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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 208-227
 Header Item Schools Health and Safety
 Header Item School Patronage
 Header Item Home Tuition Scheme
 Header Item Education and Training Boards Data
 Header Item Schools Building Projects
 Header Item International Conventions
 Header Item Garda Accommodation
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Bench Warrants
 Header Item Fines Administration
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Garda Resources
 Header Item Prisoner Releases
 Header Item Citizenship Status
 Header Item Public Service Vehicles

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 91 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 208-227

Schools Health and Safety

 208. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the action he plans to take to ensure there are no vending machines serving unhealthy food options in schools; the action he will take to ensure no schools are dependent upon income generated from vending machines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10847/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh My Department is active in the area of promotion of health and wellbeing in schools.  The issue of promoting healthy eating is addressed in schools through subjects such as Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), and Home Economics as well as in Physical Education.  The aim is to equip students with such skills and knowledge to enable them to make appropriate choices for healthy lifestyles.  Schools are strongly encouraged to have a formal healthy eating policy that has been developed in consultation with students and parents. My Department issued a circular to all post primary schools in September 2015 on the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles in Post Primary Schools (circular number 0051/2015) and to all primary schools in February 2016 (circular number 0013/2016).

It is primarily a matter for the Management in each school to decide their policy in relation to the use of vending machines. Findings from the 2015 Lifeskills survey show that virtually every primary schools stated that they do not facilitate the sale of fizzy drinks, sweets and crisps in school, either through vending machines or a school shop. This is the same response as in 2012.

92% of primary schools reported that they had a healthy eating policy in place. This is similar to the level reported in 2012. 3% reported that they were in the process of developing a healthy eating policy, and 5% reported having no healthy eating policy in place.

Some 27% of Post Primary schools reported having a vending machine or school shop which sells ‘junk food’. (The Healthy Ireland Healthy Food for Life food pyramid defines this type of food as that which is high in fat, sugar and salt.) This represents an improvement on the position in 2012 when 30% of schools were in this category, and in 2009 when 35% of schools in this category. Some 74% of those schools that responded have a facility for the sale of fresh fruit. This is a significant improvement on the position reported in 2009 and 2012 when 64% of schools had such a facility in place.

School Patronage

 209. Deputy Mary Butler Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh further to Parliamentary Question No. 233 of 26 February 2019, the timeframe for the provision of an Educate Together primary school in Dungarvan, County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10853/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh The patronage divesting process arises from the recommendations of the 2012 report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector, following which the Department undertook surveys of parental preferences in 43 areas of stable population in 2012 and 2013 to establish the level of parental demand for a wider choice in the patronage of primary schools within these areas.  Analysis of the parental preferences expressed in each area surveyed indicated that there was sufficient parental demand to support changes in school patronage in 28 areas, including in Dungarvan.  

Under the patronage divesting process, a school can be opened where a school building became, or was due to become available as a result of an amalgamation/closure of an existing school.  In some areas, including in the case of Dungarvan, in responding to demand for diversity where existing patrons were unable make school properties available, my Department also included an examination of properties held in public ownership.

To date, it has not been possible to secure a school property to facilitate a new school being established in Dungarvan. However, my Department is continuing its efforts in relation to identifying a suitable solution under the patronage divesting process, which would facilitate a new Educate Together school being established to serve the Dungarvan area. It is not possible at this stage, however, to give a timeframe for the establishment of such a school.

Home Tuition Scheme

 210. Deputy Seán Haughey Information on Seán Haughey Zoom on Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh if home tuition will be made available to a child (details supplied) at his or her crèche in view of the fact that the family's rented accommodation is unsuitable for such tuition; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10892/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh The purpose of the Special Education Home Tuition Grant Scheme is to provide a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme also provides a compensatory educational service for children with special educational needs seeking an educational placement and provision is made for early educational intervention for children with autism.

Where there is no Early Intervention class placement available, my Department will consider applications under the Home Tuition Grant Scheme, where a child can receive up to 20 hours home tuition per week as an interim measure until a placement becomes available.

Children who receive tuition under the Department’s Home Tuition Grant Scheme typically receive this tuition in their home on an individual basis.

The scheme also provides parents with an option to enter into a group arrangement with other parents of children for whom home tuition has been approved. Parents wishing to enter into such an arrangement must notify my Department in advance for approval and providers selected by these parents must comply with additional terms and conditions which reflect the general provision of the scheme. and which apply equally to all such providers.  

To date, no application for home tuition, for the child referred to by the Deputy, has been received by my Department.

Education and Training Boards Data

 211. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh the number of external training contractors running courses in County Clare under the Clare education board; the number of in-house training courses in the county in 2017, 2018 and 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10902/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy John Halligan): Information on John Halligan Zoom on John Halligan I am informed by Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB) that they typically use contracted training to deliver specific courses that LCETB either does not have the technical expertise to deliver in-house, or the approved facilities to deliver. Typical examples are artic truck driver, delivery driver and HGV driver training. LCETB also uses contracted training to deliver courses where the demand is intermittent. Examples of such courses would include forklift training, warehousing and  accounts and payroll courses.

  LCETB have provided the following table which gives a  breakdown of the numbers for contracted and in-house courses for 2017, 2018 and those planned for 2019 in LCETB. A breakdown of apprenticeship, evening, and Skills to advance courses in LCETB is also included in this table. These are delivered through the FET Centre in the Shannon Campus in Co. Clare.

-
2017
2018
2019
Contracted Training Courses
25
15
20
In-House Courses
4
8
9
       
Apprenticeship
20
22
22
Evening Provision
46
60
70
Skills to Advance
N/A
N/A
24

Schools Building Projects

 212. Deputy Seán Haughey Information on Seán Haughey Zoom on Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh if provision for the inclusion of a playschool in the planning of all new primary schools will be ensured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10916/19]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh My Department does not have any remit for the provision of accommodation for playschools and therefore has no plans for the inclusion of playschools in the planing of new primary schools.

International Conventions

 213. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan when he expects Ireland to ratify the Istanbul convention on domestic abuse; the legislative measures this will require; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10253/19]

 230. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to ratify the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, immediately following the enactment of the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2018 which is currently before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality; if there are other remaining obstacles to ratifying the Convention; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10472/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I propose to take Questions Nos. 213 and 230 together.

This Government is fully committed to combatting the scourge of violence against women. The Istanbul Convention is a significant legal instrument and its ratification is a Government priority. Ratifying the Convention will send an important message that Ireland does not tolerate this violence.

On 26 February 2019, the Government approved the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, subject to the enactment of the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill. This legislation was the last legislative action required under the Istanbul Convention.

On 28 February, the Criminal Law (Extraterritorial Jurisdiction) Bill 2019 completed its passage through the Oireachtas and has since been signed by the President.

Implementing the provisions of the Istanbul Convention involves a charge on public funds, so the approval of the Dáil to its ratification must be obtained under Article 29.5.2 of the Constitution. The Dáil today approved ratification of the Convention, which will allow arrangements to be made to deposit an Instrument of Ratification, signed by the Tánaiste, with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in the coming days.

Garda Accommodation

 214. Deputy Eamon Scanlon Information on Eamon Scanlon Zoom on Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the status of the provision of the new Garda regional headquarters in County Sligo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10371/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will be aware, there has been unprecedented investment in An Garda Síochána in recent years, in support of the Government’s commitment to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and deter crime.

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion.  Very significant capital investment is also being made, including investment of €342 million in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021; and investment of €46 million in the Garda Fleet over the same period.

In terms of investment in the Garda estate, the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021 is an ambitious 5-year programme based on agreed Garda priorities, which continues to benefit over 30 locations around the country, underpinned by significant Exchequer funding across the Garda and OPW votes.  There has been some good progress on the programme, as well as in other major projects in relation to the Garda estate, including in particular the completion and entry into operational use in 2018 of 3 new Divisional and Regional Headquarters at Wexford, Galway and Kevin Street (Dublin), which collectively required funding of over €100 million.  The clear goal of this investment is to address deficiencies in the Garda estate and provide fit-for-purpose facilities for Garda members and staff as well as the public interacting with them.

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.

The Public Private Partnership arrangement included in the Building and Refurbishment Programme is intended to deliver new stations at Macroom, Clonmel and Sligo as well as a new custody suite at the Garda Station at Anglesea Street Cork.

Site acquisition for this PPP bundle has been complex and time-consuming.  I am informed by the OPW and the Garda authorities that the OPW acquired sites for the development of the new stations in Macroom and in Sligo in 2015 and 2018 respectively.  The site in Clonmel is a portion of the former Kickham Barracks and has at all material times been in state ownership.  Having previously been transferred from the Department of Defence to Tipperary County Council, I am informed by the OPW that all difficulties in relation to completion of transfer of the site from the Council to the OPW are resolved and that contracts have been agreed and exchanged for closing signature, which brings us to the position that ownership of all three sites will be vested in the OPW.

The development of PPP projects is progressed under the auspices of the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).  My Department is working to progress the matter further, with the input and assistance of the NDFA. 

It is not possible at this point to provide a timeframe for the completion of these projects, including the new Garda station at Caltragh, Sligo.  However I can assure the Deputy that delivery of the new Garda stations at Clonmel, Macroom and Sligo through this PPP arrangement is being pursued as a priority.

Garda Deployment

 215. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the active number of gardaí at the Roscrea Garda station, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10266/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy is aware, the manner in which the resources of the Garda Síochána are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard.

  Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.  

  I can assure the Deputy that local Garda management in the areas referred to remains resolute in its determination to act against all forms of criminal activity and will work with these communities to prevent and detect crime.   

  Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,400 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, including 800 trainees who passed out from the college during 2018.   

  The Government has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda Civilian Staff.  This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019.   

  I believe that the injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions including the Tipperary Division.   

  Roscrea Garda Station is in the Tipperary Division. The Garda strength of the Tipperary Division from 2009 to 31 December 2018 as provided by the Garda Commissioner is as set out in the attached table. We hope to have these figures updated on the website by the end of this week at the link shown below.   

  For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link below:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures

Table

Garda Deployment

 216. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of gardaí transferred out of County Tipperary in each of the years 2014 to 2018 under headings (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10267/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan 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 I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

I am informed by the Commissioner that the deployment of Garda personnel is continually monitored and reviewed in the context of crime trends and policing priorities to ensure the optimum use of Garda resources. A dynamic distribution model of resource allocation, known as the Cohort model, has been in use by Garda management since 2015 for the allocation of personnel, including newly attested probationer Gardaí from the Garda College. The allocation and transfer of Garda Personnel using the Cohort Model is determined by a number of factors, including crime and non-crime workload, minimum establishment, population, area, policing arrangements and operational strategies. When allocations are taking place, comprehensive consultation is carried out with local management during which all factors are taken into consideration. 

I am advised by the Commissioner that it is not possible to provide the information requested for the number of Gardaí that have transferred out of the Tipperary Division on promotion, to a specialist unit or without replacement.  Whilst there is a policy not to transfer a Garda from a Division without provision of a replacement, in order to deliver an effective policing service, it is essential that Garda management has the flexibility to deploy Garda resources to meet operational policing needs taking account of the Cohort model of resource allocation.

Bench Warrants

 217. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of bench warrants issued for fines not paid under the Fines Act 2010 by county in each of the years 2014 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10268/19]

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 is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, which include the provision of information on the courts system.

  However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided information in the manner in which the statistics are readily available.

  The Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014 was enacted in 2014 and commenced on 11th January 2016. The Act provided that when a Judge imposed a fine, he or she could fix the amount and the time allowed for payment.  If the fine remained unpaid the fined person had to be brought back to court where the judge could then make an order for attachment of earnings, for community service or (if the fine was greater than €500, a recovery order). If the fined person did not appear for the enforcement hearing, the judge could issue a bench warrant.

  Because of the extensive technical changes that had to be made to Courts Service systems, the first enforcement hearings (i.e. hearings for fixing a default because the fine wasn't paid) were not scheduled until  late 2017.  Therefore no bench warrants relating to the Fines Act were issued in 2014, 2015 or 2016.

  The number of bench warrants does not equate to the number of fines. A fined person might be summoned back to court on the same day for multiple fines. If the fined person does not  appear for the hearing, one bench warrant will issue. There will not be a separate bench warrant for each fine.   

  Report on the number of bench warrants issued under the Fines Act

  Note: A bench warrant may cover a number of offences for that defendant but report only displays one offence.   

  Jan -  Dec 2017

Office No of Bench Warrants issued under the fines act
ATHLONE DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 13
CARLOW DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 27
CARRICK-ON-SHANNON OFFICE 1
CAVAN DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 3
CLONAKILTY DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 31
CLONMEL DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 11
CORK DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 4
DONEGAL DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 2
KILKENNY DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 82
LETTERKENNY DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 6
LONGFORD DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 19
MALLOW DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 19
MONAGHAN DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 6
MULLINGAR DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 13
NENAGH DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 16
SLIGO DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 2
WEXFORD DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 2
Total 257


  Jan – Dec 2018
Court Offices No of Bench Warrants under the fines act
ATHLONE DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 211
BALLINA DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 29
BLANCHARDSTOWN DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 217
BRAY DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 387
CARLOW DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 260
CARRICK-ON-SHANNON OFFICE 39
CASTLEBAR DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 28
CAVAN DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 245
CLONAKILTY DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 49
CLONMEL DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 279
CLOVERHILL COURTHOUSE OFFICE 27
CORK DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 1,261
CRIMINAL COURTS OF JUSTICE 450
DONEGAL DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 56
DUBLIN METROPOLITAN DISTRICT 2,059
DUNDALK DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 23
DUNLAOGHAIRE DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 243
ENNIS DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 398
GALWAY DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 791
KILKENNY DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 676
LETTERKENNY DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 217
LIMERICK DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 1,784
LONGFORD DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 342
LOUGHREA DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 127
MALLOW DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 163
METROPOLITAN CHILDREN'S COURT OFFICE 1
MONAGHAN DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 204
MULLINGAR DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 405
NENAGH DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 194
PORTLAOISE DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 67
ROSCOMMON DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 71
SLIGO DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 161
SWORDS DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 166
TULLAMORE DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 134
WATERFORD DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 208
WEXFORD DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 518
YOUGHAL DISTRICT COURT OFFICE 76
Total 12,566

Fines Administration

 218. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if legislation will be introduced to allow for unpaid court fines to be recouped from the income of the person fined regardless of the source of the income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10269/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014, which was commenced in January 2016, represented major reform of the fine payment and recovery system in the State and implemented a Government commitment to provide for attachment of earnings orders for the collection of fines.  The new system seeks to ensure that fines imposed are collected and also to reduce to a minimum the number of people committed to prison for non-payment of fines.

  Under the new system there is flexibility for the payment of fines and there is no automatic imposition of a custodial sentence in default of payment of a fine.  Key features of the new fine payment and recovery system, as provided for in the 2014 legislation, are as follows:

  - When setting the level of the fine the court is obliged to consider the person's financial circumstances;

  - Those on whom a fine of over €100 is imposed can opt to pay the fine by instalments over a period of 12 months;

  - Where a person fails to pay a fine, the court may make an attachment order in respect of work earnings or an occupational pension, a recovery order in respect of personal property, or a community service order;

  - The employer to whom an attachment order is directed is obliged to comply with the terms of the order and make the necessary deductions from the wages or pension of the person concerned.  Failure to comply with an attachment order can result in a fine of up to €5,000 or a term of up to 12 months in prison, or both.

  - Where an attachment order or recovery order is made but the fine or a portion of it remains outstanding, the court may make a community service order;

  - Where a community service order is not complied with, the court may commit the person concerned to prison for a specified period commensurate with the amount of the fine outstanding.

Visa Applications

 219. 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 an appeal for a visa in the case of a person (details supplied); when the appeal is likely to be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10286/19]

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 application referred to was refused on appeal by the Visa Office in Dublin.  The decision was communicated to the applicant on 28 February 2019.

It is open to the applicant to submit a fresh visa application at any time.  However, they should bear in mind the reasons for refusal and address them in any new application.

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.

Garda Deployment

 220. 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 the locations in which the 2,400 newly qualified gardaí since September 2014 have been assigned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10301/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan 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 I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

  Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,400 Garda recruits have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide.

  The Government has increased the budget for An Garda Síochána to €1.76 billion for 2019, which includes provision for the recruitment of up to 800 Gardaí this year. The Commissioner has now informed me that he plans to recruit a total of 600 trainee Gardaí in 2019 and 600 Garda Civilian Staff.  This Garda Staff recruitment will allow the Commissioner to redeploy a further 500 fully trained Gardaí from administrative duties to frontline policing in 2019.

  In so far as the allocation of newly attested Gardaí is concerned, this is a matter for the Commissioner.  I am assured by the Commissioner that the needs of all Garda Divisions are fully considered when determining the allocation of resources. However, it is important to keep in mind that newly attested Gardaí have a further 16 months of practical and class-room based training to complete in order to receive their BA in Applied Policing.  To ensure that they are properly supported and supervised and have opportunities to gain the breadth of policing experience required, the Commissioner's policy is to allocate them to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.     

   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 needed to allow the deployment of increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division.

  I believe that the injection of this large number of experienced officers into the field, along with the new recruits, will be really beneficial in terms of protecting communities. This and on-going recruitment will provide the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí to deliver a visible effective and responsive policing service to communities across all Garda Divisions.  

  The information requested by the Deputy as provided by the Garda Commissioner, is as set out in the attached table. We hope to have these figures updated on the website by the end of this week at  the link shown below.   

  For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the link below:

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures  

Divisional Probationer Garda Allocations by Division - 2015 to Jan 2019
Divisions
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Total
D.M.R. EAST
10
19
38
30
97
D.M.R. NORTH
20
32
69
77
198
D.M.R. NORTH CENTRAL
23
45
70
73
211
D.M.R. SOUTH
19
34
66
56
175
D.M.R. SOUTH CENTRAL
20
43
78
61
202
D.M.R. WEST
30
35
73
81
219
CAVAN / MONAGHAN
10
7
23
35
75
CLARE
10
5
10
15
40
CORK CITY
7
6
26
23
62
CORK NORTH
0
5
15
13
33
CORK WEST
5
0
15
11
31
DONEGAL
10
5
13
26
54
GALWAY
5
5
10
16
36
KERRY
10
0
17
14
41
KILDARE
15
20
47
30
112
KILKENNY/CARLOW
10
10
30
12
62
LAOIS / OFFALY
9
20
42
22
93
LIMERICK
9
17
19
34
79
LOUTH
11
17
34
32
94
MAYO
4
0
14
0
18
MEATH
5
19
30
19
73
ROSCOMMON / LONGFORD
0
5
10
3
18
SLIGO / LEITRIM
5
5
8
6
24
TIPPERARY
5
14
21
13
53
WATERFORD
14
10
30
36
90
WESTMEATH
5
5
22
4
36
WEXFORD
15
10
34
26
85
WICKLOW
10
0
19
21
50
Totals
296
393
883
789
2361


  * As of 18 January 2019

  *Figures provided to the Department of Justice and Equality by An Garda Síochána

  Please note:

  The allocation of newly attested Gardaí is a policing matter to be determined by the Commissioner.

  Newly attested Gardaí are allocated to specially designated training stations which have the required training and development structures and resources in place, including trained Garda tutors and access to a permanently appointed supervisory Sergeant who is thoroughly familiar with their responsibilities under the training programme.

Citizenship Applications

 221. 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 an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10345/19]

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 ongoing.  On completion of the necessary processing the application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. Should further documentation be required it will be requested from the applicant 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. 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.

Residency Permits

 222. 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 current and-or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10359/19]

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 the  person concerned has been granted permission to reside on Stamp 1 conditions for one year.  Correspondence informing the person concerned of this decision was issued on 27 February, 2019.  Following receipt of this permission letter the person concerned may register this permission at their local Immigration Office.

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.

Garda Resources

 223. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number and percentage of the Garda fleet in the Cork city Garda division that are over ten years of age as of 18 February 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10365/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Deputy will be aware that there has been unprecedented investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. 

  In relation to Garda vehicles, €46 million has been provided by the Government for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021, in addition to the investment of almost €30 million in the period 2013 to 2015.  This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.  And I am pleased to confirm that a capital allocation of €10 million is available to An Garda Síochána for the purchase of Garda vehicles in 2019.   

  As the Deputy will appreciate, in accordance with Section 26 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. Further, the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Commissioner, in light of the availability of resources and his identified operational demands. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles among the various Garda divisions.  As Minister, I have no direct role in that matter. I understand however that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that their optimum use.

  I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following tables set out the type and number of vehicles assigned to Cork City Garda Division as well as information on the age range of these vehicles on a Divisional basis, as at 18 February 2019.  Responsibility for the efficient deployment of vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between stations in accordance with operational need.

  Cars  Vans  Motorcycles  4 x 4  Others  Total 
CORK CITY DIVISION (Total)  92  19  131 
ANGELSEA STREET DISTRICT  57  13  84 
GURRANABRAHER DISTRICT  11  13 
MAYFIELD DISTRICT  11  20 
TOGHER DISTRICT  13  14 
      
Age  No. of Vehicles  % of Cork City Division Fleet 

(rounded)
<1yr  6.10% 
1-2yrs  13  9.92% 
2-4 yrs  41  31.30% 
4-6 yrs  49  37.40% 
6-10 yrs  3.83% 
10 + yrs  15  11.45% 
Total  131  100.00% 

Prisoner Releases

 224. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if sex offenders are entitled to one third remission if they engage in an incentivised regime and otherwise fulfil the criteria for entitlement. [10385/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that all prisoners with a sentence to which remission applies including sex offenders qualify for one quarter remission on the basis of good behaviour.  In addition, all prisoners including sex offenders who have engaged in authorized structured activity may apply to receive enhanced remission of greater than one quarter but not exceeding one third of their sentence.

  There is no automatic entitlement to enhanced remission as such.  The principles governing the awarding of enhanced remission are contained under Rule 59 of the Prison Rules 2007 to 2014 (S.I. No. 52 of 2007 and S.I. No. 385 of 2014).

  In order for a prisoner to be granted enhanced remission, the Minister for Justice of the day must be satisfied that the prisoner is less likely to re-offend and is better able to re­ integrate into the community.

  All applications are assessed having regard to a range of criteria set out in the legislation including:

  - the manner and extent to which the prisoner has engaged constructively in authorised structured activities;

  - the manner and extent to which the prisoner has taken steps to address his or her offending behaviour;

  - the nature and gravity of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by the prisoner relates;

  - the sentence of imprisonment concerned and any recommendations of the Court that imposed the sentence;

  - the period of the sentence served by the prisoner;

  - the potential threat to the safety and security of members of the public (including the victim of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by the prisoner relates);

  - any offence of which the prisoner was convicted before being convicted of the offence to which the sentence of imprisonment being served by him or her relates;

  - the conduct of the prisoner while in custody or during a period of temporary release;

  - any report or recommendation made by the Governor, the Garda Síochána, Probation Officer or any other person whom the Minister considers would be of assistance in enabling him or her to make a decision on such an application.

Citizenship Status

 225. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will address concerns that Irish passport holders who travelled to engage in combat or support for the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, will be permitted to return to the State; if he has raised security concerns regarding such proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [10392/19]

 226. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he will revoke the citizenship of Irish passport holders or citizens who engaged in combat or other support for so-called Islamic State or Daesh; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10393/19]

 243. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his position in relation to the citizenship of Irish citizens who are members of ISIS and subsequently wish to return; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10845/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I propose to take Questions Nos. 225, 226 and 243 together.

Protecting the State and the people from terrorism and supporting international peace and security are among the highest priorities for the Government.  Ireland, like many other open and democratic states, faces a threat from international terrorism.

The expert assessment of the terrorist threat to Ireland is that, while an attack is possible, it is not considered likely. The authorities here remain nonetheless very vigilant and the level of threat is kept under constant and active review by An Garda Síochána. The Garda Authorities supported by the Defence Forces have in place robust response and prevention capabilities and the authorities here work continually with their international counterparts to identify and manage threats.

Deputies will appreciate that among the issues facing states is the question of suspected foreign terrorist fighters.  The shared challenges arising have been a consistent focus of discussion with my EU colleagues at meetings of Justice and Interior Ministers.  The return to states in the EU of persons who are suspected of having been active in conflict in Iraq or Syria or residing in conflict areas presents complex challenges, including questions of public protection, the prosecution of offences, the protection of citizens’ rights, particularly the rights of non-combatants, and de-radicalisation, none of which matters lend themselves to easy resolution.

While it would not be appropriate to comment on the detail of the security arrangements in place or, indeed, individual cases, I can assure the House that all measures necessary and consistent with the law will be taken to protect the State and the people from harm and to vindicate the rights of individuals.  

With regard to the specific question of citizenship, it is clear that the State and all citizens are both bound by the rights and obligations that accompany citizenship.  These matters are considered on their merits on a case by case basis but the House will understand that this area of the law is governed by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Acts 1956 to 2004 which set out in detail the arrangements in place in this regard, including in respect of the revocation of certificates of naturalisation where that may be considered necessary in individual cases.

Public Service Vehicles

 227. 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 PSV licences revoked in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10467/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan You will appreciate that I, as Minister for Justice and Equality, have no role in the administration of small public service vehicle (SPSV) licences, which is a matter for An Garda Síochána.

  However, to be of assistance, I have asked An Garda Síochána for the statistics you have requested. I will forward the information to you directly, as soon as it is received.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

 I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 227 of 5 March 2019 in which the Deputy asked for the number of public service vehicle (PSV) licences revoked in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form.

  The following table provides a breakdown provided by An Garda Síochána, on a regional and divisional basis, which shows the number of such licences that were revoked in 2018 and 2019 (as at 1   March).

Region Division 2018 2019 (1 Mar) Total
Dublin Metropolitan Region TOTAL 2 5 7
Northern Region Sligo / Leitrim - - -
Donegal - - -  
Louth 1 - 1  
Cavan / Monaghan - - -  
TOTAL 1 - 1  
South Eastern Region Kilkenny/ Carlow 3 - 3
Tipperary - - -  
Waterford 1 - 1  
Wexford 1 - 1  
TOTAL 5 - 5  
Western Region Galway 5 - 5
Clare - - -  
Mayo - - -  
Roscommon-Longford - - -  
TOTAL 5 - 5  
Eastern Division Wicklow - - -
Meath - - -  
Kildare - - -  
Westmeath 1 - 1  
Laois - Offaly - - -  
TOTAL 1 - 1  
Southern Region Cork City 1 1 2
Cork North - - -  
Cork West 2 2 4  
Kerry 1 - 1  
Limerick 2 - 2  
TOTAL 6 3 9  
Grand Total   20 8 28




I apologise for the delay in sending this information. However, I hope it has been of some assistance.


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