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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 406-425
 Header Item Wind Energy Guidelines
 Header Item Electricity Exports
 Header Item Wind Energy Guidelines
 Header Item Water Meters Issues
 Header Item Motor Tax Collection
 Header Item Housing Issues
 Header Item Tenant Purchase Scheme Administration
 Header Item Unfinished Housing Developments
 Header Item Water and Sewerage Schemes Provision
 Header Item Private Rented Accommodation Sector
 Header Item Local and Community Development Issues
 Header Item Local Government Reform
 Header Item Crime Investigation
 Header Item Insolvency Service of Ireland Issues
 Header Item Crime Data
 Header Item Garda Strength
 Header Item Garda Station Issues

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 816 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 406-425

Wind Energy Guidelines

 406. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if in the comprehensive review of the 2006 wind energy guidelines he will take steps to ensure that all the criteria that must be assessed pursuant to Article 3 of the EIA directive are fully identified and appropriate guidelines for identifying the environmental impact of threshold wind farm developments, particularly on humans and inter alia their material assets, are established and communicated to the planning authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42335/13]

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 My Department is now undertaking a targeted review of the Wind Energy Guidelines 2006 focusing on noise, proximity and shadow flicker. It is not proposed to conduct a comprehensive review of the guidelines at this time. All proposed wind farm developments do, however, have to comply with the relevant statutory requirements.

Electricity Exports

 407. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the basis and reasons for classifying electricity export projects as strategic infrastructural developments, so as to allow them to proceed directly to An Bord Pleanála rather then to the local authority of the jurisdictional areas; if same will now be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42336/13]

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 Strategic infrastructure developments are those projects deemed to be of strategic economic or social importance to the State. The development of renewables, including wind energy, is at the heart of the Government's energy policy. The availability of indigenous, sustainable power is a valuable national asset and is vital for achieving energy security, emissions reductions and economic renewal through job creation.

The Seventh Schedule of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) categorises any installation for the harnessing of wind power for energy production with more than 25 turbines or having a total output greater than 50 megawatts as strategic infrastructure. This applies to all wind energy infrastructure in this category and not just projects involving electricity export. It is not currently proposed to review these legislative requirements.

Wind Energy Guidelines

 408. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if, in the context of the current review of the wind energy guidelines 2006, the review will incorporate the EPA guidance note for noise 2012 which addresses tonal or impulsive noise from wind turbines and if regard will be taken of the practices pertaining to noise which apply in Denmark, Germany and south Australia; if he will indicate when these draft guidelines will be published for consultation with the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42338/13]

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 My Department – in conjunction with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and other stakeholders – is currently undertaking a targeted review of the onshore Wind Energy Guidelines 2006 focusing on noise, proximity and shadow flicker.

Earlier this year, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources commissioned the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to invite proposals from suitably qualified organisations for the completion of a study to examine the significance of noise related to onshore wind farms. The objective of the study is to obtain evidence upon which to evaluate the appropriateness of the existing guidelines in relation to noise impacts and , if considered necessary, suggest changes. It will take account of the following key contextual issues:

- The evolution of wind turbine technologies since the current Guidelines were published in 2006;

- Experience to date in the application of the current Guidelines;

- Research relating to wind turbine noise issues, including an examination of international practice, since the current Guidelines were adopted;

- Ireland's binding targets in relation to renewable energy update and penetration.

SEAI awarded the contract for carrying out the study to Marshall Day Acoustics in July 2013. Marshall Day have significant international experience in this field and have previously participated in reviews of the wind farm noise guidelines for the Australian and New Zealand Governments. This study will form a key input into the review of the statutory guidelines.

My understanding is that this study will take into consideration practices pertaining in Denmark, Germany and Australia. I also understand that the EPA's Noise Guidance Note (NG4 -2012) will also be referenced in the study.

The indicative timetable for the publication of the draft statutory guidelines is Quarter 4 2013. The draft guidelines will – like all other new or revised guidelines – go out for extensive public consultation for a period of 6 weeks to 2 months, to allow for publication of the final guidelines in 2014. Once the consultation period is closed, the submissions received on the draft guidelines will be considered and taken into account in the final form of the guidelines.

Water Meters Issues

 409. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if his Department and Irish Water have made a definitive decision on the way water supplied to individual consumers by way of a private water supply will be assessed in the context of the metering proposals and if a charge will be levied thereon; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42343/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Government has decided that Irish Water, a new State-owned water company to be established as an independent subsidiary within the Bord Gáis Éireann Group, will be responsible for the domestic water metering programme and for the collection of water charges from households. The water metering programme will cover households connected to a public water supply. Households with private wells will not be metered under the programme and will not be subject to water charges.

Motor Tax Collection

 410. 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 the position regarding road tax on harvesters and combines (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42354/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan An annual concessionary rate of motor tax of €102 per annum applies to agricultural tractors and agricultural machinery where used on the public road. I have no plans to reduce this rate.   

Housing Issues

 411. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the number of empty housing units that are available in Waterford city and county; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42360/13]

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 My Department collates and publishes a wide range of housing and planning statistics that inform the preparation and evaluation of policy, and those data are available on my Department's website www.environ.ie.  

  Data on the number of empty housing units are not included in this range. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) collects data on vacant properties during the Census operation. The number of vacant properties, broken down by county, is available on their website: www.cso.ie.   

Tenant Purchase Scheme Administration

 412. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan when he expects a new tenant purchase scheme to become operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42363/13]

 415. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his plans to replace the tenant purchase scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42405/13]

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 I propose to take Questions Nos. 412 and 415 together.

While the 1995 tenant purchase scheme for existing local authority houses closed for new applications on 31 December 2012, two incremental purchase schemes remain in operation, one for newly-built local authority houses and the other for local authority apartments.

Work is proceeding on the preparation of the General Scheme of a Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which is expected to be submitted to Government later this year for approval to draft the Bill. Among other things, the Bill will underpin a new tenant purchase scheme for existing local authority houses along incremental purchase lines, involving discounts for purchasing tenants linked to household income and a discount-related charge on the property that will dwindle away over a period unless the house is resold or the purchaser fails to comply with conditions of the sale. The commencement date for the new scheme will be set when the necessary regulations are made on enactment of the Bill.

Unfinished Housing Developments

 413. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if his attention has been drawn to the High Court case taken against Donegal County Council in relation to the scheme for unfinished estates; his views on whether this judgment could have implications for other local authorities; if he has analysed the judgment in the case with respect to potential implications for other local authorities; if he will allocate additional funding to Donegal County Council to address the additional legal obligations placed on it as a result of the judgment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42387/13]

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 I am chairing the National Co-ordination Committee (NCC) on Unfinished Housing Developments to oversee implementation of the Report of the Advisory Group on Unfinished Housing Developments, together with the Government's response to the recommendations. The Committee includes representatives from the Irish Banking Federation, local authorities, the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, NAMA and the construction sector. Real progress is being made in tackling and resolving the issues faced by residents of unfinished estates and the Committee is meeting on a regular basis to oversee this effort.

  Under the Public Safety Initiative for Unfinished Housing Developments my Department has made allocations totalling some € 4.46 million to 23 local authorities from the funding made available to address immediate public safety issues.   

  The types of works that have been approved to date include the fencing off of unsecured and hazardous areas, capping of pipes, installation of street lighting and other works to secure sites. To date, a total of €2.685 million has been drawn down by local authorities.   

  No details of legal proceedings being taken against Donegal County Council in regard to unfinished housing developments have been brought to my attention or that of my Department.

Water and Sewerage Schemes Provision

 414. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if his Department will prioritise the installation of a sewerage scheme for the village of Burtonport, County Donegal; if his attention has been drawn to the findings of the Environmental Protection Agency regarding pollution in this village; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42388/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013, a copy of which is available in the Oireachtas Library, provides for the development of a comprehensive range of new water services infrastructure in County Donegal. The Programme includes contracts under construction and to commence to the value of some €132 million in County Donegal during the period of the Programme. However, the Burtonport Sewerage Scheme was not amongst the priority contracts and schemes selected for inclusion in the current Programme.   

  The Programme aims to prioritise projects that target environmental compliance issues and support economic and employment growth. A key input to the development of the Programme was the assessment of needs prepared by local authorities, including Donegal County Council, in response to my Department's request to the authorities in 2009 to review and prioritise their proposals for new capital works in their areas. These were subsequently appraised in the Department in the context of the funds available and key criteria that complemented those used by the authorities. Inevitably, through this process, certain projects that had been proposed had to give way to others that are more strategically important at this time.   

  Progress under the Water Services Investment Programme 2010 – 2013, was reviewed in mid-2011 and through this process consideration was given to any newly emerging priority contracts and schemes submitted by local authorities for addition to the Programme. No proposal for the Burtonport Sewerage Scheme was received from Donegal County Council in response to the review .   

  It is intended that Irish Water will be responsible for the delivery of water services capital infrastructure from 1 January 2014. Irish Water is currently preparing a Capital Investment Plan for 2014-2015.

  Question No. 415 answered with Question No. 412.

Private Rented Accommodation Sector

 416. 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 and when legislation will be brought forward which seeks to address ongoing issues in the private rental accommodation sector, including landlord-tenant relations, waste management and substandard accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42433/13]

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 The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 sets out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in the private rented residential sector. The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) was established under the Act to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants in the private rented residential sector.    

  The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 was published on 19 July 2012. The Bill builds on what has been achieved by the Residential Tenancies Act and the PRTB, and provides for the further development of the rental sector into the future.   

  The Bill was passed by the Dáil in July 2013 and second stage in the Seanad concluded on 24 September 2013. Among the main issues addressed by the amending legislation are:

- the extension of the remit of the Residential Tenancies Act to Approved Housing Body tenancies;

- the Board of the PRTB to be reduced from 15 to 12 members;   

- the separation of the governance and quasi-judicial functions of the Board;

- the merger of the PRTB and the Rent Tribunal;   

- the simplification and streamlining of the mediation process;   

- the introduction of a new procedure to enable the PRTB to deal effectively with tenants who do not pay rent during the dispute process.   

  While the Bill addresses a wide range of issues, there are some other aspects still under development which I hope to bring forward for consideration during the Bill's passage through the Seanad. In particular, I am keen to progress the commitment in the Programme for Government to introduce a tenancy deposit protection scheme and I intend to provide for the establishment of such a scheme at Committee Stage of the Bill in the Seanad.

  Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008, made under section 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. These Regulations were further amended by the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009.

  All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these Regulations. Responsibility for enforcement rests with the local authorities, supported by a dedicated stream of funding allocated by my Department.

  The primary responsibility for the management of any waste, including costs for removal or disposal, lies with the holder of the waste; the holder of the waste is the natural or legal person in possession of the waste or the producer of the waste. The Waste Management Act 1996 imposes a general duty of care on holders of waste. A person may not hold, transport, recover or dispose of waste in a manner that causes or is likely to cause environmental pollution. It is the responsibility of the relevant local authority to deal with any instances of illegal disposal of waste in their functional area and take the appropriate enforcement action.

  Section 12 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended by section 100 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, requires a landlord of a dwelling to provide receptacles suitable for the storage of refuse outside the dwelling, save where the provision of such receptacles is not within the power or control of the landlord in respect of the dwelling concerned – this could arise for example where it is a function of a management company to provide such a service.

  In addition, the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 provide that each house must have access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin-proof refuse storage facilities.

  The purpose of these provisions is to ensure that facilities are available to tenants to enable them to store refuse appropriately between collections and not in such a way as to attract pests or vermin or become a hazard or eyesore to the general public. However, the presentation of refuse for collection, the manner in which it is presented and any charges imposed for collection are the responsibility of the tenant, who is the holder of the waste. Any incidents of illegal waste activity should be reported to the relevant local authorities, who have significant enforcement powers available to them under the Waste Management Act 1996 including the power to make bye-laws regarding the presentation and collection of waste.   

  Following the enactment of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, local authorities have a strengthened, updated legislative and regulatory framework available to them which provides for the issuing of Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices where landlords are in breach of their obligations under the Regulations. Fines for continuing non-compliance with the Regulations have also been significantly increased; the maximum fine has increased from €3,000 to €5,000 and the fine for each day of a continuing offence has increased from €250 to €400.   

Local and Community Development Issues

 417. 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 when he will re-establish the Inner City Partnership in Dublin, as this has been promised repeatedly for a number of years and opportunities to tackle unemployment especially amongst youth in disadvantaged areas of the inner city are being threatened without this partnership mechanism; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42436/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Dublin Inner City Partnership (DICP) delivered the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) 2006 - 2009 through funding and coordinating the work of networks and other organisations supporting communities in the Dublin Inner City Area. The Partnership had an interim contract, through Pobal on behalf of the Department, under the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) which succeeded the LDSIP in 2010. In April 2010, the Board of Pobal decided to cease its LCDP contract with DICP in light of major concerns about, inter alia, weaknesses in financial controls and procedures, and non-compliance with Programme accountability requirements. Since then, my Department, in conjunction with Pobal, has ensured that LCDP services for the communities in the Inner City area have continued to be delivered in a coordinated manner through Pobal. Funding in excess of €1.4m has been committed under the LCDP to Community Development groups in the Dublin Inner City Area in 2013.

  Putting People First – Action Programme for Effective Local Government sets out a range of reforms aimed at improving the delivery of services for the citizen, achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness and enhancing the role of local government in local and community development. The vision and focus underpinning the Government's decision is to achieve a more joined-up approach to service delivery at local level, with responsibility for what is being done – and being spent – in the area of local and community development devolved to local level. This will be underpinned by new local governance arrangements that will seek to enhance involvement by citizens and communities in the design, implementation and targeting of services.   

  The delivery structure for the LCDP in the Dublin Inner City Area will fall to be considered in the context of the new arrangements to give effect to the Local Government reform agenda.   

Local Government Reform

 418. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the policy regarding the treatment of funding that a town council may have at the time of abolition; if such funds may be redirected towards community and or sports projects by way of a vote or on advice from elected members; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [42530/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The Action Programme for Effective Local Government - Putting People First sets out Government decisions for a range of local government reform measures, including the decision to replace town councils with a new comprehensive model of municipal governance to strengthen local government within counties and address weaknesses and anomalies in the current system.  Definitive details, arrangements and procedures in relation to the financial relationships between district and county levels are being developed in the context of the new local government funding arrangements generally, the implementation of the new sub-county system and the preparation of the legislation in relation to the reform programme.

In February 2009, my Department set out details of the financial requirements for local authorities relating to their overall management of capital and current accounts. These requirements flow directly from the requirement for Government finances as a whole to be managed in accordance with the Stability and Growth Pact, established under the Maastricht Treaty, and the associated limitation on budget deficits.

The local government sector must not impact negatively on the General Government Balance (GGB) in any one year. The downturn in the economy and substantial pressures on Government funding generally require a sharp focus in all sectors, including local government, to ensure effective control and management of public finances.

In order to stay within the overall GGB limit, it is necessary for local authorities to maintain both their current and capital accounts broadly in balance. The only restriction on local authorities is that, in aggregate, capital income equals capital expenditure in the year. Balance is only required at an overall level and this allows considerable scope for authorities to draw on their existing capital reserves as an element of their overall investment programme. The precise manner in which capital and current accounts are managed in order to achieve the overall balance necessary is a matter for individual local authorities.

  It is a matter for every local authority, including town councils, to determine its own spending priorities in the context of the annual budgetary process, having regard to both locally identified needs and available resources within the GGB limits as set out.   

Crime Investigation

 419. Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the reward, if any, paid to the plumber who found a large sum of money in a property on Shrewsbury Road, formerly owned by the developer of Priory Hall; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41994/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy will appreciate the question relates to a matter which is the subject of ongoing investigation and in such circumstances it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.

Insolvency Service of Ireland Issues

 420. 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 the number of personal insolvency practitioners currently registered broken down by county; the number of applications to be registered as a PIP on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41787/13]

 421. 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 the number of applications to avail of the various debt relief options that have been received by the Insolvency Service of Ireland to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41788/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 420 and 421 together.

  I can advise the Deputy that there are a total of 52 Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs) currently authorised by the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI). In addition, there are 38 individuals within 13 Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) companies authorised to act as Approved Intermediaries. Details are set out in the Table. The ISI is continuing to authorise Approved Intermediaries and Personal Insolvency Practitioners, therefore those numbers will increase in the coming months.

  The location and contact details of each practitioner are publicly available on the various Registers on the ISI's website, www.isi.gov.ie.

  In the interest of confidentiality, the ISI has stated that it will not be providing details or breakdowns of the numbers of applications for the various debt relief solutions received or being processed at this time. The ISI fully intends to provide quarterly statistics once a statistically meaningful number of applications have been processed.

  It might be noted that the ISI has added a Statistics page to its website (http://www.isi.gov.ie/en/ISI/Pages/Statistics) which provides details of key information such as the number of approved practitioners, information requests to the ISI and associated pertinent information. I am advised that the statistics page will be updated on a monthly basis and I would encourage Deputies to consult that page in order to get the latest information.

  TABLE: Number of Personal Insolvency Practitioners and MABS Companies acting as Approved Intermediaries, by County

COUNTY Number of Personal Insolvency Practitioners Number of MABS companies acting as Approved Intermediaries
Cavan 1 1
Clare 2 -
Cork 5 2
Donegal 2 -
Dublin 18 4
Galway 5 -
Kerry 2 -
Kildare 3 -
Kilkenny - 1
Limerick 2 -
Longford - 1
Louth 2 -
Mayo 1 -
Meath 2 1
Monaghan - 1
Offaly 1 -
Tipperary 3 -
Waterford 2 1
Wexford - 1
Wicklow 1 -
Total 52 13 (representing 38 individuals)

Crime Data

 422. 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 provide in tabular form by district a breakdown of the latest crime statistics.  [41792/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose.

  I have requested the CSO to provide statistics directly to the Deputy.

Garda Strength

 423. 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 provide in tabular form a breakdown of the number of gardaí working within the Garda fraud bureau in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013.  [41794/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy is already aware, 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 however, been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations on 31 December 2010 to 2012 and on 31 August 2013, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as is set out in the table below.

Year Chief Superintendent Superintendent Inspector Sergeant Garda
2010 1 2 5 14 40
2011 - 1 5 15 49
2012 1 1 4 15 50
2013 1 2 5 14 48

Garda Station Issues

 424. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a Garda station (details supplied) in County Donegal is under review; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41851/13]

 425. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a Garda station (details supplied) in County Donegal will be downgraded from a 24 hour station; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41852/13]

 428. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the position regarding a Garda station (details supplied) in County Donegal, including Garda numbers in 2011, 2012 and 2013, together with the future plans for the station; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41891/13]

 440. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide an update on the downgrading of Donegal town Garda station; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [41998/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 424, 425, 428 and 440 together.

The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner's Policing Plan for 2013, which I laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on 5 December 2012, sets out details of the closure of 100 Garda stations throughout the country, the future opening hours of other stations in Cork and Dublin and a number of District amalgamations. It is important to remember that while some Garda stations are listed for revised opening hours from 24 hour stations, they will remain as functioning Garda stations on a 24 hour basis. The full list of these details is available in the Policing Plan which is available in the Oireachtas Library.

Donegal Garda station was not identified for closure in those plans and currently there are no proposals being prepared to close the station or to alter its opening hours.

As the Deputy is already aware, 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.

As of the 31 August 2013, Donegal Garda Station had a complement of 30 members. At the end of 2012 and 2011, Donegal Garda station has a complement of 32 and 32 members respectively.


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