Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Garda Deployment (Continued)
 Header Item Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil
 Header Item Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018 [Seanad]: Second Stage

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 979 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 88 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Charlie McConalogue: Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue] That is why we are seeing pressure on policing, particularly on community policing. The communities of Rathmullan, Kerrykeel, Carrigart, Kilmacrennan and Ramelton deserve to have Garda members based in the area and working in the stations there. Unfortunately, we have seen from the Government the closure of Churchill Garda station, the reduction of Ramelton Garda station's complement from four to zero and proposals today to pull gardaí from Kilmacrennan, Kerrykeel and Rathmullan to central headquarters. Working with the Garda Commissioner, the Minister of State must look at this issue very seriously and address it. This must be done by putting additional resources into the county and ensuring that Donegal has enough uniformed personnel on the ground. Members of the Garda based in those stations, whose presence in the community is valued so much, must not be pulled away from them because of the Government's inaction.

Deputy David Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton As it probably was not heard the first time, I wish to stress again that the deployment of Garda resources, including personnel, to specific areas is solely the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner and his management team. It is very important that colleagues understand this. The Minister has no role whatsoever in interfering with that. As already alluded to, community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána, as it is recognised that every community, urban or rural, has its own concerns and expectations. All members of the Garda have a role to play in community policing while carrying out their duties. This is particularly true in rural areas such as Milford, where local gardaí are strongly connected to the community. Over the past few years unprecedented resources have been made available to the Commissioner. They are now coming on stream across all Garda divisions, including the Donegal division and Milford district. To conclude, I assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to ensuring that the Commissioner and his management team have the resources necessary to deliver a modern policing service to communities throughout the country, including Milford Garda district. I repeat, they and not the Minister are responsible for the allocation of resources. I thank the Deputy for raising this important issue this evening and bringing it to the attention of the House.

Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I understand the Government Chief Whip has a business proposal to put to the House arising out of this morning's debate on the Order of Business.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Seán Kyne): Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders or the Order of Business of today, that the Dáil shall sit later than 10.15 p.m. tomorrow and shall adjourn not later than 11.15 p.m., that a statement by the Minister for Health, followed by questions and answers, shall be taken immediately following Private Members' business and that the following arrangements shall apply: the opening statement, questions and answers and the Minister's reply shall conclude within one hour and 20 minutes; the Minister shall make an opening statement and a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes each; and following the Minister's opening statement each party and group in Opposition shall have ten minutes for alternating questions and answers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the proposal agreed? Agreed.

Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018 [Seanad]: Second Stage

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I am delighted to introduce the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018 to the House today on behalf of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, following its passage through the Seanad last month. The Bill is the last legislative action required to enable Ireland to ratify the Istanbul Convention on combatting violence against women and domestic violence, and as such received cross-party support in the Upper House. The main aim of the convention is to protect women against all forms of violence and prevent, prosecute and eliminate violence against women and domestic violence. The convention also aims to ensure the design of a comprehensive framework of policies and measures for the protection of and assistance to all victims of such violence. The Bill will create extraterritorial jurisdiction over violent offences committed by Irish citizens or residents abroad.

Deputies will agree that violence against women and domestic violence should not be tolerated in a modern society. However, in a pan-European Eurobarometer survey on perceptions, attitudes and awareness of gender-based violence published in November 2016, 77% of the Irish sample regarded domestic violence against women as either "fairly" or "very" common in Ireland. This is an issue that needs to be tackled on all fronts through awareness-raising, education and tough criminal penalties where appropriate. This is why the Istanbul Convention is important. It is a significant legal instrument in the fight against domestic and sexual violence. The Government agreed at the time of the signing of the Istanbul Convention to an action plan that contained outstanding legislative and administrative actions identified as necessary to enable Ireland’s ratification of the convention. Those actions were incorporated into the second national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, which was published in January 2016. Significant work has been done on those actions to date. The Domestic Violence Act 2018, enacted on 8 May, addresses all aspects of domestic violence, threatened violence and intimidation in a manner that provides protection to victims. That Act was fully commenced on 2 January this year. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 was enacted on 22 February 2017 and introduced a statutory definition of consent to a sexual act. It also addressed a number of evidential issues to protect child and adult victims of sexual assault from any additional trauma arising from the criminal process. Finally the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017 was enacted on 5 November 2017, providing for a wide range of measures to protect and inform victims during the progress of their case through the criminal justice system.

Under the Istanbul Convention, Ireland is required to make provision for extraterritorial jurisdiction over convention offences. While there are already some provisions on the Statute Book with respect to murder, manslaughter and some sexual offences, this Bill is necessary to fully extend extraterritorial jurisdiction to all convention offences. This short Bill is a priority piece of legislation for the Government. It complements other recently enacted laws I have already mentioned, which have also given effect to our obligations under the Istanbul Convention. Deputies should note that the provisions of the Bill do not just apply to situations where the victim of a crime is a woman or a victim of domestic violence. While the primary aim of the convention is to tackle violence in these circumstances, this Bill does not limit the scope of extraterritorial jurisdiction in this manner. For equality reasons, the offences under this Bill will apply equally to women and men.

Turning now to the detail of the Bill, I would like to outline its key provisions. Section 1 defines the key terms used in the Bill, the most notable being the term "relevant offence", which is used in the offences created under section 3. A relevant offence under the Bill is defined as assault causing harm, assault causing serious harm, threats to kill or cause serious harm, coercion and harassment under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997; sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault under the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990; rape; or rape under section 4 of the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990. Another key definition is “Convention State”, which is defined as a state other than Ireland that is a party to the Istanbul Convention. Only acts committed in another convention state are covered by the Bill, with the exception of murder and manslaughter, which already have limited worldwide jurisdiction.

Section 2 is a technical section, aimed at excluding the provisions of the Bill where section 3 of the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act 1976 applies. This Act deals with certain offences committed in Northern Ireland. The provision is necessary to avoid confusion as to the basis for claiming jurisdiction over an offence committed in Northern Ireland.

Section 3 sets out the offences under the Bill and various provisions relating to double jeopardy and proof of citizenship or residency, as the case may be. Subsection (1) provides that it is an offence for any person to commit a relevant offence on board an Irish ship or on an aircraft registered in the State. Subsection (2) provides that it is an offence for any person to aid, abet, counsel or procure another person to commit a relevant offence on board an Irish ship, on an aircraft registered in the State or in a convention state. The aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring must take place in the State, on board an Irish ship or on an aircraft registered in the State. Subsection (3) provides that it is an offence for an Irish citizen or resident to commit a relevant offence in a convention state, with a requirement that the offence must also be an offence in the place it occurs. Subsection (4) provides that it is an offence for an Irish citizen or resident to aid, abet, counsel or procure another person to commit a relevant offence in a convention state. The aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring must take place in a convention state, with a requirement that it must also be an offence in the place it occurs. Subsection (5) provides that it is an offence for a person who is ordinarily resident in the State to commit murder or manslaughter in any place outside the State. Murder and manslaughter committed by Irish citizens outside the State is covered already by section 9 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Subsection (6) provides that it is an offence for a person to aid, abet, counsel or procure another person to commit murder or manslaughter in a place outside the State. The aiding, abetting counselling or procuring must take place in the State, on board an Irish ship or on an aircraft registered in the State. Where the person who aids, abets, counsels or procures another to commit murder is an Irish citizen or resident, the aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring can take place outside the State. Subsections (7) to (12), inclusive, relate to procedural and evidential matters such as the place that proceedings may be brought, evidence relating to proof of citizenship or residency and double jeopardy.


Last Updated: 10/07/2020 13:25:46 First Page Previous Page Page of 88 Next Page Last Page