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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 288-302
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item Asylum Applications
 Header Item Deportation Orders Re-examination
 Header Item Prisoner Transfers
 Header Item Prisoner Releases
 Header Item Prison Education Service
 Header Item Defence Forces Pension Provisions
 Header Item Defence Forces Training
 Header Item Seirbhís Cabhlaigh
 Header Item Food Harvest 2020 Strategy
 Header Item Bovine Disease Controls
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Application Numbers
 Header Item Farm Inspections
 Header Item Road Improvement Schemes
 Header Item Bord Iascaigh Mhara

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 817 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 288-302

Citizenship Applications

 288. 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 position in regard to residency updating of stamp 4 eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43626/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person referred to by the Deputy has a current permission to reside until March 2015. An application for a certificate of naturalisation has also been received from the person concerned.

The application is being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Asylum Applications

 289. 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 current and expected residency status and eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43627/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned is a failed asylum applicant. Arising from the refusal of her asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 30th July, 2009, that the then Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making written representations to the then Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against her. In addition, she was notified of her entitlement to apply for subsidiary protection in accordance with the provisions of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned submitted an application for subsidiary protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for subsidiary protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before a final decision is made. Once a final decision has been made, this decision, and the consequences of the decision, will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department 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.

Deportation Orders Re-examination

 290. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 420 of 24 September 2013, in the case of a person (details supplied) wherein the fairness of the procedures followed in his case was again affirmed, notwithstanding the serious allegations raised by legal counsel on the person's behalf in the course of an appeal to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal of the subjectivity of issues raised and conclusions reached, the obvious inference in respect of natural justice and due process, if it is a cause for concern that the original deciding officer in respect of the application for asylum in this particular case was never known to have made a single decision in favour of an applicant, despite having examined more than 1,500 cases; if he will, therefore, review the entire case and revoke the previous decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43628/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Following a routine review of the case of the person concerned, the Deportation Order made in respect of him has been revoked. This position has been communicated to the person concerned. In conjunction with that revocation decision, the person concerned has been granted permission to remain in the State for a three year period.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department 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.

Prisoner Transfers

 291. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a prisoner (details supplied) in County Derry has applied for a transfer from a prison in Northern Ireland to this State; the current position in relation to this transfer; when it is likely to take place in view of the fact that they are due to be released in April 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43632/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am to inform the Deputy that as of Friday 11th October, 2013, there has been no application received from the individual referred to in this question regarding his transfer under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act 1995 and 1997, to serve his sentence in this jurisdiction.   

Prisoner Releases

 292. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if it is intended to provide a prisoner with early release on humanitarian grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43640/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am to inform the Deputy that it is not intended to provide the prisoner with early release on humanitarian grounds. The prisoner referred to in this question is currently under review by the Parole Board. The report received from the Board in March 2013, recommended that his case be reviewed in March 2015.

Prison Education Service

 293. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the amount of money spent each year for the past seven years on the training and education of prisoners; if this budget has been cut recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43645/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to inform the Deputy that the table below illustrates the amounts spent each year for the past seven years on the training and education of prisoners. It is notable that the funding allocated to these areas has been retained over the last 3 years (including the current year), despite the general budget cuts applied across the Prison Vote. Budgets for 2014 are yet to be set.

All Figures in € Million Work Training Educational Services
2006 3.037 1.474
2007 2.612 1.800
2008 2.385 1.694
2009 2.155 1.320
2010 2.088 1.457
2011 1.676 1.240
2012 2.077 1.234
  

  2013 spend to date not available

  2013 budget for Work Training is 2.00 million

  2013 budget for Educational Services is 1.265 million

  Work Training

  The Irish Prison Service places a strong emphasis on improving prisoners’ employability prospects through work training activities and accredited vocational training courses.

  A wide range of training workshops operate within the institutions e.g. printing, computers, braille, woodwork, metalwork, construction, industrial cleaning, crafts and horticulture. There are over 100 workshops and service activities across the prison estate.

  The IPS has also been expanding the number of accredited courses and opportunities available to prisoners in Work Training in recent years. Enhanced partnership arrangements with accrediting bodies such as City and Guilds, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), and the Guild of Launders and Cleaners and the centralising of coordination and quality assurance arrangements have enabled us to extend the number of available courses and activities with certification.

  The IPS now has over 100 qualifications available across 20 skill sets. The numbers of prisoners participating in accredited vocational training courses has increased from 314 in 2007 to 1,459 in 2012 and 1,030 prisoners received certificates in the last year.

  Expenditure under Work Training covers day to day costs of running the activities, including equipment purchase, materials, course fees and certification.

  Education

  Educational services are available at all institutions and are provided in partnership with a range of educational agencies including notably the ETBs and Public Library Services. The Department of Education and Skills provides an allocation of 220 whole-time teacher equivalents, a figure that has remained unchanged since 2007. Literacy, numeracy and general basic education provision is the priority and broad programmes of education are made available which generally follow an adult education approach.

  Expenditure under this heading covers the incidental day to day costs of running the education centres, including educational equipment purchase and repair, course resource materials and educational software. Teachers' salaries are funded by the Department of Education and Skills. The expenditure for library services comprises refund of librarian salaries and stock purchases to local library services.

Defence Forces Pension Provisions

 294. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the reason the monthly payment date for retired army personnel pension is being changed from the 20th of each month to the 30th over a five month period; and if he has given consideration to the affect this will have on bank transaction dates such as mortgage repayments and-or other direct debit payments and considering the age profile of many of these pensioners the paperwork and stress involved in changing these payment dates. [43152/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am advised that historically, Defence Forces pensions were paid at the end of each month in arrears and this is currently the case for those who have retired since March 2012. Payment of the pension ten days in advance on the 20th of the month was introduced some years ago to overcome banking and payroll operational restrictions. However, as a result of technology and business process improvements these restrictions no longer apply. There are underlying administrative costs, such as the costs arising from the early draw-down of funds, associated with paying Defence Forces pensions in advance on the 20th of the month. My Department fully appreciates that, in returning payment of all military pensions to the end of the month, a certain proportion of people may currently have financial, banking and bill-paying arrangements (such as standing orders, direct debits) organised around the 20th. Any inconvenience caused by this move is of course regretted, but there is an obligation on all public service bodies to reduce administrative costs to the greatest extent possible.

As part of the regular, ongoing interaction between my officials and the main military pensioner associations, this move was notified to them well in advance to get their feedback. I understand that they in turn informed their respective memberships. In that regard, the pensioner associations raised some concerns, including the timeframe for implementation of the move and the impact on banking and bill-paying transaction dates.

Insofar as the Department could, those concerns were taken on board. This included writing to all the pensioners concerned about the reasons for the move some eight weeks before the first scheduled date change on 22 November 2013, and phasing in the move over a period of six months. This is to give people sufficient time to make any necessary changes to their banking and other arrangements before the start of the move, should they wish to do so, and to ease in the change incrementally over a reasonable period. The move will be fully completed by end-April 2014. The December 2013 pension payment will be paid before the Christmas period.

Defence Forces Training

 295. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of standard ENCO courses under way nationwide; if it was necessary for all those participating in the courses to complete an application form; if specific candidates were encouraged by superior officers to undertake these courses; if there has been unexplained withdrawals from such courses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43186/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am advised by the military authorities that there are currently two Standard Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) courses being conducted by the Defence Forces. These are a Communications and Information Service (CIS) Standard NCO Course; and an Air Corps Standard NCO Course.

There are 5 students attending the CIS Standard NCO Course which commenced on 7 October and 18 students attending the Air Corps Standard NCO Course which commenced on 2 September. I am advised by the military authorities that there have been no unexplained withdrawals from either of the courses.

Defence Forces Training Courses are listed on an annual basis in the Defence Forces Annual Training and Education Directive. However, if a specific need is identified during the course of a particular year Training Courses, additional to those set out in the Defence Forces Annual Training and Education Directive, may be organised. Defence Forces Training Courses are advertised at Brigade/ Formation Level formally through Unit Routine Orders and by informal methods such as Electronic Notice Boards, Company Notice Boards etc. In addition, it would not be unusual for personnel who have good service records and have demonstrated leadership potential to be encouraged to submit an application to undertake courses by their Commanding Officer.

I am advised that selection for NCO courses is normally made following consideration by the military authorities of written applications by individual NCOs.

Seirbhís Cabhlaigh

 296. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cosanta Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter cén fáth nach bhfuil sé i gceist ainmneacha Gaeilge a thabhairt ar an dá long cabhlaigh nua atá le fáil ag an gcabhlacht an bhliain seo chugainn, ainneoin an traidisiúin fhada ag dul siar go bunú an Stáit gur i nGaeilge a ainmneofaí aon bhád a bhí i seilbh na bhFórsaí Cosanta agus go mór mór i bhfianaise na bhforálacha sa Straitéis Fiche Bliain don Gaeilge maidir le Gaeilge sna Fórsaí Cosanta; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [43591/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Mheas mé gur chóir an polasaí maidir le longa na Seirbhíse Cabhlaigh a ainmniú a scrúdú agus tháinig mé ar an tátal gur fearr a d’aithneodh ár Seirbhísí Cabhlaigh agus iad ag oibriú sa bhfearann muirí idirnáisiúnta - go háirithe agus iad ar cuairt chuig calafoirt coigríche - dá n-ainmneofaí iad i gcuimhne phearsana liteartha na hÉireann a bhfuil cáil orthu ar fud an domhain. Measaim freisin go mbeadh sé tráthúil anois an cur chuige traidisiúnta atá againn na longa a ainmniú i gcuimhne mhná miotaseolaíochta na hÉireann a athrú agus dul i mbun cur chuige a léireodh Éire nua-aimseartha agus uilechuimsitheach. Is é mo thuairim go gcruthaíonn na hainmneacha sin nasc ceannasach thar a bheith láidir idir an Stát agus an tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh agus go samhlófaí leo, sa bhaile agus thar lear, Éire agus Seirbhís Chabhlaigh níos nua-aimseartha.

Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

 297. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if an interdepartmental group has been established between different Government Departments regarding meeting the targets set down in Food Harvest 2020; the Departments that are involved in this group; the frequency with which the group meets; the progress that has been made on this to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43467/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Implementation of Food Harvest 2020 is driven and monitored by the High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC) which comprises senior executives from Bord Bia, Teagasc, BIM, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency and Forfas as well as departmental representation from my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Representatives from industry and from other departments, including Environment, Health, Enterprise, Heritage and Finance, frequently attend as determined by the issues being discussed. I chair these meeting which generally are scheduled on a bi-monthly basis.

The Food Harvest HLIC published its 3rd progress report, Milestones for Success 2013 in September which illustrates the excellent progress achieved to date. It provides numerous case studies on improving competitiveness, sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship in the sector as well as tracking progress against the three main growth targets. The Deputy might note that, by end 2012, the value of primary production has risen by 25% vis a vis the 33% projected target for 2020 , exports have achieved 13% of the 42% projected growth while value-added has increased by 20% (end 2011-latest data). Furthermore in early 2011, the HLIC set end-2013 and end-2015 milestones so that they could effectively benchmark 2020 progress at interim stages and this report shows that all 34 actions to be delivered by end 2013 have either already been achieved or are on target. For further information, a link to Milestones for Success 2013   is attached :

  http://ezone.agriculture.gov.ie/intranet/media/intranet/economicsandplanning/foodharvest2020/Milestones2013110913.pdf

Bovine Disease Controls

 298. 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 compensation available for calves from dairy herds with BVD; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43532/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme, the statutory basis for which is set out in S.I. 532 of 2012, requires that calves indicating an initial positive or inconclusive test for the BVD virus be removed from the herd. I have made compensation available to suckler cow farmers who have multiple cases of persistently infected (PI) calves in their herds in order to encourage the early disposal of these calves. The compensation scheme offers farmers €100 for the second and subsequent calves removed from suckler herds to a knackery with a date of death notified to my Department’s Animal Identification Movement System (AIM). The compensation is confined to suckler herds because the “payback period” in these herds is more than twice that of dairy herds: it is estimated that the benefit of the eradication of this disease to dairy farmers will exceed the cost involved after a period of 6 months.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Application Numbers

 299. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the total number of disadvantaged areas scheme applications from farmers in County Tipperary; the total number of these that have been paid to date; the reason for the delay in the remainder of the cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42983/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Payments under the 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme commenced, on schedule, on 25 September and, to date, payments worth €143.3 million have issued nationally, to some 67,538 applicants, with payments continuing to issue on a twice weekly basis, with individual cases being paid as they are confirmed eligible. The details in respect of payments which have issued to farmers in County Tipperary to date are set out in the table below.

  County Tipperary

Year Numbers applied Number paid Value of payments
2013 4,633 2,861 €5,978,456

Farm Inspections

 300. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will examine the legality and fairness of a farm inspection in County Tipperary in 2012 (details supplied) in view of the fact that the person was never notified of the inspection and was not present on the farm at the time of the inspection; if he will reconsider the penalties imposed arising from this inspection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42984/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In the context of delivering the Direct Payment Schemes my Department is required to carry out on-the-spot inspections on a number of farms covering such issues as eligibility under the Scheme, compliance with EU legislation in the areas of the environment, food safety, animal health and welfare and plant health and ensuring that the farm is maintained in good agricultural and environmental condition. These inspections are mandatory and there are certain minimum numbers and types of inspections that must take place annually.

Rules regarding the advance notification of inspections are clearly laid down in the governing EU regulations and must be adhered to by officials in my Department. In general, all inspections should be unannounced. However, the regulations allow my Department to give up to 14 days notice for land eligibility and cross-compliance inspections involving SMRs other than those related to animal identification and registration, food, feed, and animal welfare. For checks involving cattle identification and registration the maximum advance notice is 48 hours. For SMRs dealing with feed, food and animal welfare no advance notice may be given and these inspections must take place on an un-announced basis. Where it is considered that the purpose of any type of inspection may be jeopardised by giving notice, the inspection will take place on an un-announced basis. In determining the type of notice to be given for an inspection a number of factors are considered so as to ensure that the inspection process is not jeopardised.

These notification procedures are in accordance with those outlined in my Department’s Farmers’ Charter and Action Plan.

The person named was selected for a ground eligibility and cross compliance inspection in 2012 and having examined the 2012 application it was determined that the inspection should be un-announced. This is as permitted within both the EU governing legislation and my Department’s Farmers’ Charter and Action Plan.

The eligibility inspection involved the inspection of lands declared in counties Clare, Limerick, Roscommon and Tipperary. This inspection identified discrepancies between the area declared and area found, resulting in an intentional over-declaration in area of greater than 20%. Based on the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme this resulted in no payment in respect of the 2012 scheme and the application of an administrative fine to be offset against any future EU payments. The person named was notified of this decision on 19 November 2012.

The cross compliance inspection identified breaches relating to requirements applying to Special Areas of Conservation and sheep identification and registration requirements, resulting in a 5% penalty. The person named was notified of this decision on 19 November 2012.

The person named sought a review of both inspection decisions. As part of this review process the person named was afforded the opportunity to provide any new evidence and supporting documentation for consideration by the reviewing officer. The outcome of this review was to uphold the original inspection decisions and the person named was notified of this decision on 12 February 2013.

Following representations to the Department’s Quality Customer Service Unit, senior inspectorate officials met with the person named on 4th March 2013 to discuss the procedures and outcome of the inspections.

The person named has appealed the inspection decisions to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office. As part of the appeal process an oral hearing took place on 18 September 2013 where the person named was afforded the opportunity to seek clarification on any issues relating to how the inspections were carried out and their findings and also to present any additional information in support of the appeal. A decision by the Agriculture Appeals Office is pending and the person named will be notified of this decision in due course.

Road Improvement Schemes

 301. 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 if a decision has been made on an appeal of a decision on an application for a forest road grant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42988/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was notified of the refusal of his application under the Roads Scheme on 10 June 2013. My Department does not have any record of receipt of an appeal from him since that decision was issued.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara

 302. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason Bord Iascaigh Mhara is hiring new staff in Clonakilty at salaries of between €65,000 and €75,000, despite the fact that staff in Dún Laoghaire are already doing the work that is advertised in the vacancy.  [42991/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) is an independent statutory body and the matter referred to by the Deputy is an operational decision and is therefore a matter for BIM itself. I have forwarded the Deputy’s query to BIM for direct response.


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