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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 194-202
 Header Item Personal Insolvency Act
 Header Item Equality Issues
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Garda Vetting of Personnel
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Garda Remuneration
 Header Item Recognition of Foreign Divorces

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 800 No. 4

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Written Answers Nos. 194-202

Personal Insolvency Act

 194. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the annual revenues that will be generated by the new personal insolvency sector being established to deal with the mechanisms in the Personal Insolvency Act 2012. [19351/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Section 20 of the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 deals with the fees chargeable by the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI). Application fees for the three personal insolvency arrangements have yet to be determined by the ISI. Therefore, at the present time it is not possible to indicate what revenue may be generated by the Service in this regard. The ISI will also generate revenue from application fees which will be charged to persons wishing to become Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs). However, at this stage it cannot be estimated how many persons will apply for that role and how many will actually be authorised to practice.

Under the Personal Insolvency Act 2012, Approved Intermediaries cannot charge a debtor a fee in connection with Debt Relief Notice applications. In the case of processing Debt Settlement Arrangements (DSAs) and Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs) it will be the role of the PIP to negotiate their fees on a case by case basis. PIPs fees will be subject to creditors approval and will be paid from the debtor's contribution to the arrangement. I am advised by the ISI that it is not possible at the present time to indicate with accuracy what revenue may be generated by this business sector.

Equality Issues

 195. 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 query regarding the Employment Equality Act (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19179/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The issue here is addressed in the Programme for Government. The two Ministers centrally concerned, the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Quinn and myself, as the Minister for Justice and Equality, are committed to finding a solution which provides for an appropriate balance of competing fundamental rights that is constitutionally sound. I consider that an extensive consultative process and formal assessment of the options should be undertaken and it is my intention to ask the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commissioners to examine the issue as a priority and to report on their views and recommendations. I am committed to bringing forward Government proposals on this issue once this consultation process is completed.

Residency Permits

 196. 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 progress made to date in determination of eligibility for long term residency/naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19192/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The person concerned has been granted permission to remain in the State for the period to 27th March, 2015. This decision was conveyed in writing to the person concerned by letter dated 27th March, 2013. It will be open to the person concerned to apply to the Citizenship Section of my Department for a Certificate of Naturalisation when he is in a position to meet the lawful residency criteria applicable to the lodgement of such applications. Details on the criteria to be met by persons lodging such applications are available from my Department's Website (www.justice.ie). Given that the person concerned has no history of employment in the State under Work Permit or Work Authorisation conditions, the issue of an application for the immigration status of Long Term Residency would not arise.

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 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.

Departmental Expenditure

 197. 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 if any of his Department’s 2012 capital expenditure allocation was used for current expenditure purposes last year, the amount used for this purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19219/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to inform the Deputy that none of my Department's capital expenditure allocation in 2012 was used for current expenditure purposes.

Departmental Expenditure

 198. 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 if he will provide the month by month profile for his Department's 2013 capital expendiuture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19235/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The 2013 profile of Capital Expenditure within the Justice Group of Votes is set out as follows:

2013 Capital Profiled Expenditure

€,000
January 1,411
February 10,054
March 2,518
April 6,464
May 5,061
June 4,090
July 4,731
August 4,727
September 4,041
October 5,047
November 6,913
December 5,593
Total 60,650

Garda Vetting of Personnel

 199. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick Information on Peter Fitzpatrick Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to shorten the completion of the vetting process (details supplied). [19295/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) provides employment vetting for approximately 20,000 organisations in Ireland, registered with the Unit for this purpose, which employ personnel to work in a full-time, part time, voluntary or student capacity with children and / or vulnerable adults. The Unit processed approximately 328,000 vetting applications on behalf of these organisations in 2012.

The current average processing time for applications is approximately 12 weeks from date of receipt. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion. All organisations registered for Garda Vetting are aware of the processing time-frames for the receipt of Garda vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.

Following discussions with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, sanction was granted for an additional 25 staff to be re-deployed from the Department of Agriculture to the Garda Central Vetting Unit. I am pleased to announce that these personnel transferred to the GCVU on 22 April 2013. When these staff have been fully trained on the vetting process I expect there will be a positive effect on vetting times. Since I became Minister, it has been a priority for me that processing times should be kept to a minimum consistent with maintaining the overall integrity of the vetting system. This is an absolute necessity given the very important role of the vetting system.

Visa Applications

 200. 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 if he will facilitate the extension of stamp 3 visa in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19299/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service that the person in question submitted an application to the General Immigration Division on 14 March 2013. All applications are dealt with in chronological order and this application will receive attention shortly.

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 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 INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Remuneration

 201. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter in view of the fact that the proposals of the Croke Park extension has been rejected by the trade union movement, if he will give consideration to amending the proposed changes in the pay and conditions of members of An Garda Síochána to better reflect the anti-social hours of work which Gardaí must do, the danger that Gardaí put themselves in to protect the public and to help bolster morale amongst Gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19314/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Following discussions led by the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform at the Cabinet yesterday, the Government reaffirmed its requirement for €300m of pay and pension bill savings in 2013 and €1bn by 2015. The Government further agreed to request the CEO of the Labour Relations Commission to make contact with the parties in the coming days to establish whether or not there is a basis for a negotiated agreement to meet these budgetary targets.

Recognition of Foreign Divorces

 202. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his views on the fact that certain divorces obtained outside the EU are not recognised here. [19353/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The recognition of non-EU divorces in Ireland is governed by the Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act 1986. Where domicile is not in question, then a divorce may be recognised if evidence of due process and documentary evidence of the divorce itself are provided. However, if a person's domicile cannot be determined, it may be difficult or impossible to determine that the divorce is entitled to recognition under the Act. If a particular divorce is not recognised, the spouse or spouses may apply to the courts under section 29 of the Family Law Act 1995 for a declaration as to marital status.

  I am aware that the establishment of a person's domicile in this context may sometimes be difficult and complex and that such cases may often be very stressful for the parties concerned; however the arrangements in place are long standing and tested and I do not have any proposals to change them at this time.


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