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 Header Item Written Answers Nos 271-283
 Header Item English Language Training Organisations
 Header Item Repatriation Costs
 Header Item Garda Misconduct Allegations
 Header Item Family Reunification Applications
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Seirbhísí Aistriúcháin
 Header Item Seirbhísi trí Gaeilge
 Header Item Driver Licence Data
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Garda Transport Expenditure
 Header Item School Completion Programme

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos 271-283

English Language Training Organisations

 271. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding parties who have absconded with international students' moneys following the closure of private English language schools. [47165/14]

 272. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the options open to students to recover moneys which were wrongfully taken from them by providers of English language courses when their colleges closed. [47166/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 271 and 272 together.

I would advise any international student in the situation outlined by the Deputy to seek legal advice regarding the return of their funds from the private colleges in question. If they booked their course through an agent they should also enquire from that agent as to whether they are entitled to any form of learner protection from them. Students should also make a complaint to the Garda Síochána where they suspect their money has been taken by private colleges on false pretences.

Repatriation Costs

 273. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the facilities that will be put in place to assist students affected by the closure of private colleges who wish to return to their home States but cannot afford to do so. [47168/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald There are no arrangements in place for funding return flights for students in this situation, arising from the closure of a private sector enterprise. As to the learner protection offered by immigration agents or consular assistance available from their embassy in Ireland or accredited to it I am not in a position to comment.

The International Organisation for Migration manages Ireland's Voluntary Assisted Return & Reintegration Programme. This programme is open to asylum seekers, irregular migrants, victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minors from non-EU countries who wish to return home voluntarily but do not have the financial means and/or the necessary documentation to do so. If a student is now unlawfully present in the State and in a particularly vulnerable situation they may be eligible for consideration under this programme.

Garda Misconduct Allegations

 274. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she has received correspondence in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Down; if their serious allegations were sent to the panel of barristers; when they may expect an outcome; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47236/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The matter to which the Deputy refers is amongst complaints being considered under the mechanism established for the independent review of certain allegations of Garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations, which have been made to me as Minister for Justice and Equality, or the Taoiseach, with a view to determining to what extent and in what manner further action may be required in each case.

  A panel consisting of two Senior and five Junior Counsel was established for the purpose. The counsel appointed to the panel were all selected on the basis of their experience of the criminal justice system. The review of each complaint will consist of an examination of the papers in the complaint by a counsel from the panel. Following the review of each complaint a recommendation will be made as to whether any further action is desirable and could practicably be taken.   

  The independent review is underway, and is currently examining a large range of cases referred to them. While some complainants will understandably wish to see the review completed as soon as possible, it is important that nothing arises which might detract from the integrity of the review mechanism. It is therefore considered inappropriate to place a time constraint upon the working of the panel, although they intend to conclude their work as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Family Reunification Applications

 275. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if a person in receipt of a disability allowance payment can be considered an eligible sponsor for a family reunification application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47237/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The position on such applications is set out in the Policy Document on Non-EEA Family Reunification published by my predecessor on 31 December 2013.

In general, the sponsor must be in a position to support such family members by not having been reliant on State benefits from the Irish State for a continuous period in excess of two years immediately prior to the application. Disability allowance payments are excluded from such a requirement. Since it must be assumed that such benefits recognise a lack of capacity to otherwise earn a living, the end result would be that a person on disability benefit could never benefit from family reunification. This would be unfair. Therefore, persons receiving disability benefits are considered eligible sponsors, subject of course to meeting any other necessary requirements. Furthermore, financial capacity is just one of the conditions that is considered when making a determination on a family reunification application and the circumstances of the parties concerned are considered in the round on a case by case basis.

Garda Investigations

 276. 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 her plans to improve responses from An Garda Síochána to reports made to them by the public regarding illegal stag hunting (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47256/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am informed by the Garda authorities that all incidents reported to Gardaí are responded to a soon as possible and any complaint made to An Garda Síochána regarding illegal hunting is fully investigated.

  I am further informed that the specific incident referred to by the Deputy is currently under investigation.

Seirbhísí Aistriúcháin

 277. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  cén líon aistritheoirí atá ag obair sa Roinn sin agus cén líon aistritheoirí a theastódh chun filleadh ar an nós a bhí ann suas go dtí 1979 na rialacha cúirte a fhoilsiú i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla go comhuaineach [47276/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Faoi mar is eol don Teachta, b’fhéidir, sa bhliain 2010 ghlac an Chúirt Uachtarach leis nach bhfuil dualgas bunreachtúil ar an Stát aistriúchán comhuaineach go Gaeilge a chur ar fáil ar gach Riail Cúirte. Tá dualgas air, áfach, na Rialacha sin a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge a luaithe agus is féidir tar éis dóibh a bheith foilsithe i mBéarla. Tá aistritheoir lánaimseartha Gaeilge ag mo Roinnse, a bhíonn ag gabháil go príomha do Rialacha Cúirte a aistriú go Gaeilge, agus fostaíonn mo Roinn aistritheoirí ar conradh, chomh maith.

D’fhoilsigh mo Roinnse an leagan Gaeilge de na Rialacha Cúirte Dúiche, 1997, i Nollaig na bliana 2004 agus, díreach ina dhiaidh sin, d’aistrigh sí Leasuithe sonracha ar na Rialacha sin a lorgaíodh le haghaidh cásanna cúirte. D’fhoilsigh mo Roinn an leagan Gaeilge de na Rialacha Cúirte Cuarda, 2001, go luath sa bhliain 2010 agus aistríodh na Leasuithe go léir ar na Rialacha sin ó shin i leith. Tá an leagan Gaeilge de na Foirmeacha sa tríú mórbhailiúchán, an mórbhailiúchán deiridh, de Rialacha Cúirte – Rialacha na nUaschúirteanna, 1986 – faoi bhráid an Choiste Chomhairlithigh um Théarmaí Dlíthiúla Gaeilge faoi láthair, sula bhfoilseofar an leagan Gaeilge de na Rialacha Cúirte sin. A luaithe a bheidh na trí phríomhbhailiúchán sin de Rialacha Cúirte ar fáil i nGaeilge, féadfaidh aistriú na Leasuithe orthu atá fós le haistriú dul ar aghaidh go tapa.

Ó achtaíodh an tAcht um Choimisiún Thithe an Oireachtais (Leasú), 2013, lena ndearnadh socrú maidir le Rannóg an Aistriúcháin de chuid Thithe an Oireachtais d’athchromadh ar Ionstraimí Reachtúla a aistriú, chuidigh an Rannóg sin le mo Roinnse i dtaca le Rialacha Cúirte a aistriú – le míonna beaga anuas, mar shampla, chuir Rannóg an Aistriúcháin an t-aistriúchán ar fáil ar 30 Ionstraim Reachtúil ina raibh Leasuithe ar Rialacha na nUaschúirteanna, 1986.

Seirbhísi trí Gaeilge

 278. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald 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. [47290/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Tá os cionn 50 ball foirne, nach mór 3% de chohórt na foirne, ar phainéal d’oifigigh atá ar fáil chun obair a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge agus ar féidir leo déileáil le ceisteanna agus fiosruithe as Gaeilge ó dhaoine den phobal.

  Tá aistritheoir lánaimseartha Gaeilge ag an Roinn, chomh maith, a bhíonn ag gabháil go príomha do Rialacha Cúirte a aistriú go Gaeilge.

  Roimh thosach feidhme na Scéime Gaeilge níor choimeád mo Roinn staidreamh ar líon na ndaoine a bhí inniúil ar obair a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge agus dá dheasca sin níl figiúirí ar fáil do na blianta 2004, 1994, 1984 agus 1974.

Driver Licence Data

 279. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of unaccompanied learner drivers that have been formally issued with a fine, prison sentence or both in 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014 in tabular form; and her views on the efficacy of the present enforcement strategies. [47303/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Deputy will be aware that, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service and I have no role in the matter. Section 4(3) of the 1998 Act provides that the Courts Service is independent in the performance of its functions, which includes the provision of information on the courts system.

  However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the table below provides details of the number of unaccompanied learner drivers before the courts in 2012, 2013 and to 31 October 2014 who received a fine or an imprisonment.

Year No of unaccompanied Drivers who received finesNo of unaccompanied Drivers who received imprisonment
 20126741
 20136600
Jan – Oct 20146322
   Note: If a person received more than one fine or imprisonment they only appear on the report once. Nobody received both a fine and imprisonment.

  Insofar as enforcement strategies with respect to learner drivers are concerned, I am informed by the Garda authorities that, in addition to ongoing road safety enforcement, which focuses on high risk behaviour, 'Operation Learner Driver' is conducted regularly with a particular focus on learner permit holders with a view to ensuring compliance with the conditions of holding such a permit, as well as improved road safety generally. I understand that this operation was conducted on a quarterly basis during 2014 and that targeted enforcement measures with respect to learner drivers will continue to be applied into the future.

Garda Recruitment

 280. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will provide an update on Garda recruitment; the number of recruits that have entered Templemore, County Tipperary in 2014; and the number that will commence training in 2015. [47316/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Deputy will be aware that I recently announced a further intake of 200 recruits into the Garda College, Templemore. The intake will be in two batches, the first on 15 December and the second in early 2015. This will bring to 300 the number of recruits in the Garda College and is a measure of this Government's commitment to ensure that recruitment to An Garda Síochána continues seamlessly. The first batch of recruits (already in training) will attest as members of the Garda Síochána in May of 2015 and will be assigned to Garda Stations throughout the country by the Garda Commissioner.

It is my intention that there will be ongoing recruitment and I am discussing the details of this with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Garda Transport Expenditure

 281. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will provide an update on the investment in Garda vehicles, the financial amount invested in 2013, 2014 and planned for 2015; the number of additional vehicles by Garda division; and if consideration has been given to acquiring and fitting out high specification vehicles which support policing as is the case in other jurisdictions. [47317/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The provision and allocation of Garda transport is a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of identified operational circumstances and the availability of resources.

  In that context, I am advised by the Garda authorities that an additional 438 new Garda vehicles were purchased in 2013 at a cost of €10 million. The Deputy will be aware that I recently secured a further €10 million for investment in the Garda fleet of which €7 million has been made available in 2014. This funding brings the total investment for 2014 to €11 million. The remaining €3 million will be made available for the purchase and fit out of additional Garda vehicles in 2015.

  Decisions in relation to the deployment of Garda vehicles, at Regional and Divisional level, are a matter for the Garda Commissioner. I am advised that the deployment of all Garda resources is subject to ongoing review and analysis to ensure that the best use is made of available policing resources.

  A breakdown of the additional   vehicles allocated by Garda Division in 2013 and 2014 is set out in the table below:

DIVISION20132014
CAVAN/MONAGHAN1912
CLARE1310
CORK CITY1228
CORK NORTH712
CORK WEST119
DMR EAST910
DMR NORTH718
DMR NORTH CENTRAL28
DMR SOUTH69
DMR SOUTH CENTRAL46
DMR WEST818
DONEGAL2113
GALWAY1516
KERRY96
KILDARE1012
KILKENNY/CARLOW1415
LAOIS/OFFALY1018
LIMERICK1219
LOUTH97
MAYO911
MEATH1114
ROSCOMMON/LONGFORD1112
SLIGO/LEITRIM913
TIPPERARY1216
WATERFORD914
WESTMEATH99
WEXFORD1015
WICKLOW911

School Completion Programme

 282. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46729/14]

 283. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly the position regarding funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46730/14]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly): Information on Dr. James Reilly Zoom on Dr. James Reilly I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 and 283 together.

  The School Completion Programme aims to retain young people in the formal education system to completion of senior cycle and to generally improve the school attendance, participation and retention of young people who are risk of educational disadvantage. The Programme is a targeted intervention aimed at school communities identified through the Department of Education and Skills’ DEIS Action Plan for Educational Inclusion. It provides targeted supports annually to approximately 36,000 children.

  Since 1 January 2014, the Child and Family Agency has operational responsibility for the School Completion Programme, including the allocation of funds to local projects. In 2014, an allocation of €24.756 million has been provided for the School Completion Programme. The Agency has approved local projects' school retention plans for the 2014/2015 academic year. The first instalment of 2014/15 funding issued to local projects last September. Further payments totalling approximately €9.5m will issue this month, with a third instalment in May 2015.

  The schools to which the Deputy refers are two of six primary schools which, together with two post-primary schools, form the School Completion Project for the area. I am advised that an amount of €214,183.93 was allocated by the Agency to the project for the school year 2014-2015. The amount provided for 2014-2015 takes account of the savings requirements in the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure 2012-2014. The allocation of the funding across the range of interventions planned for young people and between the local schools in the School Completion Programme project for the area is a matter for the Local Management Committee.

  The estimate for the Child and Family Agency for 2015 is €635 million, a 4.3% increase on its 2014 allocation. My Department will issue a Performance Statement this month under Section 45 of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013. This will include my priorities for consideration in the development of the Agency's 2015 Business Plan. The Business Plan will set out the Agency's proposed activities, programmes and priorities for 2015, including provision for the School Completion Programme, in the light of the monies available.

A review of the School Completion Programme has commenced. It is being carried out by the ESRI following a procurement process managed by the Agency. The programme has been in operation since 2002 and I believe that it is timely that a review be carried out. The Review is an important initiative to plan for the future development of this Programme. It is envisaged that the review will be completed during the 2014/2015 academic year.


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