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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 182-191
 Header Item Infant Mortality Data
 Header Item Crime Data
 Header Item Crime Levels
 Header Item Charities Regulation
 Header Item Asylum Applications
 Header Item Garda Operations
 Header Item Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Investigations
 Header Item Magdalen Laundries
 Header Item Illegal Immigrants

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 830 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 182-191

  Question No. 182 answered with Question No. 177.

Infant Mortality Data

 183. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of inquests carried out in relation to perinatal or infant deaths at each maternity unit in the State each year for the past ten years.  [7203/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I have been advised by the Coroners' Service that the specific details sought by the Deputy are not available and that it would not be practicable for the Service to compile the relevant data.

Crime Data

 184. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will set out in tabular form the notional value of counterfeit bank notes seized in the State in each year since 2010; the action being taken to counteract counterfeiting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7328/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Both An Garda Síochána and the Central Bank have in place a range of measures in relation to the detection and investigation of counterfeiting offences. I am awaiting a report from the Garda authorities with respect to the specific information sought by the Deputy and I will contact him directly to set out the position in full when I have received the report.

Crime Levels

 185. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the reason, as noted by the EU anti-corruption report, the number of convictions for white-collar crime in Ireland has fallen from 579 in 2003 to 178 in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7249/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Insofar as the figures cited are concerned, the position is that 'white collar crime' is not a distinct category of offences under the classification system applied by the Central Statistics Office in the official Recorded Crime Statistics. It appears that the figures referred to by the Deputy may be those for one of the sub-categories of 'Fraud Offences', under the CSO classifications. That category encompasses a wide variety of criminal activities, potentially ranging from elaborate corporate fraud to lower level instances of deception against individuals. The figures cited also exclude other offences which might be considered as 'white collar' crime, including certain offences for which the appropriate regulatory and investigatory bodies are the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, and the Central Bank respectively. As such the figures cited are not necessarily a reliable indicator of overall trends in this regard.

It is also important to note in interpreting figures for detection and conviction rates that the investigation, detection and prosecution of any offence may take a considerable time. This is particularly so where the crime may be complex, as is often the case in fraud offences. Accordingly, the initial conviction rate for any given year will inevitably appear lower than the eventual rate. For this reason caution should be exercised in comparing conviction rates for offences recorded in 2003 with those recorded in 2010.

I can, however, assure the Deputy that I continue to attach the highest priority to the full investigation of white collar offences and bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice. Shortly after taking up office I moved urgently to introduce additional legislation in this area which was enacted as the Criminal Justice Act 2011, and provides vital assistance to An Garda Síochána in white collar crime investigations. The Garda Commissioner is aware that any further legislative proposals he might have which would assist in the investigation and detection of white collar crime, or of fraud offences generally, will be positively considered by me.

Charities Regulation

 186. Deputy Dominic Hannigan Information on Dominic Hannigan Zoom on Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the estimated cost of the new charities regulator and when he or she is likely to be appointed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7250/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter On 24th January 2014 I issued a call for Expressions of Interest from suitably qualified persons who wish to be considered for appointment to the Board of a new Charities Regulatory Authority, with a view to making appointments before Easter. Arrangements are also being made to appoint an interim CEO to the new Authority and a number of other administrative staff from within existing resources. The initial indicative resource allocation is some €960,000 over a 12 month period. I intend to have these staff in place by the end of February to enable the Authority to carry out the necessary preparatory work before coming formally into operation later this year.

In time, and in order to enable the development of the services provided by the Authority, charities themselves will be required to meet some of the costs of its operation through payment of a modest and proportionate annual fee. This is provided for in the Charities Act. In this way, the regulation of charities will become largely self-financing in due course. It is only through utilising this provision that we are able to establish these new structures at this time of constraint in Government spending. The proposal to levy annual fees on charities was contained in the consultation documents published this time last year and charities had the opportunity to give there views on and propose alternatives to a suggested fee structure. I will take account of the views expressed and alternatives proposed before putting a fee structure in place. Registration fees will not be payable by charities before 2015 at the earliest.

Asylum Applications

 187. 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 review an application for asylum in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7263/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter As the Deputy is aware, if the person whose details were supplied has made an application for asylum or subsidiary protection, the position is that it is not the practice to comment on such applications for so long as they are in the protection process.

Garda Operations

 188. 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 he will report on Garda Operation Spoke; the number of persons arrested and charged to date as part of this operation; the number of successful convictions obtained to date; and if he will indicate if the operation is still live. [7289/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that Operation Spoke is an operation conducted within the Bridewell Garda District for specific periods of time on an ongoing basis. It was last put into effect on 11 and 12 February, 2014. I am further informed that Operation Spoke has resulted in 33 arrests resulting in 39 charges and 21 convictions. The main objective of the operation is to ensure a high visibility Garda presence in the District in order to prevent the unauthorised taking of bicycles. Local Gardaí also provide advice to members of the public on bicycle security and encourage them to register their bicycles.

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Investigations

 189. 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 the number of complaints investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in 2011 on foot of complaints from family members of persons who were killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions where the drivers of the cars involved in the collisions were not members of An Garda Síochána; and if he will provide a breakdown of the results of those investigations including the number of complaints which were upheld, dismissed or are pending.  [7291/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am advised by the Ombudsman Commission that the position remains as previously outlined in the response given to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question Number 144 of the 5th February, 2014. While acknowledging that the Deputy has narrowed the focus of his query in his current question, the information requested is not readily available and the generation and collation of that information would place an inordinate burden on the Ombudsman Commission in terms of time and resources.

As previously indicated, the Ombudsman Commission would be happy to meet with the Deputy to discuss in more detail the information he is seeking and to ascertain what is feasible. If the Deputy would like to accept the offer from the Ombudsman Commission he may contact them directly or, should he prefer, I can ask my officials to set up a meeting at a convenient time.

Magdalen Laundries

 190. 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 position regarding the fund set up for former residents of Magdalen laundries in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [7302/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Due to the sensitive and personal nature of the applications I am not in a position to provide details on individual cases. I can advise that applications to the ex gratia scheme, established by the Government, for the benefit of those women that were admitted to and worked in the Magdalen laundries, St Mary's Training Centre, Stanhope Street and House of Mercy Training School, Summerhill, Wexford, are being processed by my officials as quickly as possible. If an applicant has any query in relation to the ex gratia scheme they should be advised to contact my officials in the Restorative Justice Implementation Unit at Tel: 01 4768660 and their queries will be answered in a helpful and sensitive manner.

Illegal Immigrants

 191. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of persons who are working in the country illegally; and, if the assumed number is considerable, if he is considering granting any form of amnesty in this area.  [7318/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Accurately estimating the number of illegal migrants working in Ireland is immensely difficult due to the clandestine and covert nature of the activity. In this respect Ireland is no different to any other jurisdiction. As a consequence, there no reliable estimates for this category of migrant worker. I do not therefore propose to make what would be essentially a guess at the figure. I have no plans to introduce an amnesty or any other scheme to legalise the residency of undocumented and illegally present foreign nationals in this State. It is the responsibility of all non-EEA nationals who are resident in Ireland to ensure that they have an appropriate permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality.


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