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 Header Item Film Classification
 Header Item Film Classification
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Crime Levels
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Garda Records
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Homophobic Crime
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Equality Issues
 Header Item Legal Services Regulation
 Header Item Garda Corruption
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Data Protection
 Header Item Domestic Violence Policy
 Header Item Road Safety

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 805 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Film Classification

 509. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will outline the timeframe for the appointment of a permanent director of the Irish Film Classification Office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25081/13]

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 775 on 16th January, 2013. The position remains as stated.

Reply to Parliamentary Question 775 of 16th January, 2013.

  The post of Director of Film Classification is a statutory one, provided for under Section 2 of the Censorship of Films Act 1923, as amended by the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008. Section 2(3) of the Censorship of Films Act 1923 as amended provides that whenever the Director of Film Classification is temporarily unable to attend to his duties, or where the office of Director of Film Classification is vacant, the Minister may appoint a fit person to perform the duties of the Director of Film Classification, during such inability or vacancy. Every person so appointed shall during his appointment have all the powers of the Director of Film Classification. In accordance with Section 2(3) of the Act, Mr Ger Connolly, the Deputy Director of Film Classification has been appointed to perform the duties of the Director of Film Classification, on a full time basis, since the retirement of Mr John Kelleher from the position of Director of Film Classification in late 2009. I have no plans to alter this situation at this time.

Film Classification

 510. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his views on whether existing legislation is a sufficient safeguard for film classification in view of the technological developments in the intervening years in particular online streaming; and, if not, his plans to bring forward legislative proposals to deal with this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25082/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Censorship of Films Act 1923 and the Video Recordings Act 1989 remain robust pieces of legislation which enable decisions on classification or prohibition of film and video works to reflect the prevailing standards within the State. Online streaming of films as with most internet content does not fall within the scope of current legislation. The regulation of such online content is complicated by the fact that streamed content may often be provided from servers which are not located in the jurisdiction and therefore are not subject to Irish legislation. However, it might be noted that most copyright holders of film/DVD works submit their product, regardless of mode of delivery, to the Irish Film Classification Office for age classification. Once classified, the age rating and consumer advice for such releases are available on the IFCO website, www.ifco.ie. This is an important tool, particularly for parents/guardians, in assessing the suitability of viewing material.

I have no specific plans for legislative change in this area. The Deputy will be aware that the internet is global in reach and that, as a consequence, there is very limited scope for regulation by national authorities.

Departmental Funding

 511. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the reason funding has been reduced to an organisation (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25085/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Since 2008, my Department has given grants to a number of local authorities and national organisations to promote the integration of migrants. I understand that Meath County Council chose to pass on their grant to the body referred to in the details supplied where I understand that it went towards staff costs and overheads relating to migrant integration. This funding was always for a year at a time with no commitment to future payments and, with the reduction in Departmental allocations including for migrant integration, grants to local authorities have been discontinued with a few exceptions. Because the amount in the relevant subhead of my Department's Vote in 2012 was otherwise committed, funding for Meath County Council could not be considered last year but an interim payment of €6,000 was made to the Council in December and further interim payments of €12,000 have been made this year. A decision on a further grant will be taken shortly.

Crime Levels

 512. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he has undertaken any studies of illegal money laundering here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25090/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter My Department compiled a report on money laundering statistics for 2011 in line with obligations under Article 33 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing. The report is available on the Department's Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit's website at http://www.amlcu.gov.ie

Garda Investigations

 513. 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 his views regarding whether the Garda has sufficient resources to tackle white collar crime in view of the marked decline in the number of convictions for white collar crime offences since 2003, and in view of the Garda Commissioner's response to this Deputy's question on this matter when he appeared before the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25143/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can advise the Deputy that all members of An Garda Síochána may be tasked with investigating crime including incidents of fraud-related white collar crime as appropriate. Specialist assistance is provided by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI) where required and I have been assured by the Commissioner that sufficient resources are allocated to the GBFI. In addition, the Criminal Assets Bureau has also been active in targeting the proceeds of deception, fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption and other types of criminal activity commonly referred to as “white collar crime”.

The conviction rate for any given category of offence relates in the first instance to the outcome of the criminal prosecution process and the Deputy will appreciate that my role does not extend to the bringing of prosecutions, or indeed to the determination of guilt, which is a matter for the courts. In relation to the trends which may be observed from the official crime figures published by the Central Statistics Office, as I have previously observed in responding to the Deputy, it is important to note in interpreting figures for detection and conviction rates that the investigation, detection and prosecution of any offence may take a number of years and the circumstances and complexity of any given case may vary considerably. Great caution should therefore be exercised in comparing, as the Deputy appears to do, conviction rates for offences recorded in 2003 and those recorded up to 2011, which is the latest year for which the CSO have published such detailed data.

However, I am of course concerned to ensure that the investigation and detection of fraud and white collar offences is as effective as it can be and that An Garda Síochána has available to it the necessary legislative and other supports to this end. I continue to attach the highest priority to the full investigation of these offences and bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice. Shortly after taking up office I moved urgently to introduce additional legislation in this area which was enacted as the Criminal Justice Act 2011, and provides vital assistance to An Garda Síochána in the completion of current white collar crime investigations as well as providing assistance to them in future investigations. The Garda Commissioner is aware that any further legislative proposals he might have which would assist in the investigation and detection of white collar crime, or of fraud offences generally, will be positively considered by me.

I am briefed on an ongoing basis by the Garda Commissioner on the progress of the major white collar crime investigations which are underway and remain fully confident that An Garda Síochána has the capacity to confront crime in all of its manifestations.

Garda Records

 514. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will ensure that a Garda record is amended in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry. [25144/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will appreciate that the maintenance and, where necessary, the amendment of Garda records is a matter in the first instance for the Garda authorities. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the matter referred to by the Deputy has been brought to the attention of local Garda management and that it is receiving appropriate attention.

Proposed Legislation

 515. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will outline, in respect of banking consumers who suspect that they have been mis-sold financial products in recent years, he has any immediate plans to implement the recommendation of the Law Reform Commission and reform the limitation period applicable to contract law in respect of the Statute of Limitations which may have a bearing on the mis-selling of financial products by financial institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25146/13]

 528. 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 his views of the mis-selling of payment protection insurance and linked products by all lenders; if he will consider moving the statute of limitations that applies in this respect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25558/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 515 and 528 together.

  The mis-selling of financial products has been a matter of ongoing public concern and has been raised by consumer groups and the media as well as in successive reports of the Financial Services Ombudsman whose Office has previously noted that "the current economic climate has affected many consumers across the range of complaints received, however it is most pointedly seen in the complaints regarding investments products. The main area of complaint with regards to investments is the alleged mis-selling of these policies. This complaint type accounted for over 37% of investment complaints for the period 2007-2010. The majority of complaints relate to the consumers’ contention that they were sold unsuitable products."

  More recently, in its bi-annual review for July to December 2012, the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman has again highlighted the mis-selling of financial products in noting that, "Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints, representing 32% of all insurance complaints in 2012, have increased by 216% on 2011 figures" (from 405 in 2011 to 1280 in 2012), and that, "in general, the main feature of the complaints concern the suitability of PPI for the consumer and the consumer's knowledge or lack thereof that they agreed to and paid for the product in the first instance." I am also aware that the Central Bank has sought a review by banks of the sale of PPI and the refund of customers who could never claim under that insurance as purchased.

  While not under the aegis of my Department, the Financial Services Ombudsman was established under the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004 and became operational on 1 April 2005. It is a statutory body funded by levies from the financial service providers. The Financial Services Ombudsman can investigate, in an impartial and independent manner, complaints from individual customers and small businesses who have unresolved disputes with Financial Service Providers who are either regulated by the Financial Regulator or are subject to the terms of the Consumer Credit Act 1995.

  Under current law, the Financial Services Ombudsman may not investigate a matter which occurred more than six years before the complaint is made. This is in line with the limitation period for most civil claims in the courts, including contract. This limitation period is provided for under section 57BX of the Central Bank Act of 1942, as amended by section 16 of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004. The relevant provision states:

  "(3) A consumer is not entitled to make a complaint if the conduct complained of—

  (a ) is or has been the subject of legal proceedings before a court or tribunal, or

  (b ) occurred more than 6 years before the complaint is made, or

  (c ) relates to a matter that is within the jurisdiction of the Pensions Ombudsman, or

  (d ) is of a class prescribed by Council."

  I would also point out that the statutory functions of the Financial Services Ombudsman Council include the keeping under review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Office of the Ombudsman and advising "the Minister for Finance, either at the Minister's request or at its own initiative, on any matter relevant to the Ombudsman's operation". It would seem, therefore, open to the Council to make any relevant recommendations concerning the current limitation period that it considers appropriate to the Minister for Finance - who will be best placed to consider the appropriateness of such a change in relation to overall Government policy as it applies to financial services. I am also aware that a different approach has been taken to this issue in the United Kingdom. While consumers in that jurisdiction must bring complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service within six months of the final response letter from the business concerned, no limitation period applies to the matters on which the complaints are based.

  The Law Reform Commission has made recommendations in relation to enhancing the coherence of the broader limitation of actions regime in its Report on the Limitation of Actions of December 2011 and in relation to the limitation period applicable to contract law which could have a bearing on the matters raised. I will be happy to take account of these recommendations in any proposals for legislation that I may develop on periods of limitation in the future. In relation to directly addressing the issue of mis-selling raised by the Deputies, this will, in the first instance, have to take account of any relevant developments in core sectoral policy between the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman, its Council, and the Minister for Finance. To date, I have not been made aware of any developments or proposals in this regard. However, I will take the opportunity to raise the Deputies' concerns with my colleague in Cabinet, the Minister for Finance, as regards the policy position of his Department in relation to a change in the limitation period applicable to the mis-selling of financial products.

Garda Investigations

 516. 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 the progress made on the various reports requested by his office in relation to a case (details supplied); when they will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25158/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that the investigation into the matter referred to by the Deputy is ongoing. I hope that the Deputy will therefore appreciate that it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.

Homophobic Crime

 517. 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 include homophobic violence in the remit of Cosc; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25239/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Cosc, the National Office for Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, has as its remit domestic, sexual and gender-based violence against the adult population and older people living in the community. Inter-partner violence against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender communities is covered under the remit of Cosc and is mentioned specifically on its website under the heading What is intimate partner violence? which states:"IPV is experienced by all nationalities, education levels and ages and can occur in dating relationships, marriages or long term gay or lesbian relationships, often even after the relationship has ended".

Earlier this year Cosc supported a Union of Students of Ireland (USI) nationwide study of students' experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault. The study is based on the successful UK Union of Students Hidden Marks survey, and, inter alia, explores the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students of such violence. The research analysis is currently underway and publication of the full report is expected shortly. However, general violence in the community does not fall under the remit of Cosc. Its prevention and investigation is primarily the responsibility of An Garda Síochána. The Garda Síochána Victims Charter promises to manage cases involving members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community with sensitivity and, where appropriate, to refer the individuals involved to a Gay Liaison Officer within the Garda Síochána.

Garda Deployment

 518. 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 the number of community gardaí in each Garda station in County Wicklow; the number of vacancies for the positions in each Garda station in the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25261/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of demographics, crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.

  I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that, as of the 30 April 2013, the latest date for which figures are readily available, the personnel strength of the Wicklow Garda Division was 334 with 20 Gardaí assigned specifically to Community Policing duties as shown on the table below. There are also 35 Garda Reservists and 21 civilian staff attached to the Wicklow Garda Division. The Deputy will be aware that all Gardaí have responsibility, inter alia, to deal with Community Policing issues as and when they arise.

Station Community Gardaí
Bray 9
Blessington 1
Baltinglass 1
Greystones 5
Arklow 1
Newtownmountkennedy 1
Wicklow 2
Total 20

Equality Issues

 519. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to amend the Equal Status Act in order that it will apply to those under 18 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25290/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Under Section 3(3) of the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2012, a person who is less than 18 cannot bring a claim of discrimination on the age ground. Equally, a person who is 18 or over cannot bring a claim of discrimination on the age ground which is based on a comparison with a person aged less than 18. For example, an adult cannot seek children's fare on a bus. I would emphasise, however, that the Acts do apply to discrimination against under 18s based on the other eight grounds. It is, therefore, possible for a young person to bring a claim of discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, membership of the Traveller community etc. Such complaints have in fact been dealt with by the Equality Tribunal. It is not correct to say that the Acts exclude young people.

The Equal Status Act has been amended twice to make changes in the way it impacts on young people. The law was clarified in relation to the regulation of access to licensed premises by persons under 18 years of age and the conditions under which it is permissible to set an age limit for the purchase of liquor higher than 18 years. The Equal Status Act was also amended to apply it to discrimination on the age ground in the provision of motor vehicle insurance to drivers under 18 years of age.

The reason for excluding under 18s from claiming discrimination on the age ground is that 18 is a standard cut-off for access to many services. For example, it is the age of majority, the age at which contractual commitments are fully enforceable, the age for sale of drink, etc. It would be impractical to extend the age ground to under 18s as this would necessitate the provision of an extraordinary number of exemptions within the legislation and would entail a revisiting of virtually every area of the Equal Status Act. It would also mean that, in principle, it would no longer be permissible to give any preference (such as a reduced price) to young people. There are clearly important issues of protection for children involved here. A general application of the age ground to persons under 18 would not be practical or appropriate.

Legal Services Regulation

 520. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his proposals to amend the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 with regard to the appointment of lay persons to the board of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority announced at the recent annual conference of the Law Society; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25291/13]

 521. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if the reported amendments to the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 will set out the process, means and criteria by which the Law Society of Ireland and Bar Council of Ireland will select lay members for nomination to the board of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25292/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 520 and 521 together.

The Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 gives legislative expression to the commitment in the Programme for Government to "establish independent regulation of the legal professions to improve access and competition, make legal costs more transparent and ensure adequate procedures for addressing consumer complaints". Furthermore, as a sectoral objective under the EU/IMF/ECB Troika Memorandum of Understanding, it supports the objectives of structural reform, national competitiveness and early economic recovery, building on the relevant recommendations of the Legal Costs Working Group and the Competition Authority. The Bill, which has completed Second Stage, is due to commence Committee Stage in July.

From the outset, and as evident from the provisions of Part 2 of the Bill as published, it is permeated by the principle of lay representation and I will be developing this and other aspects of the Bill further in the course of Committee Stage. It has never been stated or intended that the Law Society or the Bar Council would select lay members of the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority - indeed, this would run contrary to the Bill's policy objective of more independent regulation of the legal professions and of legal costs.

As I have previously indicated in my statement to the House at the closing of the Bill's Second Stage and on numerous occasions since, including more recently at the Law Society, I will be bringing forward amendments to the Legal Services Regulation Bill at Committee Stage to enhance and copper-fasten the independence of appointment of members of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority - a majority of whom shall be lay persons. I will be proposing that this be done by means of nominating bodies among whom will be numerous bodies of relevance to the mandate of the new Regulatory Authority in addition to the legal professional bodies. In a similar vein, I will be enhancing the modalities of appointment of members to the Complaints Committee and of the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal. I also intend to bring forward an amendment to stagger the appointment of members of the Authority to ensure its continuity and minimise the scope for external interference by a wholesale reconfiguration. Taken together, these amendments will put to rest previously voiced concerns about the independence of the new regulatory regime. As I have previously stated, details of these amendments will be made available in advance of Committee Stage.

Garda Corruption

 522. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if any members of An Garda Síochána have been charged and convicted in court with making false statements or perjury and convicted of these allegations; and if so, the names of same and the dates. [25309/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The information sought by the Deputy is not available at present and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Visa Applications

 523. 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 in determination of an application for family reunification in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25314/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Based on the information supplied by the Deputy, I am informed by officials in my Department that there is no record of a current visa application for the purposes of family reunification in relation to the persons referred to. When completing an on-line visa application the applicant is assigned a unique visa transaction number. This detail must be provided where a query on the status or other enquiry regarding a visa application arises. The provision of this unique visa transaction number ensures that accurate and current information is provided to the authorised enquirer. Perhaps if the Deputy could provide the relevant detail to Officials in the Visa Office then an update could be provided.

  Comprehensive information on the visa application process is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie). 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.

Naturalisation Applications

 524. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of citizens per year, in each of the years from 2002 until 2012 inclusive, who have renounced their Irish citizenship, by declaration of alienage or otherwise; the broad reasons for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25342/13]

 525. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of citizens per year, for each of the years from 2002 until 2012 inclusive, who have had their Certificate of Naturalisation revoked by him; the broad reasons for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25343/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 524 and 525 together.

Under the provisions of Section 21 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956 as substituted by Section 7 of the 1986 Act, an Irish citizen of full age who is or is about to become a citizen of another country and is ordinarily resident outside the State, may renounce their Irish citizenship by lodging with me a declaration of alienage in the prescribed manner to that effect. Declarations of alienage are accepted where evidence is provided of acquisition of another citizenship or in a case where another citizenship is already held, cessation of Irish citizenship is effected from date of a declaration. The numbers of those who submitted such a Declaration for the years 2002 to 2012 are 37, 38, 25, 33, 17, 27, 14, 32, 24, 30 and 32 respectively.

Section 19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended provides that the Minister may revoke a certificate of naturalisation in certain circumstances principally related to procurement of citizenship by fraud, if the person has lived permanently abroad for a period of 7 years (and not registered with an embassy or consular office abroad) or has acquired citizenship in another country except by way of marriage or entry into a civil partnership. I can inform the Deputy that for the period involved there have been no cases where a Certificate of Naturalisation has been revoked by either myself or my predecessors.

Data Protection

 526. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will report on the finding of inappropriate access to PULSE as outlined in the Annual Report 2012 of the Data Protection Commissioner including steps taken to address this issue subsequent to the report and previously; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25437/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I appreciate the concern of the Data Protection Commissioner that the Garda PULSE system has been accessed by Garda personnel for inappropriate purposes. As the Deputy will be aware, the management of the PULSE system is an operational matter which is undertaken by the Garda Commissioner and the Garda authorities have indicated that they are fully committed to ensuring that the appropriate data protection requirements are met by the Force. This is an area which is the subject of on-going contact between the Garda authorities and the Data Protection Commissioner.

I have been informed that provision has recently been made within An Garda Síochána for the introduction of a comprehensive new system to strengthen the supervision of access to PULSE. This system places specific monitoring responsibilities on Superintendents to require Garda personnel to account for their access, by reference to the business reasons involved. In addition, arrangements have been made under the new structure for access to PULSE to be audited by the Garda Professional Standards Unit in six Garda Districts each month, on a rolling basis. I also understand that the Garda authorities have issued instructions to all members of the Force requiring them to provide in every case a full explanation, in the relevant field, when enquiries are made on the PULSE system.

Domestic Violence Policy

 527. 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 personnel allocated to the domestic violence and sexual assault investigation unit of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in all years since 2008; his plans to adjust the current number of personnel in the investigative unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25445/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The allocation of all resources, including personnel, within the Force rests with the Garda Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team. Resource levels are constantly monitored, in conjunction with crime trends and other demands made on An Garda Síochána. The situation is kept under continuing review to ensure optimum use is made of these resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit on 31 December 2008 to 2012 and on 23 May 2013, broken down by rank, was as set out in the table.

Year D/Supt D/Insp D/Sgt Sgt D/Gda
23/05/2013 1 2 3 1 14
31/12/2012 1 1 4 0 14
31/12/2011 1 2 4 0 14
31/12/2010 1 2 3 1 14
31/12/2009 1 1 1 1 6
31/12/2008 1 1 2 0 8
  

  Question No. 528 answered with Question No. 515.

Road Safety

 529. 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 his views on the accident on the N21 at Garryduff Cross, Newcastle West, County Limerick, on 12 September 2010 in which three people lost their lives; if he is satisfied that a full investigation was carried out; and his further views on whether it was acceptable that there were delays of up to ten days in interviewing the driver and three occupants of the car involved which hit the minibus. [25562/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can assure the Deputy I am conscious of the deep distress experienced by the relatives and friends of the deceased in such tragic circumstances. The Deputy will appreciate that I have no direct role in relation to the management of Garda investigations or indeed, the prosecution or trial of charges. I am, however, assured by the Garda authorities that the fatal collision referred to was the subject of a thorough examination by experienced Garda investigators and specialised personnel which included a detailed forensic examination of the scene, the gathering and analysis of witness accounts and technical examination of the vehicles. I am informed that a comprehensive and detailed file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration who, in this case, returned a direction of prosecution of an individual for having no insurance and for failing to produce insurance documents. As the Deputy will appreciate, the DPP is independent in the exercise of prosecutorial functions and I have no role in this regard.


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