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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 221-229
 Header Item Prison Accommodation
 Header Item Community Return Programme
 Header Item Prisoner Rehabilitation Programmes
 Header Item Prison Accommodation
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Live Exports
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 803 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 95 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 221-229

Prison Accommodation

 221. 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 if he will provide the latest information on the implementation of the cell share risk assessment tool proposed as part of the Irish Prison Service's three year strategic plan; the location at which it is currently operational; if he will provide provide a copy of the policy document on cell share risk assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23342/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am to advise the Deputy that policy on the placement of prisoners in shared accommodation is being developed as part of a comprehensive Standard Operational Policy on Committal Procedures in the Irish Prison Service. This is part of the Irish Prison Service's Three Year Strategic Plan 2012-2015. It is hoped the policy will be implemented by the end of 2013.

Community Return Programme

 222. 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 the extent to which the successful implementation of the proposed structured community return programmes for offenders as outlined in the Irish Prison Service's three year strategic plan 2012-2015 is reliant on IPS staff accepting the latest public sector pay conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23343/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can advise the Deputy that the implementation of the Community Return Programme is not reliant on Irish Prison Service Staff accepting the latest public sector pay conditions in the proposed Public Service Agreement.

The community Return Programme, which was first piloted in 2011, has been rolled out nationally across all prisons. Almost 500 prisoners have taken part in the initiative since it commenced with 316 prisoners now having completed the programme. There were 131 prisoners on Community Return on 13 May this year, which was the highest total at one time since the Programme commenced. Compliance has been almost 90%; and the 10% who did not comply with the terms and conditions of their release on Community Return were re-committed to prison immediately to serve the rest of their sentence in custody. The Community Return Programme has been a really positive development, and as well as allowing prisoners to complete their sentence by way of performing a service to the community, has significantly helped these prisoners to successfully resettle in their communities.

Prisoner Rehabilitation Programmes

 223. 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 the date on which he expects the following strategies to be published: strategy for older prisoners, strategy for women prisoners, strategy for young prisoners, strategy for sex offenders and when he expects the strategy for prisoners requiring protection will be published; the extent to which the new assessment procedures will be catering for prisoners requiring protection; when this procedure will be operational in each prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23344/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that I published the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2012-2015 in April last year. The progress report on the Year 1 Implementation Plan of this Strategy forms part of the recently published Irish Prison Service Annual Report for 2012.

The Strategic Plan includes a number of Strategic Actions one of which (Strategic Action 3: Prisoner Programmes) includes a commitment that the Irish Prison Service will, in conjunction with other key stakeholders, devise specific strategies for younger prisoners, women, older prisoners, sex offenders, protection prisoners, violent offenders and those suffering from mental illness. Work on the development of these strategies is underway and they will be implemented over the lifetime of the Strategic Plan.

The Strategy also commits the Prison Service to introducing appropriate assessment procedures to inform their prisoner placement policy to ensure that prisoners are accommodated appropriate to their security status. I am advised by my officials that the roll-out of the various assessment tools is well under way and that the target of completion by 2015 will be met.

It is at the committal stage that the majority of prisoners are identified as being in need of protection. In many instances, the prisoner will identify himself as being in need of same and in other instances, either intelligence or the assessment of the governor will identify a prisoner as requiring protection.

Prison Accommodation

 224. 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 the bed capacity of each prison in March 2012, December 2012, February 2013, March 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23345/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can advise the Deputy that the bed capacity of each prison on the dates requested are set out in the table.

Institution Bed Capacity Bed Capacity Bed Capacity Bed Capacity
  1st March 2012 1st December 2012 1st February 2013 1st March 2013
Mountjoy (Male) 590 590 540 540
Mountjoy (Female) 105 105 105 105
Training Unit 127 127 116 116
St. Patrick’s 217 217 217 191
Cloverhill 431 431 431 431
Wheatfield 670 700 700 680
Midlands 616 636 900 870
Portlaoise 311 291 291 291
Cork 250 250 210 210
Limerick (Male) 260 260 220 220
Limerick (Female) 34 34 34 28
Castlerea 351 351 351 351
Arbour Hill 148 148 142 142
Loughan House 160 140 140 140
Shelton Abbey 110 115 115 115
Totals 4,380 4,395 4,512 4,430
    The bed capacities of prisons can change due to a number of different factors. In some cases the capacities can increase due to the opening of new prisoner accommodation as was the case in Midlands Prison at the end of 2012 when the capacity increased from 636 to 900 following the opening of a new 179 cell accommodation block.

      Similarly, the capacity of a prison can be reduced temporarily due to the closure of a wing or landing as is the current case in Mountjoy Prison where the capacity has been reduced with the closure of the A Wing for refurbishment and Wheatfield where the bed capacity decreased by 20 spaces to facilitate the development of a committal unit.

      As the Deputy is aware and as outlined in the Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan, it is the intention of the Irish Prison Service to seek to align the capacity of our prisons with the guidelines laid down by the Inspector of Prisons, in so far as this is compatible with public safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system.

      In 2012 and in the first quarter of this year, priority has been given to reducing the chronic overcrowding in Mountjoy, Cork, Limerick Prisons and the Dóchas Centre. A new prisoner accommodation block in the Midlands Prison, which opened in December last year, has allowed the Prison Service to reduce the capacity and the number in custody in both Cork and Limerick Prison. In addition, the opening of a new 20 space accommodation block, which was formerly used as an administration building, has helped alleviate the overcrowding being experienced in the Dochas Centre.

    Departmental Expenditure

     225. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide in tabular form a breakdown on a yearly basis of the legal and travel costs his Department has incurred as a result of litigation in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the General Court in Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg from the years 2005 to 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23310/13]

    Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Department of Defence has not incurred any legal or travel costs as a result of litigation in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the General Court in Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg from the years 2005 to 2012. The Chief State Solicitor's Office and the State Claims Agency deal with all legal matters on behalf of the Department. It is usual for the Department of Foreign Affairs to manage cases in the European Courts and therefore any legal costs would be borne by that Department.

    Live Exports

     226. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will consider implementing a ban on the live exports which exceed eight hours in duration, and if he has concerns about the treatment of animals exported from Ireland to Libya or the Middle East once the animals have reached their destination. [23069/13]

    Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Ireland has a strict system of rules in respect of the transport of live animals both on national and international journeys. These rules are implemented in the context of Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005, which has made a significant contribution to animal welfare during transport. Provisions in the EU regulation relating to the training of drivers, the authorisation of transporters and improved vehicle specifications have all been very beneficial. The safeguards provided by the existing regulation are well considered and scientifically sound and experience has shown that animals can arrive in perfect health after a long journey if the specification on rests and feeding/watering as set down in Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 are correctly observed.

    The current Irish regulation in relation to the approval of ships for livestock transport is set higher than that which applies in other EU Member States. This is justified not only on sound animal welfare reasons but also because it reflects the nature of the shipping routes from this island. Detailed inspections are required before approval is given to ships transporting animals. The requirements for approval of dedicated vessels for the carriage of cattle by sea are contained in the Diseases of Animals (Carriage of Cattle by Sea) Orders, 1996 and 1998.

    My Department has no jurisdiction in relation to standards of slaughter plants in other countries. However, it does support ongoing efforts by international organisations, such as the OIE, to improve welfare standards at slaughter plants worldwide. The live export trade provides alternative market outlets for certain categories of livestock, thereby serving a market demand and providing increased competition in the market place for cattle. My Department is conscious of the need to balance this trade with the requirements of the indigenous meat processing industry and seeks to ensure that any such trade is carried out to a high standard.

    Agri-Environment Options Scheme Application Numbers

     227. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an application under the agri environment option scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23088/13]

    Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application under the Agri-Environment Options Scheme from the person named was received in my Department on 22nd   November 2012 and an acknowledgement letter has issued to the person named. The processing of all applications is nearing completion and I expect to be in a position to inform all applicants of the outcome very shortly. In the event that any queries arise on the application of the person named during this process officials in my Department will be in direct contact with the person named.

    Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

     228. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding the outstanding balance of the 2011 agri-environment options scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23113/13]

    Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1st September 2011 and full payment totalling €533.77 issued in respect of 2011.

      Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process. These checks have been successfully completed and full payment totalling €1,601.40 issued in respect of the 2012 scheme year – 75% payment issued on 14th February and the balancing 25% payment issued on 18th   February 2013.

    Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments

     229. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when payment will issue in relation to a suckler welfare scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry now that all further information requested has been submitted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23114/13]

    Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named registered five animals for the 2011 Suckler Welfare Scheme and eighteen animals for the 2012 Scheme.

    Following validation of recently received weaning information, payment issued for one of the 2011 born animals on 7 May 2013 and ten of the 2012 born animals on 2 May 2013. A further three of the 2012 born animals have only been weaned in the last 4 weeks and will be considered for payment as soon as possible, when compliance with all of the requirements of the Scheme has been verified.

    Errors had been identified in relation to the remaining 2011 and 2012 born animals and letters regarding these errors issued to the applicant on 29 April 2013. The applicant has resolved errors in relation to one of the 2011 born animals and one of the 2012 born animals and payment will issue in respect of both of these animals shortly, subject to confirmation that all of the other terms and conditions have been complied with.

    Payment cannot be considered for the remaining animals until all of the information requested on 29 April has been received.


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