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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 255 - 269
 Header Item Private Security Authority Remit
 Header Item Gambling Legislation
 Header Item Crime Prevention
 Header Item Crime Prevention
 Header Item Garda Reserve
 Header Item Garda Transport Data
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Freedom of Information Requests
 Header Item Bankruptcy Applications
 Header Item Garda Vetting Applications
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 825 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 255 - 269

Private Security Authority Remit

 255. 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 if he will respond to the following (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54877/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Private Security Authority (PSA), established under the Private Security Services Act 2004, as amended, is the regulatory body with responsibility for regulating and licensing the private security industry in the State. The Authority is an independent agency under the remit of my Department and my Department has no role in the exercise of those functions.

  The vetting of applicants is one element of the licensing process. In the case of contractor licensing, all directors of a company, the partners in a partnership, all sole traders and any shareholder in a company with a shareholding of 5% or more are vetted, on the PSA's behalf, by An Garda Síochána. All applicants for individual licences are also subject to the vetting process.

  The PSA has also published Fit and Proper guidelines which the PSA considers when deciding whether to grant a licence to a person with a relevant conviction.

  When deciding on an application lodged by a person with a conviction the PSA takes the following into account:

  - nature and seriousness of the offence(s) involved

  - the length of time since completion of sentence

  - overall interests of the public good

  - relationship of the crime to the purpose of requiring a licence

  - age of person before and after the offence

  - conduct of person before and after the offence

  - evidence of rehabilitation

  The PSA, while using the guidelines to assist them in making a decision, is not bound by these guidelines and has the discretion to decide, where it deems the conviction(s) renders an applicant unsuitable to hold a licence, to refuse an application.

  The PSA continually monitors and reviews vetting cases against the fit and proper guidelines to ensure that the guidelines remain relevant and fit for purpose.

Gambling Legislation

 256. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if his attention has been drawn to the potential illegal activities of some gambling operators offering gambling services online in circumstances where they have been found to be breaching existing gambling control laws in other jurisdictions, such as Australia; the measures that will be put in place in the Gambling Control Bill to tackle potential breaches of gambling control laws in this jurisdiction, particularly those perpetrated by online operators; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54945/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter While I am unable to comment on activities by on-line gambling operators in other jurisdictions, I can assure the Deputy that I am aware that the regulation of on-line operators, especially unlicensed on-line operators presents particular difficulties. I will therefore be including two particular measures in the forthcoming Gambling Control Bill that are targeted at this particular issue. These measures are in addition to a comprehensive set of new measures applicable to all operators.

The first of the additional measures provides the basis for enhanced cooperation arrangements at the international level between regulators. These arrangements will facilitate contacts and exchanges of information between our authorities and their counterparts abroad, thereby making it very difficult for those operators trying to avoid detection.

I am also proposing that the regulator may apply for Court orders to prevent, disrupt or obstruct receipt of the unlicensed service; these orders will result in what is commonly referred to as "blocking" of the website. Orders may also restrict publicity, including advertising that refers in any way to the service, as well as prohibiting banks from executing financial transactions with the unlicensed operator.

I believe these measures will be effective but I am prepared to consider additional measures if they can be shown to add to the controls on these sites.

Crime Prevention

 257. 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 his plans for dealing with the increase in armed robberies in Dublin; his views on the recent robbery in Howth (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54949/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that local Garda management are aware of the incident referred to by the Deputy. A dedicated investigation team has been assigned to investigate this incident and all lines of inquiry are being pursued. I am advised that Gardaí are maintaining contact with the injured parties to keep them informed of progress.

  Local Garda units, plain clothes and uniform, regularly patrol the area concerned, augmented by other Divisional resources. These local units are supported by Garda National Units as the need arises in the investigation of serious criminal offences, including armed crime.   Local Garda resources are supported as required with a round-the-clock armed response from specialist units.   

  While I appreciate the Deputy's concern about the type of crime referred to, I should point out that the latest crime statistics, published today by the Central Statistics Office, show that the rate of burglary has decreased by 10.4% nationally for the twelve months ending 31 October 2013 and this underlines the impact being made by Gardaí under Operation Fiacla. As part of the measures which are coordinated under Operation Fiacla, Operation Acer is in force throughout the Dublin Metropolitan Region. It is an intelligence driven operation and includes analysis led checkpoints and patrols to target specific areas and case manage targeted offenders. These arrangements are kept under review to ensure adjustments are made to maintain the effective focus of the operation.

  These initiatives operate alongside ongoing community policing measures, including problem solving with the community and providing crime prevention advice and assistance to victims of burglary.

  In conclusion, I am assured that local Garda Management closely monitors the allocation of all resources in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in the area to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources, and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.

Crime Prevention

 258. 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 if he is satisfied that the current laws are sufficient to deal with the offence of shoplifting; his plans to update the law in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54951/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 covers a range of offences including that of theft. Amendments to criminal legislation are considered in the light of the experience of the Garda Síochána and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in operating the legislation and in light of relevant court rulings. While neither the Garda Commissioner nor the Director of Public Prosecutions has suggested any amendments to the law relating to shoplifting, were they to do so, I would give them very positive consideration.

Garda Reserve

 259. 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 his views on the number of Garda reserves in the force; the total cost of these reserves over the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54960/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will be aware that the moratorium on Public Service Recruitment does not apply to the Garda Reserve and recruitment to it is ongoing. As recently as 12 December, 93 Reserve members graduated in Templemore bringing the total number of Garda Reserves to approximately 1,200, with an additional 90 in training.

The table sets out the annual expenditure incurred under the Garda Reserve Subhead of the Garda Vote from 2008 to 2012.

Subhead Description
2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total

Garda Reserve Force
343,386
522,633
874,322
779,971
883,996
3,404,308
I would like to assure the House that the Commissioner and Government are fully committed to the continued development of the Garda Reserve. I would also like to put on record my appreciation to the members of the Garda Reserve for their spirit of volunteerism and the services they provide to communities everywhere.

Garda Transport Data

 260. 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 number of Garda motorcycles that have been off the road this year due to a lack of maintenance; the average length of time it is taking to repair a motorcycle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54978/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Arrangements in relation to the operation and maintenance of Garda transport are a matter for the Garda Commissioner. I am advised by the Garda authorities that all Garda motorcycles are maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. In that context, Garda motorcycles may be withdrawn from service from time to time for a variety of reasons, including routine servicing and mechanical or accident repair. I am further informed by the Garda authorities that the information sought by the Deputy is not readily available. In addition, I understand that its compilation would require a disproportionate amount of Garda time.

Garda Investigations

 261. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if there have been any recent developments in the investigation into the Belturbet bombings in 1972 which caused the deaths of two young persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [54989/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The bombing in Belturbet on 28 December 1972 was a savage atrocity which claimed the lives of two innocent young people, Geraldine O’Reilly and Patrick Stanley, and callously bereaved their families.

The local Gardaí carried out a thorough investigation into the bombing at the time, assisted by experts from Garda Headquarters and from the Army. The Garda authorities have indicated to me that the investigation carried out would have been conducted in accordance with normal procedures in place at that time and that there was also liaison with the authorities in Northern Ireland. There was, unfortunately, no evidence to allow the perpetrators of this atrocity to be brought before the Courts, although every available avenue of enquiry was pursued at the time.

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that the investigation into these murders remains open and should any new evidence emerge from any source, it will be actively pursued by An Garda Síochána. The Garda Divisional Officer met recently with representatives from the families and they are being kept informed of progress.

Freedom of Information Requests

 262. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of Freedom of Information requests received by his Department in 2012 and to date in 2013; the number of requests for which a search and retrieval fee was sought; the maximum fee sought by his Department in respect of a request received; the number of requests not proceeded following the non payment of the search and retrieval fee sought; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [55005/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the tables.

2012

Total FOI requests 594
Number of requests for which a search and retrieval fee was sought 27
Maximum fee sought €4965
Number of requests not proceeded following the non payment of the search and retrieval fee sought 10


2013 (to 17 December 2013)
Total FOI requests 541
Number of requests for which a search and retrieval fee was sought 12
Maximum fee sought €1425
Number of requests not proceeded following the non payment of the search and retrieval fee sought 2

Bankruptcy Applications

 263. 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 his views on the number of persons that have applied for bankruptcy to date; the numbers projected to avail of the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55011/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter When I commenced the reform of the bankruptcy legislation on 3 December 2013, there was a total of 189 persons who has been adjudicated bankrupt by the Court. Of that number, 73 persons have been in bankruptcy three years or more. Such persons will now be eligible for automatic discharge six months from commencement date, on completion of the initial transition period contained in Section 157 of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. This provision allows time for an objection to discharge to be entered by the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy or a creditor where they consider such is warranted.

The number of persons adjudicated bankrupt during 2013 is fifty eight (58).

I am advised that this calendar year, seventeen (17) people were made bankrupt on their own application. Five (5) of these self-adjudications were made following the recent amendments to the bankruptcy regime, namely the reduction in the bankruptcy term from 12 years to 3.

Given the reduced term, I anticipate that there will be a significant increase in the number of bankruptcy applications. A tentative estimate of the numbers expected to avail of bankruptcy over the next 12 months is 3,000.

Garda Vetting Applications

 264. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if his Department has received a Garda vetting application in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; when the person can expect a response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55019/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that a vetting application was received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit on behalf of the person to whom the Deputy refers. On 3 September 2013 the application was returned to the registered organisation as it was incomplete. Once a completed application is received by the Vetting Unit it will be processed accordingly.

Citizenship Applications

 265. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if a person born outside of Ireland whose grandfather was born in Ireland and parent was born outside of Ireland but received Irish citizenship after this person was born, would be entitled to Irish citizenship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55020/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned, having been born outside of Ireland to parents who were born outside Ireland but whose grandparent was born in Ireland, may apply for Foreign Births Registration. The application form is available on the Department of Foreign Affairs website www.dfa.ie and must be forwarded with required supporting documentation to the Irish Diplomatic and Consular Mission nearest to where the applicant normally resides.

Naturalisation Applications

 266. 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 present residency status and the extent to which application for naturalisation has been progressed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin whose parents are Irish citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55050/13]

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 a valid application for a certificate of naturalisation has been received from the person referred to by the Deputy.

  The application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation 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.

Naturalisation Applications

 267. 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 present residency status and the potential eligibility to apply for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55051/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the person concerned had her application granted and was presented with a Certificate of Naturalisation at a citizenship ceremony held at the Convention Centre, Dublin on 21 October 2013.

  Queries in relation to general immigration matters may be made directly to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (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.   

Naturalisation Applications

 268. 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 and potential eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55052/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned is a sibling of an Irish born citizen child of non-EEA parents, born in the State prior to 1 January, 2005, whose parents were granted temporary permission to remain in the State on 2 March, 2006, under the revised arrangements for the non-EEA national parents of children born in Ireland prior to January, 2005, commonly known as the IBC/05 Scheme.

  The person concerned was granted temporary permission to remain in 2008, under stamp 2A conditions, by her local Immigration Officer, without recourse to my Department. The person concerned was subsequently granted permission to remain, by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department, on 16 October, 2009, under stamp 4 conditions, in line with that granted to her parents. I am informed that the person concerned has had her permission to remain renewed by the INIS for a further period, valid until 13 December, 2014.

  An application for a certificate of naturalisation has 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. A letter has issued to the person concerned, via their solicitor, on 25 October 2013 requesting certain information. Upon receipt of this information the case will be submitted to me for decision.

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

Naturalisation Applications

 269. 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 and potential eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55053/13]

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 his 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 April, 2010, that the then Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He 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 him. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for subsidiary protection.

The person concerned submitted an application for subsidiary protection and, in this regard, 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.

When consideration of the subsidiary protection 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.

Given that the person concerned has no current right of residency in the State, the Deputy will appreciate that the issue of an application for a Certificate of Naturalisation does not arise at this time.

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.


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