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 Header Item Written Answers Nos 247-262
 Header Item EU Battle Groups
 Header Item An Fhoireann Rannach
 Header Item Legal Services Regulation
 Header Item Garda Promotions

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos 247-262

EU Battle Groups

 247. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 101 of 27 November 2014 if the limit of 175 Irish soldiers being allocated to the nordic battle group, includes the necessary back up troops, to replace those killed, injured, or involved in back support, in the event of the nordic battle group going to war or if more can be called up in this case. [47243/14]

 248. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if plans have been made for the nordic battle group to function without a reconnaissance company, which the Irish troops make up, in the case of the nordic battle group going to war and the Government or Dáil Éireann refusing to mandate Irish troops to serve on the operation. [47244/14]

 249. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if the nordic battle group is supposed to take part in operations for a maximum of 120 days; and the situation if the operation is not over or completed in 120 days. [47245/14]

 250. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 101 of 27 November 2014, if he will provide the exact number of MOWAGs armoured personnel carriers and reconnaissance vehicles, and light tactical armoured vehicles that have been allocated for use with the nordic battle group; the amount this equipment is worth; and if Ireland will be compensated should they be destroyed or damaged during an operation or training of the nordic battle group. [47246/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 to 250, inclusive, together. 

  Both myself and many of my predecessors have explained the purpose of EU Battlegroups and the role of Battlegroups in numerous parliamentary questions and in debates in this House and in discussions in Committee. The purpose of the EU Battlegroup is to provide a rapid response capacity for crisis management and peacekeeping operations. The development of EU Battlegroups has, in addition, been welcomed by the United Nations and the UN Secretary General as an important potential support to UN peacekeeping, particularly where UN operations run into difficulty and require rapid reinforcement. They can also be deployed as an initial entry force for follow on missions which will allow the UN or the EU to generate a force for crisis management and peacekeeping. Any deployment of the Irish contingent of the Nordic Battlegroup will require a United Nations Security Council Resolution, a Government decision and the agreement of Dáil Éireann in accordance with the provisions of the Defence Acts, known as the triple lock.   

  The number of Irish Defence Forces personnel participating in any deployment of the Nordic Battlegroup, which will be on standby during the first six months of 2015, will be approximately 175.

  The Irish element of the Battlegroup is a Reconnaissance Task Force and as such is integral to the operation of the Battlegroup. However, as mentioned above, should a deployment take place it will be subject to the triple lock. Should it be the case that Ireland does not participate in the deployment of the Battlegroup the responsibility of making the Battlegroup available to the EU will lie with the other Troop contributing Nations and primarily with the Framework Nation, in this case Sweden.

  The Battlegroup concept, as devised, allows for a deployment of up to a maximum of 120 days. It is anticipated that should any deployment last longer than this the European Union would generate a follow-on force to take the place of any Battlegroup that would be deployed.   

  In relation to the exact numbers of vehicles being deployed this is a security issue. However I can assure the Deputy that the contingent will have all the requisite equipment necessary to provide force protection to minimum risk. In relation to costs and compensation, the operation of the Battlegroup is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding between all the participating states. The Memorandum states that “each Participant will bear its own costs resulting from Battlegroup activities”. As such it is not envisaged that compensation would be paid for damage, destruction or loss of equipment.

An Fhoireann Rannach

 251. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cosanta Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney  cén líon daoine atá ag obair ina Roinn faoi láthair atá inniúil ar a chuid nó a cuid oibre a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge; cén céatadán den fhoireann atá i gceist; comparáid a dhéanamh idir na figiúirí sin agus na figiúirí céanna in 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974 [47283/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Comhlíonann an Roinn Cosanta forálacha Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003, ina n-iomlán. Bíonn teagmháil theoranta ag an Roinn leis an bpobal i gcoitinne agus, mar thoradh air sin, bíonn éileamh íseal le haghaidh seirbhísí laethúla trí mheán na Gaeilge.

D’fhonn riachtanais Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla, 2003 a chomhlíonadh chun na príomhdhoiciméid chorparáideacha a fhoilsiú i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge, baineann an Roinn úsáid as seirbhísí gairm i úla aistriúcháin do dhoiciméid dá leithéid. Mar atá foráil déanta dó ina Scéim Teanga reatha agus ina Scéimeanna Teanga a bhí ann roimhe seo, baineann an Roinn úsáid as buíon foirne atá inniúil sa Ghaeilge. Tá an bhuíon seo bunaithe ar bhonn deonach chun cuidiú le Brainsí na Roinne seirbhísí do chustaiméirí a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge, má bhíonn gá leo.

Faoi láthair tá seachtar (7) ball foirne sa bhuíon seo ar bhonn deonach agus, go dtí seo, is léir go bhfuil dóthain ann chun riachtanais na gcustaiméirí a thagann aníos a chomhlíonadh. Níl taifid ag an Roinn de bhaill foirne leis na cumais chomhchosúla do na blianta a bhfuil an Teachta Dála ag tagairt dóibh. Léiríonn an figiúr seo 2% d’fhoireann iomlán na Roinne seo (344). Déantar athbhreithniú rialta ar an mbuíon seo de na baill foirne atá ann ar bhonn deonach agus rinneadh athbhreithniú uirthi le déanaí agus an tríú Scéim Teanga de chuid na Roinne á hullmhú, a tháinig i bhfeidhm ar an 3 Márta 2014.

I gcomhréir le polasaí an Rialtais, i scéimeanna teanga amach anseo a bheidh de dhíth faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla sonrófar aon phoist/réimsí ina bhfuil an dátheangachas de dhíth.

Legal Services Regulation

 252. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding the establishment of an office of a legal services ombudsman, as per the Legal Services Ombudsman Act 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46829/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald During the Second Stage debate on the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011, the Dáil was informed of the decision taken in May 2011 not to proceed with the appointment of a Legal Services Ombudsman. This is because the oversight model proposed in the Legal Services Ombudsman Act of 2009 does not meet this Government’s policy commitment to greater independence in the regulation of the legal profession. The 2009 Act is, therefore, to be repealed with the enactment of the new Legal Services Regulation Bill which sets out an alternative and more independent supervisory regime.

  Having been a core undertaking of the EU/IMF/ECB Troika Memorandum of Understanding, the Legal Services Regulation Bill is, in succession to the Troika programme, now a Country Specific Recommendation under the EU Semester Process. The Government’s continued commitment to the Bill’s wide-reaching structural reforms is also reflected in the fact that the Bill continues to be a key component of the Action Plan for Jobs, the Medium Term Economic Strategy 2014-2020 (MTES) and of the National Reform Plan.

  The proposed regulatory system will include an independently appointed and operated Legal Services Regulatory Authority; independent procedures to deal with complaints of professional misconduct, inadequate services and excessive fees; and the establishment of an independent Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal dealing with both solicitors and barristers. The Bill also provides for a more modern, consumer-friendly and transparent legal costs regime including under the Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicator that will take over the existing functions of the Office of the Taxing-Master. The Bill also provides for the introduction of alternative business structures for the provision of legal services including by legal practitioners in partnership with other non-legal service providers.

  The Legal Services Regulation Bill is due to resume Dáil Report Stage on 16 December 2014 in support of its early enactment so that the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority will come into operation in the first half of 2015.

Garda Promotions

 253. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if the current practice whereby names of the Minister’s appointees are forwarded by the Garda Commissioner for appointment by her is a breach of regulation 12 (2) of the Garda Síochána (Promotion) Regulations 2006. [46841/14]

 254. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views that the practice whereby the Garda Commissioner forwards the names of the ministerial appointees in contravention of the regulations nullifies and negates the whole purpose of the 2006 promotion regulations to have an independent open and transparent promotion process in An Garda Síochána. [46842/14]

 255. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will ensure that the practice whereby the Garda Commissioner forwards to her the names of two members to be appointed by her ceases forthwith and that all future appointments to Garda promotion boards will be made by her from the established panel, independently by her and without any reference formal or informal to the Garda Commissioner. [46843/14]

 256. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views that the acceptance by her Department of the current practice whereby the Garda Commissioner nominates the ministerial appointee to the Garda promotion board is a clear example of the abdication of the oversight role of her Department and its dysfunctional administration as contained in the Toland report in its reference to An Garda Síochána; and the action she plans to take. [46844/14]

 257. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views that the appointment of the same personnel as members of the Garda promotion boards on an annual basis since the establishment of the panel as provided for in the 2006 Promotion Regulations is bad human resource management practice and should cease forthwith. [46845/14]

 258. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will ensure the new suitable personnel are appointed to the interview panel as provided for in the 2006 regulations as a matter of urgency, so that suitably qualified personnel can be appointed to promotion boards by her in the forthcoming promotion competitions for chief superintendent, superintendent, inspector and sergeant. [46846/14]

 259. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of appointments to Garda promotion boards she has made since the appointment as Minister where the names of the ministerial appointees were forwarded by the Garda Commissioner. [46847/14]

 260. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views there has been serious disquiet and concern regarding the appointment of personnel to Garda promotion boards in recent years and that cronyism is rife in the Garda promotion process; and the steps she is taking to allay that concern. [46848/14]

 261. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her plans to transfer responsibility for the administration of the promotion competitions in An Garda Síochána to the Public Appointments Service in view of the lack of confidence in the system. [46849/14]

 262. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the percentage of responses in the recent Garda portal survey which raised concerns or made comment on the promotion and lateral appointment processes. [46850/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 253 to 262, inclusive, together.

  I am currently reviewing the range of issues referred to in your questions and where relevant I have requested responses from the Garda Commissioner. I will respond to the Deputy as soon as possible.


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