Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 102-117
 Header Item Gender Equality
 Header Item Garda Compensation
 Header Item Garda Station Expenditure
 Header Item Parental Leave
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Extradition Arrangements
 Header Item Garda Code of Ethics
 Header Item Garda Inspectorate Reports
 Header Item EU Regulations
 Header Item Valuation Office
 Header Item Garda Data
 Header Item Family Law Cases
 Header Item Extradition Arrangements
 Header Item Closed-Circuit Television Systems Expenditure
 Header Item Asylum Applications

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 946 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 102-117

Gender Equality

 102. Deputy Noel Rock Information on Noel Rock Zoom on Noel Rock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will consider implementing a policy to address the pay gap (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18218/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton In the Programme for a Partnership Government, the Government has committed to taking measures to reduce the gender pay gap. Actions to advance this commitment will be included in the forthcoming National Women's Strategy. In developing detailed proposals, appropriate regard will be had to measures taken in other jurisdictions.

Garda Compensation

 103. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of compensation cases brought by gardaí against her Department for injuries suffered or losses incurred in the line of duty which have resulted in financial awards or out-of-court settlements in the past ten years; and the total compensation payout relating to such cases over this period. [18331/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Garda (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945 provide for a scheme of compensation for members of An Garda Síochána who are maliciously injured in the course of their duty or in relation to the performance of their duties as members of An Garda Síochána and for the dependents of members who have died from injuries maliciously inflicted on them. The total number of cases in respect of which awards were made in the period 2007 to 2016 was 1,525 and the total compensation paid was €66.7 million.

There is an Ex-Gratia Scheme in place for members injured or killed while driving an official vehicle in the line of duty where no malice was involved. The scheme is set out in the Garda Conciliation Council Agreed Report No. 639. In the period 2007 to 2016, four awards were made totalling €290,000.

Garda Station Expenditure

 104. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will consider additional investment in An Garda Síochána for the delivery of Garda stations in Donabate and Portrane, in view of State investment in infrastructure through Rebuilding Ireland and the new housing units being delivered there; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17476/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Deputy will be aware that the Office of Public Works, working closely with Garda management, has primary responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda stations and, as Minister, I have no direct role in relation to these matters.

I understand from the Garda authorities that the areas of Portrane and Donabate are policed by members attached to Swords Garda station. That station forms part of the Coolock Garda District which is within the wider D.M.R. North Garda Division. I am advised by the Commissioner that the Garda strength of the D.M.R. North Division on the 28 February 2017, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 685 and the strength of Coolock District was 208 of which 72 were assigned to Swords Garda station. There are also 49 Garda Reserves and 42 civilians attached to the Division. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Síochána Inspectorate, at the request of the Policing Authority, is carrying out a review of the dispersal and use of resources available to An Garda Síochána in the delivery of policing services to local communities. In this context, I understand that the Authority has informed the Inspectorate that the review should take account of:

- the changing environments in rural, developing urban and suburban areas;

- the views of local communities;

- the allocation to and deployment of Garda resources at the local policing level, including the use of the Garda Reserve, Garda facilities and Garda equipment; and

- relevant recommendations made in previous Inspectorate reports.

I am informed that the review should be completed within the first half of 2018 and I look forward to receiving the report from the Authority in due course.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government commits the Government to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. A cornerstone of this commitment is the Government plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians.

I am informed by the Commissioner that, since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, some 839 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. I am also informed that another 750 trainee Garda are scheduled to attest this year which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end - a net increase of some 700 in the total Garda strength since recruitment recommenced.

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources she needs to allow her to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division in the coming years.

This investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been made available to An Garda Síochána under the Government's Capital Plan 2016 - 2021. In particular, some €205 million in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46 million for new Garda vehicles has been allocated over the lifetime of the plan. This investment will facilitate the provision of more effective policing services and I have no doubt that these new resources now coming on stream will see an increase in Garda visibility in our communities.

Parental Leave

 105. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her plans to amend legislation in order that the parents of children born through surrogacy may avail of maternity and paternity leave, in view of the fact that such leave is available to all other parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17479/17]

 126. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her plans to introduce maternity or parental leave for persons who have conceived through a surrogate (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17892/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton I propose to take Questions Nos. 105 and 126 together.

As the Deputies will be aware, surrogacy is not currently recognised under Irish legislation. However, I have been advised that my colleague, the Minister for Health, is currently preparing legislative proposals on assisted human reproduction and associated issues, which will include provisions relating to surrogacy. It is envisaged that the General Scheme of a Bill will be completed by the end of June 2017 and it is intended that it will be submitted to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health for pre-legislative scrutiny once approved by Government. Once the substantive issue of surrogacy has been provided for in law, the issue of statutory maternity and paternity leave for parents of children born by surrogacy can also be addressed.

Garda Investigations

 106. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if a person (details supplied) was subject to an investigation by An Garda Síochána; and if so, the outcome of this investigation. [17494/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department has sought information from the Garda authorities in relation to the matters raised and I will communicate further with the Deputy in due course.

Extradition Arrangements

 107. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of times extradition proceedings have been initiated by foreign governments against persons sought to stand trial for crimes committed in Ireland; and the number of persons extradited in those circumstances. [17495/17]

 108. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the detail of the policy in respect of extraditing persons to stand trial in a foreign court for crimes committed in Ireland. [17496/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 108 together.

  The statistical information sought by the Deputy is not readily available.

  Policy in relation to extradition is as reflected in the relevant legislation, primarily the Extradition Act 1965, as amended, and the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003, as amended.

Garda Code of Ethics

 109. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the detail of the recommended code of ethics for An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17525/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I was pleased to launch the Code of Ethics for An Garda Síochána in January of this year. The Code clearly defines principles to guide the decisions that those in policing make in everything they do. The emphasis of the Code is on what good policing looks like and how police officers and staff should behave. These principles are captured under the following headings:

  - Duty to uphold the law;

  - Honesty and integrity;

  - Respect and equality;

  - Authority and responsibility;

  - Police powers;

  - Information and privacy;

  - Transparency and communication;

  - Speaking up and reporting wrongdoing; and

  - Leadership.

  The Code has a statutory basis under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 (as amended) and was developed by the Policing Authority and An Garda Síochána in conjunction with a range of stakeholders and is an important milestone. I particularly welcome the commitment by An Garda Síochána in the Policing Plan 2017 to embed this Code into the day to day thinking and actions of the organisation, so that it becomes rooted in police culture, throughout the ranks and throughout the organisation. Adherence to this Code is a declaration to the public that An Garda Síochána is acting in the public's interests, and believes in a culture that embraces integrity and the highest ethical standards.

  The Authority will oversee the implementation of the Code and will review it periodically to keep it up to date with policing standards. A copy of the Code of Ethics can be accessed on the Authority's website at www.policingauthority.ie.

Garda Inspectorate Reports

 110. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the way in which each of the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate for An Garda Síochána has been implemented up to April 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17526/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Garda Síochána Inspectorate was established in July, 2006 under Part 5 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. The role of the Inspectorate is to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the operation and administration of the Garda Síochána. The Inspectorate undertakes analysis of policies and procedures in the Garda Síochána and benchmarks them against the best practices and standards of comparable police services. To date, the Inspectorate has completed 11 reports. Their two most recent reports were the Crime Investigation report (2014) and the "Changing Policing in Ireland" report (2015).

  The Garda Inspectorate has no statutory responsibility for the monitoring of the implementation of recommendations made in its reports. However, a process to do so was established with the Garda Síochána in 2008 which resulted in the publication of status implementation update reports twice a year on the Inspectorate’s website. The last such regular update was published in November 2013 when, I understand, the process was interrupted due to pressure of work.

  However, the Inspectorate and the Garda Síochána are now working towards the production, in tabular form, of a document which will indicate the position regarding the implementation of recommendations contained in a number of Inspectorate reports up to and including the Crime Investigation report. Once completed, the results will be published on the Inspectorate’s website.

  It should be noted that the statutory position regarding the monitoring of the implementation of recommendations made in Inspectorate reports has changed. Section 117(A) of the Garda Síochána Act provides for a role for the Policing Authority in monitoring the measures taken by the Garda Síochána to implement the recommendations contained in reports prepared by the Inspectorate.

  The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner published her Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 in June 2016. This Programme includes recommendations from the various Garda Inspectorate Reports, including the two most recent Inspectorate Reports referred to above. Key reforms being implemented include the replacement of the current District model of policing with a Divisional model where responsibilities will be allocated on a functional rather than geographical basis. This will be subject to modifications to ensure the close relationship with communities is maintained in large rural Divisions. In line with international norms, a medium term target of 20% civilians to be achieved by 2021 has been set.

  The implementation of the Modernisation and Renewal Programme is primarily a matter for the Commissioner. However, the Government decided that the Policing Authority should be requested to monitor the implementation of the agreed recommendations in 'Changing Policing in Ireland' and to report to me at regular intervals. I have received the first such progress report from the Policing Authority. Their next progress report is due by the end of April.

  In July, the Government approved a Five Year Reform and High Level Workforce Plan for An Garda Síochána. This Plan marries the agreed recommendations in 'Changing Policing in Ireland' with a major investment programme that will increase the number of gardaí to 15,000; double the number of civilians to 4,000; and more than double the number of reserves members to 2,000. This investment in human capital is supported by a €300 million capital plan that will deliver leading-edge technology and other capital infrastructure to the Garda Síochána. The 2017 Estimates reflect this commitment by providing the resources to recruit 800 gardaí, 500 civilians and 300 reserves in 2017.

  The Deputy will be aware that at the Government meeting last week I received approval to begin the process of establishing a Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland. I expect that the Commission will have regard to appropriate structures for oversight and accountability of the Garda Síochána.

EU Regulations

 111. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will report on preparations for the introduction of the general data protection regulations in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17527/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Dara Murphy): Information on Dara Murphy Zoom on Dara Murphy The position is that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has direct legal effect and does not require to be transposed into national law. It does however contain a number of Articles which provide Member States with a limited margin of flexibility, mainly in respect of the public sector. Work is ongoing in the Department of Justice and Equality on the development of a General Scheme of a Bill to give further effect to the GDPR and also to transpose the Data Protection Directive (Directive (EU) 670/2016) which deals with the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences and the execution of criminal penalties. The GDPR will come into effect on 25 May 2018 and the Directive must be transposed into Irish law by May 2018. The Department of Justice and Equality has been in regular consultations with other Departments and public bodies and agencies in the course of preparation of the draft legislation and awareness has been raised significantly through this process.

The GDPR encompasses a 'risk-based' approach which means that individual data controllers and data processors are required to put appropriate technical and organisational measures in place in order to ensure and be able to demonstrate that the processing of personal data, taking into account the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing and the risks of varying likelihood and severity for the rights and freedoms of individuals, is in compliance with the GDPR. The GDPR provides for the establishment of supervisory authorities at national level with a wide range of functions and powers, including the promoting the awareness of controllers and processors of their data protection obligations. The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, which has already been in existence for almost 30 years, is the supervisory authority in this jurisdiction.

I am advised by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner that promoting and building awareness of the GDPR is a top priority for 2017 and beyond, using a broad range of communications channels, techniques and platforms. These include conferences and speaking events; engagement with the media and social media; GDPR guidance; and information awareness raising campaigns. The Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners and other senior staff are engaged as speakers at a number high-level, high-impact events in 2017, focusing on GDPR awareness and circulating guidance through representative bodies.

The Data Protection Commissioner issued an information document about the GDPR at the end of 2016 entitled "The GDPR and You". I understand that further GDPR guidance will be published over the course of 2017.

I should add that I established the Government Data Forum in 2015 which brings together a wide range of expertise and experience including legal and data protection professionals, representatives from SMEs and multinationals as well as sociologists, psychologists and education specialists. The Forum’s membership has been designed to enable a broad discussion of some of the key issues concerning the processing of personal data in the digital age. Preparations for the GDPR and increasing awareness of data protection among the broader population are two key areas of focus for the Forum for the year ahead. The centrepiece of the Forum’s activities for this year is the Data Summit that will take place on 15 and 16 June in the Convention Centre in Dublin. Preparations for the GDPR will be a core theme for the Summit with a series of presentations and practical ‘how to’ sessions integrated throughout the programme.

Valuation Office

 112. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the details of the administration cost of the revaluations process to date; and the estimated final cost when the first round of rolling revaluations is completed. [17536/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Valuation Office is currently undertaking a systematic national programme of revaluing, for rates purposes, all industrial and commercial properties in the State on a rating authority basis. This is one of the main statutory functions of the Commissioner of Valuation who is completely independent in the operation of his statutory functions. The revaluation programme is the first of its kind since the mid-nineteenth century and has been a policy objective of successive governments for several decades. The programme has gained momentum following the enactment of the Valuation (Amendment) Act which was initiated by the then Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and passed into law by both Houses of the Oireachtas in 2015. The purpose of revaluation is to bring more equity, fairness and transparency into the local authority rating system and to distribute the commercial rates liability more equitably between ratepayers. Following this revaluation, subsequent revaluations of each rating authority area will then be carried out on a cyclical basis no sooner than five years and no later than ten years after the first revaluation, in accordance with Section 25 of the Valuation Act 2001.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the exercise of his functions. I am informed by the Commissioner that the costs incurred in the period 2005 to 2014 in respect of the revaluation programme was €33 million. The costs incurred for 2015 and 2016 (taking into account the 2015 Act) are of the order of €8 million in total. I am advised that these costs are apportioned on a pro-rata basis for the ongoing statutory and non-statutory work carried out by the Office and that these estimates are derived from the overall expenditure incurred in running the Valuation Office, taking account of staffing and other relevant costs. As the Deputy will be aware, the staffing costs of an organisation such as the Valuation Office would typically account for 75 - 80% of the total cost of running the organisation.

The 2015 Act has enabled the Valuation Office to adopt a series of new approaches to revaluation not supported by the previous legislation, including the outsourcing of work, the use of "self assessment" principles known as 'Occupier Assisted Valuation' and more extensive use of statistical analysis. These are being piloted during the REVAL 2017 phase of the overall programme. Accordingly, the costs for the period from 2017 to the anticipated completion of the first revaluation programme in 2021 are likely to be significantly determined by the success or otherwise of these pilot projects and the Valuation Office is not in a position to provide an estimate of such costs until the outcome of these pilot projects is apparent.

Garda Data

 113. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of incidents which were initially entered on the Garda PULSE system as a crime and subsequently reclassified as attention and complaints in January 2017 and February 2017 for each Garda district, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17548/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will be aware, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the publication of recorded crime statistics. The latest CSO quarterly Crime Statistics release was published on 29 March 2017 and shows crime trends for the twelve months ending 31 December 2016. Crime statistics for the first quarter of 2017 have yet to be published by the CSO.

In relation to the reclassification of crime incidents, as referred to by the Deputy, this matter has been addressed in two reports by the CSO which analysed the quality of recorded crime data on the PULSE system. The latest such report, entitled "Review of the quality of crime statistics 2016", was published in September last year and is available on the CSO website.

I am pleased that the CSO have indicated that they intend to conduct further reviews of crime data quality.

Family Law Cases

 114. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if judges of the Circuit Court are empowered to refuse to hear the voice of the child in family law proceedings, in view of the fact that regulations have yet to be passed governing the appointment and qualifications of experts under section 32 of the Child and Family Relationships Act 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17570/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Deputy will be aware that Article 42A.4 of the Constitution requires that provision be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings concerning the guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration. It also requires that provision be made by law for securing, as far as practicable, that in all such proceedings in respect of any child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the views of the child shall be ascertained and given due weight having regard to the age and maturity of the child.

The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 contains new provisions regarding the best interests of children in family law proceedings which have been in operation since 18 January 2016.

Section 3 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964, as amended by section 45 of the 2015 Act, provides that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration for the court in proceedings where the guardianship, custody or upbringing of, or access to, a child is in question.

The best interests of a child are to be determined in accordance with the new Part V of the 1964 Act, inserted by section 63 of the 2015 Act. Part V, entitled “Best Interests of the Child”, contains two important sections.

Section 31 sets out an extensive list of factors and circumstances to be taken into account by a court when determining the best interests of a child. These include the views of the child that are ascertainable (whether in accordance with section 32 or otherwise). The court can ascertain the views of the child in person or through an expert. Section 31(6) provides that in obtaining the ascertainable views of a child, the court shall facilitate the free expression by the child of those views and endeavour to ensure that any views expressed by the child are not expressed as a result of undue influence, and may make an order under section 32.

Section 32 facilitates the hearing of the voice of the child by enabling the court to appoint an expert to determine and convey the child’s views to the court, so that the child’s voice can be heard in the proceedings.

These provisions allow the courts to take account of the evolving capacity of children and also give the courts the flexibility to ensure that all children’s views can be heard.

My Department, in consultation with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, is currently finalising the drafting of regulations under section 32(10) of the 1964 Act. These regulations will specify the necessary qualifications and experience of child views experts appointed in private family law proceedings and the fees and expenses that may be charged by such experts. The fact that regulations have not yet been made under section 32(10) does not restrict a court's power to appoint a child views expert under section 32 or otherwise to hear the voice of the child in family law proceedings.

Extradition Arrangements

 115. Deputy Seán Barrett Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the way in which a person (details supplied) can be extradited to the USA to face trial in respect of crimes committed in Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17601/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Deputy will appreciate that it is not open to me to comment on a case before the courts.

Closed-Circuit Television Systems Expenditure

 116. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the status of the €1 million funding announced in budget 2017 for the provision of CCTV cameras; and when local communities can apply for this. [17635/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am very conscious of the value that communities, especially rural communities, place on CCTV as a means of deterring crime and assisting in the detection of offenders.

The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to providing investment in CCTV systems and that I have secured €1 million in Budget 2017 to begin a new round of community CCTV schemes in line with the Programme. I expect to make an announcement in this context shortly.

Asylum Applications

 117. Deputy Michael Collins Information on Michael Collins Zoom on Michael Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of pre-International Protection Bill 2015 asylum seekers still waiting to be processed; the number which have been given papers since the Bill was passed in November 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17649/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I assume the Deputy is referring to the date the relevant sections of the International Act were commenced and came into force rather than its enactment. This occurred on 31 December 2016.

At the end of March 2017, there were 3,580 applications (provisional figure) waiting to be processed under the International Protection Act 2015 which were transferred to the IPO from the former ORAC or the former Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT).

As all asylum applications pending in the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) on 30 December 2016 were transferred to the International Protection Office (IPO) for processing under the transitional provisions in the International Protection Act, 2015, there are no applications currently waiting to be processed at first instance under the Refugee Act 1996 as amended.

In terms of second instance applications, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) has accepted 21 appeals for processing under the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) after the commencement date of the international Protection Act 2015. In accordance with the transitional provisions of the International Protection Act, these cases are being processed under the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended). All 21 appeals have been assigned to members of the Tribunal and are at various stages of processing.

Regarding the numbers of persons that have been granted asylum in Ireland since 1 January, 2017, I can inform the Deputy that to date 47 individuals have been granted asylum and 27 individuals have been granted subsidiary protection in Ireland this year.

The commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 at the beginning of this year represents a fundamental reform of the system for assessing the applications of those seeking international protection in Ireland. The new system will ensure that all aspects of a person's claim (Asylum, Subsidiary protection and Humanitarian Leave to Remain) are considered together rather than sequentially as heretofore. The new single application procedure under the International Protection Act 2015, will, in time, significantly accelerate the protection determination process and by extension will reduce the length of time which applicants spend in State provided accommodation.


Last Updated: 03/03/2020 14:00:21 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page