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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 72-85
 Header Item Legal Aid Service Data
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Joint Policing Committees
 Header Item Garda Oversight
 Header Item Sentencing Policy
 Header Item Probation and Welfare Service Data
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Youth Justice Strategy
 Header Item Prisoner Data
 Header Item Garda Resources
 Header Item Domestic Violence
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item Garda Station Refurbishment

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 947 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 97 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 72-85

Legal Aid Service Data

 72. 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 cost of not requiring a financial contribution from victims and survivors of domestic violence seeking legal aid. [18410/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy is aware, applicants for civil legal aid and advice are required to meet the financial eligibility criteria under section 29 of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 and the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996 to 2016. Section 29 (2) (b) of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 (as amended by Section 80 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008) provides that the Legal Aid Board may waive any contribution payable or accept a lower contribution if failure to do so would cause undue hardship to the applicant. The Board has put in place guidelines for its decision makers which provide for a sympathetic approach to be taken to applications for a waiver in cases where the application is in connection with a domestic violence matter and the person’s sole source of income is social welfare. In such circumstances a decision maker may decide to waive the aid contribution so that the person will only pay the advice contribution of €30.

  The Board periodically brings proposals to my Department in relation to the financial eligibility and other criteria in relation to civil legal aid and I understand that it is considering bringing a proposal to me regarding this issue in the near future. The following is an estimate of the cost of waiving contributions based on the actual costs incurred in 2016. It is emphasised that these figures relate to both applicants and respondents in such proceedings.

 2016
Where sole application before the Court is for an order under the Domestic Violence Act €138,000
Where multiple matters are before the Court including an application for an order under the Domestic Violence Act€228,000

Garda Recruitment

 73. 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 cost of increasing the Garda workforce to 15,000 members by 2019. [18411/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Garda authorities that the year one cost of increasing Garda numbers to 15,000 members would be approximately €41.2m, assuming a commencement date of 1 January.

The annual payroll costs for these extra members would increase to €62.9m in year two as all members would be fully attested at that stage and paid at the appropriate Garda salary rate.

Year one costs for new Garda recruits include a basic weekly allowance of €184 plus a living allowance of €77.92. After 32 weeks of training, Garda recruits are attested and move on to the first point of the Garda pay scale €28,405, rising to a maximum of €50,448 per annum after 19 years. They may also qualify for other allowances depending on their assignments. For the purposes of this calculation, the costs are based on basic salary plus employer PRSI but do not include any allowances that the members may be entitled to after being attested. I understand that the cost of training recruits is subsumed into the overall training costs of the Garda College and is not easily identifiable.

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a 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. This year, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Funding has also been provided for the recruitment of 300 Garda Reserves.

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.

Joint Policing Committees

 74. 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 resources allocated to joint policing committees during each of the past five years. [18412/17]

 100. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the resources provided by her Department to local joint policing committees in 2015 and 2016; and the resources being provided in 2017. [18657/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 74 and 100 together.

It is important to note that the JPCs were established to act as a forum to improve collaboration and engagement rather than a new administrative function with corresponding budgets and other resources. There are already substantial resources deployed to addressing local policing and community safety issues and the JPCs are intended to enhance how these resources are deployed, not to supplement them.

Each agency involved in the Committees is generally expected to meet the expenses arising for itself in establishing and operating the Committees from within its own budget. As the Deputy is aware, the high proportion of resources allocated to the Garda Vote underlines this Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime. Key to achieving this goal is the Government’s decision 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. This of course reflects the commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government. I am pleased that in Estimates 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in An Garda Síochána. Funding has also been provided for the recruitment of 300 Garda Reserves.

These investments will support all policing activities including community engagement and Garda participation on consultative fora, including Joint Policing Committees.

Garda Oversight

 75. 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 cost of establishing a criminal justice inspectorate here, based on the model in place in Northern Ireland. [18413/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Inspection of criminal justice functions is currently undertaken by a number of agencies. The Garda Síochána Inspectorate and the Inspector of Prisons each have significant roles as statutory independent bodies charged with inspection of An Garda Síochána and the Prisons Service respectively.

The possible establishment of an inspectorate with a remit covering the entire criminal justice sector is being considered by my Department, which published an initial discussion paper and hosted an open policy debate on the matter in November 2015. A key area of focus at that debate and in subsequent deliberations was the possibility of such an inspectorate serving as a practical mechanism for implementation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment (OPCAT). My Department is further examining these and related issues, in consultation with relevant agencies and in conjunction with a review of the applicable legislative frameworks.

While the specific model in place in Northern Ireland is being examined in this context, there are a range of possible variants of (and alternatives to) such a model which also warrant consideration. Further analysis of the various options available, including their legislative and practical implications, will be necessary before the costs and benefits of implementing any particular model can be accurately estimated.

Sentencing Policy

 76. 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 projected cost of establishing a sentencing council. [18414/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will be aware, judges are independent in the matter of sentencing, as in other matters concerning the exercise of judicial functions, subject only to the Constitution and the law. In regard to sentencing, the approach of the Oireachtas has generally been to specify in law a maximum penalty for an offence, so that a court, having considered all the circumstances of a case, may impose an appropriate penalty up to that maximum. The court is required to impose a sentence which is proportionate not only to the crime but to the individual offender, in that process identifying where on the sentencing range the particular case should lie and then applying any mitigating factors which may be present. An important safeguard rests in the power of the Director of Public Prosecutions to apply to the Court of Appeal to review a sentence she regards as unduly lenient.

The Superior Courts have developed a substantial body of case law setting out general principles of sentencing. Sentencing practice is also being developed by a steering committee of the judiciary which developed the Irish Sentencing Committee website, a pilot initiative designed to gather information about the range of sentences and other penalties that have been imposed for particular types of offences across court jurisdictions. This system is being developed as a valuable tool not only for members of the judiciary but also for lawyers, researchers and those concerned with the needs of victims and their families, and I very much support the initiative led by the judiciary through the Judicial Research Office in undertaking the detailed work of gathering and providing information on sentencing via the website.

The report of the Working Group on the Strategic Review of Penal Policy, published in July 2014, considered the issue of developing sentencing guidelines. However, the majority of the Review Group took the view that the primary role of developing sentencing guidelines is the responsibility of the judiciary and does not lie in bringing forward detailed statutory based guidelines. It might also be noted that a Sentencing Council was not advocated by the Law Reform Commission in its Report on Mandatory Sentencing which was published in June 2013.

The Deputy may wish to note that, in 2014, the Court of Criminal Appeal issued a number of judgments which addressed the question of sentencing and which acknowledged the many factors that can be considered in individual cases which undermine the usefulness of direct comparisons between one case and another. Nonetheless, every effort to promote consistency should be made and in this respect it is appropriate for the courts to provide guidance on sentencing matters.

A Judicial Council Bill is included in the current legislative programme which provides for a range of matters including matters relating to developing schemes for judicial education and training. It is envisaged that the Judicial Council, once established, will put in place a Sentencing Information Committee, a function of which will be to collate and disseminate information on sentencing in respect of criminal offences. Any costs incurred in the operation of that Committee, which have yet to be determined, will be met from monies allocated in respect of the Judicial Council.

Probation and Welfare Service Data

 77. 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 staff employed by the Probation Service and their salary scales; and the full cost of salaries for each of the past five years. [18415/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The following table outlines the staffing of the Probation Service as of 31 December broken down by year 2012 to 2016:

Grade and

current ppc salary scale
20122013201420152016
Director €123,94611111
Deputy Director €80,646 - €100,33312222
Assistant Principal Probation & Welfare Officer€66,777 - €82,53898767
Assistant Director of Probation & Welfare Service €72,108 - €88,47622222
Assistant Principal Officer €65,093 - €78,45122222
Probation Officer €30,376 - €63,702227227229219209
Senior Probation Officer €59,765 - €70,6454848474746
Statistician €31,520 - €78,45111111
Service Officers €21,509 - €30,47322222
Professional Accountant €66,777 - €8253811111
Higher Executive Officers €47,081 - €59,29444443
Executive Officers €28,739 - €48,9751212121210
Community Service Supervisors €32,511 - €37,4741015214043
Clerical Officers €22,879 - €38,3416462605650
Total Staff 384387391395379
Total salary spend €23,006,645.50€22,782,640.97€22,645,123.52€22,661,267.96€21,480,311.99

Proposed Legislation

 78. 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 when she will introduce the family court Bill; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18417/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Government is committed to significant reform of the courts, including the establishment of a family law court structure that is streamlined, more efficient, and less costly.

  My Department is working on the General Scheme of a Family Court Bill which will aim to streamline family law court processes, clarify jurisdictional issues and provide for a set of guiding principles to help ensure that the Family Court will operate in a user-friendly and efficient manner. The intention is to establish a dedicated Family Court within the existing court structures. The Family Court Bill will support the proposals in the Mediation Bill 2017 by encouraging greater use of alternative dispute resolution to assist in more timely resolution of family law cases.

  My Department is currently engaged in further consultation with relevant stakeholders in relation to the operational aspects of a new family court structure. I hope to secure Government approval for the General Scheme of a Family Court Bill in the coming months. Once the General Scheme has been approved by Government, it will be referred to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting and will be subject to the usual pre-legislative scrutiny by the relevant Oireachtas Committee. While I am not in a position at this time to indicate when the Bill will be published, it is my intention that the General Scheme will be published later this year following its approval by Government.

Proposed Legislation

 79. 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 projected cost of the implementation of the family court Bill. [18418/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Government is committed to significant reform of the courts, including the establishment of a family law court structure that is streamlined, more efficient, and less costly.

  My Department is working on the General Scheme of a Family Court Bill which will aim to streamline family law court processes, clarify jurisdictional issues and provide for a set of guiding principles to help ensure that the Family Court will operate in a user-friendly and efficient manner. The intention is to establish a dedicated Family Court within the existing court structures. The Family Court Bill will support the proposals in the Mediation Bill 2017 by encouraging greater use of alternative dispute resolution to assist in more timely resolution of family law cases.

  My Department is currently engaged in further consultation with relevant stakeholders in relation to the operational aspects of a new family court structure. These consultations will allow for an examination of projected requirements for resources to support the new structure. I hope to secure Government approval in the coming months for the General Scheme of a Family Court Bill which will incorporate a cost-benefit assessment of the proposed new family court structure. Once the General Scheme has been approved by Government, it will be referred to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for drafting and will be subject to the usual pre-legislative scrutiny by the relevant Oireachtas Committee. While I am not in a position at this time to indicate when the Bill will be published, it is my intention that the General Scheme will be published later this year following its approval by Government.

Youth Justice Strategy

 80. 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 projected cost of full implementation of the current youth justice strategy; and the cost of expanding the strategy to cover young persons up to 24 years of age. [18419/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I presume the Deputy, when referring to the projected cost of implementation of the current youth justice strategy, means the cost of operating the network of Garda Youth Diversion Projects throughout the country.

Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) are community based multi-agency crime prevention initiatives which primarily seek to divert young people who have become involved in crime/anti-social behaviour. There are now 105 of these projects in place nationally and each project is managed by a Community Based Organisation (CBO) (e.g. Foróige, Youth Work Ireland, Crosscare etc).

The GYDPs aim to bring about the conditions whereby the behavioural patterns of young people towards law and order can develop and mature through positive interventions and interaction with the project. The projects are particularly targeted at 12-17 year old “at risk” youths in communities where a specific need has been identified and where there is a risk of them remaining within the justice system. Young people are normally referred to GYDPs by the local Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer.

The projects operate as a support to the statutory Garda Diversion Programme provided for in Part 4 of the Children Act 2001 (as amended) and are funded by my Department, through the Irish Youth Justice Service. In 2016, approximately €15m was allocated by the Irish Youth Justice Service to GYDPs and a number of other youth diversion community based projects around the country. A similar level of funding will be provided in 2017.

With regards to introducing a Diversion Programme for young offenders aged 18-24 years the Deputy might note that the position in this regard, as outlined in my reply to Parliamentary Question Nos. 29 and 131 on the 28 February 2017, remains the same. For this reason it is not possible at this point in time to provide a projected cost of introducing a Diversion Programme for this cohort.

Prisoner Data

 81. 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 persons within the prison system who are receiving treatment for serious mental health conditions. [18420/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that it does not record data on the aggregate number of persons in its custody who are identified as having serious mental health conditions owing to the requirement that it maintain the confidentiality of the medical records of the persons in its custody. I am advised that the National Forensic Mental Health Service does compile detailed data on persons in custody with serious mental health conditions for the HSE.

Garda Resources

 82. 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 resources allocated to the Garda national protective services bureau during each of the past four years; and the number of cases they dealt with in each of those years. [18421/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and Units and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Garda Commissioner that the allocation of Gardaí is continually monitored and reviewed taking into account all relevant factors including crime trends, demographics, and security assessments relating to the area in question so as to ensure optimal use is made of Garda human resources.

  The Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021 envisages a range of actions to be implemented by State, voluntary and community sector organisations aimed at preventing and responding to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. An Garda Síochána is committed to supporting this strategy, and in 2015 a number of Garda units were brought together to leverage their experience and expertise in investigating serious crimes against the person including sexual offences to form the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB).

  The GNPSB is a specialist team dedicated to making sure each and every complaint relating to child protection, human trafficking and domestic and sexual violence is thoroughly investigated and handled correctly. In addition, the GNPSB is responsible for working with other agencies to manage sex offenders in the interest of community safety. As part of the Garda Commissioner's Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 Protective Services Units (PSUs) are to be established in every Garda Division with specially trained staff. These PSUs are to ensure a consistent approach to domestic abuse and sexual crime, which will be supported by the national Bureau. The PSUs will work with the Garda Victim Service Offices in their area to ensure that the needs of victims are adequately catered for.

  I am advised by the Commissioner that these Divisional PSUs are being rolled out in two phases. Phase 1 involves the establishment of three Units over a 12-month period on a pilot basis. The pilot Divisions that have been identified are the Dublin Metropolitan Region West, Cork City, and the Louth Division. The assessment of this pilot phase will inform the further roll-out to each Garda Division.

  I am informed by the Commissioner that as of 28 February 2017, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 29 members and 9 civilians assigned to the GNPSB. As the GNPSB was only formed in 2015 when a number of Garda units were brought together it is only possible to provide figures for 2015 and 2016. For the Deputy's information, I have set this out in the following table:

  Strength of Garda National Protective Services Bureau

 GardaCivilians
31 December 2015294
31 December 2016307


I have requested the specific information requested by the Deputy regarding the number of cases dealt with by the Bureau from the Commissioner and I will write to the Deputy on receipt of same.

Domestic Violence

 83. 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 cost of domestic violence awareness campaigns run by her Department. [18422/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Government and I as Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality are totally committed to tackling domestic violence. A national awareness campaign on domestic and sexual violence is a key action under the prevention pillar of the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021.

  It is intended that the “What would you do?” campaign which was launched in November 2016, will run for a period of 6 years up to 2021. The first 3 years will focus on domestic violence to be followed by 3 years dealing with sexual violence but elements of each will be interwoven into each phase of the campaign.

  The overall aim of the campaign is to increase the awareness of domestic and sexual violence, to bring about a change in long established societal behaviours and attitudes and to activate bystanders with the aim of decreasing and preventing this violence. I believe that these are achievable goals.

  “What would you do?” is designed to be a high impact media campaign to reach a national audience that features TV, cinema, radio, outdoor, social and digital advertising. The campaign recognises that women and men are victims of domestic and sexual violence. The campaign aims to reduce the very real suffering of those affected through the actions and assistance of bystanders who have been moved to take action by this powerful campaign and the call to action directs people to search the comprehensive campaign website whatwouldyoudo.ie for information and advice on domestic violence.

  In order to run the campaign, I secured funding of €950,000 for 2016 and also for 2017. In addition €200,000 has been awarded under the Dormant Accounts Fund for the years 2016-2017 to deliver the message of the national campaign at a local level through media partnerships with service providers across the country. The actual expenditure in 2016 was €1,019,848 (including an allocation from the Dormant Accounts Fund). The balance of the Dormant Accounts Fund award is budgeted to be spent with the €950,000 allocated for 2017.

  The creative and media agencies TBWA\Dublin and PHD Media Ireland were selected through a rigorous EU wide tender process to work with Cosc - the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence to develop and implement the campaign.

EU Directives

 84. 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 projected cost of implementation of the European Union victims directive. [18423/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald My Department set up a Victim Services Group of the Criminal Justice Strategic Committee in June, 2015 to coordinate implementation of the Victims Directive. The organisations represented on the group are An Garda Síochána, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, the Courts Service, the Legal Aid Board, the Probation Service, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Irish Prison Service, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, the Central Mental Hospital, and the Criminal Law Reform Division, Victims of Crime Office and Crime Division of my Department.

The implementation of the Victims Directive is being delivered within current resource allocations. To disaggregate the cost of the Directive actions to date from overall budgets in the wide range of Departments and bodies involved would take a disproportionate amount of time. Additional funding, where required, will form part of the normal estimates process. It is not possible at this time to determine the projected cost.

I have secured a €250,000 increase in the funding for 2017 for the victims organisations funded through the Victims of Crime Office in my Department, bringing the total allocation for this year to €1.712 million. This funding has been allocated and should help fund improved and expanded services by organisations working with victims. This is in addition to an extra €250,000 that I secured for 2016. Services to victims that received funding in 2017 include helpline services, face to face emotional support, information and court accompaniment to victims and specialist services for those bereaved by homicide, tourist victims, child victims and victims of sexual crime and victims of domestic violence.

Garda Station Refurbishment

 85. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the status of the upgrade of Tubbercurry Garda station in County Sligo; if she has evaluated the proposals submitted to the Garda building unit; the extent of the facilities required; if she will issue approval; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18432/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Deputy will appreciate that the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works, which has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As Minister, I have no direct role in relation to these matters.

  The Deputy will be also aware that the Garda Síochána Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016 – 2021, which I announced in 2015 with my colleague the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works, will benefit some 30 locations around the State and includes a number of projects, such as:

  - a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project to deliver new Garda stations in key areas, including Sligo;

  - major refurbishment of stations and facilities including facilities for meeting victims of crime;

  - essential remedial works to existing stations;

  - development of large scale Property and Exhibit Management Stores;

  - upgrade of cells and provision of improved Custody Management Facilities.

  This is in addition to the major ongoing developments of new Garda Stations at Kevin St in Dublin, Wexford Town, and Galway.

  I understand that the Programme, which reflects the priorities of An Garda Síochána, does not include provision for refurbishment of Tubbercurry Garda station. This said, I am advised by the Garda authorities that, in late 2016, they requested the Office of Public Works to carry out a cost assessment of works required to provide additional accommodation and facilities at the station and that Garda management continues to engage with the Office of Public Works with a view to identifying the priority works that could be undertaken to enhance the facilities of the Garda station.


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