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. 243-262
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Departmental Staff Data
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure
 Header Item Departmental Data
 Header Item Legal Aid
 Header Item Garda Stations
 Header Item Garda Stations
 Header Item Courts Service Properties
 Header Item Anti-Social Behaviour
 Header Item Parental Leave
 Header Item Deportation Orders
 Header Item Family Reunification Applications
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Magdalen Laundries
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Data Protection Commissioner

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 243-262

Proposed Legislation

 243. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to introduce a rights of grandparents Bill similar to the 2013 proposed legislation which did not proceed through the Houses of the Oireachtas to deal with issues in relation access to children for grandparents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9064/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Rights of Grandparents Bill 2013 did not proceed through the Oireachtas. I have no plans to introduce a similar Bill, as the issues regarding access to children by grandparents, which the Rights of Grandparents Bill 2013 attempted to deal with, were subsequently addressed by the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015.

The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 is a child–centred Act which addresses the rights of children to legal security, to the care of their parents and important adults in their lives, and to equality before the law. These reforms in family law recognise the crucial role of parents and other relatives, including grandparents, in a child's life.

The 2015 Act extensively amended the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 in relation to guardianship, custody and access. A grandparent or other relative may apply to court for custody of a child where he or she is an adult who has undertaken the child’s day to day care for more than 12 months and the child has no parent or guardian willing or able to act as guardian. The 2015 Act has also made it easier for relatives of a child, such as grandparents, to apply to court under section 11B of the 1964 Act to have access to children.

Section 25 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 requires the court, as it thinks appropriate and practicable, to take into account the child's wishes in custody and access matters, having regard to the age and understanding of the child.

Section 3 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 provides that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration for the court to take into account in any proceedings where access to a child is in question. It is a matter for the courts, when making decisions on access, to determine the best interests of the child and to decide whether or not to make an order regarding access to the child.

Naturalisation Applications

 244. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan further to Parliamentary Question No. 285 of 18 December 2018, when a decision will issue in relation to the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9152/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the processing of the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage and on completion of the necessary processing the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. There is no further documentation requested at this time. Additional information may, if required, be requested in due course.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. While most straightforward cases are now processed within six months, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that, for a broad range of reasons, some cases will take longer than others to process. In some instances, completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Departmental Staff Data

 245. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of conferences staff of his Department have attended in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the number of staff that attended each conference; the cost of same in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9173/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan Attendance at conferences, seminars and similar type events is a regular, routine, and necessary aspect of work for staff across my Department.

Information on attendance at such events is not collated in a format that would allow for a comprehensive response to the Deputy's question, though if the Deputy has a query in relation to a particular conference I would be glad to make further enquiries.

I would also like to make a couple of general points around conferences:

In general, conferences or seminars organised or hosted by my Department make use of Department facilities where possible. This typically involves the Atrium at my Department's headquarters, which is regularly in use both for internal seminars, and those involving the wider public sector and external stakeholders. Extensive use is made of video-conferencing facilities to allow for participation by staff who are not based at Department headquarters.

As regards attendance at conferences and seminars, I wish to note that costs, where not recoupable from other sources (for example, the EU), can be claimed in accordance with relevant Dept. of Expenditure and Reform circulars only.

Departmental Expenditure

 246. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the amount spent in advertising and-or sponsorship in respect of conferences external and internal, respectively, in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, by conference; the aggregate amount for each year; the amount available in the remainder of 2019 to fund same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9190/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The information requested by the Deputy, as it relates to expenditure incurred by my Department, is set out in the table below. Where such expenditure has been incurred by agencies under the aegis of my Department I have asked that they respond directly to the Deputy.

Year Amount Spent incl. VAT (€) Description
2017 3,000 UCD/Club Health Dublin 2017 - The 10th International Conference on Nightlife, Substance Use and Related Health Issues, including sexual violence, May 2017.
2017 10,000 Victim Support Europe Annual Conference, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, May 2017 (support funding provided to the Irish Victims Rights Alliance as conference co-host).
2018 492.00 (venue deposit) 30% Club "Working for Better Balance" event 8 February 2019
2018 5,000 SAFE Ireland Summit on addressing the issue of domestic abuse, Dublin, October 2018.
2018 72,802 Irish Traveller Ethnicity Celebration
2019 4,428.00 balance paid to date with estimated 1,618 remaining pending receipt of invoices 30% Club "Working for Better Balance" event, 8 February 2019


  In each case the payments were incurred in support of events promoting the policy objectives of my Department.

  The Irish Traveller Ethnicity Celebration was a free event open to all, and attended by an estimated 2000 people, which was organised to mark the State's recognition of Traveller identity. Costs included venue hire of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and costs associated with rescheduling the event because of Storm Emma, Programme and Production costs including event management, PR, website, signage, workshops, stalls, catering etc.

Departmental Data

 247. Deputy Joan Burton Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of staff in his Department who attended a summit (details supplied) in Dublin in 2017 and 2018, respectively; the cost to his Department or agency under the remit of his Department; if his Department or an agency under the remit of his Department undertook advertising or sponsorship in respect of the summit; the cost in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9207/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I can confirm to the Deputy that the staff of my Department have not attended the Pendulum summit in an official capacity in the period in question and therefore related expenditure has not been incurred. If such expenditure has been incurred by agencies under the aegis of my Department I have asked that they respond directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 248 answered with Question No. 241.

Legal Aid

 249. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan when the review into the legal aid scheme terms and conditions was initiated; when it was concluded; if the terms and conditions are the responsibility of his Department; the rationale for removing the automatic entitlement to junior counsel; the rationale for reducing the fees allowed for both Circuit Court and High Court cases; his views on whether this will lead to an imbalance in personal insolvency cases between creditors and debtors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9259/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I would refer the Deputy to the detailed material provided in response to his previous questions No. 299 and No. 300 of 19th February on this matter.

  In addition to the information provided then, I can add that the Legal Aid Board requested a specified number of adjustments to legal aid fees payable under the Abhaile scheme, in October 2018. The changes were considered and approved, in the light of two years' experience in the operation of the scheme. They were notified to barristers and solicitors by the Legal Aid Board at the end of January 2019.

  As outlined in the reply to Questions 299 and 300 of 19 February, the adjustments to the Legal Aid Board fees do not constitute an overall review of the terms and conditions for legal aid under Abhaile. As the Deputy is aware from previous replies, the normal fees for a PIP or solicitor for a defended legal aid case under Abhaile remain unchanged. There has been no change to the eligibility criteria for borrowers, and no change to the provision of legal aid under Abhaile free of charge to the borrower.

As previously outlined, in relation to representation by counsel: a borrower will continue to be represented in s.115A cases by a personal insolvency practitioner, a solicitor, and as needed, by junior and senior counsel.

The Board has indicated that barristers will not be approved automatically  in every case. There is no other area of civil legal aid where that is the case – and it is obvious that it may not always be necessary to approve counsel, for example, in a personal insolvency review case which is undefended.

  However, the revised terms and conditions set out by the Legal Aid Board expressly indicate that in personal insolvency review cases, junior and (as needed) senior counsel will continue to be approved ‘where there are legal complexities that require the involvement of counsel’ and this is expressly explained as including where a creditor raises legal issues that need to be argued by a barrister in court. Counsel may also be approved on a case by case basis if there are exceptional circumstances, at the Board’s discretion.

  Many personal insolvency review cases raise complex questions of law. I and my Department are fully aware of the nature of the cases brought and decided over the past three years. Indeed, in January this year, on the launch of the Abhaile second year Report, I specifically underlined the priority that I attach to the good work being done under Abhaile, and to ensuring that the personal insolvency review can function effectively.

  As outlined in the reply of 19 February, two reasonable changes are being introduced to the fees payable for all professionals. First, the full fee will not be payable in undefended cases, where no creditor opposes the court review. Secondly, personal insolvency cases often involve parallel applications by both partners, where a couple has the same home mortgage. In practice, the vast majority of parallel applications are treated by the courts as one single case. There is no reason for taxpayers to cover two full fees in such cases, and they will be payable at a full fee for one spouse and a reduced (10%) fee for the second spouse, representing the actual extra work involved.

  These are manifestly reasonable changes.

  Finally, barristers’ fixed fees are being reduced, but only to bring them into line with fees payable in other areas of civil legal aid where complex legal or procedural issues also arise.

Garda Stations

 250. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the arrangements in place in which Garda stations are not open and a person makes a phone call to that local Garda station; if these calls will be automatically transferred to a further Garda station in the region that is opened on a 24-hour basis and can answer the phone calls; if they are not directed to another Garda station that is also closed, the arrangements in place to ensure this happens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9307/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána, in accordance with operational need and policing priorities. This includes responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations, their opening hours and related matters. As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter.

I have asked the Commissioner for the specific information requested and I will write directly to the Deputy when I receive it.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

  I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 250 for answer on 26 February 2019 in which you requested the arrangements in place for telephone callers to a Garda station which is not open on a 24 hour basis.

    The Deputy will recall that the information could not be obtained in the time available and I undertook to consult with An Garda Síochána and contact you again when the information was available.

    The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government recognises that Gardaí must have the modern technology and resources necessary to detect and investigate crimes, and to prevent loss and harm to citizens and their property on a 24/7 basis.

    Further, A Policing Service for the Future, the high level plan for implementation of the Commission on the Future of Policing’s recommendations, prioritises the development of a digital strategy and the roll-out of ICT projects with the aim of fully embedding technology initiatives to improve the services delivered to communities by An Garda Síochána.

    Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and holds responsibility for the management and control of the administration and business of An Garda Síochána and he is responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources at his disposal, including responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations, their opening hours and related matters. I, as Minister, have no direct role in that matter.

    The Garda authorities inform that before vacating a non-24 hour station, the Garda member manually diverts the station telephone line to a 24 hour Garda station within the Division. In the case of any Garda Division within the DMR which is not a 24 hour station, calls are diverted to a 24 hour station within the District.

Garda Stations

 251. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the status of the additional accommodation for the Garda station in Mullingar, County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9312/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan 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 responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. This includes identifying and progressing any necessary remedial or refurbishment works required at individual stations. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the specific information requested and when it is received I will write directly to the Deputy.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 251 for answer on 26 February 2019 regarding the status of the additional accommodation for the Garda Station in Mullingar, County Westmeath. As you will recall, I undertook to contact you again when I had more detail in response to your question.     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 (OPW), which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.

    As the Deputy will know, significant capital investment is being made in the Garda estate. I am pleased to confirm that the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021, an ambitious 5-year programme to address deficiencies in the Garda estate, includes the provision of additional accommodation at Mullingar Garda Station.

    I am informed by the Garda authorities that as an interim measure, new office facilities, an examination room and storage facilities were provided in 2017 for the Divisional Scenes of Crime Office within the Mullingar Garda Station.

    In relation to the works at the station, I have been informed that An Garda Síochána has provided the OPW with a brief of requirements. The OPW is currently in the process of finalising a space analysis of the existing station. I understand that this will determine the most practical approach to satisfy Garda accommodation requirements in Mullingar.

    The OPW and An Garda Síochána will continue to cooperate closely in the matter.

    I trust that the above is of assistance.

Courts Service Properties

 252. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the final cost for renovation of the courthouse in Mullingar, County Westmeath; and the percentage increase on the original costing. [9314/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998 management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has advised that Mullingar Courthouse was delivered in 2018 under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements as part of the Courts PPP Bundle Project. This project also delivered new or refurbished courthouses at Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Wexford, Letterkenny and Drogheda. All seven courthouse were procured as part of a single project with a total capital value of approximately €150 million excluding VAT. The capital value of Mullingar Courthouse was approximately €14 million excluding VAT.

The Courts Service has further advised that Public Private Partnership projects are paid for by means of a Unitary Charge over a 25 year period after construction. The Unitary Charge for the Courts PPP Bundle project includes payment for a range of services over the 25 year period in addition to repaying the capital cost of construction. The Courts Service has informed me that there has been no change in the annual Unitary Charge since the project agreement was signed. There has been an additional €1.36 million excluding VAT in capital expenditure incurred across the entire bundle in respect of changes/additions to specifications sought by court users and additional archaeology costs incurred during the construction phase and this equates to less than 1% of the capital cost. Discussions have yet to conclude concerning a number of claims and these are expected to conclude by the end of March 2019.

Anti-Social Behaviour

 253. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of juvenile anti-social behaviour orders issued in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 under Part 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9319/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I have requested the information from the Garda authorities and I will contact the Deputy directly when the information is to hand.

Parental Leave

 254. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if the additional paid parental leave announced as part of budget 2019 will be available to parents in respect of children born on or after the date of its announcement in budget 2019; if it will only apply to parents in respect of children born on or after the date of its implementation in late 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9396/19]

 255. Deputy Denise Mitchell Information on Denise Mitchell Zoom on Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if there will be administrative or legal technicalities that would mean the exclusion of parents of children born in 2019 after the additional paid parental leave announced as part of budget 2019; his plans to include those parents with children born after the budget 2019 announcement in 2019 or who are still under one year of age when the scheme is implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9397/19]

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. 254 and 255 together.

  The Deputy will be aware that as part of Budget 2019, the Government announced the introduction of a new social insurance based paid parental benefit scheme. This new scheme will support parents during the first year of the child's life by providing two weeks of paid leave to both parents, and will allow parents more flexibility in achieving and managing a work life balance.

  It is envisaged that the scheme will commence in late 2019 and will be available to parents in respect all children born on or after the date of its implementation.

  The conditions of eligibility for the scheme will be provided for in legislation which is currently being developed by my Department, in cooperation with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Deportation Orders

 256. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the progress to date in the determination of a case pursuant to section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) in the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9454/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), written representations have been submitted on behalf of the persons concerned.

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicable legislation, in advance of a final decision being made.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Family Reunification Applications

 257. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the next date for persons to apply for reunification for families under the international humanitarian assistance programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9510/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Irish Refugee Protection Programme Humanitarian Admission Programme 2 (IHAP) is a programme which allows holders of International Protection Status in Ireland, (i.e. Refugees with Convention or Programme Refugee Status), holders of Subsidiary Protection grants, and Irish Citizens, to make a proposal to me to bring to the State their family members who are nationals of one of the top ten major source countries of refugees as identified by the UNHCR. This programme serves as a very positive tool for encouraging integration in the knowledge that in doing so you can help family members in the future.

The number under the programme is capped at five hundred and thirty, over two years. Some one hundred and fifty two people were granted under window one, a number of whom have already joined their families in the state. The experience from the first round was that many were submitted in an incomplete manner and had to be returned. The second window for proposals under the IHAP closed on 8th February, and incomplete proposals from the first window could be resubmitted under this round. Work has been ongoing since then on assessing and verifying proposals. No decision has yet issued, though it is anticipated that all proposals will have had a decision issued by late May.

In the event of the 530 places not being reached under round two a further round will be announced following completion of the round two consideration. It is possible based on the numbers received under round two that the target may be reached.

Visa Applications

 258. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of visa applications from citizens of Yemen who are family members of residents here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9511/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a total of 31 applications from Yemeni nationals, made for the purpose of visiting or joining a family member, were decided in 2018. As with any nationality, visa applications can be made from any location throughout the world. A total of twenty applications were approved in 2018 and because of timing differences these decisions do not necessarily relate to 2018 applications.

The central concern in deciding on visa applications, as with all visa services worldwide, is to strike an appropriate balance between protecting the country's vital national interests by maintaining an effective immigration regime while at the same time facilitating travel for those who meet the criteria. Each visa application is therefore decided on its own merits.

Magdalen Laundries

 259. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 436 of 6 November 2018 and 127 of 24 January 2019, the status of an application by a person (details supplied) to the Magdalen restorative justice ex gratia scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [9519/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan In my responses to previous Dáil questions in relation to this application (Dáil Question No. 436 of 6 November, 2018 and Dáil Question No. 127 of 24 January, 2019) I explained that this application comes under the 2018 Addendum to the terms of the 2013 Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex Gratia Scheme.

  That Addendum applies the scheme to persons who were resident in one of 14 adjoining institutions and who worked in the laundries of one of the 12 'Magdalen' institutions. The calculation of redress awards under the Addendum is different from the original scheme. The Addendum provides that the lump sum payment comprises two elements: a 'general' payment for the period of residency in the adjoining institution and a 'work' payment for the period of time the applicant worked in the laundry of the 'Magdalen' institution.

  Applications to the Scheme covered by the Addendum are being processed and payments have issued to a number of successful applicants. In processing an application and making a provisional assessment, it is necessary to determine what records are available from the institutions concerned and from other sources. Where there is insufficient or conflicting documentation available, an interview with an applicant may be necessary. This would solely be for her benefit, its purpose being to facilitate a fair assessment of her claim. It is important that each case is assessed on its own merits and the process to ensure a fair assessment will vary from case to case.

  I cannot comment on individual cases, other than to say that the application referred to by the Deputy is being processed. Further details have been requested from the relevant religious congregation and these are expected shortly. It is the intention of my Department that this and other applications under the Scheme will be finalised as soon as possible. The applicant and her legal advisers will, of course, be kept apprised of the progress of her claim.

  By way of general information, to date just over €27.2million has been paid to 720 women under the Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex Gratia  Scheme.

Garda Recruitment

 260. Deputy Frank O'Rourke Information on Frank O'Rourke Zoom on Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the criteria which will be used by the implementation group for police reform in the recruitment of Garda sergeants scheduled for Q3; if it will it be an open public competition; if not, if it will be an internal competition; if internal, the entry criteria for same (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9544/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will be aware the filling of vacancies in the supervisory ranks of Sergeant and Inspector is a matter for the Garda Commissioner who has responsibility under the Garda Síochána (Promotion) Regulations 2006 (as amended) for holding competitions for the selection of members for promotion to these ranks.

  On 18 December 2018, the Government endorsed the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) and agreed to accept all 157 key recommendations contained in the report, including those related to Garda workforce planning and modernisation. On 18 December 2018 I also published a four year high level plan, ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, which sets out the approach to implementation of the Commission's recommendations. Implementation of the Commission’s recommendations is already being advanced. Workforce planning and modernisation will be one of the key issues advanced throughout 2019 including in relation to civilianisation and also in relation to the appointment of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors.

  The Garda Síochána (Promotion) Regulations 2006 (as amended) outline the eligibility requirements to be a candidate for promotion to the ranks of Sergeant and Inspector. One of the eligibility requirements is that a candidate must be a serving member of An Garda Síochána and this requirement will remain in place for the next competition. My Department is currently in the process of drafting new Promotion Regulations which will govern future competitions for promotion to these ranks as recommended by the Commission for Public Service Appointments. It is my intention to have these new Regulations in place for the next competition that is scheduled for Q3 2019 in the CoFPI Implementation Plan.

Departmental Funding

 261. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the breakdown of funds received by his Department or channelled through his Department from EU funds in 2017; and the programmes these funds supported. [9575/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I wish to inform the Deputy that €8,817,372 in EU Funds was received by my Department's Vote 24 during 2017, of which €8,611,498 comprised advance funding for programmes. The table below provides further details.   

Division Details Amount €
Office for Internet Safety EU Funding For Internet Safety 199,785
Anti-Human Trafficking Unit Council Of Europe Funded UK Study Visit (Oct 2016) 4,832
Criminal Assets Bureau Reimbursement of Conference fees 1,257
Asylum Migration and Integration fund Advance funding for initiatives to promote the integration of non-EU migrants and to combat discrimination and racism 7,334,769
European Social Fund Advance funding forProgramme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020- Priority 2: Social Inclusion and Equal Opportunities 1,276,729


  I have requested that relevant agencies under the remit of my Department, and operating under a separate Vote structure (An Garda Síochána, Irish Prison Service and Courts Service) respond directly to the Deputy.

Data Protection Commissioner

 262. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin Information on Fiona O'Loughlin Zoom on Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if a data protection centre (details supplied) will be moved in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9650/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan There are no plans to relocate the Data Protection Commission (DPC) office located at Station Road, Portarlington, Co. Laois. I am advised by the Data Protection Commission that there are 29 staff members working at the Portarlington office across a number of teams (e.g. complaint-handling, investigations, etc.,) and they make a valuable contribution to the statutory functions and role of the DPC.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Data Protection Commission also has an office in Dublin.


Last Updated: 13/07/2020 12:30:07 First Page Previous Page Page of 82 Next Page Last Page