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Fitzgerald, Frances

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Garda Strength

Was asked: her views on the fact that the number of gardaí has fallen below 13,000; the optimum level of membership of An Garda Síochána in order to police the country effectively; the further recruitment pla...More Button

The Deputy's party when in government introduced a moratorium. I am pleased that the Government has been able to reopen Templemore training college and restart recruitment. There are now 300 recr...More Button

I have given the Deputy the current figure of 12,799. To put it in perspective, in 2006 Garda strength was just under 13,000. It is interesting to note that, at the height of the Troubles in Nort...More Button

As the Deputy rightly indicates, there is huge interest in the Garda Reserve which has tallied with the new and ongoing recruitment. In fact, 23 members of the first group who entered the college ...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that in 2014 and 2015, almost 200 gardaí will have availed of the incentivised career break scheme, as set out in the Public Service Stability Agreement ...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel and vehicles, among the Garda Regions, Divisions and Districts. Garda ma...More Button

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the strength of the Garda Síochána on 31 December 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 12,799. There were also 1...More Button

Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategy, are continually monitored and reviewed and this is determined by a number of...More Button

Was asked: the extent she expects to be in a position to increase Garda strength, in line with demographics, in view of the availability of new Garda recruits; if specific crime blackspots will be targeted in...More Button

One of the primary functions of the Garda Commissioner, under the Garda Síochána Acts, is to direct and control An Garda Síochána. The Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of res...More Button

The strength of the Garda Síochána on 31 December 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 12,799. There were also 1,124 Garda Reserve members, with a further 48 in tra...More Button

I was very pleased that my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform agreed to the resumption of Garda recruitment. Last September, 100 new Garda recruits entered training at the ...More Button

The first intake of recruits will attest as members of An Garda Síochána in May of this year and will be assigned to Garda Stations by the Garda Commissioner. The Garda Commissioner, will of cou...More Button

I remain in discussion with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the timing of future intakes of Garda recruits.More Button

Garda Strength (Continued)

In view of the recruitment to An Garda Síochána, the Public Appointments Service focused on that. For the information of Deputy Collins who has an interest in this area, this is expected to change...More Button

White Collar Crime

Was asked: her views on the strategy of An Garda Síochána, working in partnership with other State agencies, and the resources available to them; if she will tackle white collar crime, in view of the recent r...More Button

In so far as the specific circumstances referred to by the Deputy are concerned, I understand that these have been the subject of investigation by the Revenue Commissioners following receipt and as...More Button

The question Deputy Mac Lochlainn raised with me relates to the HSBC and I have given him the figures of the investigations that were carried out. Criminal investigations, where there was evidence...More Button

The Deputy makes the broader point on tackling white collar crime, which is the key point on which he is focusing. Last year, as I told the Deputy previously, the Commissioner ordered a comprehe...More Button

I want to reassure Deputy Mac Lochlainn. The personnel strength of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is approximately 70. All of the members of An Garda Síochána working in this area have...More Button

That this is a priority area in the policing plan for this year illustrates the seriousness with which this issue is being taken.More Button

Deputy Mac Lochlainn makes a point about resources. I am pleased that this year we have been able to increase the resources to An Garda Síochána for the first time in a number of years and that ...More Button

I assure Deputy Mac Lochlainn that there has been a strategic review within An Garda Síochána to bring the relevant resources, such as he describes, together. There is an increasing focus, as th...More Button

Prosecutions are being brought, there is no question of that. I have given the Deputy the figures on the case to which he referred. I fully support Deputy Mac Lochlainn's point on the need for ...More Button

Garda Station Closures

Was asked: her plans to improve policing in the Stepaside area in County Dublin; if her attention has been drawn to the spike in burglaries in the area since the closure of the Garda station there; if she wil...More Button

The publication of crime statistics is a matter for the Central Statistics Office, as the independent national statistical agency. The CSO is carrying out, at my urging having met it, an investiga...More Button

Garda Station Closures (Continued)

There has been some comment about the last quarter of last year not yet being available. That is because they are doing this exercise, and I want to put that on the record of the House. Those sta...More Button

I am very aware of the concerns in regard to burglary and I am working closely with the Garda Síochána and other relevant criminal justice agencies to ensure an effective, whole-of-system respons...More Button

The Garda Síochána is reacting to those increases, very often carried out by mobile gangs moving into an area. The Garda has responded through Operation Acer, which is in force throughout the Du...More Button

The Deputy asked what I am doing. There is clearly a practical operational issue for the Garda in this regard but, equally, I am looking at the legislative changes that may be necessary and the ...More Button

I agree with the Deputy that prevention is critical, the Garda response is critical and working with the community is critical. In Stepaside, the area Deputy Ross is specifically addressing, the d...More Button

Gardaí are working on all of those issues on a continual basis. They recognise there is a spike in this type of crime and they are taking action to deal with it. There is increased patrol mobil...More Button

There is no evidence or specific information to suggest that criminals are targeting local businesses or residential areas in Stepaside. I take the Deputy's point about an increase. I want to r...More Button

The Deputy is not correct that gardaí are not arresting people for burglaries. That is not accurate.More Button

Gardaí are investigating burglaries, prosecutions are going to the District Court and people are being jailed for periods. Clearly, what we have to do is focus on those recidivists, those repeat b...More Button

I agree with the Deputy that this is a heinous crime. As we all know from those who have suffered this crime, it is a very serious crime and it is being dealt with seriously by An Garda Síochána...More Button

The whole focus now is to have what the Deputy decries, namely, the kind of effective and smart policing that is necessary. It is that kind of policing we need, policing that is out there patrolli...More Button

This is the approach being taken by An Garda Síochána.More Button

Gambling Legislation

Was asked: her plans to adequately regulate gaming and casinos venues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy is aware that there are detailed proposals in the general scheme of the gambling control Bill for the licensing of casinos in Ireland for the first time. This is the first Government to...More Button

There is no provision in Irish law for the licensing of casinos. Some 47 private member gaming clubs are registered with the Department under the provisions of section 109 of the Criminal Justic...More Button

Under the proposals set out, the Minister for Justice and Equality will assume a regulatory role for all forms of gambling, with the exception of the national lottery, on enactment of the Bill. ...More Button

The legislation is seriously out of date, about which there is no question. The betting laws date from 1931, while those on gambling date from 1956. Increasingly, gambling is carried on by remote...More Button

The proposals made by Mr. Galvin, an expert in the area, will certainly be examined. I will take serious note of his suggestions. The Department is working on the legislation which is with the Of...More Button

Garda Operations

Was asked: the plans of An Garda Síochána and the resources available to it to tackle the criminal gangs involved in diesel laundering, cigarette smuggling and petrol stretching across the island. More Button

The point made by the Deputy about criminal gangs involved in diesel laundering, cigarette smuggling and petrol stretching throughout the island but concentrated to a degree along the Border is an ...More Button

Just this month, as a result of a joint intelligence-led investigation, officers from Revenue's Customs service, supported by An Garda Síochána, and officers from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs,...More Button

Tackling organised crime, in all its guises, is a priority for An Garda Síochána. This is reflected in the policing commitments for the year ahead.More Button

Was asked: her views on the policing of anti-water charges protests in the past month; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The statutory functions of An Garda Síochána include the preservation of peace and public order, protecting life and property and vindicating the human rights of individuals. Accordingly, Gardaí h...More Button

An Garda Síochána always endeavour as best they can to facilitate peaceful protests and demonstrations. This is clearly evidenced by the many peaceful demonstrations and protests that take place...More Button

I am sure the House will agree that is it always unfortunate when a small number of individuals resort to means other than peaceful ones to express their views or to engage in protest. We have, ...More Button

I have every confidence that this will continue to be the case.More Button

Let me emphasise that there is also an obligation on the organisers of protest actions to ensure that they do not create situations which they cannot control. Such events can on occasion lead to...More Button

Of course, it is open to anyone to complain about the behaviour of an individual member of An Garda Síochána through the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) where they feel that such compl...More Button

Was asked: her plans to assist children who are being intimidated out of their homes by criminal elements; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, An Garda Síochána have established a Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme and this programme is in operation in the area referred to. The programme is designed...More Button

I am informed that local Gardaí have been in direct contact with the Deputy in relation to his concerns in recent weeks and provided him with information concerning the above programme. I unders...More Button

Was asked: her plans to deal with gun crime; her views on the first gun murder of 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I do of course share the Deputy's concern about gun and other violent crime, and deplore the brutal shooting he refers to. He will appreciate, however, that it would not be appropriate for me to c...More Button

It is unfortunately the case that gun crime has for some time been an inherent part of organised criminal activity in Ireland, as it is in other similar jurisdictions. I am in regular contact wi...More Button

A range of Garda operations is in place to target and confront armed and organised criminals. In addition to these enforcement measures, An Garda Síochána also engage extensively with communitie...More Button

Heavy penalties are provided for weapons offences in our criminal law and mandatory minimum penalties have been introduced for certain firearms offences. The considerable powers already available...More Button

I should also advise the Deputy that, in view of public safety concerns raised by the Garda Commissioner, a joint Review of operational, legislative and administrative issues governing firearms l...More Button

  Question No. 125 answered with Question No. 121.More Button

Was asked: if she will support a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am aware of the proposed demonstration to which the Deputy refers. I am informed by the Garda authorities that they have met with organisers of the demonstration and they remain in ongoing discu...More Button

Garda Operations (Continued)

An Garda Síochána has a strong and productive relationship with the PSNI and takes actions to counter security and crime threats which face the island, including the activities of the organised cri...More Button

This is a very serious crime. Organised crime gangs are involved in it and they have tried to spread their activities throughout the island. It is clear that a combined approach by the Revenue Co...More Button

In 2014, there were 1,109 detections of marked fuel oil and two oil laundries were detected and shut down resulting in 50,000 litres of oil being seized. There were 5,852 seizures of cigarettes ...More Button

I agree fully with the Deputy. This is absolutely serious criminal activity which has very serious implications for people's lives in this country. Everything possible will be done to interrupt t...More Button

Legislative Measures

Was asked: under the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Bill 2014, if liaison officers will be appointed to assist Magdalen women in obtaining their enhanced benefits under the Bill; her views...More Button

I thank Deputy O'Sullivan for her question and her interest in this area and the support last night for the passage of the Bill which provides for medical services for women who were in the Magdale...More Button

Approximately 40 women in this situation have been identified. These women need to be helped as envisaged by the provisions in the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013. They may need sup...More Button

Was asked: the way she will address defamation of persons which occurs online; her views on amending the law to allow for defamation cases online to be dealt with in a more-cost effective and timely manner; a...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the law on defamation in the State was reformed in the Defamation Act 2009. It is important to say the Act draws no distinction between online, print or broadcast media and...More Button

As the Deputy knows, the print media are regulated by the independent Press Council of Ireland which was granted recognition under the Act. The complaints system operated by the Press Council pr...More Button

The e-commerce directive, Council Directive (EC) 2000/31, which comes within the remit of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, sets down a number of provisions regarding the duties ...More Button

Recently, I held a meeting in Farmleigh House with all of the Internet service providers in this country to discuss their responsibilities, how we can work with them and what legislation is neede...More Button

Was asked: her plans to overhaul the Coroner Service's legislation currently in place in this State.More Button

As the Deputy will know, the Coroners Bill 2007 provides for a comprehensive reform of the Coroners Act 1962 and of the existing coroner system, including the establishment of a new Coroner Service...More Button

Legislative Measures (Continued)

I thank the Deputy. I want to ensure that the health legislation we passed in the Dáil will progress through the Seanad in order that the relevant health services will be made available to the wom...More Button

This is an increasing focus among the providers. They are taking many more initiatives than people are aware of, where there is any indication of criminal activity online. For example, more effor...More Button

Drugs in Prisons

Was asked: the action she has taken to implement the recommendations of the strategic review of penal policy; the way she will address the drugs crisis in our prisons; her views that the current justice syste...More Button

The Deputy's question relates to the report of the Penal Policy Review Group. Some of the group's recommendations can be implemented in the short to medium term but others will require a more long...More Button

The availability of contraband, especially drugs, in our prisons continues to be a major challenge for the Irish Prison Service. It is clear that this availability is a huge barrier to prisoner ...More Button

As already stated, the issues of both drug addiction and the availability of drugs in our prisons are receiving the most serious attention. I have spoken to the director general of the Irish Priso...More Button

Key components of the new drive will include an increase in the number of drug detection dog teams. Training in this regard is ongoing and all teams will be fully operational by the end of May. T...More Button

International Terrorism

Was asked: if she will provide an update on the threat posed to the State by acts of terrorism; the action she has taken to address this threat; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

International Terrorism (Continued)

We take the opportunity to express our sympathy with to those impacted by the appalling terrorist activity in Europe in recent days, weeks and months. Considerable concern has been expressed at th...More Button

Let me repeat what I said because we want to be accurate in regard to this. Like any country with democratic values, Ireland is not immune to a threat from international terrorism. An attack on I...More Button

I will bring forward legislation in the next few weeks when Dáil time is available to deal with it. We will create three new offences of public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, of recr...More Button

Spent Convictions Legislation

Was asked: the current delay in completing Report Stage of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012. More Button

I recognise the interest in this House in the Bill and the need to have it enacted. I intend to bring the amendments to the House before the summer. There was a new situation, following on from t...More Button

I agree with the Deputy. This is a very important Bill, particularly for people who may have been convicted of a minor offence many years ago in a District Court, which has hung over their entire ...More Button

Closed Circuit Television Systems

Was asked: if she will consider putting in place funding for the provision and upgrading of closed-circuit television systems, with dedicated monitoring staff, to assist with policing for towns and villages t...More Button

CCTV systems installed for the purposes of crime prevention and as aids to policing in areas to which the general public routinely have access, such as town centres, fall into two distinct categori...More Button

Garda CCTV systems are planned and implemented on the basis of An Garda Síochána's identified operational needs and priorities. Accordingly, decisions in relation to the introduction or extensio...More Button

As regards community-based CCTV, a scheme was launched in 2005 which provided financial assistance to qualifying local organisations towards meeting the capital costs associated with the establis...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the decision to close a number of Garda stations in 2013 was the result of a comprehensive operational assessment carried out by the Garda Commissioner, the objectiv...More Button

  Questions Nos. 10 and 11 answered orally.More Button

Stardust Fire

Was asked: if she will consider a new inquiry into the Stardust tragedy; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, following a long campaign on the part of the victims, Mr. Paul Coffey SC was appointed in 2008 by the then Government, with the agreement of the Victims Committee, to r...More Button

I accept, of course, that some of the victims and their relatives of this dreadful tragedy do not accept the conclusions of the Independent Examination, during which persons were free to make the...More Button

Since that meeting my Department has engaged in extensive communications with representatives of the Committee in relation to matters raised by them and these communications are ongoing.More Button

I remain open to considering any material that the Committee or their representatives wish me to consider in this regard and my Department has, in its communications, made that clear. In saying ...More Button

I wish also to inform the Deputy that allegations raised by the Stardust Relatives' and Victims Committee and their representatives in relation to certain matters are the subject of an ongoing in...More Button

Garda Resources

Was asked: her plans to increase recruitment of new gardaí to the Garda Síochána; if she will modernise the use of new technology in the Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The strength of the Garda Síochána on 31 December 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 12,799. There were also 1,124 Garda Reserve members, with a further 48 in train...More Button

The Garda Síochána provides a vital public service, protecting the public from crime and safeguarding the security of the State. As with any such a service, there must be a twin-track approach o...More Button

Side by side with the reform process, I was very pleased my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform agreed to the resumption of Garda recruitment. Last September, 100 new Garda...More Button

In addition to investing in recruitment, I am committed to seeing that the Garda ICT infrastructure gets the investment it needs to enable the Garda Síochána to deliver an optimum policing servic...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which cold cases continue to receive attention and follow-up; if sufficient resources remain available to An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the function of the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) is to assist Senior Investigating Officers assigned to the case in question in bringing investigatio...More Button

At the conclusion of each review a substantive report is provided to the Senior Investigating Officer who considers the opportunities for further investigation for dissemination back into the inv...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the provision and allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of identified operational demands. In this regard I am informed t...More Button

Equality Issues

Was asked: if the public refusal by landlords to accept tenants in receipt of rent allowance is a discriminatory act under the Equal Status Acts; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Legislative Programme

Was asked: when the mediation Bill 2012 will be introduced in Dáil Éireann.More Button

The objective of the Mediation Bill, which is fully in line with the commitment given in the Programme for Government, is to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to co...More Button

The Bill will provide that a solicitor or barrister advising or acting for a client must, prior to the commencement of any civil proceedings, including family law proceedings, provide the client ...More Button

The Government approved the General Scheme of the Bill in March 2012 and the Mediation Bill is being drafted in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. The Deputy will appreciate that the Gover...More Button

Garda Misconduct Allegations

Was asked: if she has given further consideration to requests by a person (details supplied) and that person's legal representatives for inclusion on the review panel into cases of Garda misconduct; and if sh...More Button

I can confirm to the Deputy that the person to whom he refers is included amongst those whose complaints are under consideration by the panel of counsel appointed to operate the Independent Review ...More Button

The review of each complaint will consist of an examination of the papers in the complaint by a counsel from the panel. Following the review of each complaint a recommendation will be made as to...More Button

I am aware of requests that the person concerned, her legal representatives and other third parties have made to have her complaints investigated by the Commission of Investigation recently estab...More Button

Where counsel do recommend further investigations, I will be very strongly guided by that advice. Clearly, there are a number of possible options for further investigations, in particular by way...More Button

I am clear that where further investigation is recommended by the review then that will occur. However I would also make the point that in many cases, counsel may recommend that no further actio...More Button

Was asked: when she foresees the independent review mechanism completing its work; her views on establishing a commission of investigation into serious cases which raise fundamental questions regarding the ma...More Button

This Government, as part of its response to the report by Seán Guerin SC, took the initiative to have an independent review carried out of the allegations of Garda misconduct which had been submitt...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, a panel consisting of two senior and five junior counsel was established for that purpose. This independent review panel has been examining 315 cases referred to them. T...More Button

The Panel has made significant progress and the submission of recommendations to me is being prepared by officials. Each recommendation will be very carefully considered, but as a matter of gene...More Button

Where counsel do recommend further investigations, I will as I say be very strongly guided by that advice. Clearly, there are a number of possible options for further investigations, in particul...More Button

However I would also make the point that in many cases, counsel may recommend that no further action can reasonably be taken. This might be, for example, because a case has already been through ...More Button

Was asked: the progress of the work of the independent panel of counsel reviewing allegations of Garda malpractice; and when its recommendations are due.More Button

This Government, as part of its response to the report by Seán Guerin SC, took the initiative to have an independent review carried out of the allegations of Garda misconduct, which had been submit...More Button

Garda Corruption

Was asked: if she is satisfied that the environment in An Garda Síochána is an appropriate one for whistleblowers; if she has formally discussed these matters in 2015 with the Garda Commissioner; and if she w...More Button

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 came into operation on 15 July, 2014 as part of this Government's comprehensive approach to enhance the protection available to whistleblowers, including Garda wh...More Button

Garda Divisional Headquarters

Was asked: the progress in the establishment of a new Garda divisional headquarters in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is based on accommodation priorities which are established by An Garda Síochána. The programme is advanced in close co-operati...More Button

In July 2012, the Government announced an economic stimulus package which included three major Garda construction projects, namely the development of new Divisional HQ Stations at Wexford, Galway...More Button

Included in Budget 2015 is a capital allocation of €42 million in 2015 for the provision of these three new Garda Divisional Headquarters.More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the procurement process for the construction of all three Divisional Headquarters is significantly advanced with work expected to commence on the Galway...More Button

Was asked: where the new Garda Síochána headquarters for the south-eastern region will be located; the rationale behind the selection of this location; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that a new Garda Division of Kilkenny/Carlow was established in 2008 with Kilkenny designated as the Divisional HQ Station. Kilkenny Garda Station has been up...More Button

In that context, I am advised that the office of the Assistant Commissioner, South Eastern Region has been located at Government Buildings, Hebron Road, Kilkenny since November, 2013.More Button

Garda Investigations

Was asked: if she has received a report from the Director of Public Prosecutions or her officials on the recent arrests in the Tallaght area related to a protest in Jobstown, Dublin 24, in November 2014; and ...More Button

I am aware of the arrests to which the Deputy refers.More Button

These arrests took place in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation which is being carried out by An Garda Síochána at present. It would clearly be wrong of me to say anything which wou...More Button

I am sure the House will appreciate that it is a matter for An Garda Síochána to investigate crime. It is exclusively a matter for An Garda Síochána to decide, in accordance with the law, who is...More Button

Anybody who has a complaint about the manner in which they have been dealt with by An Garda Síochána can bring that complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission which is entirely independ...More Button

Refugee Resettlement Programme

Was asked: in view of the increasing numbers of refugees drowning or being abandoned at sea while seeking entry into Europe, if she discussed the possibility of European Union governments, including this Gove...More Button

I am acutely aware of the impact on ordinary lives resulting from the various conflicts around the world and that many people displaced by these conflicts have put their lives at risk by undertakin...More Button

Effectively addressing the implications of these global crises is one of the challenges facing the international community and these matters have been discussed at both Ministerial and Official l...More Button

Together with 25 other resettlement States worldwide, including 16 EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, Ireland is working closely with the UNHCR to respond to the plight of the...More Button

Through the resettlement programme, and in co-operation with local agencies in the region, the UNHCR identifies the most vulnerable refugees and refers them to resettlement States, including Irel...More Button

Since 2000, 1,185 vulnerable persons from 27 different countries, including Iraq and Syria, have been resettled in Ireland and 40 persons have been relocated from Malta. The refugees have been ...More Button

Over the coming years, Ireland is committed to continuing to support the efforts of the UNHCR to respond to the plight of vulnerable refugees.More Button

Resettlement is just one of a suite of responses to persons displaced by the Syrian conflict. In 2014, Ireland introduced a Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme (SHAP). The SHAP offered natu...More Button

These are persons who are considered by their sponsoring family member present in Ireland to be most at risk. 114 beneficiaries have been granted admission under the programme. In addition, Syri...More Button

Of course, the opportunity to access Ireland's asylum procedures is open to any person who arrives at the frontiers of the State seeking protection or otherwise indicating an unwillingness to lea...More Button

A total of 1,444 asylum applications were received in 2014 as compared with some 950 for 2013 equating to a 52% increase. This reverses the trend of recent years when application numbers were de...More Button

A total of 426 persons were declared to be refugees or persons eligible for subsidiary protection in 2014. This equates to a grant rate of 30%. Those granted protection were mainly from high ri...More Button

Ireland has also made generous financial contributions (over 28 million euro) to countries in need through Development Aid at a time of severe financial constraints, and continues to provide supp...More Button

Same-sex Marriage

Was asked: if she will allow for the provision of a conscientious objection clause in order to safeguard the rights of persons, businesses and other institutions who may be compelled to participate in or prov...More Button

As the Deputy will know, when the Government decided on 5 November 2013 that a referendum would be held on the question of enabling same-sex couples to marry, it reiterated its commitment that the ...More Button

I hope to be in a position to publish the General Scheme of the Implementation Bill in advance of the planned Second Stage debate on the Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equa...More Button

Garda Procedures

Was asked: the policies and procedures that exist for the arrest of minors, in particular the measures taken to ensure the use of force is proportionate, the questioning and length of detention is age-appropr...More Button

I wish to inform the Deputy that policies and procedures that exist for the arrest of minors are set out in Part 6, sections 55-70 of the Children Act, 2001.

  The full text of t...More Button

Garda Remuneration

Was asked: her plans to meet with the Garda Representative Association to discuss the pay of the new members of An Garda Síochána who are currently training in Templemore Garda College.More Button

I am always happy to meet with the Garda Representative Association or indeed any of the Garda associations, to discuss issues of concern to them and to their members.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the current Garda recruitment campaign commenced in late 2013 and attracted over 20,000 applications. Details of the remuneration package, ie basic pay and allowanc...More Button

Legislative Process

Was asked: the reason for the extreme delay in advancing the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012; the reason the legal advice from the Attorney General pertaining to an ongoing legal case in the Un...More Button

The current position is that the Bill has passed Committee Stage in the Dáil, having passed all stages in the Seanad. However, before the Bill could be taken at Report Stage, a 2013 UK Court of Ap...More Button

The UK Court of Appeal found that the UK policy of disclosing all criminal convictions was in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court found that disclosure of o...More Button

Domestic Violence Policy

Was asked: her plans to review the legislative gaps in access to safety and protection orders for family members and loved ones who are not residing with a person accused of alleged serious harassment, in vie...More Button

While there is already a range of legislative provisions available for the protection of persons in domestic and other situations it is important that we learn from the particular circumstances of ...More Button

The Government is committed to introduce consolidated and reformed domestic violence legislation to address all aspects of domestic violence. In this regard, I intend to bring the General Scheme...More Button

My Department has received a number of proposals in relation to the reform of our domestic violence legislative provisions including the extension of the availability of orders to other classes o...More Button

Was asked: when the Istanbul Convention will be ratified and implemented here; the action that will be taken to address domestic violence further; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My intention is to seek Government approval for Ireland to sign the Istanbul Convention this year. This is a matter of priority for me.

  My Department has been working to estab...More Button

Garda Transport Provision

Was asked: in view of the investment in the procurement of vehicles to support the work of An Garda Síochána, if any such vehicles will be equipped with additional facilities and supports to assist An Garda S...More Button

Decisions in relation to the provision, allocation and fit out of Garda vehicles are a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of her identified operational demands and the availability of r...More Button

In that context, the additional €10 million which I recently secured for investment in the Garda fleet will provide for a significant number of new Garda vehicles. I am advised by the Garda aut...More Button

I am further informed that Garda vehicles are designed to perform a range of duties and current vehicle specifications are deemed sufficient to meet operational demands.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which Garda transport continues to be updated, in line with requirements, and in keeping with best practice internationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Decisions in relation to the provision, allocation and fit out of Garda vehicles are a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of her identified operational demands and the availability of r...More Button

In that context, the additional €10 million which I recently secured for investment in the Garda fleet will provide for a significant number of new Garda vehicles. I am advised by the Garda auth...More Button

The vehicles will be allocated over the coming months, following fit out, in accordance with the Garda Commissioner's identified policing requirements.More Button

Parole Boards

Was asked: her legislative plans to reform the Parole Board of Ireland, in view of recent criticism, particularly about the decision-making process and the extent of ministerial input into temporary release; ...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 415 dated 14 January 2015, which dealt with the report referred to by the Deputy.More Button

In relation to the Parole Board, proposals are being prepared to put it on a statutory footing. In September last year, I published the report of the Penal Policy Review Group which was tasked w...More Button

I believe this will help to strengthen the Board and improve its functions. My Department is currently considering the matter in more detail ahead of presenting proposals for legislation.More Button

Was asked: if funding will be sourced to establish an art therapy service for children in direct provision accommodation centres (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is responsible for the provision of full board accommodation and certain ancillary services to asylum seekers in accordance with the Go...More Button

Deportation Orders

Was asked: the progress to date in determining the current residency status permission to remain in the country, in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if she will make a statement on...More Button

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that following a comprehensive and thorough examination of the asylum claim and application for subsidiary ...More Button

The person concerned initiated judicial review proceedings challenging the Deportation Order made in respect of her. Those proceedings were struck out in favour of the Department on 01 December ...More Button

Representations were received from the person concerned pursuant to Section 3 (11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), to revoke the Deportation Order. The Deputy might wish to note that a...More Button

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this pur...More Button

Proposed Legislation

Was asked: the progress made in regard to introducing the gambling control Bill 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Government approved the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill in July 2013, at which point it was published on my Department's website.

  ...More Button

Prisoner Data

Was asked: the average daily cost of holding a prisoner in jail; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Irish Prison Service calculates the average annual cost of an available staffed prison space for inclusion in the Annual Report. For 2013, the latest year for which a figure is available, the ...More Button

Prison Committals

Was asked: the number of persons, by gender, who were committed to prison for non-payment of fines for each year since 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the category of offences committed by persons who were committed to prison for non-payment of fines in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 102 together.

  I wish to advise the Deputy that a breakdown of the number of persons by gender who were committed to prison solely for n...More Button

Crime Prevention

Was asked: if she has researched the methods to reduce bicycle theft that are employed in other jurisdictions, including the random parking of bait bikes fitted with a global positioning systems, and that the...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, the examination of crime prevention measures such as the one mentioned by the Deputy is a matter in the first instance for the Garda authorities, including with respe...More Button

An Garda Síochána is proactive in encouraging the public to protect their property, including bicycles, and a range of measures are in place to prevent and tackle the theft of bicycles.More Button

In this regard I am informed by the Garda authorities that a range of operational measures are pursued to combat bicycle theft and to target those who engage in it, and there is ongoing provisio...More Button

I am further advised by the Garda authorities that analysis is conducted to determine areas of high volume theft and to identify the main offenders for these crimes so that a targeted operational...More Button

The range of measures being pursued by An Garda Síochána include working with bicycle retailers and communities to encourage and promote bicycle registration. In addition, information leaflets o...More Button

Crime Data

Was asked: if she will provide details with regard to burglaries in Galway city; and if she will provide statistics regarding the number of burglaries reported from June 2010 to May 2012, June 2012 to May 201...More Button

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has estab...More Button

Residency Permits

Was asked: the current or potential residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned is currently registered in the State under Stamp 4 conditions granted to them on ...More Button

Organised Crime

Was asked: the extent to which sufficient provision is being made in terms of resources, technology and appropriate staffing levels, to facilitate An Garda Síochána in tackling the new emerging criminal gangs...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which she remains satisfied, regarding the ability of An Garda Síochána to respond to new challenges from the criminal world, with particular reference to the availability of modern t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 109 together.More Button

Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of available Garda resources. This includes personnel, Garda vehicles and the various technologies ut...More Button

The first intake since 2009 of 100 new recruits entered training at the Garda College, Templemore, on 15th September 2014. As part of Budget 2015, a further intake of 200 recruits in two batches...More Button

The strength of the Garda Síochána on 31 December 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 12,799. There were also 1,124 Garda Reserve members, with a further 48 in tra...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are continually looking to ensure that the latest information, communications and forensic technologies are sourced and deployed to achieve their ...More Button

In terms of existing technology, the Deputy will be aware that a considerable amount of new Garda ICT solutions has been delivered over the past number of years. These include the deployment of ...More Button

In the area of forensics the situation is that the Garda authorities currently employ state-of-the-art automated fingerprint and ballistics identification systems which I am informed are at least...More Button

I have also clearly signalled my intention to support the Garda Síochána in its efforts to address deficits which were identified in the recent Garda Inspectorate report on crime investigation. ...More Button

Was asked: the steps she will take to address the ongoing issue of unlawful killings, generated by organised crime, with particular reference to shootings; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which specific steps will be taken to impede the development of organised criminal gangs, with particular reference to paying special attention to new entrants into this field of acti...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 and 111 together.

  The Policing Plan 2015 of An Garda Síochána sets out the continued commitment of An Garda Síochána to pro-actively target...More Button

Garda Deployment

Was asked: the extent to which she expects to be able to replenish Garda strength in stations in County Kildare, with particular reference to specific crime blackspots, and stations that have experienced a re...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution u...More Button

  Question No. 109 answered with Question No. 106.More Button

Garda Policing Plans

Was asked: the degree to which policing methods in this jurisdiction remain in line with those in other European Union and other non-European Union jurisdictions, with particular reference to the need to achi...More Button

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 contains provisions the purpose of which are to endeavour to ensure that the Garda Síochána operates to the best standards in line with the police services of other comp...More Button

Section 24 of the Act provided for the establishment, by the Garda Commissioner, of a Garda Professional Standards Unit (GPSU) with the specific remit to examine and review the operational, admin...More Button

The Act also provided for the establishment of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate (GSI). The objective of the Inspectorate, as stipulated under section 117 of the Act, is to ensure that the resourc...More Button

Bail Law

Was asked: the efforts that continue to be made to combat recidivism, with particular reference to crime committed while on bail, more than once; the extent to which resources are available to combat this tre...More Button

Was asked: the number of occasions on which crime was committed by those on bail in the past six years to date, by category of crime; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the law on bail continues to be abused by the criminal fraternity; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115 to 117, inclusive, together.More Button

Tackling recidivist and prolific offending is a key focus for An Garda Síochána and the criminal justice system generally. Garda operations such as Operation Fiacla identify and target prolific ...More Button

The Deputy will also be aware that both the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service work through a variety of programmes to address offending behaviour and to promote desistance from futur...More Button

In relation to bail, the Deputy will be aware that a decision to grant bail in a particular case is a matter for the court, which is, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in ...More Button

Prior to the Sixteenth Amendment of the Constitution, bail could be refused essentially only on the grounds that the accused person would be likely to abscond or interfere with witnesses or evide...More Button

Section 11 of the Criminal Justice 1984 as amended by section 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 provides that any sentence of imprisonment for an offence committed while on bail shall be consec...More Button

As regards reform of the bail laws, I can inform the Deputy that the preparation of the General Scheme of a Bail Bill to modernise the law on bail is at a very advanced stage and I intend to brin...More Button

While the primary aim of the proposed Bail Bill is to consolidate and update bail law, I wish to take the opportunity to seek, as far as is possible, within the constraints of the Constitution an...More Button

In relation to the information sought about crimes committed while on bail, I have asked the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency responsible for the publication of crime...More Button

Garda Recruitment

Was asked: the extent to which any drop in Garda strength, through retirement, dismissal and resignation, is being addressed by way of recruitment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The strength of the Garda Síochána on 31 December 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 12,799. There were also 1,124 Garda Reserve members, with a further 48 in train...More Button

I was very pleased that my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform agreed to the resumption of Garda recruitment. Last September, 100 new Garda recruits entered training at the ...More Button

I remain in discussion with my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the timing of future intakes of Garda recruits.More Button

Garda Promotions

Was asked: the extent to which various promotional posts remain to be filled throughout An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

One of the primary functions of the Garda Commissioner under the Garda Síochána Acts is to direct and control An Garda Síochána. The Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of perso...More Button

Where current actual strength is below the approved maximum strength, it is the Garda Commissioner who will make the necessary arrangements to have the balance of posts filled through promotion c...More Button

Promotion competitions to fill a number of vacancies at the ranks of Chief Superintendent and Superintendent have been completed and the Government has approved my recommendation to make six (6)...More Button

An open competition to fill the two vacancies at Deputy Commissioner level is currently underway under the auspices of the Public Appointments Service.More Button

Firearms Licences

Was asked: regarding the proposed new legislation restricting certain licensed firearms, the current efforts to tackle the high number of illegal firearms, which is estimated to be more than 100,000; and if s...More Button

Was asked: the protection local businesses affected by the proposed new firearms legislation will be offered; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the compensation to be provided to persons affected by the proposed new firearms legislation, who will have to surrender or destroy their weapons and recreational equipment; and if she will make a ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121, 122 and 125 together.More Button

I should say initially that my Department is not aware of any reliable basis for the figure quoted in the Deputy's question as representing the number of illegal firearms here.More Button

In light of public safety concerns highlighted by An Garda Síochána, a joint Department of Justice and Equality/An Garda Síochána Working Group was established by the Department of Justice and Eq...More Button

The submissions received are currently being examined and incorporated into a report for me. The Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality has also sought submissions and held heari...More Button

I understand the Deputy's Question No 122 relates to what effects, if any, proposed changes to firearms licensing will have on firearms dealers. I wish to advise that the majority of licensed an...More Button

The issue of compensation which the Deputy raises is dealt with at Section 13 of the Working Group Report. The report states that the Courts have held that the possession of a firearm is not a r...More Button

I have already given a commitment that I will not make any final decisions until I have considered all the submissions which have been made and have met the key stakeholders, including the organ...More Button

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for a report in relation to specific measures being taken to tackle illegal firearms. I will reply further to the Deputy when that information becomes availab...More Button

Parking Regulations

Was asked: the laws that are being broken when persons park their cars on council green areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be appreciate it is not within my remit to provide legal advice or to interpret the law. If, however, the Deputy has specific instances of concern, I will have inquiries made re...More Button