Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Fitzgerald, Frances

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Leaders' Questions (Continued)

Where is Deputy Murphy now?More Button

Reform of An Garda Síochána: Motion [Private Members] (Continued)

I move amendment No. 2:More Button

It would be good to see that courage to embrace and contribute to reforms being emphasised at all levels. That is part of the courage that is required to be a member of An Garda Síochána, on which...More Button

I was here.More Button

Commercial Rates

Was asked: if small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, in County Kildare are being forced to pay for the reduction in rates given to large companies and semi-State bodies; and if she will make a statement on...More Button

Was asked: the companies in County Kildare that have received a rates reduction; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the detail of the 60% down and 40% up adjustment to commercial rates in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 to 95, inclusive, together.More Button

Revaluation is a statutory process and the same basis of valuation, as set out in Part 11 of the Valuation Acts, 2001 to 2015, is used to assess all ratepayers in a local authority area. Accordi...More Button

I am advised by the Commissioner of Valuation, who has statutory responsibility for the revaluation programme and is independent in the operation of his statutory functions, that the revaluation ...More Button

Revaluation is a nationwide programme and the results from the local authorities completed to date (Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County, Fingal County, Limerick City and County, South Dubl...More Button

Garda Stations

Was asked: if the OPW will take steps to increase the operational capacity at Tubbercurry Garda station, County Sligo; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no ...More Button

I am informed by the Commissioner that in regard to the deployment of Garda personnel, a distribution model is used which takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trend...More Button

I am further informed by the Garda Commissioner that Tubbercurry Garda Station forms part of the Sligo/Leitrim Division and that the Garda strength of the Sligo/Leitrim Division on the 28 Februar...More Button

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and ...More Button

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, 839 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, 13 of whom have been...More Button

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuildi...More Button

This investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been m...More Button

National Car Test

Was asked: if vehicles that currently have an appeal of an NCT decision lodged are flagged under the Garda automatic number plate recognition system; if so, the reason, in view of the fact the matter has not ...More Button

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to in the Deputy's question and I will contact the Deputy directly upon receipt of a Garda report.More Button

National Car Test Data

Was asked: the number of cars which have been seized due to driving without a valid NCT certificate since 2006.More Button

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to in the Deputy's question and I will contact the Deputy directly upon receipt of a Garda report.More Button

Parental Leave

Was asked: the statutory allowance period available for maternity benefit for mothers of premature babies; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the length of current paternity leave; if it differs in circumstances of premature babies; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if regulations are in place requiring an employer policy to support parents of premature babies; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 to 101, inclusive, together.More Button

As indicated in the Government's response to the recent PMB Motion on this issue, it is my intention to bring legislative proposals to Government, which will provide for statutory leave during th...More Button

The Deputy will be aware of the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government to significantly increase leave afforded to parents during the first year of a child’s life over the next ...More Button

Was asked: her plans to amend legislation in order that the parents of children born through surrogacy may avail of maternity and paternity leave, in view of the fact that such leave is available to all other...More Button

Was asked: her plans to introduce maternity or parental leave for persons who have conceived through a surrogate (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Gender Equality

Was asked: if she will consider implementing a policy to address the pay gap (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Garda Compensation

Was asked: the number of compensation cases brought by gardaí against her Department for injuries suffered or losses incurred in the line of duty which have resulted in financial awards or out-of-court settle...More Button

The Garda (Compensation) Acts, 1941 and 1945 provide for a scheme of compensation for members of An Garda Síochána who are maliciously injured in the course of their duty or in relation to the perf...More Button

There is an Ex-Gratia Scheme in place for members injured or killed while driving an official vehicle in the line of duty where no malice was involved. The scheme is set out in the Garda Concili...More Button

Garda Station Expenditure

Was asked: if she will consider additional investment in An Garda Síochána for the delivery of Garda stations in Donabate and Portrane, in view of State investment in infrastructure through Rebuilding Ireland...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Office of Public Works, working closely with Garda management, has primary responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda stations and, as Minister, I h...More Button

I understand from the Garda authorities that the areas of Portrane and Donabate are policed by members attached to Swords Garda station. That station forms part of the Coolock Garda District whi...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Síochána Inspectorate, at the request of the Policing Authority, is carrying out a review of the dispersal and use of resources available to An Garda Síoch...More Button

- the changing environments in rural, developing urban and suburban areas;More Button

- the views of local communities;More Button

- the allocation to and deployment of Garda resources at the local policing level, including the use of the Garda Reserve, Garda facilities and Garda equipment; andMore Button

- relevant recommendations made in previous Inspectorate reports.More Button

I am informed that the review should be completed within the first half of 2018 and I look forward to receiving the report from the Authority in due course.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government commits the Government to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen commun...More Button

I am informed by the Commissioner that, since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, some 839 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mains...More Button

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuildi...More Button

This investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. The Deputy will be aware of the significant resources that have been m...More Button

Garda Investigations

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) was subject to an investigation by An Garda Síochána; and if so, the outcome of this investigation.More Button

My Department has sought information from the Garda authorities in relation to the matters raised and I will communicate further with the Deputy in due course.More Button

Was asked: the status of the review into the allegation of abuse made by a person (details supplied) and the Garda handling of the case; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am aware that the members of the family, connected with the case referred to, have pursued complaints in respect of a number of issues over a long period of time and that there was also protracte...More Button

Extradition Arrangements

Was asked: the number of times extradition proceedings have been initiated by foreign governments against persons sought to stand trial for crimes committed in Ireland; and the number of persons extradited in...More Button

Was asked: the detail of the policy in respect of extraditing persons to stand trial in a foreign court for crimes committed in Ireland.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 108 together.

  The statistical information sought by the Deputy is not readily available.

  Policy in relation to ext...More Button

Was asked: the way in which a person (details supplied) can be extradited to the USA to face trial in respect of crimes committed in Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that it is not open to me to comment on a case before the courts.More Button

Garda Code of Ethics

Was asked: the detail of the recommended code of ethics for An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I was pleased to launch the Code of Ethics for An Garda Síochána in January of this year. The Code clearly defines principles to guide the decisions that those in policing make in everything they ...More Button

Garda Inspectorate Reports

Was asked: the way in which each of the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate for An Garda Síochána has been implemented up to April 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Garda Síochána Inspectorate was established in July, 2006 under Part 5 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. The role of the Inspectorate is to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the operation ...More Button

EU Regulations

Was asked: if she will report on preparations for the introduction of the general data protection regulations in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Valuation Office

Was asked: the details of the administration cost of the revaluations process to date; and the estimated final cost when the first round of rolling revaluations is completed.More Button

The Valuation Office is currently undertaking a systematic national programme of revaluing, for rates purposes, all industrial and commercial properties in the State on a rating authority basis. T...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the exercise of his functions. I am informed by the Commissioner that the costs incurred in the period 2005 to 2014 i...More Button

The 2015 Act has enabled the Valuation Office to adopt a series of new approaches to revaluation not supported by the previous legislation, including the outsourcing of work, the use of "self ass...More Button

Garda Data

Was asked: the number of incidents which were initially entered on the Garda PULSE system as a crime and subsequently reclassified as attention and complaints in January 2017 and February 2017 for each Garda ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the publication of recorded crime statistics. The latest CSO quarterly Crim...More Button

In relation to the reclassification of crime incidents, as referred to by the Deputy, this matter has been addressed in two reports by the CSO which analysed the quality of recorded crime data on...More Button

I am pleased that the CSO have indicated that they intend to conduct further reviews of crime data quality.More Button

Was asked: the number of officers in each Garda division currently off work due to work-related stress or injury.More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for carrying on and managing and controlling generally the administration and business of An Garda Síochána.

...More Button

  Question No. 141 answered with Question No. 128.More Button

Family Law Cases

Was asked: if judges of the Circuit Court are empowered to refuse to hear the voice of the child in family law proceedings, in view of the fact that regulations have yet to be passed governing the appointment...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that Article 42A.4 of the Constitution requires that provision be made by law that in the resolution of all proceedings concerning the guardianship or custody of, or access...More Button

The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 contains new provisions regarding the best interests of children in family law proceedings which have been in operation since 18 January 2016.More Button

Section 3 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964, as amended by section 45 of the 2015 Act, provides that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration for the court in pr...More Button

The best interests of a child are to be determined in accordance with the new Part V of the 1964 Act, inserted by section 63 of the 2015 Act. Part V, entitled “Best Interests of the Child”, cont...More Button

Section 31 sets out an extensive list of factors and circumstances to be taken into account by a court when determining the best interests of a child. These include the views of the child that a...More Button

Section 32 facilitates the hearing of the voice of the child by enabling the court to appoint an expert to determine and convey the child’s views to the court, so that the child’s voice can be he...More Button

These provisions allow the courts to take account of the evolving capacity of children and also give the courts the flexibility to ensure that all children’s views can be heard.More Button

My Department, in consultation with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, is currently finalising the drafting of regulations under section 32(...More Button

Closed-Circuit Television Systems Expenditure

Was asked: the status of the €1 million funding announced in budget 2017 for the provision of CCTV cameras; and when local communities can apply for this.More Button

I am very conscious of the value that communities, especially rural communities, place on CCTV as a means of deterring crime and assisting in the detection of offenders.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to providing investment in CCTV systems and that I have secured €1 million in Budget 2017 to begin a new round of ...More Button

Asylum Applications

Was asked: the number of pre-International Protection Bill 2015 asylum seekers still waiting to be processed; the number which have been given papers since the Bill was passed in November 2015; and if she wil...More Button

I assume the Deputy is referring to the date the relevant sections of the International Act were commenced and came into force rather than its enactment. This occurred on 31 December 2016.More Button

At the end of March 2017, there were 3,580 applications (provisional figure) waiting to be processed under the International Protection Act 2015 which were transferred to the IPO from the former ...More Button

As all asylum applications pending in the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) on 30 December 2016 were transferred to the International Protection Office (IPO) for processing u...More Button

In terms of second instance applications, The International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) has accepted 21 appeals for processing under the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) after the commenceme...More Button

Regarding the numbers of persons that have been granted asylum in Ireland since 1 January, 2017, I can inform the Deputy that to date 47 individuals have been granted asylum and 27 individuals ha...More Button

The commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 at the beginning of this year represents a fundamental reform of the system for assessing the applications of those seeking international...More Button

Crime Prevention

Was asked: the position in respect of the provision of public CCTV in County Kildare; if Clane, County Kildare, can be considered in respect of any pilot scheme in this regard in the future; and if she will m...More Button

I am very conscious of the value that communities, especially rural communities, place on CCTV as a means of deterring crime and assisting in the detection of offenders.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to providing investment in CCTV systems and that I have secured €1 million in Budget 2017 to begin a new round of ...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding local organisations applying for funds for CCTV cameras in rural areas and villages; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am very conscious of the value that communities, especially rural communities, place on CCTV as a means of deterring crime and assisting in the detection of offenders.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to providing investment in CCTV systems and that I have secured €1 million in Budget 2017 to begin a new round of ...More Button

Refugee Resettlement Programme

Was asked: the commitments the Government has made in terms of accepting refugees and unaccompanied minors in Ireland; the number of persons to date who have been accepted under the various resettlement and r...More Button

Residency Permits

Was asked: the status of the case of a person (details supplied) who has been having difficulties obtaining the relevant stamps to remain here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned made an application for Long Term Residency on 19 December 2016. Further document...More Button

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifi...More Button

Was asked: the position in respect of residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned has been granted leave to remain in the State for the period to 20th January 2019....More Button

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 establ...More Button

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Was asked: the estimated annual cost for the proper implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities once ratified; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Road Traffic Offences Data

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 33 of 16 February 2017 and 61 of 30 March 2017, the number of convictions resulting from each of these prosecutions commenced by An Garda Síochána in 2016 and...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service and I have no role in the matter. Section 4(...More Button

Probation and Welfare Service

Was asked: the number of housing units operated by the Probation Service in each respective local authority area, in tabular form; and the relevant services provided to the residents of these units.More Button

The Probation Service is the lead agency in the supervision and assessment of offenders in the community. To assist and enable it in this work my Department provides funding to voluntary and commun...More Button

The Probation Service is a statutory member of the nine Regional Homeless Consultative Fora and works within this structure to ensure the needs of homeless Probation Service clients are addressed...More Button

Some of these organisations funded by the Probation Service have as part of their suite of services the provision of accommodation units which can be availed of by the offenders referred to them ...More Button

  Question No. 126 answered with Question No. 105.More Button

Direct Provision Data

Was asked: the number of persons who are currently in direct provision; the number of persons granted asylum over each of the past ten years; the waiting times to be granted asylum; the number of persons who ...More Button

The International Protection Act 2015 was commenced on 31 December 2016.

  The new system will ensure that all aspects of a person's claim (Asylum, Subsidiary protection and Huma...More Button

Departmental Properties

Was asked: the number of vacant buildings in her Department’s ownership or control; the locations of same; and the time they have been unoccupied in each case.More Button

Was asked: the amount spent by her Department over the past five years on maintaining vacant or unused State-owned properties, including security arrangements; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 and 141 together.

  I wish to inform the Deputy that it has not been possible to provide the information required in the time available. The...More Button

Workplace Relations Services Data

Was asked: the number of cases involving her Department and agencies under the aegis of her Department that have been the subject of adjudications by the Workplace Relations Commission in 2016 and to date in ...More Button

The total number of cases involving my Department and agencies under the aegis of my department which have been subject of adjudications by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) during 2016 and ...More Button

Prison Facilities

Was asked: if all pregnant women who may be in prison during their pregnancies have access to structured appropriate antenatal care education classes (details supplied).More Button

Was asked: the number of pregnant women that have been cared for in prison for each of the years from 2010 to 2016.More Button

Was asked: when plans to open the first mother and baby unit, as recommended by Judge Reilly in recommendation 247 of the 2010 inspector's review of standards of care for women prisoners, will be implemented. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 130, 133 and 134 together.

  I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the level of maternity care provided to women in custody, including an...More Button

Prisoners Treatment

Was asked: if pregnant women that may be in prison are not restrained or shackled when making visits to hospital clinics for antenatal care.More Button

Was asked: if pregnant women that may be in prison are not restrained or shackled in the intra partum or immediate post-birth period.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 131 and 132 together.

  I am advised by the Irish Prison Service (IPS) that decisions relating to the handcuffing of prisoners both male and fema...More Button

  Questions Nos. 133 and 134 answered with Question No. 130.More Button

Road Traffic Legislation

Was asked: further to Leaders' Questions on 19 October 2016, Parliamentary Questions Nos. 74 of 2 November 2016 and 121 of 15 November 2016 (details supplied), if the report is available; and if she will make...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that Section 33 of the Road Traffic Act 2016 amends section 22 of the 2002 Road Traffic Act to ensure that drivers convicted in court produce their driving licence so penal...More Button

I can confirm that the report referenced by the Deputy was received in November 2016. The issue was the subject of discussions involving the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Courts...More Button

Road Traffic Offences

Was asked: to comment on the recent decision by a District Court judge to refuse to hear any motorist prosecution cases involving GoSafe speed detection vans as he stated it was a waste of time to try to pros...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, judges are independent in matters concerning the exercise of judicial functions, subject only to the Constitution and the law. The conduct of and decision reached in...More Button

I am aware of the recent decision referred to by the Deputy in his question. Inherent challenges will always exist in a system with a scope similar to the Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS), ...More Button

While the majority of FCNs are paid, consideration has been given to those who, for whatever reason, do not pay within the 56-day period, but do not wish to have their case proceed to Court. Arr...More Button

My Department jointly chairs the multi-agency Criminal Justice (FCPS) Working Group with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The Working Group is charged with overseeing and facilita...More Button

Legal Aid Service

Was asked: if she will consider guaranteeing civil lawyers to persons undergoing disputes over their tracker mortgages in view of the fact these persons are at a disadvantage when it comes to paying for a law...More Button

The Government is committed to providing assistance to persons who find themselves in mortgage difficulties and as the Deputy may be aware, the Government last October launched Abhaile, the Free Mo...More Button

Abhaile offers free expert financial and legal advice and help to a person who is at risk of losing their home due to mortgage arrears, with the aim of identifying the best solution in their indi...More Button

Mortgage holders who qualify for Abhaile can avail, among other services, of a free face to face consultation with an expert financial adviser and/or a solicitor, and written financial and/or leg...More Button

In respect of the particular situation facing persons who may have been overcharged in relation to a tracker mortgage, it is open to persons who are unable to afford a solicitor to make an applic...More Button

Legal Aid Service Data

Was asked: the number of applications for free legal aid granted in each District Court and Circuit Court area in the past three years; and the cost of the scheme in each court area over this period.More Button

The position in relation to applications under the Criminal Legal Aid Act 1962, as amended and the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995, is set out below.

  Criminal Legal Aid
More Button