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 Header Item Equality Issues
 Header Item Garda Operations
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2017: Messages from Select Committees
 Header Item Topical Issue Debate
 Header Item Industrial Disputes

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 939 No. 2

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Equality Issues

 18. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the status of her Department’s strategy to promote equality as per the terms of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7619/17]

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien This question refers to the Department's strategy to promote equality, as per the terms of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014.

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act that creates an obligation on a public body to have regard to the need to promote equality was something I dealt with in the Seanad. I accepted an amendment because I thought it would a very useful power for the Irish Human Rights and Quality Commission to possess. In conversations with the chair of the body, she confirmed that it is very useful legislation. The then Senator and now Minister, Deputy Zappone, introduced the amendment.

My Department undertook a consultation process on the development of a new statement of strategy, with a deadline of September 2016 for receipt of submissions. It was published on 14 February and its contents reflect the positive duty obligation. It provides a great opportunity for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Department. One can view the new women's strategy in that context. There is engagement with the community. I have attended some of the consultations on the development of the new women's strategy. The Minister of State, Deputy Finian McGrath, also has responsibility in this area and has pursued a number of initiatives in respect of disability.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien We submitted these questions last week. As the Minister said, she only published her strategy on 14 February. We have been somewhat busy for the past few days, as the Minister can imagine. I have not had a chance to read it.

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald We have been busy too.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I can imagine. When I read it, I will come back to the Minister with questions. The change in legislation and the positive promotion of equality is something everyone would welcome. I will read the strategy from the Department which was only published on Tuesday.

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald A number of other initiatives come under the positive duty to promote equality. Last week we launched the integration strategy which has been widely welcomed by groups working on integration around the country. It is important that we have a strong integration policy because if we do not we will build up problems for the future. It is a very comprehensive integration strategy.

I mentioned the women's consultation, which has been ongoing. There are a number of other initiatives relating to combating domestic and gender-based violence. The Deputy will be familiar with the campaign I have spoken about in the House. It is a €6 million campaign over five years to combat sexual and domestic violence. That comes under the Deputy's points on a positive duty to promote equality and deal with areas where there are very serious problems in Ireland.

  Question No. 19 replied to with Written Answers.

Garda Operations

 20. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the extent to which modern policing methods are used by An Garda Síochána in line with the best and most effective practice in other jurisdictions; the extent to which the use of motorcycles or quad units can be used for more intensive policing in both urban and rural areas as has happened in other jurisdictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7647/17]

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan This relates into the need to ensure that An Garda Síochána has access to the most modern technology, forensics and transport in order to be able to compete with best practice worldwide.

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald We had a discussion on the points the Deputy made. We need to make sure that An Garda Síochána is resourced in a way that enables it to conduct effective policing in line with the best policing methods. As the Deputy said, that includes more resources. In his question the Deputy has described what he thinks is needed.

There needs to be better use of mobile technology. We have put funding in place in order to make sure that happens. Over €205 million was agreed as a result of the working group. Significant resources have been made available. The Garda Commissioner is the person, in accordance with section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act, responsible for that.

The Deputy mentioned policing developments in other jurisdictions, including benefits arising from increased use of the types of vehicles he described. Similar developments here have become possible because of the tens of millions of euro we have invested over the past two or three years. The money was badly needed because investment in An Garda Síochána could not resume until the economy began to recover.

I assure the Deputy that we intend to ensure that we provide resources to the Garda so we can continue investment in the fleet, not just for traditional vehicles but also those that are suitable for the kind of work they are now doing throughout the country, including on motorways.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan I thank the Minister for her reply. I refer to the extent to which the use of modern transport such as quad bikes and mopeds can be encouraged in urban and rural areas in order, as has happened in other jurisdictions, to enhance activity and mobility.

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I will make a particular inquiry regarding what the Deputy has mentioned. The investment we have provided so far has been used to provide the Garda with additional high-powered vehicles, marked and unmarked patrol cars and motorcycles to ensure they can be mobile, visible and responsive. Some €46 million has been allocated under our capital plan for the Garda fleet for the next number of years.

We have also invested tens of millions of euro in the Garda fleet in recent years. That has been acknowledged around the country and has made a difference to the ability of gardaí to respond more efficiently and effectively in local areas. No more than the discussion around mobile technology and the need to move to modern policing methods, it is an essential part of where An Garda Síochána has to go if we are to provide effective and responsive policing.

Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.

Estimates for Public Services 2017: Messages from Select Committees

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach has completed its consideration of the following Estimates for Public Services for the service of the year ending 31 December 2017: Votes 1 to 6, inclusive. The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence has completed its consideration of the following Revised Estimates for Public Services for the service of the year ending 31 December 2017: Votes 27 and 28.

Topical Issue Debate

Industrial Disputes

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh As we know, Tesco workers began industrial action on Tuesday, which was St. Valentine's Day. It was not for the fun of it; rather, it was to ensure that their employer would honour the workers' terms and conditions.


Last Updated: 06/06/2018 13:51:51 First Page Previous Page Page of 74 Next Page Last Page