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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 854-875
 Header Item Waste Management
 Header Item Local Authority Housing Grants
 Header Item Planning Issues
 Header Item Services for People with Disabilities
 Header Item Common Travel Area
 Header Item Garda Remuneration
 Header Item Coroners Service
 Header Item Departmental Legal Cases
 Header Item Property Ownership
 Header Item Draft Public Service Agreement
 Header Item Refugee Resettlement
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item UN Conventions Ratification
 Header Item Garda Vetting Applications
 Header Item Garda Civilianisation Process
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Garda Public Access Call Boxes
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Peace Commissioners

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 799 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 854-875

Waste Management

 854. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he is examining ways to make landlords more accountable for the dumping of rubbish from their premises; the legal barriers to making private landlords accountable for household waste; the way in which he intends to promote tenant responsibility in terms of dumping now that domestic waste collection has been tendered to a private company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17514/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan Under section 32(1A)(a) of the Waste Management Act 1996 it is the responsibility of the original waste producer or other waste holder to have waste collected, or to make appropriate arrangements for treatment, in accordance with the waste hierarchy. Section 35 of the 1996 Act provides that a local authority may make bye-laws requiring a holder of household waste to present such waste, specifying sorting measures, quantities, location, times and other relevant matters. As such, it is a role of the relevant local authority to regulate the presentation of waste for collection, in alignment with the national, regional and local policy framework, for all categories of dwelling.

Penalties available under the Litter Pollution Acts for litter offences range from an on-the-spot fine of €150, to a maximum fine of €3,000 on summary conviction, and a maximum fine of €130,000 on conviction on indictment. The fines for continuing offences are €600 per day for summary offences and €10,000 per day for indictable offences. A person convicted of a litter offence may also be required by the court to pay the local authority’s costs and expenses in investigating the offence and bringing the prosecution.

Penalties for more serious dumping offences provided for under the Waste Management Acts are also substantial. Persons who are found to be responsible for, or involved in, the unauthorised disposal of waste are liable to a maximum fine of €3,000 on summary conviction and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months, and to a maximum fine of €15 million on conviction on indictment and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Notwithstanding the significant penalties currently in place, my Department is preparing legislative proposals that would provide for the introduction of on-the-spot fines for incidences of fly-tipping or small-scale illegal dumping. I expect to be in a position to submit proposed Heads of a Bill in this regard to Government for approval shortly. As part of a revision of regulation of household waste collection, all householders will be required to demonstrate that they are availing of an authorised waste collection service or are otherwise managing their waste in an environmentally acceptable manner.

Under article 12 of the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008, a dwelling let for rent must generally have access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin proof refuse storage facilities. Where there is more than one dwelling in a building, these facilities may be provided individually for each dwelling or a communal facility can be provided for the building provided it is suitable and adequate to collect and store the refuse in an appropriate manner between collections. The presentation of refuse for collection, the manner in which it is presented and any charges for collection are the responsibility of the tenant. As regards multi-unit developments, section 18 of the Multi-Units Development Act 2011 states that owners’ management companies are required to operate a scheme of annual service charges from which the management company may discharge ongoing expenditure on expenses including waste management services.

Local Authority Housing Grants

 855. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan in view of the fact that Kerry County Council received a cut of 56% in the funding being made available for its housing aid grants, mobility aids grants and housing adaptation grants, if he will ensure that a top-off is given, as a matter of urgency, for particular cases that need bathrooms, showers and so on installed in their homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17631/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan On 22 February 2013, I announced capital allocations to local authorities under the suite of Grants for Older People and People with a Disability amounting to €42.750 million. This year I allocated local authorities the full amount of their contractual commitments which, in the case of Kerry County Council, amounted to €838,493. The balance of the available funding was allocated on the basis of each authority’s share of the new applications on hand in January 2013. This brought Kerry County Council’s overall allocation to €1,445,971.

I have set aside a small capital reserve to deal with any acute or particular difficulty which might arise in the operation of the schemes over the course of the year. I am now considering applications from a number of local authorities for a supplementary allocation, including an application from Kerry County Council.

Planning Issues

 856. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the extent, if any, to which he has studied the number of refusals by the various local authorities for applications for extensions to existing planning permissions when the applicants, due to the economic situation, have been unable to proceed with the development in respect of one-off housing in rural areas; if it is recognised that the validity of the planning application in the first instance should carry through to the application for an extension of time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17674/13]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O'Sullivan): Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Section 28 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010 amended Section 42 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 to provide that the duration of a planning permission may be extended where substantial works have not been done, or where the development has not even commenced, in cases where the planning authority is satisfied that there were considerations of a commercial, economic or technical nature beyond the control of the applicant which substantially militated against either the commencement of development or the carrying out of substantial works, pursuant to the planning permission (provided that an application complying with the relevant Regulations was made before the expiration of the initial period).

This latter provision is, however, subject to the following qualifications: that the planning authority is satisfied that there have been no significant changes in the development objectives in the development plan or in regional development objectives in the Regional Planning Guidelines for the area of the planning authority since the date of the permission, such that the development would no longer be consistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area; that the planning authority is satisfied that the development would not be inconsistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, having regard to any guidelines issued by the Minister under section 28, notwithstanding that they were so issued after the date of the grant of permission in relation to which an application is made under this section, and/or; that the planning authority is satisfied where the development has not commenced, that an environmental impact assessment, or an appropriate assessment, or both of those assessments, if required, was or were carried out before the permission was granted.

This means that in cases where substantial works have not been carried out, and where the relevant development plan objectives or the objectives in the relevant regional planning guidelines have changed since the permission was granted to the extent that the development in question would no longer be consistent with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area, the duration of the permission will not be extended. The previous provision remains in the Planning and Development Act 2000, under which an extension of permission is automatically given on application in a case where substantial works have been carried out within the original duration (subject only to the condition that an application complying with the relevant Regulations was made before the expiration of the initial period).

I consider that the amendment made in 2010 strikes an appropriate balance and that in cases where substantial works have not been carried out the duration of permission should not be extended in respect of developments for which the planning authority would now refuse permission in respect of current applications. I have no plans to further amend the Act in this regard.

  Question No. 857 answered with Question No. 768.

Services for People with Disabilities

 858. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if the county and city councils have autistic planning teams to assist adults with Autism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17719/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan My colleague, the Minister for Health has responsibility for health issues including autism services, and if he considers that provision of autistic planning teams in County and City Councils would be of assistance in the discharge of his responsibilities, it is open to him to engage with the local government service in the matter. In accordance with paragraph 2.5.1 of the Government’s Action Programme for Effective Local Government, if such services were to be provided by local authorities, the responsibility at national level, including funding, policy and accountability would remain with the Department of Health which would also have to provide assurance, through a robust Service Level Agreement, that adequate funding, staffing and other necessary resources would be made available to enable the function to be performed effectively.

Common Travel Area

 859. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the position regarding the common travel area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16442/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter There is no requirement for citizens of either jurisdiction to carry passports when travelling within the Common Travel Area (CTA). However, it is the case that airline carriers in many instances require their passengers to have a passport in possession before allowing them to board aircraft. As such, this is not an immigration requirement. Unlike the operational practices at some UK airports, there is generally no segregation of arriving passengers at Irish ports of entry to the State. Consequently, Immigration Officers performing immigration control duties at airports in the State do not know where passengers have travelled from when such passengers present at immigration control desks. It is, therefore, necessary for Immigration Officers to establish where passengers have arrived from, and in order to do this, an Immigration Officer may ask passengers questions with a view to establishing their nationality and port of embarkation. Once satisfied that a person is a citizen of the Common Travel Area (CTA) and that such person has travelled from the United Kingdom, the Immigration Officer will make no further requirement of that person.

In circumstances like the one outlined by the Deputy, where a person, who is a national of the jurisdictions that form the Common Travel Area, and who is continually travelling between ports within the CTA, an Immigration Officer, in compliance with their duties under immigration legislation, is duty-bound to ask questions designed to establish that the person is a national of the jurisdictions that form the CTA and has travelled from within the CTA and as such is entitled to benefit from its immigration arrangements.

For the sake of completeness, I should add that border entry practices in the UK for CTA arrivals vary considerably from place to place. For example, in some UK regional airports, police officers on occasion seek identity documents for passengers from this jurisdiction. In other cases, evidence of having boarded an aircraft in Ireland is sought, whereas, at Heathrow Terminal 1 there is a dedicated CTA channel for arriving passengers which the obviates the need for the production of identity documents. However, it remains at the discretion of the UK immigration authorities to request passengers to produce such documentation as required.

In recent years, personnel at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and in the UK immigration authorities have detected abuses within the Common Travel Area. Movements of illegal persons, suspected human trafficking, illegal immigration and substantial levels of social welfare fraud are among the consequences of such abuse. The cooperation of all passengers arriving in the State, including Irish and UK citizens who have travelled from the UK, greatly enhances the ability of Immigration personnel, both here and in the UK, to prevent and detect illegal immigration and associated criminality.

It should be noted that in fulfilling their duties at the frontiers of the State members of An Garda Síochána utilise a range of legislative provisions. In particular, such officers will, where necessary, enforce the provisions at section 33 of Air Navigation & Transport Act, 1988, which states, an authorised officer, in the interest of the proper operation or the security or safety of an aerodrome, or the security or safety of persons, aircraft or other property thereon, may require any person on an aerodrome to: (i) give his name and address and to produce other evidence of his / her identity; (ii) state the purpose of his being on the aerodrome; (iii) account for any baggage or other property which may be in his possession.

Garda Remuneration

 860. 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 will give consideration to amending the proposed changes in the pay and conditions of members of An Garda Síochána to better reflect the anti-social hours of work which Gardaí must do, the danger that Gardaí put themselves in to protect the public and to tackle the ongoing problem of poor morale amongst Gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16523/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Both the Commissioner and I are always available to engage in constructive and meaningful discussions on matters affecting the members of the Garda Síochána. However, the proposals which emerged from the discussions in Lansdowne House stand and it would be inappropriate to make any further comment on this matter at this particular time.

Coroners Service

 861. Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if there has been any review of coroner services and the governance thereof; if not, if he will consider instigating such a review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16689/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The recommendations made by the Coroners Review Group in 2000 provide the primary basis for the proposals contained in the Coroners Bill 2007 which is before the Seanad having been restored to the Order Paper on my initiative. The Bill also has regard to the Report of the Coroners Rules Committee in 2003. The Bill is in the course of being reviewed in my Department with a view, among other matters, to making it as cost-effective as possible. The Bill, as published, provides for the comprehensive reform of the existing legislation and structures relating to coroners and provides for the establishment of a new Coroner Service. It also aims to fulfil the obligations placed on the State by the European Convention on Human Rights and, particularly, the Article 2 requirement in relation to the investigation of deaths of persons involving the State.

The key elements of the Bill include: enhancing inquiry and inquest processes; establishing the office of Chief Coroner to provide leadership and direction in all coronial matters; providing the necessary legal framework for the establishment of a new Coroner Service; moving to a smaller number of full-time coroners; statutory requirement to ensure that family members are notified at significant steps of the coronial process; clarifying a specific regime for coroner post-mortem examinations, including provision for retention and release of body parts and bodily samples, and promoting cooperation between coroners and other agencies also involved in investigations of deaths. The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 provides for some early reforms in coronial matters, including an amalgamation of the Dublin County and City coronial districts.

Departmental Legal Cases

 862. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter further to Parliamentary Question No. 479 of 12 March 2013 and Supreme Court Justice Hardiman's statement in a case (details supplied), if he sees that State litigation conducted in this way is at the public's expense; the cost benefit analysis procedures in place to determine the efficacy of his Department's litigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16757/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 479 of 12th March 2013. The relevant sections are included beneath for the Deputy's information.

  At the outset I think it important to state that it is the long-standing policy and practice for the Department not to comment in detail on the outcome of cases which have been before the Courts. This policy applies equally to cases in which the Department’s interpretation of the law have been upheld in the Courts as it does to cases where the Courts have found against such interpretation. There are sound and well grounded reasons for this approach; to comment in detail on specific cases would carry the risk that the Department would be accused of interfering with the doctrine of the separation of powers between the State and the Courts. This doctrine which is enshrined in the Constitution is of course a fundamental cornerstone of our system of justice and its interface with the executive.

  However, I would point out that my Department in its approach to legal challenges acts on foot of the legal advice available to it from the State's law officers. In considering its approach, as well as considering the specific facts of each individual case, it must have regard to the wider implications of any such challenges and as such is required to act in order to maintain the integrity of the State's immigration policies and procedures. My Department in dealing with all such cases acts in good faith, with integrity, in accordance with the law as it understands it to be at that time, and in accordance with the legal advice available to it.

Property Ownership

 863. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide details of ownership of lands (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16858/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Property Registration Authority is responsible for the management and control of the Land Registry and Registry of Deeds. When title or ownership is registered in the Land Registry the deeds are filed in the Registry and all relevant particulars concerning the property and its ownership are entered on folios which form the registers maintained in the Land Registry. In conjunctions with folios the Land Registry also maintains Land Registry maps.

To identify the ownership of a particular area of land requires that either the Folio Number of the registered title is known or that the area of interest can be identified clearly on the Land Registry map. Over the last number of years the Property Registration Authority has transferred all the paper records held as part of the Register onto an electronic database. This has been made available for inspection through the landdirect.ie portal, www.landdirect.ie. Through this portal the Land Registry map can be inspected and when the area is identified, the Folio Register, which identifies the registered owner, can be inspected. The Property Registration Authority website, www.prai.ie, gives further details of the services available in this regard.

I am advised by the Property Registration Authority that the information provided in the details supplementary to this Question was not sufficient to determine the ownership of the particular land referred to. However, the Deputy will be aware of the service by the Authority to T.D.s and Senators, which provides information on the current status of registration applications and other related matters, which was introduced in May 2006. Accordingly, the Deputy may wish to contact the Authority directly via that service with any further information which may be available to assist in definitively identifying the land which is of interest and to determine if the Authority can identify the current ownership of the land.

Draft Public Service Agreement

 864. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will address a specific issue raised in correspondence by a public servant (details supplied) regarding the draft Public Service Agreement 2013-2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16891/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can inform the Deputy that issues relating to an individual employee’s terms and conditions of employment are a matter for negotiation through their staff representative association and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on individual cases. In addition, as the Deputy is aware, the Labour Relation Commission proposal is currently subject to consideration by the staff associations. It would not be appropriate for me to comment at this stage of the process.

Refugee Resettlement

 865. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if Ireland has offered to host any refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria; in view of the fact that the number of refugees fleeing Syria continues to grow, and other EU countries have increased the number of Syrian refugees they will accommodate, if Ireland will be offering to host more Syrian refugees. [17698/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be glad to note that, in response to a flash appeal by UNHCR, Ireland has agreed to accept 30 persons from Syria for resettlement in 2013. This is in addition to the annual UNHCR led resettlement programme in which Ireland participates.

Visa Applications

 866. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when a determination will be made regarding a visa application by a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17699/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the visa application referred to has been approved.

Queries in relation to general immigration matters 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.

Proposed Legislation

 867. 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 if he will give an update on the plans to repeal the 1871 Lunacy Act. [17701/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill, which is due to be published in the near future, will reform the law in relation to Wards of Court. The Bill will provide for the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 to cease to have effect and the replacement of the Wards of Court system provided under that Act with a modern statutory framework to support persons who require assistance in decision-making.

UN Conventions Ratification

 868. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities; if he can give an indication as to when ratification of the Convention will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17938/13]

 913. 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 if he will update Dáil Éireann on the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities; his views on whether there is legal impediment to its immediate ratification; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16925/13]

 946. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the legislative reform that is needed to ensure the alignment of Irish law with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities; if he will provide details of the timeline for the publication of such legislative reform; when he hopes to be in a position for Ireland to ratify this convention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17178/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Kathleen Lynch): Information on Kathleen Lynch Zoom on Kathleen Lynch I propose to take Questions Nos. 868, 913 and 946 together.

It is the Government's intention to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure that all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are being met. As the Deputies may be aware, Ireland does not become party to treaties until it is first in a position to comply with the obligations imposed by the treaty in question, including by amending domestic law as necessary.

The ongoing implementation of our National Disability Strategy in many respects comprehends many of the provisions of the Convention. In addition, the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Convention monitors the remaining legislative and administrative actions required to enable ratification. The committee has identified, as part of its work programme, issues to be considered by various Government Departments. It is a matter for those Departments to determine whether any actions are required in relation to these issues in advance of ratification and report back to the Committee. This work is ongoing in all Departments. At the Committee's request, the National Disability Authority, the lead statutory agency for the sector, is in the process of assisting it to assess the remaining requirements for ratification so as to ensure conclusively that all such issues will be addressed.

One of the key requirements in this regard is the enactment of capacity legislation. Drafting of the Bill is being finalised with a view to meeting the commitment in the Government Legislation Programme which indicates that the Bill is expected to be published in the current session. The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a Bill that is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Work is being completed to properly align the provisions of the Bill with the principles contained in the UN Convention on supporting people with impaired capacity in making decisions and exercising their basic rights. I envisage that the revised title of the Bill, The Assisted Decision - Making (Capacity) Bill, will reflect this approach.

Garda Vetting Applications

 869. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when a Garda clearance application will be processed in respect of a person in (details supplied) County Galway in view of the fact that their application was made six months ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16031/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that five vetting applications have been received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) on behalf of the person to whom the Deputy refers. I am further informed that three of these vetting applications were processed and returned to the registered organisations concerned on 26 February 2013 and 21 March 2013. The remaining two applications were received by the GCVU on 5 and 22 March 2013 respectively and will be returned to the registered organisations once completed.

Garda Civilianisation Process

 870. 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 if he will provide an update on the progress being made in the civilianisation of Garda Command and Control in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16081/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am wholly supportive of the release of Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline and operational policing. 32 positions were identified in the Garda Communications Centre in Harcourt Square as suitable to be filled by civilian staff and in March 2011, following an interdepartmental competition, the first 18 Clerical Officers were assigned as Call Takers into the Centre. Following a further interdepartmental competition, the remaining Clerical Officer posts have been offered to the successful candidates and they are due to commence on Monday 29 April 2013. The recruitment competition to civilianise Garda positions in the Garda Communications Centre was in respect of emergency call taker positions. The Garda dispatcher function was not identified for civilianisation and is presently carried out by Gardaí.

Garda Deployment

 871. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of personnel designated to Garda vetting; if he will consider Garda clearance moving with the person when they change jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16096/13]

 874. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of personnel designated to Garda vetting; if he will consider Garda clearance moving with the person when they change jobs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16149/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 871 and 874 together.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are currently 94 personnel assigned to the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU). Following discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, sanction was 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. A vetting disclosure is made in response to a written request and with the permission of the person who is the subject of that request. Garda vetting disclosures are issued to specified organisations registered with GCVU for that purpose in respect of a particular post or employment. The disclosure is made to the requesting, registered organisation of the position at the time when it is issued.

Each time a new vetting application is received, a full vetting check is conducted to ensure that the most recent data available is taken into account. The non-transferability and contemporaneous nature of the certificate protects against the risk of fraud or forgery and is a guarantee of the integrity of the vetting service. It also affords the registered organisation the facility to assess suitability based on the most up to date information available on the applicant. It is worth emphasising that the primary purpose of the vetting process is the protection of children and vulnerable adults. This must remain the case.

Garda Public Access Call Boxes

 872. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the savings that will be made as a result of the removal of the public access call boxes from Garda Stations. [16134/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the annual cost saving arising from the removal of certain Public Access Call Boxes is approximately €394,000. In this context, I understand that in the course of an operational review it was established that, on average, the majority of the relevant Public Access Call Boxes had less than one call per day.

Garda Recruitment

 873. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will confirm if a person (details supplied) in County Laois who was placed on the Garda recruitment panel five years ago is still eligible; and if this panel is still active. [16135/13]

 877. 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 when he will be recruiting to An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16168/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 873 and 877 together.

I intend bringing proposals to Government shortly in relation to the strength of the Garda Síochána and when recruitment might recommence. While no final decision has been taken in relation to the lifetime of the recruitment panel created as a result of the last recruitment process, the fact that this panel is now approximately five years old gives rise to significant issues, which will have to be taken into account.

  Question No. 874 answered with Question No. 871.

Peace Commissioners

 875. 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 if he will provide a list of Peace Commissioners registered in the Fingal area of County Dublin. [16152/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter My officials are collating the information which will be forwarded to the Deputy in the coming days.


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