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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 490 - 510
 Header Item Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility
 Header Item Fire Stations Provision
 Header Item Fire Service
 Header Item Penalty Points System
 Header Item Departmental Banking
 Header Item State Bodies Establishment
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Asylum Support Services
 Header Item Garda Vetting Applications
 Header Item Garda Equipment
 Header Item Coroners Service
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Garda Juvenile Liaison Service
 Header Item Firearms Licences
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data
 Header Item Courts Staff
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Garda Equipment
 Header Item Legal Services Regulation

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 822 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 490 - 510

Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility

 490. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he will provide an update on the entitlement to social housing (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50785/13]

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 It is a matter for each housing authority to determine the eligibility of individual households for social housing support, in accordance with section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011 made thereunder. Regulation 22(1) of the 2011 Regulations provides that a household with alternative accommodation that would meet its housing need is ineligible for social housing support. Paragraph (2) of the Regulation clarifies that paragraph (1) does not operate to exclude from eligibility for social housing support an applicant who owns accommodation that is occupied by his or her spouse, from whom he or she is separated under a court order or deed of separation.

It is acknowledged however that individually difficult and complex cases may present to housing authorities and, as part of an on-going review of the 2011 Regulations, my Department is examining such scenarios and in particular whether specific provision is required in respect of separated persons applying for social housing support who own dwellings occupied by spouses from whom they are separated, but where no court order or deed of separation is in place.

Fire Stations Provision

 491. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if he has received an application from Galway County Council concerning the request for capital assistant to meet the cost of investing in a new fire station in the South Connemara region and whether, following receipt of an application, he is willing to consider the request in the context of capital expenditure. [50852/13]

 492. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan his views on the development of fire service provision in County Galway which has led to a situation where there is only one fire station in Connemara compared to seven serving the east of the county. [50853/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan I propose to take Questions Nos. 491 and 492 together.

  The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs, the provision of premises and the making of other such provisions as it considers necessary or desirable, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Act 1981 and 2003. My Department supports fire authorities through the setting of general policy and guidance, and the provision of capital funding, including the recoupment (within the overall funding available) of costs incurred by fire authorities in relation to the approved purchase of fire appliances and specialist emergency and communications equipment as well as construction and upgrading of fire stations.   

  In 2010, the Galway City and Western Environs Fire Review Group was established to consider the fire cover in Galway City and Western Environs (South Connemara), as well as the West Connemara Area. The Group comprised representatives of Galway City Council, Galway County Council, the Chief Fire Officer for Galway City and County, the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management and an external advisor from Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service. The Group used a Risk Based Approach which had regard to the Risk Categorisation process as set out in Keeping Communities Safe (KCS). KCS was adopted as national policy in February 2013 and is based on a risk management approach, which addresses the critical elements of fire prevention, protection and response. It sets out an integrated approach to fire safety and fire services in Ireland which is in keeping with best international practice.   

  The Group finalised its review in June 2013. Having considered three years of actual fire incident data, potential changes in demographics and the various potential fire station permutations throughout the Western Environs Area, the Group concluded that there is not a conclusive case for an additional fire station. The Group did recommend a series of Community Fire Safety measures to further enhance the safety from fire of residents of the Area. I understand that a report on this matter has been made to both the City and County Councils. Under Section 26 of the Fire Services Act 1981, decision-making in regard to, inter alia, the organisation of fire services and fire stations is a reserved function of fire authorities and I therefore have no function in such decisions.     

  No application for capital funding assistance has been received by my Department for a new fire station in South Connemara. In assessing applications my Department has regard to the overall budgetary situation, national priorities, the totality of requests from fire authorities countrywide, their priorities and the status of existing facilities, the extent of previous investment in fire services and the value for money offered by proposals.

Fire Service

 493. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan if it is his intention to provide a new round of funding for the procurement of fire service equipment, including vehicles, for local authorities across the country; and if he will provide a breakdown of the proposed capital investment of €3 million in fire and emergency services in budget 2014.  [50856/13]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs, the provision of premises and the making of other such provisions as it considers necessary or desirable, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Act 1981 and 2003. My Department supports fire authorities through the setting of general policy and guidance, and the provision of capital funding, including the recoupment (within the overall funding available) of costs incurred by fire authorities in relation to the approved purchase of fire appliances and specialist emergency and communications equipment as well as construction and upgrading of fire stations.

Given the current constraints on public finances, further support from my Department’s fire services capital programme will have regard to the budgetary situation, national priorities, the totality of requests from fire authorities countrywide, their priorities and the status of existing facilities, the extent of previous investment in fire services and the value for money offered by proposals. I envisage that proposed capital investment in the fire service for 2014, pending final approval of specific projects, will be under the following: fire station projects €4m, communications systems €2m and appliances and equipment €2m.

Penalty Points System

 494. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide details in tabular form by county of the number of penalty points issued to persons as a result of detection by the speed camera vans since their introduction; the amount of revenue that has been raised as a result; if all the revenue has been returned to the Exchequer; the amount of fines levied which is overdue by more than three months; the proportion of those detections that were made in 50,60,100 and 120 km/h zones; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50233/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

Departmental Banking

 495. Deputy Ciarán Lynch Information on Ciaran Lynch Zoom on Ciaran Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the value of services provided to the public by his Department and entities reporting to his Department where a payment is accepted by debit or credit card; the percentage of additional charge that is applied to such transactions under the merchant agreement; the total value of the additional charge in respect of debit and credit cards in 2012; if any portion of the additional charge accrued to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50138/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I do not have all the details for a complete reply within the timescale available but I will respond directly to the Deputy when the relevant information is available for any of the entities in receipt of payments by debit or credit card within my Department's Vote - Vote 24 - Department of Justice and Equality.

State Bodies Establishment

 496. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the reason for the delay in appointing a Criminal Injuries Appeals Board; the person he proposes to appoint to the board; the amount of appellants currently waiting to be heard; and the longest period any individual appellant has waited for their appeal to be heard.  [50196/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can inform the Deputy that under the terms of Paragraph 17 of the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted I am at present in the process of appointing a new Tribunal to administer the Scheme. As the Deputy may be aware I have recently appointed a Tribunal Chairperson, Mr. John Cheatle, B.L.

I understand from the Tribunal that there are at present 43 applications awaiting an appeal hearing. However, 23 applications cannot proceed at present as the Tribunal is awaiting the submission of further documentation from the applicants concerned. I am informed that the longest appeal case on hand with the Tribunal is from 4 February, 2002. In this particular case, the Tribunal has indicated that a hearing cannot proceed as additional information is awaited from the applicant’s solicitor. The Tribunal expects that the majority of the appeal cases currently on hands will be offered hearing dates during 2014.

Garda Deployment

 497. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of gardaí that were transferred by division to new divisions in 2010 to 2012, inclusive, and to date in 2013; the extent to which this occurred because of the Garda Commissioner’s policing plan; the extent to which it occurred because of changing demographics or crime trends; the difficulties in transferring gardaí between divisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50285/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have requested the detailed information sought by the Deputy from the Garda Commissioner and as soon as it is to hand I will pass it on to the Deputy.

Asylum Support Services

 498. 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 number of persons in direct provision for more than one year, for more than two years, for more than three years, for more than four years, for more than five years and for six years or more; the cost of direct provision in 2013; the estimated costs in 2014; his plans to shorten the average time to process claims to remain in the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50302/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) is responsible for the accommodation of persons under the system of direct provision while their applications for international protection are being processed. RIA itself has no function in determining whether someone should stay or not in its accommodation. Its function is to provide accommodation and ancillary services to those who have sought international protection and who otherwise have no means of supporting themselves.

  The specific statistics sought by the Deputy are in the table below. It should be noted that the overall length of time taken to process cases to their finality is determined not just by the length of time taken to process the cases by the independent refugee determination bodies and by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) but also by the time needed to determine the outcome of any consequential legal proceedings taken by the applicant.

  INIS has no desire to have applicants remain in the system any longer than the minimum period it takes to process their case. However, ultimately a balance has to be struck between maintaining the integrity of the State’s protection and immigration systems and the case put forward by the individual applicant all of which must be considered within the legal requirements and obligations. In the first instance requirements are set-down in primary and secondary legislation and these requirements are constantly evolving taking into account interpretation of the law by the Courts at both national and EU level.

  I acknowledge that the length of time that residents spend in Direct Provision is an issue to be addressed. An amended Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill, which I will introduce next year, should substantially simplify and streamline the existing arrangements for asylum, subsidiary protection and leave to remain applications. It will do this by making provision for the establishment of a single application procedure, so that applicants can be provided with a final decision on all aspects of their protection application in a more straightforward and timely fashion.

  Pending the enactment and commencement of the new legislation and with a view to improving processing, I recently signed into law a Statutory Instrument to introduce new procedures for the processing of subsidiary protection applications by the Offices of the Refugee Applications Commissioner at first instance and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Length of Time

in RIA Accommodation

(as at 1 November 2013)
Total Percentage
0-3 months 242 5%
3-6 months 178 4%
6-9 months 160 4%
9-12 months 208 5%
12-18 months 273 6%
18-24 months 312 7%
2-3 years 402 9%
3-4 years 468 10%
4-5 years 545 12%
5-6 years 602 14%
6-7 years 485 11%
7 + years 583 13%
Total 4,458 100%


  There are some caveats in relation to the table above. Firstly, protection applicants are not required to live in RIA accommodation and in many cases may move in and out of the direct provision system as their circumstances change. In this table, up to and including 2010 duration of stay was calculated by reference to the time that had elapsed since residents first made an application for international protection. It does not necessarily mean that those persons have lived in RIA accommodation for all of that period. Arising from the creation of a new database which allows for more detailed information, since 2011 duration of stay is calculated from the date of the latest entry into RIA accommodation, rather than from the initial protection application. It does not include past time spent by residents who left the system for a period and subsequently sought and were granted re-access to the system.

  The budgetary provision for RIA in 2013 is €57.5m and that will reduce to €51.9m for 2014. Detailed breakdowns of yearly expenditure for the years 2007 to 2012 inclusive are given in the Annual Reports for those years as published on the RIA website - www.ria.gov.ie.

Garda Vetting Applications

 499. 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 when Garda vetting clearance will be provided in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50359/13]

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 Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) has no application for vetting on hand in respect of the person to whom the Deputy refers. In the circumstances I can only suggest that the person contacts the registered organisation involved. A previous vetting application in respect of the person to whom the Deputy refers was processed by the GCVU and a response was returned to the registered organisation involved in April 2010.

Garda Equipment

 500. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if persons whose information is on PULSE are given a criminal intelligence number. [50360/13]

 501. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the age of the youngest person with a criminal intelligence number on the PULSE system. [50361/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 500 and 501 together.

The management of the PULSE system is an operational matter which is undertaken by the Garda Commissioner. I have been informed by the Garda authorities that persons recorded on PULSE are not assigned criminal intelligence numbers. In addition I understand that each person recorded on the system is assigned a unique reference known as a Person PULSE Identification Number and, as I have previously informed the Deputy, a person of any age may be recorded - for example as a victim of a crime.

Coroners Service

 502. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when a revised version of the Coroner's Bill 2007 will be presented to Dáil Éireann.  [50362/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I would refer the Deputy to the reply I gave to Parliamentary Question No. 516 of 1 October, 2013. The Coroners Bill 2007 is before the Seanad having been restored to the Order Paper on my initiative.

The Bill, as published, provides for the comprehensive reform of the existing legislation and structures relating to coroners and provides for the establishment of a new Coroner Service. The Bill incorporates many of the recommendations made by the Coroners Review Group in 2000 and the Coroners Rules Committee in 2003. It will permit the State to better provide for the fulfilment of its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and, in particular, in regard to the Article 2 requirement to ensure an effective investigation of deaths of persons where the circumstances of the death may involve the State.

The Bill is in the course of being reviewed within my Department and while it would be my wish to be in a position to progress this important Bill, it is not possible to indicate with any certainty at this point the likely timetable in that regard.

Residency Permits

 503. 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 residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50521/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The question of residency status in the case of the person whose details were supplied does not arise at this time. Should the option to apply for permission to remain in the State arise in the future the person concerned will be advised accordingly.

Garda Juvenile Liaison Service

 504. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of Garda juvenile liaison officers in each county to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [50532/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions and Districts, the various Garda national units and of course Garda Headquarters. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.

  I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the number of Juvenile Liaison Officers attached to each Division on 31 October 2013, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as set out in the table.

Division JLO
D.M.R. SC 6
D.M.R. NC 4
D.M.R. North 12
D.M.R. East 6
D.M.R. South 10
D.M.R. West 11
Waterford 4
Wexford 3
Tipperary 3
Kilkenny/Carlow 2
Cork City 7
Cork North 3
Cork West 2
Kerry 4
Limerick 6
Donegal 3
Cavan/Monaghan 2
Sligo/Leitrim 2
Louth 3
Clare 2
Mayo 2
Galway 4
Roscommon/Longford 2
Westmeath 2
Meath 3
Kildare 3
Laois/Offaly 2
Wicklow 4
Total 117

Firearms Licences

 505. 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 his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the approval for use of silencers on rifles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50541/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Under Section 7 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990, a silencer for a non-restricted rifle must be authorised by a Superintendent of An Garda Síochána of the District in which the applicant resides. The Superintendent must be satisfied that granting such an application will not endanger public safety or the peace and that the applicant has a special need that is, in the opinion of the Superintendent, sufficient to justify the granting of an authorisation for a silencer.

A decision to grant or refuse an authorisation for a silencer rests solely with the Superintendent of the District where the applicant resides, and for each application a Superintendent can take account of a broad range of factors. The Garda Commissioner's Guidelines as to the Practical Application and Operation of the Firearms Acts, available on the website www.garda.ie, provides guidance on the issue. As a decision maker under the Firearms Acts, a Superintendent is independent in the carrying out of his functions, and I as Minister have no role in the decision making process.

Departmental Bodies Data

 506. Deputy Shane Ross Information on Shane P.N. Ross Zoom on Shane P.N. Ross asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of quangos operating under the aegis of his Department; the total number of directors sitting on their boards; the aggregate fees incurred by the State in paying the remuneration of directors of these quangos; the number of quangos that have been created since the formation of the Government; the number that have been disbanded over the period; the projected cost to the taxpayer of the establishment and operation of these new quangos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50556/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I presume that the Deputy is referring to Government agencies falling under the remit of my Department. The term "quango" is an acronym which stands for "quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations". No non-governmental organisations fall under the remit of my Department.

  In the context of the Deputy's question, State Agencies is taken to refer to statutory independent bodies which have a governance oversight responsibility for an organisation. In this regard I have detailed below the sixteen agencies under my remit.

  - An Garda Síochána

  - Courts Service

  - Equality Authority and Human Rights Commission (to be merged)

  - Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

  - Irish Film Classification Office

  - Insolvency Service of Ireland

  - Legal Aid Board

  - Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board

  - National Disability Authority

  - Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

  - Office of the Inspector of Prisons

  - Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner

  - Private Security Authority

  - Property Registration Authority (to be merged with the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) and Valuation Office)

  - Property Services Regulatory Authority

  - Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Of these the following are agencies which have Boards.

Agencies with Board Number of Board Members (including Chairperson where applicable) Aggregate Members Fees/Salary*

(€)
Courts Service 17 59,850
Equality Authority and Human Rights Commission (to be merged) ** **
Legal Aid Board 13 88,920
Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board 4 Chairperson - salary 75,000

Members - per case 250
National Disability Authority 13 68,828
Private Security Authority 11 58,140
Property Registration Authority (to be merged with the OSI and Valuation Office) 11 116,280
Property Services Regulatory Authority 11 62,843


  *The Deputy should note that the above information concerning board members fees has been provided on the basis of full membership (i.e. no vacancies) in a year and that all members, other than civil/public servants who by legislation are required to be members of the boards, were paid.   

  Since the current Government took office the following agencies under the remit of my Department were established:

  - Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA)

  - Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI)

  The PSRA and the ISI were allocated budget estimates for 2013 of €848,000 and €7,398,000, respectively.

  No agency under the remit of my Department was disbanded since March 2011.

  **The fourteen outgoing board members of the Equality Authority accepted reappointment in September 2011 for a further term which concluded at the end of July 2012, and therefore the issues of selection did not arise. The Deputy will be aware that the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority are in the process of merging to form a new enhanced Irish Human Rights and Equality Authority Commission (IHREC) to promote human rights and equality issues in a more efficient, effective and coherent way. The Working Group that I established to advise me on the practical issues in relation to the establishment of a new Commission in its Report of April 2012 recommended that an independent Selection Panel be set up for the purpose of appointing the new members. This is in line with a fundamental requirement of the Paris Principles that the members of the IHREC be independent and that the selection process be independent of Government.

  In November 2012 advertisements inviting expressions of interest for the position of Chief Commissioner and of "ordinary" member appeared in the media. The independent panel forwarded its recommendations of 14 names in March 2013. While the persons recommended cannot be appointed to the IHREC in advance of the required legislation being enacted and commenced, the Government has appointed the 14 individuals as members of the Human Rights Commission and subsequently they will be appointed as members of the IHREC when the legislation is enacted, on a 3 year or 5 year basis to ensure that the term of office of all members of the new Commission will not come to an end at the same time so as to preserve institutional continuity.    On 31 May 2013, I appointed 12 of their number to the board of the Equality Authority, under the Employment Equality Act 1998, as amended, on an interim basis of 3 years, but which will otherwise expire when the Bill to establish the IHREC is enacted and commenced and the two bodies are dissolved.

  A single fee of €7,695 is payable to the 14 members designate of the IHREC, in respect of both organisations. The annual fee for the vacant position of Chief Commissioner designate is €125,761.

Courts Staff

 507. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of court messengers appointed in the counties of Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and Kildare; the names and dates of their appointments and the salaries paid to them in the current year.  [50593/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy will be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions. The County Registrar is supported in the execution of the function of Sheriff by court messengers who are members of staff of the Courts Service.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have made enquiries and the Courts Service informs me there is one court messenger in Meath who was appointed on 7 December 1988, one court messenger in Wicklow who was appointed on 16 July 1984 and one court messenger in Kildare who was appointed on 6 September 1982. The salary scale for the grade is €21,620 to €32,220. The Courts Service has advised that in compliance with data protection legislation the names of the individual officers are not being provided. There are no court messengers in Dublin as the Sheriff's function in Dublin is not within the responsibility of the County Registrar for Dublin or the Courts Service. The Dublin City and Dublin County Sheriffs are solely responsible for managing the staffing levels and staff functions of their offices.

Visa Applications

 508. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the options available to a person who is a Turkish national who is currently resident here and who wishes to commence a visa application accordingly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50649/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter In the absence of clear details it is not possible to respond to the Deputy in detail. However, if the person concerned is lawfully resident in the State he /she may make an application for a re-entry visa in the normal way by applying to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, Visa Division, 13/14 Burgh Quay Dublin 2, either in person or by post.

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.

Garda Equipment

 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 provide in tabular form the amount of money spent per annum on rental costs for electronic and other speeding signs and information used by the Garda from 2008 to date in 2013 in total and broken down district by district.  [50651/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that, in order to provide the public with information in relation to incidents, major events, traffic management and road safety, An Garda Síochána makes use of messaging systems operated by the National Roads Authority and by local authorities. I am further informed that this service is provided free of charge to An Garda Síochána.

Legal Services Regulation

 510. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the background to the inclusion of sections 14, 15, 16 and 17 in the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50711/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As set out in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Legal Services Regulation Bill, sections 14, 15, 16 and 17 of the Bill relate to the disclosure of interests by members of the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority; a prohibition on the disclosure of confidential information without the consent of the Authority; the preparation and submission of strategic plans; the submission of annual and other reports by the Authority, respectively. These are, in essence, standard governance provisions for a modern statutory body. They are being applied to ensure that the relevant standards relating to conflicts of interests, the handling of confidential information, proper business planning and implementation, are met by the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority in a publicly accountable and transparent manner.

During the opening session of Committee Stage of the Bill on 17th July, I had started, as previously announced, to introduce a series of amendments that are intended to augment the independence of the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority by removing any extraneous pro-forma ministerial consents. I will be bringing forward similar amendments to sections 16 and 17 of the Bill whereby approval of the new Authority's strategic plans shall be by reference to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. These plans and the annual or other reports to be made by the Authority will be laid before the Houses without requiring ministerial approval.

I am also considering a number of concerns that have been raised in submissions about the confidentiality implications of the current provisions in sections 15 and 17 of the Bill and I may, therefore, have amendments to bring forward at a later stage in this regard. The overall intent of the provisions that have been raised by the Deputy is to ensure that appropriate governance, information disclosure and reporting standards will be met by the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority in the independent discharge of its functions.


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