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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 604-617
 Header Item Departmental Reviews
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item Garda Training
 Header Item Prison Deaths
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item EU Bodies
 Header Item Deportation Orders
 Header Item Immigration Status
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Garda Stations
 Header Item Legal Aid Service
 Header Item Residency Permits

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 998 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 120 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 604-617

Departmental Reviews

 604. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the status of the review of the administration of civil justice; when the review will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28342/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee A Group to review the administration of civil justice in the State, chaired by the former President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly, was established in 2017. The Group will make recommendations for changes with a view to improving access to civil justice in the State, promoting early resolution of disputes, reducing the cost of litigation, creating a more responsive and proportionate system and ensuring better outcomes for court users.

I understand that the Group is on track to submit its report to me by the end of October 2020 and it is my intention to publish it shortly thereafter.

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to implement reforms to the administration of civil justice in the State covering matters such as the more efficient and effective deployment of court and judicial resources, which will be guided by the report of the group chaired by Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

This Report will be an important and welcome contribution to bringing about reforms in the Administration of Civil Justice and will be actively considered by my Department to inform appropriate policy and legislative responses to the recommendations proposed.

EU Directives

 605. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the cost to her Department to date of all fines paid by Ireland for non-transposition of EU directives into Irish law; the breakdown, by directive of the lump sum cost and the daily cost of each fine; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26679/20]

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (Deputy Darragh O'Brien): Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien I wish to inform the Deputy that there has been one lump sum fine imposed on my Department by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This was in relation to the infringement on Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing.

On 16 July 2020, the ECJ imposed a €2 million lump sum fine for failing to transpose the Directive. The Court accepted that the Directive has now been fully transposed by Ireland.

Garda Training

 606. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the protocol in An Garda Síochána to act upon reports of a potential suicide. [28394/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I would like to thank the Deputy for submitting this question. I very much appreciate the devastation which is caused to every family impacted upon by such tragic situations.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that there are protocols in place for Garda members to respond to reports of a potential suicide. HQ Directive 75/2014, the Hostage/Barricade/Suicide Incident Command Policy, sets out An Garda Síochána’s policy on the use of force and Garda negotiation/response/tactics in both planned and incidents that require a spontaneous response by members of An Garda Síochána to manage hostage, barricade, and suicide incidents.

The response by An Garda Síochána to reports of potential suicide incidents are in line with this policy of containment and negotiation for a safe resolution.

This policy sets out the process for declaring a ‘Hostage/Barricade/Suicide’ incident. When such an incident is declared, a trained ‘Operational Commander’ is deployed to take command of the incident. The Operational Commander will use all Garda resources available to him/her to assist the person whose life is in imminent danger.

The National Negotiation Unit and the Armed Support Unit (ASU) are routinely deployed to resolve incidents involving persons with suicidal intentions. All members of the National Negotiation Unit have undertaken a Suicide Assist Course and some members attached to Special Tactics Operations Command (STOC) have undergone a two day mental health first aid course to assist with understanding and dealing with such situations.

Prison Deaths

 607. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the number of deaths in custody by year, by prison, by gender and by cause of death in each of the years 2010 to 2019 and to date in 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28536/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that all deaths in custody are notified to An Garda Síochána, who investigate where circumstances warrant, in addition to the inquest held in the Coroner's Court. The cause of death is determined by a jury on the basis of the information presented to the Coroner’s Court.

  Moreover, all deaths in custody are also subject to an independent investigation by the Inspector of Prisons. The investigation by the Inspector of Prisons applies to prisoners who are in the custody of the Irish Prison Service, and includes those instances where the death of the prisoner has occurred outside the prison, or the prisoner in question was recently on temporary release at the time of death.

  The Irish Prison Service also has an internal review mechanism which assesses the circumstances of a death in custody, highlights accountability and outlines any actions to be taken in relation to the incident.

  I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that 100 deaths, classified as deaths in custody, were recorded for the period 2010 to 04 October 2020.

  Table1: Deaths in Custody 2010 to 1 October 2020 classified by Cause of Death as determined by Coroner:

Cause of Death Number
Inquest Pending 35
Misadventure 18
Suicide 17
Open Verdict 6
Natural Causes 15
Narrative Verdict 6
Deceased took own life 2
Unlawful Killing 1
Total 100


  Table 2: Deaths in Custody 2010 to 1 October 2020 classified by Year, Gender, Prison, and Cause of Death as determined by Coroner

Year Gender Prison Cause of Death (as determined by Coroner)
2020
  Male Cloverhill Inquest Pending
  Male Limerick Inquest Pending
  Male Castlerea Inquest Pending
  Male Castlerea Inquest Pending
  Male Arbour Hill Inquest Pending
  Male Wheatfield Inquest Pending
  Male Arbour Hill Inquest Pending
  Male Cork Inquest Pending
2019      
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
  Male Cloverhill Inquest Pending
  Male Cloverhill Inquest Pending
  Male Cloverhill Inquest Pending
  Female Dochas Centre Inquest Pending
  Male Wheatfield Inquest Pending
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
  Male Arbour Hill Inquest Pending
  Male Limerick Inquest Pending
  Male Cork Inquest Pending
  Male Portlaoise Inquest Pending
  Male Wheatfield Inquest Pending
  Male Mountjoy Inquest Pending
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
2018      
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
  Male Cork Misadventure
  Male Mountjoy Inquest Pending
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
  Male Mountjoy Inquest Pending
  Male Wheatfield Inquest Pending
  Male Cork Suicide
  Male Mountjoy Inquest Pending
2017      
  Male Cloverhill Suicide
  Male Wheatfield Inquest Pending
  Male Limerick Open Verdict
  Male Cork Suicide
  Male Mountjoy Misadventure
  Male Midlands Natural Causes
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
  Male Mountjoy Open Verdict
  Male Cork Natural Causes
2016      
  Male Mountjoy Suicide
  Male Midlands Natural Causes
  Male Wheatfield Narrative
  Male Portlaoise Suicide
  Male Mountjoy ‘Deceased took his own life.’
2015      
  Male Cloverhill Narrative
  Male Midlands Suicide
  Male Mountjoy Natural Causes
  Male Midlands Misadventure
  Male Midlands Natural Causes
  Male Castlerea Open Verdict
  Male Portlaoise Inquest Pending
  Female Dochas Centre Narrative
  Male Arbour Hill Natural Causes
  Male Cork Unlawful Killing
  Male Midlands Misadventure
  Male Mountjoy Misadventure
  Male Midlands Natural Causes
  Male Mountjoy ‘Deceased took his own life.’
  Male Cloverhill Misadventure
2014      
  Male Limerick Misadventure
  Male Wheatfield Misadventure
  Male Wheatfield Natural Causes
  Male Mountjoy Narrative
  Male Cloverhill Open
  Male Mountjoy Misadventure
  Male Mountjoy Suicide
  Male Mountjoy Suicide
2013      
  Male Wheatfield Natural Causes
  Male Castlerea Inquest Pending
  Male Limerick Open Verdict
  Male Mountjoy Death by Suicide
  Male Mountjoy Death by Misadventure
  Male Cork Suicide
  Male Wheatfield Natural Causes
  Male Mountjoy Death by Suicide
  Male Midlands Inquest Pending
2012      
  Male Mountjoy Suicide
  Male Mountjoy Misadventure
  Male Midlands Natural Causes
  Male Limerick Open
  Male Mountjoy Suicide
2011      
  Male Cloverhill Suicide
  Male Shelton Abbey Misadventure
  Male Wheatfield Narrative Verdict
  Male Mountjoy Misadventure
  Male Wheatfield Misadventure
  Male Castlerea Misadventure
2010      
  Male Wheatfield Prison Natural Causes
  Male Midlands Prison Suicide
  Female Dochas Centre Suicide
  Male Mountjoy Prison Suicide
  Male Arbour Hill Prison Narrative Verdict
  Male Cloverhill Prison Natural Causes
  Male Midlands Prison Natural Causes
  Male Midlands Prison Natural Causes
  Male Mountjoy Prison Misadventure
  Male Cork Prison Misadventure
  Male Loughan House Misadventure

Residency Permits

 608. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the status of Irish residency permit card renewals; the current turnaround time; if there is a procedure in place for urgent applicants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28583/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee Significant demand accumulated during the four months that the Registration Office was closed due to COVID-19. To assist in addressing this demand, a new online system for the renewal of Registrations in the Dublin area was developed and launched on 20 July, enabling applicants to safely engage with the Registration Office without the need to attend in person at Burgh Quay.

  All renewals in the Dublin area are being processed online only since 20 July 2020, at: https://inisonline.jahs.ie. Renewals outside of the Dublin area are processed by the Garda National Immigration Bureau through the Garda Station network. Information is available at: https://www.garda.ie/en/about-us/our-departments/office-of-corporate-communications/news-media/reopening-of-registration-offices.html  

  Since the launch of the new online renewal system, my Department has received over 30,000 applications. The volume of applications, together with the reduced capacity of the Registration Office due to social distancing requirements, has resulted in longer than anticipated processing times. The current expected processing time is 6 to 7 weeks from the date of receipt. However, my officials have already completed approximately 14,000 of these cases.

  The Registration Office has also processed over 5,000 in-person first time registrations since reopening the Public Office in August 2020. First time registrations require the taking of biometric information (fingerprints) so it is not possible to do these registrations online.

  My Department recognises the difficulties that delays may cause for applicants and it is providing additional resources to the Registration Office to increase its capacity to handle current demand. Where an applicant urgently needs their passport for travel or other such reasons, they should email the Registration Office at burghquayregoffice@justice.ie and set out the circumstances involved.

  On 18 September 2020, I announced a further temporary extension of immigration and international protection permissions to 20 January 2021. This applies to permissions that are due to expire between 20 September 2020 and 20 January 2021. Renewal is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions will continue to apply. The extension provides applicants with the necessary time to make arrangements with the Immigration Service in Dublin or An Garda Síochána outside Dublin to ensure that registrations are renewed in the normal way by that date. I encourage people to do so at the earliest opportunity and not to wait until January 2021.

EU Bodies

 609. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the Irish position regarding the European Public Prosecutor’s Office; the formalised permanent cooperation there is between Ireland and the office; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28586/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland is not participating in the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) which is being established by means of an enhanced cooperation procedure provided for under Article 86 of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The Member States participating in this procedure adopted the EPPO Regulation 2017/1939 in October 2017. Ireland retains the option to participate at a future time under the provisions of Protocol 21 to the TFEU.

Ireland is part of the related PIF Directive (Directive 2017/1371 on the fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law). This Directive will be transposed into Irish law by the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences)(Amendment) Bill 2020, which is currently before the Seanad.

The EPPO Regulation provides for the EPPO and the Commission putting in place arrangements for cooperation between the EPPO and the non-participating Member States. Discussions in respect of these arrangements are continuing between Member States and on a bilateral basis as well as between Ireland and the EPPO.

  Question No. 610 answered with Question No. 591.

Deportation Orders

 611. Deputy Mick Barry Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the reason her Department does not collect statistics on the number of minors deported from the State; if this has always been the policy of her Department; her plans to change this policy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28689/20]

 612. Deputy Mick Barry Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the reason her Department does not collect statistics on the number of Irish-born non-Irish, UK, EEA and Swiss citizens deported from the State; if this has always been the policy of her Department; her plans to change this policy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28690/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee I propose to take Questions Nos. 611 and 612 together.

The Immigration Service of my Department captures the most relevant details relating to an applicant at the time a new immigration record is being created. Those details are comprised of the applicant’s full name, their date of birth, their gender and their country of nationality. The person will also be associated with the relevant immigration application they are applying under. An applicant’s place of birth will not generally be relevant to the consideration of their case. Their country of nationality is the more relevant detail as regards their country of origin.

As I previously said in response to Parliamentary Question 718 of 29 September 2020, the issue of whether or not a child was born in the State will be identifiable and can be duly considered when the individual immigration case is being substantively considered at decision-making stage. At that point, any issues around a child’s birth in the State, the degree to which they have integrated in the State, etc. will be given appropriate consideration before a final decision is made.

My Department does hold records for minors who have been issued with a Deportation Order where that Order has been effected and the minor has left the State. In all such cases, the minor would have left the State in the care of their parent/s or a legal guardian.

Immigration Status

 613. Deputy Mick Barry Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the timeline for her Department’s policy paper on the regularisation of undocumented persons; if it will be open to receiving submissions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28691/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Programme for Government contains a commitment to create new pathways for long-term undocumented people and their dependents meeting specified criteria to regularise their status within 18 months of the formation of the Government, bearing in mind European Union and Common Travel Area commitments.

Ireland along with other Member States of the EU, has committed, under the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum (2008), to a case-by-case approach as opposed to mass regularisation. However, the Government recognises that some may find themselves in an undocumented position through no fault of their own.

A policy paper on the matter is being drafted by my Department at the present time. This will include an assessment of international best practices. Previous regularisation schemes, like the 2018 Student Scheme, will also be considered in any future policy. If the Deputy or any other party wishes to make a submission on the issue of the undocumented, I would be happy to receive it.

I would encourage any person who is resident in the State without permission to contact my Department or their local immigration office and to take all appropriate steps to regularise their own and their family's status. In all cases, people must engage with the authorities if they wish to be permitted to remain here legally. The Immigration Service of my Department examines each case of an undocumented or illegal person in the State on a case-by-case basis and is considered on its individual merits.

Visa Applications

 614. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the reason for the inordinate delay regarding a review of a stamp 4 visa for a person (details supplied); and if she will commit to a time frame for making a decision on the review of the case. [28718/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Immigration Service of my Department is actively considering the immigration case of the person concerned. I understand that there has been an ongoing exchange of correspondence between the relevant personnel of the Immigration Service of my Department and the person concerned in recent weeks in relation to the submission of additional information, documentation and clarifications required to enable the case to be finalised. In that context, a further letter issued to the person concerned on 1 October 2020, seeking clarification on documentation recently submitted. Upon receipt of the requested clarifications, the case can be finalised soon thereafter.

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

Garda Stations

 615. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee if there are plans to provide a new Garda station in Citywest, County Dublin which has been the subject of a long campaign (details supplied). [28759/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee 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 the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.

An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.88 billion for 2020, as well as capital funding of over €116 million this year.

The Garda Capital Investment Programme 2016-2021 which was announced by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works on 21 October 2015 does not include the development of a new Garda station in Citywest, County Dublin.

The determination of the need for a new Garda Station in Citywest, Co. Dublin, or any other location, will be considered by An Garda Síochána in the context of the overall accommodation requirements arising from the ongoing expansion of the Garda workforce, the APSFF and the implementation of the new Garda operating model which will inform the overall accommodation priorities of An Garda Síochána over the years 2022-2026.

Legal Aid Service

 616. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the position regarding the Legal Aid Board office in Finglas, Dublin 11 which has temporarily relocated to Smithfield Law Centre; when Finglas Law Centre will re-open; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28790/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee The Legal Aid Board provides legal advice and aid under the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 and the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996-2017. Section 3(3) of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 provides that the Board shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be independent in the exercise of its functions.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and I am informed that the Board has recently found it necessary to vacate its existing premises in Finglas, Dublin 11, due to various health and safety issues. The staff of the office have been temporarily re-located to a Board office in Dublin City Centre. I am also informed that the Finglas Law Centre remains intact as an office within the Legal Aid Board management structure. The Board is contacting all clients of Finglas Law Centre in writing to advise that there is no change to the solicitor dealing with their particular case, and providing new contact details for the Law Centre.

I am further informed by the Legal Aid Board that it is committed to maintaining an office in the area of north Dublin city. The Legal Aid Board has, for some time, sought an alternative premises in the vicinity of Finglas and nearby areas that is suited to the needs of its clients and its staff. These efforts are continuing and I am assured by the Board that the law centre, and its staff, will return to north Dublin at the earliest possible opportunity when an appropriate premises has been obtained and fitted out.

The Board is currently engaged with another public body with offices in north Dublin with a view to Legal Aid Board staff providing a temporary clinic from those offices at specific times, until the new law centre office is opened. The Board hopes to finalise these arrangements shortly.

Residency Permits

 617. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard J. Durkan Zoom on Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee the progress to date in the determination of an application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28794/20]

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Information on Helen McEntee Zoom on Helen McEntee Written representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended). 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.

It is not possible at this point in time to provide a specific indication as to when the case will be finalised. However, the person concerned can be assured that there will be no avoidable delay in having their case brought to finality.

The conditions under which a national passport is issued or renewed is essentially a matter for each person to address with their own national authorities. The onus rests with each person and their national authority to procure their own national passport.

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


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