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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 259-270
 Header Item Garda Operations
 Header Item Garda Strength
 Header Item Licence Applications
 Header Item Firearms Seizures
 Header Item English Language Training Organisations
 Header Item Crime Prevention
 Header Item Courts Service
 Header Item Prisoner Welfare

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 259-270

Garda Operations

 263. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if there are circumstances in which members of An Garda Síochána or the riot squad are entitled to be on duty without any forms of ID; and the actions citizens can take in those circumstances. [46886/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will be aware, one of the primary functions of the Garda Commissioner under the Garda Síochána Acts, is to direct and control An Garda Síochána. In this regard, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.

I have requested information on the specific issue raised by the Deputy from the Garda Commissioner and when it is to hand I will write directly to the Deputy.

Garda Strength

 264. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of gardaí by rank currently attached to the community policing unit in the Garda R district; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46955/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, including Community Gardaí, among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.

  The Deputy will be aware that all Gardaí have responsibility, inter alia, to deal with Community Policing issues as and when they arise. I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of each Garda Station in the Coolock (R) Garda District and the number of Community Gardaí by rank, on 30 September 2014 the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as set out in the table hereunder:

Licence Applications

 265. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the reason that an application for temporary licences, temporary dance licence, temporary music and singing licences to the Dublin District Court on 10 December 2014, for a licensed premises (details supplied) does not require advertisement in the national media. [46979/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald While the Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position in my capacity as Minister for Justice and Equality to interpret the law or to provide advice in relation to a particular case in response to a Parliamentary Question, I can say the statutory provisions in relation to applications for a temporary dance licence or temporary music and singing licence are set out in the Public Dance Halls Act 1935, the Fire Services Act 1981 and the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1890.

The position is that applications for temporary public dancing licences and temporary music and singing licences are made to the District Court. Notice of the applicant's intention to apply for such a licence must be given to the Superintendent of the Garda Siochana for the area concerned and to the relevant fire authority. In the case of a public dancing licence, a member of the Garda Siochana or any person who appears to the Judge to be interested in the application may object to the granting of the licence. The relevant legislation does not require the publication of a notice of the applicant's intention to apply for a temporary licence.

Firearms Seizures

 266. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald further to a Parliamentary Question No. 109 of 27 November 2013, if the Luger pistol confiscated by the RIC from Roger Casement in 1916 was ever in Garda possession; and if so, its whereabouts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47028/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the item in question has never been in the possession of An Garda Síochána.

English Language Training Organisations

 267. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald in view of the recent closure of a prominent school of English in Dublin, if she will acknowledge that there is a need for greater urgency from her Department with regard to processing accreditation and coordination of language schools applications as the long waiting times are causing uncertainty for both tutors and students as they have been left with no response since 21 September after relaying all documentation to Irish National Immigration Service and the application is on hold awaiting response (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to the waiting times are too long and that there appears to be a lack of coordination between INIS and her Department in processing applications when all documentation is in order; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47054/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I understand that the Deputy is referring to the application by the college in question for ACELS accreditation from QQI. The Deputy will be aware that from 1 January 2015, non-EEA nationals wishing to obtain a student immigration permission to study English in Ireland will only be permitted to do so at an ACELS recognised school or college. This new policy was jointly announced by myself and the Minister for Education and Skills on 2 September as a response to the closure of several private sector English Language Schools on foot of revelations of malpractice and immigration abuses. My officials inform me that the final applications for ACELS accreditation are currently being assessed by the ACELS Recognition Committee on which my Department is represented. Where immigration officials are aware of discrepancies between the numbers of students declared by a college in the ACELS application process and the numbers registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau, there is necessity for such anomalies to be thoroughly investigated before a final decision on ACELS recognition can be made. The Deputy will appreciate the necessity of ensuring that all English Language Colleges operate to the highest standards in light of recent events. My officials inform me that a decision will be made on the application in question by 12 December next.

Crime Prevention

 268. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views on the proposed redundancy of the national co-ordinator of the community crime prevention programme; the efforts her Department is making to resolve the financial difficulties faced by the organisation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47068/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald In 2014, as in previous years, my Department has provided funding to Muintir na Tire to support the operation of the Community Alert Scheme, and I expect to be in a position to continue to provide funding in 2015. In relation to the employment issues referred to, and as I have previously advised the Deputy, my Department does not employ staff in connection with the Scheme, and such issues are a matter for Muintir na Tire. The arrangements for the ongoing management of the scheme will be discussed with Muintir na Tire in the context of considering the question of funding for next year, and having regard to the views of An Garda Síochána as the partners in the programme.  

Courts Service

 269. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her views on using the post office network for the payment of court order maintenance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47135/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will be aware, family law proceedings are held in-camera and the protection of the privacy of all parties is of paramount importance. The law contains a number of provisions to ensure that payments are made by spouses in support of their dependent spouses and children. The Courts Service has indicated that in the majority of maintenance cases, the Judge will order that maintenance be paid into the relevant District Court office but in some cases the Judge will direct the family law debtor to pay maintenance directly into the creditor's bank account. There are no proposals at this time to use An Post or any other external agency for the processing of maintenance payments.

Prisoner Welfare

 270. Deputy Brian Walsh Information on Brian Walsh Zoom on Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of prisoners who were placed in solitary confinement, either close confinement or close supervision cells, in each place of detention in each of the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and to date 2014. [47158/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald There is no provision for solitary confinement in the Irish Prison Service. However, the Deputy will appreciate that, on occasion, it is necessary for vulnerable prisoners and others to be separated from the general prison population.

  The restriction of a prisoner's regime can occur due to a number of factors, including the protection of vulnerable prisoners. This is provided for under Rule 63 of the Prison Rules 2007. A prisoner may, either at his/her own request or when the Governor considers it necessary, in so far as is practicable and subject to the maintenance and good order and safe and secure custody, be kept separate from other prisoners who are reasonably likely to cause significant harm to him/her.

  In addition, the Governor may decide, for the maintenance of good order in the prison, to remove a prisoner from general association or structured activity to reduce the negative effect that a prisoner or prisoners may have on the general population. This is provided for under Rule 62 of the Prison Rules 2007. There may also be a smaller number of prisoners who would be restricted for medical (Rule 64) or discipline reasons (Rule 67).

  The fact that prisoners seeking protection are immediately separated from the general population or from specific prisoners identified as presenting a threat, clearly demonstrates the commitment of the Irish Prison Service to ensure their safety and security. The status of each prisoner on restricted regime within the prison system is regularly reviewed and they have access to full medical services. If possible, prisoners can be transferred to other institutions where a restricted regime would not be necessary.

  The Irish Prison Service Statistics Unit commenced the collation of a quarterly Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in 2013.

  The number of prisoners on a Restricted Regime on 1 October 2014 is set out in the following table.

 -
Prisoners on Restricted Regime
Mountjoy Male
54
Dochas
2
St. Patrick’s
0
Cork
32
Limerick
 60
Castlerea
0
Cloverhill
5
Wheatfield
65
Portlaoise
6
Arbour Hill
0
Midlands
22
Training Unit
0
Loughan House
0
Shelton Abbey
0
Total
246


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