in iúl dom go bhfuil an tSeirbhís Chúirteanna tar éis bheith ag gabháil d’athbhreithniú ar gach gné dá cuid struchtúr eagrúcháin agus oibríochta ar fud na tíre agus é mar shainchuspóir a chinntiú gur féidir leis an tSeirbhís leanúint uirthi ag coinneáil ag seachadadh seirbhísí cúirte líne tosaí, mar aon le leibhéal cuí seirbhíse, ar lucht úsáidte cúirte. Tuigtear dom nár díríodh go sonrach ar aon ionad cúirte ar leith don phróiseas athbhreithnithe ná go deimhin nach ndearnadh aon ionad cúirte a shaoradh ón bpróiseas. Sa chomhthéacs seo, rinneadh na tithe cúirte i gCill Rónáin, i nDoire an Fhéich agus sa Spidéal a shainaithint mar ionaid ar cheart go ndéanfaí breithniú maidir lena ndúnadh, faoi réir measúnaithe mhionsonraithe agus cás gnó a ullmhú.

Tríd an bpróiseas seo, tá creat ginearálta bunaithe ag an tSeirbhís Chúirteanna a bhfuil measúnú á dhéanamh ar ionaid den chineál sin laistigh de, ag cur san áireamh réimse critéar, ar nós líon na gcásanna, cóngaracht do mhalairt ionaid, staid fhisiceach an fhoirgnimh, cillíní a bheith ar fáil, srl. Cuirtear an tionchar dóchúil ar ghníomhaireachtaí eile Ceartais, ar nós an Gharda Síochána agus Sheirbhís Phríosúin na hÉireann, san áireamh freisin. Rinneadh réimse ionad ar fud an náisiúin a shainaithint san athbhreithniú a bhféadfaí, bunaithe ar na critéir a cuireadh i bhfeidhm, breithniú a dhéanamh maidir lena ndúnadh, faoi réir measúnaithe mhionsonraithe agus cás gnó a ullmhú i leith gach ionaid a sainaithníodh, agus tá tús curtha leis sin anois.

Tá curtha in iúl ag an tSeirbhís Chúirteanna dom go bhfuil próiseas comh-chomhairliúcháin curtha i gcrích i leith Chill Rónáin, Dhoire an Fhéich agus an Spidéil agus cuirfear na tuairimí a léiríodh san áireamh sa phróiseas cinnteoireachta, ar ghnó é sin do Bhord na Seirbhíse Cúirteanna. Tá ráite ag an tSeirbhís Chúirteanna freisin go ndéanfar cás gnó a ullmhú anois agus, má táthar chun a mholadh go ndéanfaí aon cheann de na hionaid thuas a dhúnadh, tabharfar deis eile do na daoine a ndeachthas i gcomhairle leo chun aighneachtaí a dhéanamh agus déanfaidh Bord na Seirbhíse Cúirteanna na haighneachtaí sin a bhreithniú. Is é Bord na Seirbhíse Cúirteanna a dhéanfaidh an cinneadh críochnaitheach.

Cóiríocht Cúirte

 639. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter an bhfuil sé i gceist oifig na Cúirte Dúiche do dheisceart Chonamara a fhágáil oscailte; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [5357/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Mar is eol don Teachta, faoi fhorálacha an Achta um Sheirbhís Chúirteanna, 1998, is í an tSeirbhís Chúirteanna, atá neamhspleách i bhfeidhmiú a feidhmeanna, atá freagrach as bainistiú na gcúirteanna.

Chun cuidiú leis an Teachta, áfach, chuir mé fiosrúcháin á ndéanamh agus tá curtha in iúl dom ag an tSeirbhís Chúirteanna gur chinn an tSeirbhís le gairid an Oifig Chúirte Dúiche i nDeisceart Chonamara (Doire an Fhéich) a dhúnadh. Agus todhchaí na hoifige á breithniú aici, rinne an tSeirbhís roinnt roghanna a bhí ar fáil a mheasúnú ach ní fhéadfadh an tSeirbhís coinneáil na hoifige a chosaint. Dhéileáil an oifig le líon fíorbheag cásanna agus measadh gurbh í an rogha go ndéanfaí í a chónascadh leis an oifig chúirte i nGaillimh an rogha ab inmharthana.

Tuigtear dom go bhfuil comhionann is ball lánaimseartha foirne amháin ag an Oifig, le ball foirne eile ó oifig na Gaillimhe de bhreis air sin 2-3 lá sa tseachtain. Déanann an Bainisteoir Seirbhíse Cúirteanna atá bunaithe in oifig chúirte na Gaillimhe í a bhainistiú. Tá na cláraitheoirí a shuíonn i gcúirt i nDoire an Fhéich ar fostú ag oifig chúirte na Gaillimhe freisin. Tá curtha in iúl dom go ndearnadh breithniú iomlán ar shuíomh Gaeltachta na hoifige agus ar an ngá le seirbhísí a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge don phobal áitiúil. Tá curtha in iúl dom ag an tSeirbhís gur deimhin leis an tSeirbhís go mbeidh Oifig na Gaillimhe in ann seirbhís chuimsitheach a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge do lucht úsáidte cúirte. Cuirtear seirbhísí ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge cheana féin in Oifig na Gaillimhe de réir mar is gá. Tuigtear dom go gcuirfidh ball foirne ó Ghaillimh seirbhís theoranta oifige ar fáil i nDoire an Fhéich le linn na laethanta nuair a bheidh an chúirt ina suí. Tá tugtha le fios ag an tSeirbhís go ndéanfar monatóireacht leanúnach air seo go ceann thréimhse trí mhí agus go mbreithneofar ansin an indéanta leanúint ag coinneáil na seirbhíse ar siúl bunaithe ar éileamh.

Law Reform Commission Reports

 640. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide an update on the Law Reform Commission's review of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 in terms of the difficulties it brings for authorities trying to prosecute perpetrators of cyber-bullying; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5365/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I refer the Deputy to my response to his question of 22 November, 2012.

He will recall that I requested the Law Reform Commission to consider the need to amend section 10 of Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997, having been made aware of difficulties in bringing successful prosecutions under that section in relation to domestic and sexual violence rather than cyber bullying. One of the difficulties relates to the issue of a need to demonstrate persistence in the harassment.

Bullying in any form, including cyber bullying, may amount to harassment and may therefore be an offence under section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997, as amended. Thus the outcome of the Law Reform Commission deliberations on the persistence element of the offence of harassment will inform the debate on the prosecution of all harassment offences including any potential prosecutions for harassment in cyber bullying situations.

While, the time taken for the completion and delivery of individual Law Reform Commission reports and recommendations is a matter for the Commission itself as an independent body under the Law Reform Commission Act 1975, I understand they expect to complete a discussion or consultation paper in the first half of this year in relation to their consideration of the provision.

Departmental Funding

 641. 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 if he will provide details of all funding programmes in his Department that community, voluntary and sporting organisations may apply to for funding; if he will provide a brief overview of each programme; the opening and closing dates of each programme; the minimum and maximum amounts of funding that may be applied for; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5387/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The information requested by the Deputy is set out below, under a number of broad headings.

  Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime

  The Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime is an independent body with an allocated annual budget from my Department to provide funding for services and supports to victims of crime. The Commission prioritises funding for activities that provide direct supports to victims of crime. A substantial amount of the funding it provides is awarded to voluntary sector groups who provide an accompaniment service to victims of crime when attending court.

  The Commission advertises its funding scheme each year. It invites applications from registered charities, voluntary/community groups and other bodies. Applicants must be either a registered charity and/or a limited company. The Commission’s funding Scheme for 2013 was advertised on the 5th October, 2012. The closing date for receipt of applications was the 23rd   November, 2012.

  There are no minimum or maximum limits on the amounts an applicant can apply for. However, as every effort is made by the Commission to provide funding to services throughout the country, the full amount sought by a service may not always be granted.

  Cosc

  Cosc, the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, operates a grant scheme which provides funding to support groups at local, regional and national level for awareness raising campaigns that increase understanding and recognition of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence and provide information of the services available to victims. Cosc strives to support the improvement of awareness raising through the implementation of a clear communications strategy and through transparent and fair funding procedures.

  As in previous years, it is anticipated that this year’s grant scheme will be initiated in mid-to-late March with a public announcement and call for applications via national press media as well as notification on the Cosc website (www.cosc.ie) and E-zine. The closing date for the receipt of applications is normally 5 weeks later, i.e. mid-to-late April.

  There is no minimum or maximum limit on the amount an applicant group may apply for. However, as Cosc makes every effort to provide funding to services in all regions of the country, the full amount sought by a service may not always be granted. Cosc supports collaboration between groups in raising awareness as an effective and cost saving tool of communication in that it gives groups an opportunity to reach a wider target audience to reinforce a common message. All successful grant recipients are subject to audit by Cosc and may also be audited by the Internal Audit Unit of my Department.

  Equality for Women Measure (EWM) 2008 - 2013

  The Equality for Women Measure (EWM) 2008-2013 is a positive action measure to promote equality of opportunity for women, supported by the European Social Fund, making funding available to community based not for profit organisations to provide developmental training to enhance labour market opportunities for disadvantaged women. The Measure is not currently open to receive applications.

  Equality Mainstreaming

  The Equality Authority does not operate a specific funding programme for community, voluntary and sporting organisations. The Equality Mainstreaming Unit (EMU) programme, operated by the Equality Authority, is part-funded by the European Social Fund 2007-2013. As part of its work programme, the EMU periodically funds projects to promote equality mainstreaming in the labour market and by further and vocational education providers. In such instances, calls for proposals are issued which set out the terms of the particular initiative, including the opening and closing dates and amount of funding available. Projects for funding are selected on a competitive basis. Depending on the initiative, calls for proposals may be open to applications from community, voluntary and sporting organisations. No calls for proposals are currently issued.

  Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration 

  The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration within my Department is responsible for the European Refugee Fund and the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals. The first-mentioned of these Funds provides grants for reception measures for refugees and asylum seekers and integration measures for refugees. The European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals assists with integration actions in respect of persons who are not among the target groups of the Refugee Fund. Currently, the contribution of the Funds to supported projects is 50% of the total cost and this may be increased to 75 % for projects addressing specific priorities identified in the strategic guidelines drawn up by the European Commission. These co-financing rates are to increase by 20 percentage points for States, such as Ireland, which are in a rescue package, under a proposal currently before the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The national matching funding has to be sourced by the promoters of the project.

  Two calls for applications under these Funds have taken place since their inception, which was 2008 in the case of the Refugee Fund and 2007 in the case of the Integration Fund. Projects selected under the more recent call commenced in the second half of 2010. This call specified a minimum grant of €70,000 and a maximum of €300,000 and projects could range in duration from 18 months to three years. As projects selected are now coming to an end or have already ended, consideration is being given to conducting a further call for applications. The conditions to be specified in such a call would not necessarily be the same as previously, particularly in regard to duration because the proposed EU Asylum and Migration Fund is due to replace the existing Funds from 2014 although the eligibility periods of the new Fund and the existing Funds will overlap for a period.   

  The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration has also made grants available to national organisations, including national sporting bodies, for the promotion of migrant integration. This funding is continuing but on a limited scale because their resources are reduced in line with public expenditure generally. There is unfortunately little or no scope at present to take on new projects.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

 642. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when a Garda vetting certificate will be issued to a person (details provided) in County Kerry, in view of the fact that they will be unable to meet the practical experience requirements of their college course without the issuance of the certificate. [5434/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that a vetting application on behalf of the person concerned was received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit on 11 December 2012. The application is currently being processed and it is anticipated that a response will issue to the registered organisation involved in the coming weeks.      

Visa Applications

 643. 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 if he will consider reviewing an application for Stamp 4 in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5443/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person referred to by the Deputy, who was the subject of Parliamentary Questions number 120 on 29 November 2012, number 428 on 2 October 2012 and number 178 on 20 September 2012, made an application to General Immigration Division of my Department on 5 October 2012. Further correspondence was received on 17 December 2012. It is noted from the correspondence of 17 December 2012 that the person referred to by the Deputy is currently outside the State. The application for a change of status is now considered to be inactive as he is no longer in the State. As a visa required national if he wished to pursue this application he should apply to the Visa Division of INIS for the appropriate visa to enter the State.

  Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.     

Crime Prevention

 644. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the steps the Gardaí are taking in an area (details supplied) in County Meath to reduce crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5445/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that the area referred is in the Kells Garda Sub-District. Kells Garda Station is a District Headquarters and is open on a 24 hour basis.

I am further informed that the area is subject to regular patrols by local uniformed and plain clothes personnel, augmented by the Detective Unit and Community Policing Unit, together with the Divisional Traffic Unit and the Regional Support Unit as required.

Local Garda management closely monitors such patrols, and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of the communities in these areas to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources to provide the best possible Garda service to the public. While the situation is being kept under review, Garda management is satisfied that a full and comprehensive policing service is being delivered to the communities in the areas concerned and that the current structures in place deliver an effective and efficient policing service.

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner has put Operation Fiacla in place in order to address incidents of burglary, aggravated burglaries and related offences throughout the country. Operation Fiacla is intelligence driven and specific burglary initiatives have been implemented in each Garda Region to target suspect offenders. I am informed that as of 31 January 2013, 3,903 persons have been arrested and 2,142 persons have been charged with burglary offences under Operation Fiacla.

An Garda Síochána also places great emphasis on the importance of community partnerships such as Community Alert and Neighbourhood Watch, in preventing and detecting crime, and maintaining a safe environment for everyone. Gardaí continue to invest time and energy in these partnerships and relationships to the benefit of all.

Garda Strength

 645. 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 if, further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 801 and 804 for answer on 16 January 2013, he has more up to date figures on current garda numbers for each of the stations in County Louth.  [5474/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of each Garda Station in the Louth Garda Division, on 31 December 2012, the latest dates for which figures are readily available, was as set out in the table below.

Louth Garda Division 31/12/12
Ardee 28
Castlebellingham 4
Collon 6
Louth 1
Clougherhead 4
Drogheda 93
Dunleer 5
Blackrock 6
Carlingford 6
Dromad 7
Dundalk 123
Hackballscross 5
Omeath 4
TOTAL 292
 

 There are also 45 Garda Reserves and 23 Civilians attached to the Louth Garda Division.

  The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of demographics, 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.

Visa Applications

 646. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if, in a situation in which a trainee doctor from a non-EU country is working in Ireland but obtains six month contracts in Irish hospitals on a continuous basis, the doctor may apply for a visa to remain here for longer than six months during any particular six month contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5495/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Since June 2010 there are administrative arrangements in place to facilitate non-EEA doctors working in the State. These arrangements can be found on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration website at www.inis.gov.ie.

  In brief these arrangements grant a non-EEA doctor immigration permission to remain in the State up to one or two years initially, (subject to type of Registration with the Irish Medical Council) which is renewable in accordance with certain conditions as outlined on the webpage.

Community Policing

 647. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of gardaí by rank attached to community policing in the Garda R district in each of the past three years; if he plans to increase the number; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5510/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of the Community Policing Unit attached to the R Garda District on 31 December 2010 - 31 December 2012 was as set out in the table below.

  The allocation of all resources, including personnel, is a matter entirely for the Garda Commissioner in consultation with his senior management and I have no direct function in the matter.

Community Policing Unit Past 3 Years - - - - -
Personnel Strength 2010 2010 2011 2011 2012 2012
Garda R District Sgt Gda Sgt Gda Sgt Gda
Coolock 2 12 2 11 2 17
Swords 1 8 1 7 2 12
Malahide 0 3 0 3 0 7

Garda Resources

 648. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of boats currently in the Garda Water Unit; if there are plans for recruitment in the unit; the cost of operating the unit, excluding staffing costs, in each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5511/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The provision and allocation of Garda resources, including boats, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of his identified policing priorities.

  In that context, I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are currently twelve boats attached to the Unit. The requirements of Garda specialist units, including the Garda Water Unit, are subject to ongoing review and analysis to ensure that An Garda Síochána's operational demands are met in the most efficient and effective manner.

  I am advised by the Garda authorities that expenditure on the Garda Water Unit, excluding staffing costs, for the years requested by the Deputy is outlined in the table below:

Expenditure - -
2010 2011 2012
€278,476 €266,934 €153,412

Drug Treatment Court

 649. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he has plans to expand the area of operation of the Drug Treatment Court; and, if so, if this will include the areas of southwest Dublin.  [5535/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Support and Advisory Committee for the Drug Treatment Court has over the course of 2012 undertaken a detailed evaluation of the court's operation and is in the process of completing some final enquiries which are due to be submitted to my Department in the near future. I will consider this issue further when all of the information is to hand.

Proposed Legislation

 650. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his views on a submission (details supplied) regarding the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5541/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 passed Second Stage in the Seanad on 30 January 2013 and is being dealt at Report Stage today.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Spent Convictions Bill is of interest to many people, including those who have convictions and those who have an interest in the rehabilitation of offenders. The Bill has been the subject of a number of considered and thoughtful submissions, including that of the Mercy Law Resource Centre, and I look forward to the debate on the Bill in this House in the coming months when these submissions will provide a valuable input to our deliberations.

Naturalisation Applications

 651. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will confirm when a decision will issue on an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5596/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The application referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of processing and the applicant will be informed of my decision shortly.

  As well as being a significant event in the life of its recipient, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation as provided for in law is also a major step for the State which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

  Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Crime Levels

 652. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of crimes that were committed in County Donegal in the period July 2012-January 2013 that involved cross-Border movement by the perpetrators; if he will provide the equivalent figures for counties Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth, Dublin, Meath and Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5604/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have requested a report from the Garda authorities on the matters raised by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly when the report is to hand.

Departmental Expenditure

 653. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will outline in tabular form the total cost of all conferences and seminars attended by his Department in 2012; the purpose of each conference/seminar; the location; the number of delegates that attended from his Department/agencies or otherwise that were represented; the total cost of each conference/seminar; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5640/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to inform the Deputy that it has not been possible to provide the information requested in the time available. I will write to the Deputy on this matter in the near future.

Garda Investigations

 654. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if an investigation has ever been carried out into the loss of physical evidence in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5650/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that the matter referred to was fully investigated by An Garda Síochána. This investigation concluded in 2006.

  The outcome of the investigation revealed that certain exhibits which were originally recovered in 1983 were subsequently lost and following exhaustive searches could not be found.

  I am further informed that since then robust exhibit handling systems designed to ensure the integrity of crime scene exhibits have been put in place within An Garda Síochána.

Court Accommodation Provision

 655. 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 in relation to a courthouse (details supplied) in County Meath, its current status; the future plans for it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5673/13]

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

  However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had inquiries made and have been informed that the Courts Service has been reviewing all aspects of its organisational and operational structures throughout the country with the specific objective of ensuring that the Service can continue to maintain the delivery of front line court services and an appropriate level of service to court users. I understand that no court venue has been singled out for or indeed exempted from the review and that Kells courthouse has been identified as a venue to be considered for closure subject to a detailed assessment and the preparation of a business case.

  In this context the Courts Service has established a general framework within which such venues are being assessed taking into account a range of criteria such as caseload, proximity to an alternative venue, physical condition of the building, availability of cells etc. The likely impact on other Justice agencies, such as An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service, is also taken into account. The review identified a range of venues nationwide which, based on the criteria applied, could be considered for closure subject to a detailed assessment and the preparation of a business case in respect of each identified venue which has now commenced.

  However, the Courts Service has assured me that no decision in relation to the future of Kells Courthouse will be taken without prior consultation with local interested parties and court users. This consultation has commenced and the views received will be taken into account in the decision making process which will be a matter for the Courts Service Board.    

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Issues

 656. 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 in relation to the 40% rise in crime in County Meath, the steps he is taking to tackle this increase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5676/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The official crime statistics published by the Central Statistics Office for the period to the end of Quarter 3 in 2012 indicate that, in common with trends nationally, most categories of recorded crime in Meath are at lower or similar levels to that experienced over the previous 12 months.

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that property crime and crimes against the person are all down in the Meath Division and that a substantial turnaround in burglary was evident in the second half of 2012 in particular.

The Meath Garda Division is subject to regular patrols by local uniformed and plain clothes personnel, augmented by the Detective Unit and Community Policing Unit, together with the Divisional Traffic Unit and the Regional Support Unit as required.

Local Garda management closely monitors such patrols, and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of the communities in these areas to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources to provide the best possible Garda service to the public. While the situation is being kept under review, Garda management is satisfied that a full and comprehensive policing service is being delivered to the communities in the areas concerned and that the current structures in place deliver an effective and efficient policing service.

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner has put Operation Fiacla in place in order to address incidents of burglary, aggravated burglaries and related offences throughout the country. Operation Fiacla is intelligence driven and specific burglary initiatives have been implemented in each Garda Region to target suspect offenders. I am informed that as of 31 January 2013, 3,903 persons have been arrested and 2,142 persons have been charged with burglary offences under Operation Fiacla.

An Garda Síochána also places great emphasis on the importance of community partnerships such as Community Alert and Neighbourhood Watch, in preventing and detecting crime, and maintaining a safe environment for everyone. Gardaí continue to invest time and energy in these partnerships and relationships to the benefit of all.

Crime Levels

 657. 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 number of burglaries in County Meath in each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5712/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose.

  I have requested the CSO to provide statistics directly to the Deputy.

Garda Stations Closures

 658. 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 if he will provide a specific date for the closure of each Garda station announced by him in December; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5713/13]

 659. 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 timeframe he has set out for each district for the closure of the 100 Garda stations that he announced in December; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [5714/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 658 and 659 together.

  The Commissioner's Policing Plan for 2013 sets out details for the closure of 100 Garda stations throughout the country. On the 31 January 2013, 95 of these Stations closed.

  Plans are at an advanced stage for the closure of the five remaining stations, namely Redhills in Cavan/Monaghan Division, Barrack St in Cork City Division, Mary St. in Limerick Division and Kill O the Grange and Stepaside in DMR East Division. While no specific date has been set for the closure of these stations, it is expected that they will be closed in the coming months.


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