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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 212-220
 Header Item Crime Statistics
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item Visa Agreements
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Community Return Programme
 Header Item Prisoner Releases

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. 212-220

Crime Statistics

 212. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 900 of 16 April 2013 and 286 of 7 May 2013, the steps a member of the public can take to check that a reported crime has been captured on the Garda PULSE system. [23162/13]

 213. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 900 of 16 April 2013 and 286 of 7 May 2013, if only crimes in respect of which Gardaí have provided a crime number to the victim can be registered on PULSE. [23163/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 212 and 213 together.

  I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Citizenship Applications

 214. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the reasons for his decision made on 27 February 2013 (details supplied) to consider twenty-two Irish resident children with siblings that are Irish citizens as not having an Irish association for the purposes of naturalisation. [23243/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, specifies certain conditions which an applicant must fulfil in order to be eligible to apply for naturalisation. Section 16 of the Act provides that I can, in cases where the applicant is a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor of Irish descent or Irish association waive part or all of the statutory criteria when considering applications for naturalisation. In general, I only consider it appropriate to waive the statutory conditions for naturalisation where there are exceptional and compelling reasons why these conditions cannot be complied with and where there is no other option available to the applicant under the law. The usual manner by which children such as those referred to by the Deputy are granted citizenship is for a parent to become an Irish citizen in the first instance. Thereafter, it is open to the parent, if successful in their own application, to make an application on behalf of their children under the relevant provision. Such applications are dealt with as expeditiously as possible.

Visa Agreements

 215. 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 his plans to introduce a special student visa for students from Turkey for English language training schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23270/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Since 2011, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, has established a pilot programme in Turkey in partnership with Marketing English in Ireland, MEI, a representative body of English language schools. This pilot project was put in place to contribute to positioning Ireland as a high quality destination for English language training. The programme has been extended for a further phase covering 2013 and 2014. INIS is open to negotiate and implement similar programmes for Turkey, a key market for English language education, with other high-quality ACELS accredited institutions.

Garda Investigations

 216. Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the extra costs incurred by the Gardaí in investigating the horsemeat crisis. [23279/13]

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. In that context, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily available and could not be compiled without a disproportionate use of resources which are required for other Garda purposes. In the circumstances I regret that I am not in a position to provide the information sought.

Departmental Expenditure

 217. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality 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. [23317/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter A breakdown of the legal and travel costs incurred by my Department in relation to the areas raised by the Deputy is set out in the table below.

Year
European Court of Justice Luxembourg

Legal Costs

(€)
European Court of Justice Luxembourg

Travel Costs

(€)
General Court Luxembourg

Legal Costs

(€)
General Court Luxembourg

Travel Costs

(€)
European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg

Legal Costs

(€)
European Court of Human Rights Strasbourg

Travel Costs

(€)
2005
       
12,100
 
2006
 
2,110
       
2007
 
976
       
2008
       
15,125
 
2009
 
444
       
2010
       
12,100
884
2011
       
7,300
 
2012
       
7,000
 
I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, that in the period in question my Department incurred legal costs in a small number of cases heard before the European Court of Justice. The bill of costs for these cases also included legal costs relating to judicial proceedings taken in the Irish courts on which the European Court of Justice proceedings were predicated. Accordingly, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of the costs solely incurred in respect of the European Court of Justice hearings. I will communicate directly with the Deputy should this information become available.

  Finally, I wish to inform the Deputy that, for the most part, the legal services sought by my Department are coordinated and paid for by the Office of the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitor's Office and are therefore not included in the above table.

Community Return Programme

 218. 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 number of offenders currently participating in prison specific community return schemes; the prisons they have been released from; the particular scheme; the prisons in which these schemes are available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23339/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter One of the strategic actions contained in the Joint Irish Prison Service & Probation Service Strategic Plan 2013-2015 which was launched last week is the continued roll out of the community return programme, an incentivised scheme for earned temporary release under which offenders who pose no threat to the community are offered early temporary release in return for supervised community service.

  This scheme has proven to be a great success and the initial feedback from the participants has been positive with many commenting on the supports and structure that it gives them on their release and how it has assisted in their transition back into the community. The work involved takes place in a supervised group setting on one of the many Community Service Sites located throughout the State. The placements operate on a non-profit basis, provide benefit to the community and many offer direct assistance to charitable organisations and local community groups.

  I am pleased to note that over 510 prisoners have taken part in the initiative since it commenced in October 2011 with 131 prisoners on community return on 14 May this year. This is the highest total at any 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 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.

  Those currently on the scheme were released from the prisons as set out in the following table.

Institution
Number on Scheme
Shelton Abbey
33
Loughan House
28
Wheatfield Prison
12
Training Unit
11
Limerick Prison
9
Mountjoy Prison
8
Midlands Prison
8
St Patrick's Institution
6
Cork Prison
5
Portlaoise Prison
4
Castlerea Prison
4
Dochas Centre
3
Total
131

Prisoner Releases

 219. 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 information on the availability of structured temporary release programmes in each prison; the number of offenders currently participating in these schemes in each prison; the number of offenders that have completed these programmes in each prison currently; the number of prisoners on unstructured temporary release within each prison in April 2012, October 2012, April 2013, the most recent figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23340/13]

 220. 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 number of offenders within each prison that are on temporary release at present, not including those on a community return scheme; the number of offenders within each prison that are on temporary release and participating in a community scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23341/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 219 and 220 together.

  The Deputy will be aware that the Criminal Justice Act 1960, as amended by the Criminal Justice (Temporary Release of Prisoners) Act 2003 provides that sentenced prisoners may be approved temporary release whether it be for a few hours or a more extended period. The Act sets out the circumstances when temporary release may be provided and what matters must be taken into account.

  The granting of temporary release is done by the officials in the Irish Prison Service Headquarters, on my behalf, and as such individual prisons do not operate their own schemes of temporary release. On 15 May 2013 there were 732 prisoners on temporary release or 14.2% of the total number of prisoners in the prison system. Some 131 of these prisoners are participating in the community return programme and 28 are on temporary release from an open centre. In addition, 229 prisoners had been sentenced for failure to pay a court ordered fine and 95 prisoners were serving sentences of less than 6 months.

  The Deputy will be aware that the Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan 2012-2015 and the recently published Joint Prison Service/Probation Service Strategic Plan 2013-2015 includes commitments to ensure that all prisoners released early from custody are placed on appropriate structured programme of temporary release. The Community Return Scheme is a recently introduced initiative whereby carefully selected prisoners can be granted reviewable temporary release coupled with a requirement to do community service work such as painting, gardening or graffiti removal in a supervised group setting. The type of work involved is intended to assist the community and the scheme is involved with a large number of charitable organisations and local community groups.

  The scheme, which was introduced on a pilot basis in October 2011, is applicable to suitably assessed prisoners who are serving sentences of more than one and less than eight years. Those participating are granted renewable temporary release having served at, or after, the 50% stage of their sentence with a condition of their release to undertake supervised community service.

  In excess of 510 prisoners have taken part in the initiative since it commenced in October 2011 with 319 prisoners now having completed the programme. Today there are 131 prisoners on community return, which is 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.

  The Community Return Programme forms part of a wider structured release programme aimed at improving outcomes for prisoners. In addition to Community Return, the Unlocking Community Alternatives Scheme, UCAS, has been set up in Cork. The primary aim of this Scheme is to reduce the current recidivism rates of short term prisoners by arranging for additional support structures and provide for a more structured form of temporary release. This is a pilot scheme and will be reviewed in 12 months in order to assess whether it has had a positive impact on re-offending rates.

  The Joint Prison Service/Probation service Strategy will also see a focus on working with short term sentenced prisoners - helping with issues such as housing, medical care, substance abuse, training needs, etc. The aim is to increase support to prisoners - prior to their release from prison, upon their release and then for a period after their release in order to help break the cycle of re-offending. Discussions have been ongoing, in this regard, with a number of external agencies and it is hoped that further initiatives will commence in the near future.

  A breakdown of those on temporary release, those on the Community Return Programme and those who have completed the Community Return Programme is set out in the following table.

Institution Temporary release (excluding Community Return) Temporary Release to Community Return. No completed Community Return
Mountjoy (M)
107
8
40
Mountjoy (F)
71
3
11
Training Unit
13
11
37
St Patrick’s
15
6
11
Cloverhill
17
0
0
Wheatfield
82
12
17
Midlands
41
8
32
Portlaoise
2
4
1
Cork
119
5
21
Limerick (M)
47
7
26
Limerick (F)
24
2
0
Castlerea
48
4
3
Arbour Hill
0
0
0
Loughan House
8
28
32
Shelton Abbey
7
33
88
Total
601
131
319


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 09:32:10 First Page Previous Page Page of 95 Next Page Last Page