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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 180-189
 Header Item Garda Transport Expenditure
 Header Item Firearms Licences
 Header Item Garda Vetting Applications
 Header Item Civil Partnerships
 Header Item Domestic Violence Policy
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Residency Permits

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 795 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 180-189

  Question No. 180 answered with Question No. 177.

Garda Transport Expenditure

 181. Deputy Brendan Ryan Information on Brendan Ryan Zoom on Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the amount the State paid to repair Garda patrol cars in 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12112/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The arrangements made in relation to the maintenance of Garda transport are a matter for the Garda Commissioner and the Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote. In that context, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the maintenance costs for Garda vehicles, including the provision of spare parts, tyres and towing, for the years referred to by the Deputy were as set out in the table.

Year Cost
2011 €11,496,945
2012 €10,703,431

Firearms Licences

 182. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a gun licence is removed from a person and is not renewed within a number of years can the Garda have the gun destroyed. [12119/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have asked the Garda Commissioner for a report on the matter and I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Garda Vetting Applications

 183. 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 steps he has taken to ensure a reduction in waiting times for processing of vetting applications. [12123/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) provides employment vetting for approximately 20,000 organisations in Ireland which employ personnel to work in a full time part time, voluntary or student capacity with children and or vulnerable adults and who are registered with the Unit for this purpose. The Unit processed approximately 328,000 vetting applications on behalf of these organisations in 2012.

The current average processing time is approximately 8 to 10 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. It is my objective that processing times should be kept to a minimum, while maintaining the overall integrity of the vetting system. In that regard, following recent discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, sanction was recently granted for an additional 25 staff to be re-deployed from the Department of Agriculture to the Garda Central Vetting Unit in the near future.

The Deputy may wish to note that Garda Central Vetting Unit will become the National Vetting Bureau under the provisions of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 and will have a substantially expanded role under that legislation. I am 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.

Civil Partnerships

 184. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a heterosexual couple can register their relationship as a civil partnership; if not, his plans to introduce same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12133/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter In accordance with section 3 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, civil partners must be of the same sex. Under the provisions of section 2 (2A) of the Civil Registration Act 2004, as inserted by the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, there is an impediment to the registration of a civil partnership if the parties to the intended civil partnership are of opposite sexes. I have no plans to amend this. In any case it would be constitutionally impermissible to do so: the legal advice available to the Government is that making a relationship with many of the rights and obligations of marriage available to opposite sex couples, who have the option of marriage, would violate the constitutional protection for the institution of marriage.

Domestic Violence Policy

 185. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the way the recently secured agreement with the European Parliament on improving the protection of victims of domestic violence across Europe will enable victims and other vulnerable persons to have continuity of protection under the law when they move between Member States; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12150/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The agreement the Deputy refers to is an agreement on a Proposal for a Regulation on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters, also known as European Protection Order (Civil) or EPO civil. This proposal forms part of the Commission’s ‘Victims package’ and aims to further develop the European area of justice by enabling the free movement of civil protection measures where a person protected by the measure travels to or moves to another Member State. Protection measures issued in one member state, and which comply with the criteria in the proposal for a Regulation, will be recognised automatically in other Member States and enforceable for up to twelve months.

  Measures will be recognised on submission to the competent authority of the second Member State, accompanied by a multi-lingual standard certificate which guarantees that procedural protections were afforded to the person causing the risk, including notification of proceedings and rights of appeal against the protection measure. The sanctions for breaching a certified protection measure will be governed by the law of the Member State of recognition. The measures covered by the regulation include in particular the types of protection afforded in Ireland under the domestic violence code.

  This means that someone who obtains an order under the Domestic Violence Acts in Ireland may, if leaving the jurisdiction for another EU member state, be able to obtain a certificate in a standard multi-lingual form and be able to have that recognised in the second member state without the need for any new proceedings. This will give people continuity of protection on trips abroad for up to a year, or afford them a substantial transitional period in a new long-term home abroad before deciding whether any new legal proceedings are required.

Residency Permits

 186. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the procedures followed to date and progress likely in respect of an application for long term residency/eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12203/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned is a failed asylum applicant. Arising from the refusal of her asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 30th March, 2009, that the then Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against her. In addition, she was notified of her entitlement to apply for subsidiary protection in accordance with the provisions of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned submitted an application for subsidiary protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome. In the event that the application for subsidiary protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be fully considered before a final decision is made. Once a decision has been made, this decision, and the consequences of the decision, will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

The Deputy might wish to note that as the person concerned has not yet had a final decision taken in her case, she does not have legal residence in the State and accordingly it is not the policy of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service to facilitate travel abroad in such circumstances. However, the option of voluntary return remains open to her. In this context, and having regard for the Deputy's indication that the person concerned wishes to leave the State for a specific purpose, the Deputy should note that a formal voluntary return arrangement could only be concluded in circumstances where the person concerned leaves the State to travel to her country of origin or to another State where she holds a right of residency.

The Deputy will appreciate that as the person concerned has no current right of residency in the State, the issue of an application for naturalisation does not arise at this time. Neither would the person concerned be in a position to meet the eligibility criteria applicable to persons applying for Long Term Residency status as she does not have the required periods of lawful residency on work permit or work authorisation conditions.

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.

Residency Permits

 187. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the current position and procedures yet to be followed or complied with in respect of determination of residency/eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12204/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned is a failed asylum applicant. Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 30th September, 2005, that the then Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the then Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. He was subsequently notified of his entitlement to apply for subsidiary protection in accordance with the provisions of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned submitted an application for subsidiary protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome. In the event that the application for subsidiary protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be fully considered before a final decision is made. Once a decision has been made, this decision, and the consequences of the decision, will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

The Deputy will appreciate that as the person concerned has no current right of residency in the State, the issue of an application for a certificate of naturalisation does not arise at this time.

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.

Residency Permits

 188. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the process to date and procedure to be followed to progress the application for long term residency/eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 2; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12205/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned is a failed asylum applicant. Following the consideration of her case in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement, a Deportation Order was made in respect of the person concerned on 24th November, 2011.

The person concerned initiated judicial review proceedings in the High Court, challenging the decision to make a Deportation Order against her. These proceedings were 'settled' with the agreed Terms of Settlement providing, among other things, for the Deportation Order to be revoked and the person concerned being given the facility to submit fresh representations within a defined period. While no such further representations have been received to date, the person concerned has been allowed until 7th March, 2013 to submit any such further representations. Upon receipt of any such representations, the position in the State of the person concerned will be further considered.

The Deputy will appreciate that as the person concerned has no current right of residency in the State, the issue of an application for a certificate of naturalisation does not arise at this time. Neither would she be in a position to meet the eligibility criteria applicable to persons applying for the immigration status of Long Term Residency as she does not have the required periods of lawful residency on work permit or work authorisation conditions.

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.

Residency Permits

 189. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the progress made to date and procedure yet to be followed to facilitate long term residency/eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12206/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned applied for asylum in February, 2004. In accordance with the provisions of Section 9 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), the person concerned was entitled to remain in the State until his application for asylum was decided. His asylum application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 25th July, 2008, that the then Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the then Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for subsidiary protection in accordance with the provisions of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned initiated Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court, challenging the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal in his case. The Judicial Review proceedings were struck out on 4th October, 2012 meaning that the earlier decisions of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal and the Minister stood. The person concerned submitted an application for subsidiary protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for subsidiary protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before a final decision is made. Once a decision has been made, this decision, and the consequences of the decision, will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Given that the person concerned has no current right of residency in the State, the issue of an application for a certificate of naturalisation does not arise at this time. Neither would the person concerned be in a position to meet the eligibility criteria applicable to persons applying for the status of Long Term Residency as he does not have the required periods of lawful residency on work permit or work authorisation conditions.

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.


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