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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 98-110
 Header Item EU Regulations
 Header Item Garda Training
 Header Item Irish Prison Service
 Header Item Public Sector Staff Data
 Header Item International Conventions
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 981 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 66 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 98-110

EU Regulations

 98. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his views on the island of Ireland having two different time zones following the position of the European Union not to have seasonal time changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15781/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan Following an EU wide consultation last year, the EU Commission published a proposal to abolish the twice-yearly clock change. Under the current version of the proposal, the practice of a twice-yearly clock change would cease from 2021.

Discussions with Member States on the proposal are on-going via the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council. Ireland is one of a large number of Member States which has said that more time is needed to consider the proposal, and in order that Member States can allow for coordination with neighbouring countries.

In this regard, and as the Deputy will be aware, my Department ran a public consultation process on the proposal to end seasonal clock changes. A report on the consultation exercise is being prepared and will be considered by an Interdepartmental Steering Group which my Department chairs. I intend to present the Group's report to Government shortly. Following on from this, more details of the consultation exercise and its outcome will be published on the Department's website.

Ireland's position at all times has been that any measure which resulted in differing time zones between Ireland and the UK would present particular challenges for the island of Ireland. The position adopted by Ireland on the proposal will be informed by this important consideration.

Garda Training

 99. 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 gardaí in Dublin who have completed the competency based driving levels 4 and 5 in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15805/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As you will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for managing the administration and business of An Garda Síochána including the training of its members and civilian staff and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

I am informed by the Commissioner that there is a five level suite of competency based driving (CBD) courses, with each level specifically catering for the required knowledge base, skill set and operational requirements of the Garda members.

This 5 level suite covers the initial assessment at CBD 1 to advanced driving which includes the highest level of knowledge of road craft and all competency areas necessary to drive high powered vehicles at CBD 4 and the training of Garda driving instructors at CBD 5.  The frequency of courses is governed by the operational requirements of An Garda Síochána. Competency Based Driving Level 3 is the highest level of training given to operational members.  The more specialised levels CBD 4 and CBD 5 are held as needed and are of 4 weeks' duration.

With respect to the specific information requested I have been informed that no Gardaí in Dublin have completed the Competency Based Driving Levels 4 and 5 in the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019.

Irish Prison Service

 100. 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 education budget for the Irish Prison Service in 2017, 2018 and 2019; the amount of the budget that was spent in 2017 and 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15806/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am advised by my officials in the Irish Prison Service that educational services are available at all prisons, provided in partnership with the Education and Training Boards and a range of other educational agencies.  Broad programmes of education are provided which generally follow an adult education approach.  Separate to the IPS Education budget, the Department of Education and Skills funds an allocation of 220 whole-time teacher equivalents to the prisons through the Education and Training Boards.

  I wish to advise the Deputy that the  education budget for the years requested is outlined in the following table, along with expenditure in 2017 and 2018.

Year Budget Expenditure
2017 1.065 M 1.072 M
2018 1.265 M 1.162 M
2019 1.265 M  
  

  Expenditure through the Irish Prison Service Vote covers the incidental day-to-day costs of running the Education Centres, including the purchase and repair of educational equipment, the purchase of course resource materials and educational software. 

  The aim of the Prison Education Service is to deliver a high quality, broad, flexible programme of education that helps people in custody cope with their sentence, achieve personal development, prepare for life after release and establish an appetite and capacity for life-long learning.  The Service seeks to deliver relevant programmes that cater for holistic needs, ensure broad access and high participation, and prioritise those with basic education and literacy needs.  It promotes the principles of adult and community education and supports a multi-disciplinary approach within the prison system.

  Programmes are adapted to take account of the diversity of the prisoner population and the complex nature of prison life, including segregation requirements and high levels of prisoner turnover.  Educational courses and curricula which are based on individuals participating in one or more subject areas for an academic year and then sitting examinations are only appropriate for a small number of prisoners.  The Junior and Leaving Certificate are made available but increasing numbers of people in custody require a more flexible curriculum which has multiple entry and exit points that take account of prior educational attainment.  QQI accreditation is therefore widely used with assessment by portfolio compilation.  All prison Education Centres meet the quality assurance standards demanded by QQI.

Public Sector Staff Data

 101. 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 if the public service is meeting its obligation to employ a certain percentage of persons in receipt of a disability payment; and the statistics for same for 2017 and 2018. [15948/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath As the Deputy will be aware, Part 5 (section 47) of the Disability Act 2005 requires public sector bodies to ensure, unless there is good reason to the contrary, that 3% of the persons employed by that body are persons with disabilities.  This does not necessarily mean those employees are in receipt of a disability payment.  

Implementation of Part 5 of the Act is monitored on an ongoing basis by the National Disability Authority.  The Authority reports each year on progress made towards the statutory 3% target for employment in the public sector.   

The Authority's most recent report on compliance shows that at the end of 2017, 3.5% of staff employed in public sector bodies were people identifying with disabilities, this was the seventh successive year of exceeding the statutory 3% target.  A copy of the Report is available from the Authority’s website: http://www.nda.ie.  As the Authority is currently in the process of compiling statistics for 2018, they are not yet available.  

The Deputy will also be aware of the Government's Comprehensive Employment Strategy (CES) for Persons with Disabilities 2015 - 2024.  This strategy sets out a ten-year cross-Government approach to ensuring that people with disabilities who are able to, and want to, work are supported and enabled to do so, with different Departments and State agencies acting in a concerted effort to address the barriers and challenges that impact on employment of people with disabilities.  

One of the key priorities of the Comprehensive Employment Strategy is to increase the statutory target of persons with disabilities employed in our public services from 3% to 6% on a phased basis by January 2024.  To give effect to this commitment, legislative proposals are currently being progressed through the Oireachtas as part of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016.

International Conventions

 102. 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 when Ireland will ratify the optional protocol to the Convention against Torture. [15996/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy is aware, Ireland has signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) but has yet to ratify this instrument.

This protocol is in addition to the Convention which Ireland has already signed and ratified.  The Protocol is preventative in nature and provides for the establishment of National Preventive Mechanisms which would inspect facilities where a person is held involuntarily.

Though my Department has been tasked with progressing legislation so that this Protocol can be ratified, this instrument impacts on a number of sectors.  My Department has therefore consulted a number of key stakeholders during 2018. 

On foot of these consultations, a draft scheme is being prepared which I intend to circulate to stakeholders for their comments as soon as possible before it is finalised for submission to Government for approval and transmission to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting this year.

Residency Permits

 103. 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 residency status of a person (details supplied); if the person can be considered for naturalisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15997/19]

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 there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy, who currently has permission to reside in the State until 25 June 2021.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Full details of the eligibility criteria and extensive guidelines are available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie 

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 I know the Deputy will appreciate that it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

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.

Naturalisation Applications

 104. 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 procedure to be followed to facilitate naturalisation and stamp 4 in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15998/19]

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 it would appear the person's presence in the State may be unlawful as they do not have a permission to remain in the State.

The Deputy will appreciate that, under the relevant provisions of the Immigration Act, 2004, a non-national may not be in the State other than within the terms of a permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality.  In order to allow for a full examination of the person's circumstances, the person concerned should write to Unit 2, Domestic Residence and Permissions Division, INIS, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 and provide a detailed account and documentary evidence of their personal circumstances since the expiration of their most recent permission to reside in this State. 

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

 105. 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.  [16001/19]

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 this person was granted a declaration of refugee status in 2002. I am further advised that this person has a Stamp 4 which is valid until 19 May 2019, at which point he or she will be required to renew their permission.

Queries in relation to the status of individual 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

 106. 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.  [16003/19]

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 it would appear the person's presence in the State may be unlawful as their most recent permission to remain in the State expired in August, 2011.

The Deputy will appreciate that, under the relevant provisions of the Immigration Act, 2004, a non-national may not be in the State other than within the terms of a permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality.  In order to allow for a full examination of the person's circumstances, the person concerned should write to Unit 2, Domestic Residence and Permissions Division, INIS, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 and provide a detailed account and documentary evidence of their personal circumstances since the expiration of their permission to reside in this State. 

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

 107. 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.  [16004/19]

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 there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation on behalf of the person referred to by the Deputy. The Deputy may wish to note that the registered post tracking number supplied with this question appears to be incorrect.

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Full details of the eligibility criteria and extensive guidelines are available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie.

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 I know the Deputy will appreciate that it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

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

 108. 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.  [16007/19]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy is aware, if an application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been made in the State, for confidentiality reasons it is not the practice to comment on such applications and the applicant or his legal representative should contact either the International Protection Office (IPO) or the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) directly, as appropriate.

The IPO may be contacted either by email to info@ipo.gov.ie, by telephone to the IPO Customer Service Centre at 01 6028008 or in writing to Customer Service Centre, International Protection Office, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. The International Protection Appeals Tribunal may be contacted either by email to info@protectionappeals.ie, by telephone at 01-4748400 (or Lo-Call 1890 201 458), or in writing to Corporate Services Division, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal, 6-7 Hanover Street East, Dublin D02 W320.

  Following the commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 on 31 December 2016, new arrangements for the investigation and determination of applications for international protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) and cases involving permission to remain in the State have been introduced. Such applications are now processed, as part of a single application procedure, by the International Protection Office (IPO) which has replaced the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) from that date. The staff of that Office (the Chief International Protection Officer and International Protection Officers) are independent in the performance of their protection functions.

For your information, on 27 February 2017, the Chief International Protection Officer, following consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), published a statement on the Prioritisation of Applications under the International Protection Act 2015, which is available on the website of the International Protection Office (www.ipo.gov.ie) .

  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.

Visa Applications

 109. 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 when a visa will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16008/19]

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 visa application referred to will be examined shortly, and a decision will issue directly to the applicant and sponsor.

  I am also advised that the Policy Document on Family Reunification contains a stated business target that such visa applications should be dealt with within twelve months of receipt of application.  However, it should be noted that this is a business target and does not constitute a legal obligation.  The business target reflects the detailed and often complex assessment that is required to be carried out in relation to applications for family reunification.

  Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to 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 INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to INIS (visamail@justice.ie).   

Naturalisation Applications

 110. 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.  [16010/19]

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 there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation on behalf of the person referred to by the Deputy.

As the Deputy will be aware the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.  All applications for a certificate of naturalisation are processed and assessed individually in accordance with the provisions of the Act.  A determination on whether an applicant satisfies the statutory criteria attendant to naturalisation can only be made after an application is received.

Section 15 of the Act provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation if satisfied that certain statutory conditions are fulfilled.  The conditions are that the applicant must:

- be of full age, or a minor born in the State,

- be of good character,

- have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a further total residence in the State amounting to four years,

- intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation,

- have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows -

(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and

(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

Section 15A provides that, notwithstanding the above, where the application is based on being the spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen the requirements include that the couple are married or civil partners to each other for a period of at least 3 years and are living together and, immediately before the date of application, have a period of one year's continuous residence in the island of Ireland and, during the preceding four years, have a further period amounting to 2 years (i.e. 3 years in total).  Section 15A(2) provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion waive some of the conditions in relation to an application from a spouse or civil partner of an Irish citizen if he is satisfied that the applicant would suffer serious consequences in respect of his or her bodily integrity or liberty if not granted Irish citizenship. 

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory conditions as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.

Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, along with the relevant application forms and guidance notes, is available on the INIS website at ww.inis.gov.ie. 

Queries in relation to the status of individual 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.


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