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McDowell, Michael

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 Nbr. 4


Railway Safety Bill, 2001: Second Stage.

We are grateful to the Deputy for his reference to five years.More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. Priority Questions. - Prison Medical Service.

Was asked: the number of convicted sex offenders receiving rehabilitative treatment in correctional facilities; and the number who are currently waiting for treatment.More Button

On 29 September 2002 there were 348 prisoners in custody for sexual offences. As my predecessor has explained to this House on a number of occasions, there are currently four forms of direct therap...More Button

Every effort is made to assist sex offenders in custody who are willing to participate at some level in their personal rehabilitation and relapse prevention. While it is not possible to accurately ...More Button

Sixteen offenders are recruited to the sex offender programme annually, eight in Arbour Hill and eight in the Curragh Place of Detention. Eighty four prisoners have completed the programme to date....More Button

The number of offenders undergoing one-to-one counselling is difficult to define because of the varied nature of individual counselling provided to sex offenders in prison. This counselling can var...More Button

Additional informationFor some offenders this results in their undertaking the sex offender treatment programme at Arbour Hill Prison or the Curragh Place of Detention, for others it results...More Button

The sex offender treatment programme takes about nine months to complete. When pre-programme and post-programme assessment is included, the timeframe for completing the programme is about 11 months...More Button

As regards the number of sex offenders who are waiting to participate in the sex offender programme, the position in this regard is best illustrated by the following figures for 2002. There was a t...More Button

I agree with the general thrust of what the Deputy said. It is essential that we move quickly to the position that all sex offenders are offered adequate counselling and therapy appropriate to thei...More Button

The Deputy will be interested to know that the sex offender treatment programme takes nine months to complete. The timeframe for completing the programme, when account is taken of pre-programme and...More Button

As regards the number of sex offenders who are waiting to participate in the programme, the position is best illustrated by pointing out that in 2002 there was a total of 45 applicants for the two ...More Button

Those figures indicate that there is room for significant improvement. From my days as a barrister representing people who were before the courts for sentence for these types of offences, I recall ...More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. Priority Questions. - Deportation Orders.

Was asked: if he will reconsider his decision to deport persons (details supplied) to Nigeria in view of the fact that the two daughters may be at risk of genital mutilation.More Button

I already stated to the House on 9 October that the persons referred to by the Deputy have applied for leave of the High Court to seek judicial review of the decision in their case. In the circumst...More Button

I would, however, draw the Deputy's attention to the reply I gave on the Adjournment debate on 10 October 2002 regarding a separate case of a Nigerian mother and her five children who similarly are...More Button

I indicated that I do not propose to discuss the individual case for the reasons I stated and I am sticking to that position. If I did otherwise I would be accused of attempting to influence the co...More Button

I can give the Deputy some figures. Non-nationals have been granted leave to remain in this State on the basis of Irish born children, marriages, family reunification or for other reasons under the...More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. Priority Questions. - Garda Recruitment.

Was asked: the number of the 2,000 additional gardaí promised in the Agreed Programme for Government who have been recruited to date; the timetable for the recruitment of the additional numbers; if it ...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Agreed Programme for Government contains a commitment to increase the strength of the Garda Síochána by a further 2,000. My Department wrote to the G...More Button

Garda strength for the year ending 1997 was 10,968 and had risen to 11,815 in 2001.More Button

I know that. It is not a question of identifying the 2,000. The Deputy will appreciate that I have to increase the capacity of the induction and training system in an Garda Síochána t...More Button

A Garda recruitment competition is under way and 117 new trainees will commence their course in Templemore in November. They will be attested in 2004 when they complete the first three phases of th...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot increase the induction in Templemore until I have obtained sanction from the Department of Finance for an increased rate of recruitment and put in place pro...More Button

The Garda training college at Templemore currently accepts between 500 and 550 trainees per annum and has a maximum capacity of 650 trainees per annum. In order to achieve the increase in the size ...More Button

As the Deputy well knows, the Estimates are a matter for negotiation between now and the framing of the budget. I am not going to comment on that now. For the programme of Government to be complied...More Button

Was asked: his plans to raise the retirement age for gardaí, Garda sergeants and inspectors from 57 years to 60 years; the steps he is taking to stem the rapidly increasing rate of retirement throughou...More Button

I am looking at the question of retirement ages for all ranks in an Garda Síochána. All ranks within an Garda Síochána up to chief superintendent are eligible for a pens...More Button

The Commission on Public Service Pensions has recommended that the minimum retirement age for new entrants to an Garda Síochána should be raised from 50 to 55 and members should have ...More Button

I think the Deputy is asking supplementary questions to Deputy Rabbitte's question rather than his own. There were 6,550 gardaí in 1970, 8,480 in 1975 and there is now just short of 12,000. ...More Button

As the Deputy will also be aware, in an entirely separate exercise – I do not wish to confuse the two – a strategic management initiative process is under way at present within the Gard...More Button

Operation Encounter, a major initiative during the past year, has contributed significantly to countering violence in the streets. I am also putting in place other measures. The House will be aware...More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. Priority Questions. - Passports for Investment Scheme.

Was asked: if the report on the operation of the passports for investment scheme undertaken by his Department has been presented to Cabinet; if it is intended to publish the report; if the study of the file r...More Button

I can confirm that the report of the review group on investment based naturalisation in Ireland was brought by me before Government in July of this year. I arranged for its publication on 4 August ...More Button

Before proceeding, I want to make a brief comment about the investment based naturalisation scheme and the principle behind it. The scheme was introduced in 1988. It is on the record of the House t...More Button

As Deputies are aware, I have always been opposed to the principle behind this scheme. I have no difficulty with the Irish state according rights of residence and, in due course, citizen ship on no...More Button

That said, however, it is the case that, like many Deputies on all sides of this House, I was approached on a number of occasions in an effort to secure all-party agreement on particular applicatio...More Button

The basic principle behind the scheme, which is the subject of this question, was not its only problem. A major flaw was that it was not statute based. The operating rules governing the scheme &nda...More Button

In the context of recent controversy concerning the appropriateness of the appointment of Ray Burke as a Minister in the previous Government, the Taoiseach asked me to examine the file relating to ...More Button

My examination of the file confirms that the 11 passports and naturalisations in question were granted in a manner which was, even by the lax standards that have frequently characterised the operat...More Button

As I have pointed out previously to the House, no departmental file is likely to carry any explicit evidence of gross impropriety or corruption on the part of a member of Government. Nonetheless, i...More Button

The file shows that former Deputy Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, as Minister for Justice, in the context of ongoing controversy concerning the scheme and in the context of a parliamentary question c...More Button

When Mr. Burke was initially appointed to the Cabinet in July 1997, nobody on any side of this House appears to have revisited the passports issue in the context of his suitability for office. Whet...More Button

Additional InformationThe file in question is now back with the Moriarty tribunal and I assure the House that my Department will continue to co-operate fully with the tribunal in these and ...More Button

Mr. Burke's eulogy on my losing my seat in 1989 is still ringing in my ears. He said, sitting opposite me in the radio studio, that it could not have happened to a nicer man so to ask me, as the De...More Button

—to approve Deputy Burke's appointment not merely did they not raise the issue, which must have been fresh in their minds because the report was completed during their short period in office,...More Button

Other Questions. - Departmental Inquiries.

Was asked: if the internal audit unit of his Department has completed its inquiries into the overpayment to a company for the supply of tyres to the Garda Síochána; if any of the overpaid money ...More Button

I compliment Deputy Rabbitte on his industry and enterprise in putting down so many questions.More Button

If he had been more industrious and put down more questions, we would have had more time to deal with this issue.More Button

A draft report on the investigation into the system of tyre purchases and fitting from Advance Pitstop has been prepared by the internal audit unit of my Department. However, it is awaiting the dec...More Button

With regard to the question of overpayments and recovery of overpayments, Deputies may recall that on 9 November 2001 the Comptroller and Auditor General submitted his value for money report on the...More Button

The Department has not accepted that figure as being definitive and is pursuing the issue as to exactly what level of overpayments is properly recoverable. In the meantime, as an interim step, the ...More Button

The investigation being carried out by the internal audit unit is continuing. Its work includes matters that were not the subject of examination by the Comptroller and Auditor General, particularly...More Button

The report of the internal audit unit will be furnished to me and the Secretary General, in his capacity as Accounting Officer, and I will keep the House fully informed of the outcome of the intern...More Button

I regard these events with the utmost gravity. The standards which appear to have been exhibited in these matters require immediate and thorough investigation. If misbehaviour is laid at any indivi...More Button

A new tendering process has been put in place and will shortly be implemented. These matters must be carried out in compliance with European law and national procurement procedures. That process is...More Button

Other Questions. - Omagh Bombing.

Was asked: the latest position in regard to the Garda investigation into the Omagh bombing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the investigation into the Omagh bombing remains ongoing and that contact between the Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Irel...More Button

One person has been convicted in connection with the Omagh bombing and two files are with the law officers in the cases of two other persons. The Garda Síochána remains determined to ...More Button

I agree with the sentiments expressed by the Deputy. It is incumbent upon everybody in public life, in any part of this island, to support fully the forces of law and order in both parts of the isl...More Button

In common with the Deputy, I share a sense of disappointment that more of those involved – there must have been a number – have not yet been brought to justice in connection with this ...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate my position on that matter, which is very clear. There is no historical or political basis for any person on this island to inflict an injury on another person in either ...More Button

The Deputy knows that an inquiry was established comprising senior and notable persons to inquire into such suggestions. It is my understanding that their report will be to hand in the relatively n...More Button

Other Questions. - Parole Board Report.

Was asked: the arrangements he has made to have the report from the parole board on a person (details supplied) whom he previously represented in court, considered by another member of the Government; and if ...More Button

The person referred to by the Deputy has been serving a life sentence for murder since January 1983. His case was considered by the interim parole board in July 2002. The board's recommendation in ...More Button

As acknowledged very fairly by the Deputy in his question, I have publicly expressed my wish to refer the interim parole board's recommendation in this case to another member of Government for cons...More Button

I have three options, one of which would be to use powers under the Ministers and Secretaries Act to attempt to transfer the individual function to another person. An alternative mode of dealing wi...More Button

I do not think so. A third possibility is that I would bring the matter to Cabinet and absent myself from the particular discussion, for reasons that are obvious. I have not made up my mind which i...More Button

Other Questions. - Garda Operations.

Was asked: when he expects to receive the report commissioned by his prede cessor into allegations that members of the gardaí used excessive force during clashes with demonstrators in Dublin during a M...More Button

The circumstances surrounding the events of the demonstration in Dublin on 6 May 2002 are currently under investigation by the Garda Síochána. They have informed me that an investigat...More Button

Quite separately, the Garda Síochána Complaints Board, following receipt of a number of complaints, has undertaken an investigation of the events of 6 May. In the circumstances, there...More Button

The Deputy has the luxury of being able to make those remarks but I am not in a position to comment upon them because, as the Deputy well appreciates, the matter is now with the Director of Public ...More Button

However, the events to which the Deputy has referred do highlight the need for me to bring forward legislation for a Garda inspectorate which would have powers to carry out independent investigatio...More Button

Regarding why it has taken so long, we must remember that the event occurred in circumstances that involved many people. Although the Deputy can draw his conclusions, one necessary element is to in...More Button

The Garda Síochána board has a separate statutory remit and this was the first time in which it undertook to commit an investigation under section 6(5) of its statute. The board's rep...More Button

I discussed the matter with the Garda Commissioner, but our discussions on this matter, and their outcome, is confidential. I reiterate that I do not want to make any comment in public about these ...More Button

I thank Deputy Cuffe for acknowledging that the second Reclaim the Streets demonstration held recently was policed in an effective manner. I am grateful to him for acknowledging that the event was ...More Button

I would imagine it is fair to say that lessons have been learned.More Button

Was asked: the steps being taken to deal with the problem of theft of works of art, as highlighted by the recent number of raids at Russborough House; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The investigation into thefts of works of art is co-ordinated by the art and antiques theft investigation unit attached to the Garda national bureau of criminal investigation. I am informed by the ...More Button

In relation to specific security arrangements at Russborough House or other institutions where fine art is housed, it would also be inappropriate for me to comment in any way, other than to say the...More Button

It is difficult to know where to begin in relation to this matter. I know the Deputy is speaking tongue in cheek in making his suggestion, but to deploy Garda personnel on a permanent basis to mind...More Button

I do not wish to comment on the ongoing investigation in this case as that would not serve a useful purpose. However, I share the Deputy's view that there is something profoundly disturbing about a...More Button

The investigation into theft of works of art is co-ordinated by the art and antiques theft investigation unit attached to the Garda national bureau of criminal investigation. The theft of fine art ...More Button

To keep abreast of international markets and establish contacts with places into which such property might be fenced liaison is maintained with art and antiques dealers, museums and galleries world...More Button

Other Questions. - Garda Records.

Was asked: the progress made to date in regard to allegations of falsification of conviction rates in Garda records in Waterford; when the promised new system for the collation of crime figures will be in pla...More Button

The Garda Commissioner is gravely concerned that any doubt should be cast on the accuracy of information which may form part of his Garda annual report arising from the allegations relating to the ...More Button

At this point I want to put on the record of the House that I very much share the concern of the Deputy that these allegations have arisen. Although I have no role, and do not intervene, in the com...More Button

However, it must also be recognised that the crimes which are the subject of the controversy occurred in 2001 and the Commissioner's Annual Report of An Garda Síochána for that year h...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that the allegations in the newspaper are serious and serious allegations must be carefully investigated. I share the Deputy's concern that this afternoon we are talking ...More Button

The non-investigation and concealment of matters such as these and turning a blind eye to them would yield a far more bitter harvest if that were allowed to go ahead. Some might consider that some ...More Button

One of the reasons for the independent inspectorate, which will be the subject of proposed legislation next year, is to ensure the public has the highest confidence in the investigation of standard...More Button

Other Questions. - Garda Investigations.

Was asked: the progress made in the investigation into the death of a garda in an accidental shooting in Abbeyleix on 7 December 2001; if any new procedures are planned governing the use of firearms in these ...More Button

In relation to this matter, I express my sympathy and that of the Government on the death of Detective Sergeant Eiffe to his family and, particulary, his wife and children. This was a terrible trag...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that an investigation, under the direction of an assistant commissioner, into all aspects of the incident in Abbeyleix has been carried out and that files in ...More Button

While a final review of Garda procedures in the light of this tragic incident must necessarily await the outcome of the law officers' consideration of the matter, I am advised by the Garda authorit...More Button

Other Questions. - Immigration Laws.

Was asked: his views on the economic position that emigrants are needed to assist the development of the economy; and his views on whether Operation Hyphen was a failure.More Button

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, which has the lead role in labour market migration policy, recognises that there have been shortages across all sectors of the Irish labour marke...More Button

Last year, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment issued 36,000 work permits to Irish firms in respect of non-EEA national employees. In addition, a special streamlined work visa and wo...More Button

It is not the case, however, that the response to the State's need for immigrant labour can be addressed by simply allowing any person who arrives in this jurisdiction at any time for any purpose t...More Button

Operation Hyphen, about which the Deputy asked, took place on the 16 July and 23 July of this year and was one such Garda operation. It was but one of a wide range of initiatives taken by the Garda...More Button

The Deputy should note that if the law is not enforced, it falls into disuse and disrepute. If it is enforced, people comply with it and we need people to comply with immigrations law because, with...More Button

I am not in a position to furnish the House with the cost of Operation Hyphen. I agree with Deputy McGrath that immigrants have made and are making a valuable contribution to Irish society from the...More Button

I agree with Deputy McGrath's remarks about racism. I ask the Deputy to consider that one of the things that would contribute massively to the potential for the emergence of racism in our society w...More Button

Written Answers follow Adjournment Debate.More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Reports.

Was asked: the methodology used in the recent report on the public's perception of the Garda Sióchána.More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the survey of public attitudes to the Garda was carried out early in 2002 and asked mainly about Garda services, policing priorities and fear of crime. Th...More Button

This year's survey was substantially larger than previous surveys. All in all, 10,405 respondents took part, with a minimum representation of 400 in each Garda division. This allowed assessment of ...More Button

A pilot survey took place in December 2001. Telephone interviewing began on 12 January 2002 and was completed on 24 April 2002. The postal survey took place during the same period, starting and fin...More Button

Respondents were selected from the electoral register in the first instance and then matched as far as possible with telephone listings. Where no telephone number was identified, a questionnaire wa...More Button

The survey findings were re-weighted to take account of sampling procedures (e.g. over-representation of some rural divisions to ensure minimum divisional sample size of 400) and differing non-resp...More Button

I am also advised by the Garda authorities that the findings in the report were presented as point estimates. The true values are likely to lie within a range of +/ 1% at national level – ful...More Button

Was asked: the reason he has ignored a report completed over two years ago regarding low IQ levels of prisoners; if he has completed his inquiry into the reason the report was not released by his Department's...More Button

Contrary to the suggestion contained in the question, I have not ignored this research report. The report was brought to my attention shortly after my recent appointment as Minister for Justice, Eq...More Button

The report was commissioned by my Department in December 1998 following a public tender competition. The successful tenderers were a consortium of three suitably qualified persons with experience i...More Button

The first draft of the study report was submitted in August 1999. The main finding of the report was that 28.8% of the sample survey scored “in a range suggestive of a learning disability”. The dra...More Button

I should say here that my Department's reservations did not in any way question the validity of any test undertaken as part of the research. What was at issue was whether the main finding was solel...More Button

As regards release of the report, as a general principle, I am in favour of publication of all research reports. I am therefore arranging for copies of this report to be placed in the Oireachtas Li...More Button

Written Answers. - Arrest Warrants.

Was asked: the steps he intends to take to deal with the situation highlighted in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General which found that warrants issued for the arrest of 5,500 people who failed t...More Button

I take it that the situation referred to by the Deputy is the issue raised by the Comptroller and Auditor General in his annual report for 2001 in which he examines the administration of bail. As p...More Button

An exercise which was carried out by the Garda Síochána themselves has identified 5,500 bench warrant cases as outstanding. I understand that these cases arose in the period between 1...More Button

The Comptroller recognises in his conclusions that ‘the existence of 5,500 pre 1999 undischarged cases in the system reflects historical lapses in co-ordination between the two – courts and G...More Button

Areas of integration identified for priority development under this programme included communication regarding warrants between the Courts Service, the Garda Síochána and the Irish Pr...More Button

Written Answers. - Prison Medical Service.

Was asked: the steps he intends to take to ensure the proper provision of treatment for offenders with mental health problems, having regard to the recent findings of a report commissioned by the Irish Prison...More Button

It is important to distinguish between mental health problems, which include a range of problems such as psychiatric illnesses and personality disorders, and intellectual/learning disability. The s...More Button

As regards services for prisoners with mental health problems, prisoners have access to a range of health care services, including mental health services. Mental health services are provided either...More Button

Arising from the publication of the report of the group to review the structure and organisation of prison health care services in 2001, a working group was established involving representation by ...More Button

The Irish Prisons Service is currently facilitating a research project being undertaken by a team based at the Central Mental Hospital which is examining the prevalence of mental illness among the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Disciplinary Proceedings.

Was asked: the action which has been taken by the Garda authorities arising from the very serious criticism of the conduct of two Garda officers made by a judge in the Special Criminal Court in a case (detail...More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the investigation by the officer appointed by the Garda Commissioner is at an advanced stage. In relation to the two gardaí involved, as my predece...More Button

Was asked: the investigation which has been held into the serious allegations made against a number of members of the Garda Síochána in the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeal in a case (de...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that an assistant commissioner has been appointed to carry out inquiries into this matter and that work is ongoing in this regard. Arising from the judgment d...More Button

Written Answers. - Road Traffic Offences.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the stingray system which is operated in Northern Ireland to catch people who drive without tax since January 2002; if he sees an opportunity to introduce a simil...More Button

The current position is that the Road Traffic Act, 1961 prohibits the use of uninsured vehicles in public places. It is also an offence, subject to certain exceptions, not to display an insurance d...More Button

It appears the Deputy is referring to a device which is used in some other jurisdictions to detect unlicensed vehicles. The use of such a device to detect the use of uninsured vehicles would requir...More Button

Was asked: the statistical information relating to the use of drugs by motorists; his proposals to further evaluate this threat to public safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that where a person is suspected of driving or being in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, including a dru...More Button

Statistics in relation to prosecutions and convictions are not disaggregated according to the type(s) of intoxicant involved. However, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the numbers of sam...More Button

The influence of drugs on driving behaviour is one of the issues under consideration in the Government's strategy on road safety. The Government will continue to monitor and assess any development...More Button

Question No. 161 answered with Question No. 158.More Button

Written Answers. - Law Reform Commission.

Was asked: his plans to act on the recommendation of the Law Reform Commission that fines should be index-linked and should vary to take account of offenders' ability to pay; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

In July, 2002 the Law Reform Commission published a report on the Indexation of Fines: A Review of Developments, LRC 65 – 2002. I am at present examining that report in the context of two sep...More Button

Written Answers. - Passports for Investment Scheme.

Was asked: the passport for sale files which have been reviewed by him; and the decisions arrived at following such review.More Button

In the context of recent controversy concerning the appropriateness of the appointment of Ray Burke as a Minister in the last Government, the Taoiseach asked me to examine the file relating to this...More Button

My examination confirms that the file discloses that the 11 passports and naturalisations in question were granted in a manner which was, even by the lax standards that have frequently charac teris...More Button

As I have pointed out in this House before, no departmental file is likely to carry any explicit evidence of gross impropriety or corruption on the part of a Member of Government. Nonetheless in th...More Button

The file shows that Deputy Máire Geoghegan-Quinn as Minister for Justice in the context of ongoing controversy concerning the scheme and in the context of a parliamentary question concerning...More Button

When Minister Burke was initially appointed in July 1997, nobody on any side of this House appears to have revisited the passports issue in the context of his suitability for office. Whether this i...More Button

The file in question is now back with the Moriarty tribunal and I can assure the House that my Department will continue to co-operate fully with the tribunal in these and other related matters. I c...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Operations.

Was asked: the progress which has been made with regard to the acquisition by the gardaí of non-lethal weapons for dealing with siege type situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As my predecessor indicated to the Dáil in an answer to a parliamentary question on 26 March 2002, the commissioner had established a working group to evaluate the use of “less than lethal” ...More Button

Was asked: the number of dwellings raided as part of Operation Hyphen in July 2002; the number of persons arrested as a result of the operation; the number of persons in respect of whom there were outstanding...More Button

Operation Hyphen was part of the Garda Síochána's ongoing investigation of illegal immigration into the State as well as the tracing of evaders of deportation orders. I am informed by...More Button

Some 200 gardaí were involved in the operation in the Dublin metropolitan region and approximately 400 outside the Dublin region for a number of hours. Approximately 294 premises were visite...More Button

The persons arrested were treated in the same way as irregular migrants arrested at any other time. It is not possible to report on what exact offence under the immigration laws each person was cha...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which PULSE technology has been extended throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if state of the art technology is readily available to the Garda; if the force has to rely on overseas assistance in any circumstance; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 and 161 together.More Button

I am committed to providing the Garda with the necessary resources to assist it in the fight against crime. In the area of technology, the resources available to the Garda have been significantly ...More Button

Specifically, the PULSE system is available at 181 locations which include divisional and district headquarters and all major city stations. Under this level of coverage, 85% of all incidents are d...More Button

The deployment of state of the art technology in An Garda Síochána is a continuous process and there are a number of projects currently under way or recently completed which will add ...More Button

In the area of communications systems, Government approval has been obtained for the replacement of the existing Garda radio network with a digital trunked radio system. In that context, a pilot pr...More Button

Garda closed circuit television schemes, CCTV, as aids to policing, have been introduced in Dublin North Central, Dublin South Central, Tralee and Cork city. Subject to the availability of funds, 1...More Button

An air support unit, including a fixed wing aircraft and helicopter equipped with the most modern technology, has been introduced. A second helicopter is also being provided and should become opera...More Button

It is not uncommon that consultants or overseas suppliers are deployed in the development or supply of systems and equipment. The availability of the requisite expertise and the outcome of the publ...More Button

Question No. 159 answered with Question No. 41.More Button

Written Answers. - Licensing Laws.

Was asked: his plans to review pub and club opening hours, having regard to concerns among the public that the later closing times have led to an increase in street violence and crime; and if he will make a s...More Button

As Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, I have responsibility for the general policy on intoxicating liquor legislation. In my view, I consider it an over-simplification of a complex issu...More Button

The question of extended hours possibly leading to an increase in alcohol-related problems was discussed in the Dáil and Seanad debates leading up to enactment of the Intoxicating Liquor Act...More Button

On the subject of street violence and crime, I should like to refer to the extensive powers of the gardaí under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994, to deal with late night drinkin...More Button

Written Answers. - Prisoner Integration.

Was asked: if the Government accepts the recommendations of the NESF report on the integration of prisoners; if it intended to implement the recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A central focus of this report is on the barriers to reintegration and the need for targeted and coherent mechanisms to ensure that prisoners can be more effectively integrated back into the commun...More Button

Priority is being given to developing these mechanisms. A high level co-ordination group on prisoner reintegration has been established, and is chaired by an Assistant Secretary from my Department....More Button

The elaboration of positive sentence management, as a mechanism for effective integration and co-ordination of all services and programmes designed to meet the complex and diverse needs of offende...More Button

Inter-agency working, the multi-disciplinary team approach and the elaboration of positive sentence management are each concepts with which my Department, the Irish Prisons Service and the probatio...More Button

The most noteworthy of these is the homeless offenders strategy team, HOST, a multi-agency accommodation directorate, which has recently been established, with the probation and welfare service as ...More Button

I should point out that the probation and welfare service already works closely with and provides funding and management assistance to a wide range of voluntary and community organisations in devel...More Button

The report also recommends the increased use of non custodial options, including the expansion of restorative justice projects, subject to evaluation. Restorative justice principles are central to ...More Button

In relation to the recommendation on the provision of half way hostels, I would like to advise that Priorswood House has been redeveloped by PACE to provide additional capacity and an improved rang...More Button

Approval has also been given and funding allocated for research into aspects of homelessness among offenders to be commissioned by the probation and welfare service. It is an overall aim of my Depa...More Button

Written Answers. - Employment Equality Legislation.

Was asked: his proposals to amend the Employment Equality Act, 1998, as it applies to the upper age limit for employment, as this is deemed to be discriminatory by various groups representing older people.More Button

The Employment Equality Act, 1998 prohibits discrimination in relation to employment on nine grounds, namely, gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, ...More Button

The Employment Equality Act, 1998, including the provisions under the age ground, is currently being examined in the context of the implementation of Directive 2000/43/EC (Race Directive) and Direc...More Button

The directive must be implemented by 2 December 2003. However, in order to take account of particular conditions, member states may, if necessary, have an additional three years from 2 December 200...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Stations.

Was asked: the number of the 200 selected Garda stations that have been fitted with video recording equipment; when the balance will be fitted; if it is intended to extend this facility to all Garda stations;...More Button

In consultation with the Garda authorities, it is intended to equip approximately 220 interview rooms, in sufficient selected Garda stations to give broad national coverage, with the required speci...More Button

Written Answers. - Legislative Programme.

Was asked: his plans for reform of the libel laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Agreed Programme for Government indicates that the Government will, in the context of a statutory Press Council and improved privacy laws, move to implement reforms of libel laws designed to br...More Button

The Government's legislation programme, published on 7 October last, indicates that the publication of a defamation Bill is expected in mid-2003. It is, of course, the case that the scheme of a def...More Button

Written Answers. - Employment Equality Policy.

Was asked: the progress made in reaching the 3% target of people with disabilities employed in Government Departments and other public bodies; the percentages employed in each Department, health board and loc...More Button

My Department provides a focal point for disability equality policy and legislation development. As part of that remit, my Department collects data in relation to the 3% target for employment of pe...More Button

The figures given for January 2000 and January 2001 are provisional figures as returns are outstanding from a number of individual public service bodies. Disaggregated figures for each Government D...More Button

The 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities is a Government led positive action initiative that applies in over 200 public service bodies, varying in size and diversity of jobs and...More Button

Some public service bodies have exceeded the target. However, it is recognised that there are other bodies that have performed poorly. Under a Government commitment in the PPF, every Department is ...More Button

A monitoring committee established and chaired by my Department, continues to monitor and guide progress. It has supported a number of initiatives over the last two years including: approval of a d...More Button

My colleague, the Minister for Finance, is responsible for the 3% target of employment of people with disabilities within the Civil Service. The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness included a com...More Button

In light of the commitment in the PPF and in order to establish how to improve adherence to the quota, the Department of Finance, in partnership with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Ref...More Button

All Departments are required to appoint a disability liaison officer to act on behalf of people with disabilities within Departments. In 2001, the Department of Finance established a network of dis...More Button

Local Authorities. (figures at 1 January 2001)More Button

Civil Service Figures at 31 December 2001More Button

Written Answers. - Club Licensing.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed regarding the growth of lap-dancing clubs and a possible link with prostitution; the Garda policy with regard to the licensing and supervision ...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are currently aware of a number of premises where lap-dancing takes place. These premises are subjected to ongoing Garda attention to ensure complia...More Button

I am further informed by the Garda authorities that existing legislation does not specifically cover lap-dancing clubs. However, the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor in these clubs is co...More Button

The EU recently adopted a framework decision on combating trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual and labour exploitation. I am at present examining the framework decision in order t...More Button

Written Answers. - Juvenile Offenders.

Was asked: if it is intended to proceed with the establishment of a 20 person unit for 14 to 16 year olds at St. Patrick's Institution in Dublin; if he has received advice from the Prisons Board that such a m...More Button

Work is proceeding on implementing the Government's decision that the Irish Prisons Service should provide up to 20 places in St. Patrick's Institution for male children under 16 years of age, to a...More Button

The Government has accepted from the start that this solution is not ideal, but it is considered necessary as a contingency measure to cover for any shortage in the capacity of special schools run ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he is in discussion with his ministerial colleagues in the Departments of Education and Science and Health and Children with a view to ensuring availability of adequate numbers ...More Button

My Department and the Departments of Education and Science and Health and Children are currently involved in a multi-agency approach to developing responses, including the provision of custodial pl...More Button

The National Children's Office has taken the lead role in relation to co-ordinating the implementation of the Act and has established a working group for this purpose. The group, which includes hig...More Button

While there is significant emphasis in the legislation on custodial care being a last resort, the provision of appropriate custodial facilities will continue to be a priority. I have responsibility...More Button

Under the Children Act, 2001, however, I will be obliged to provide separate detention facilities for 16 and 17 year old boys and girls who are committed to custody by the courts either on remand o...More Button

The Government approved on 17 April 2002 the making available by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform of up to 20 places in St. Patrick's Institution for the reception of offenders und...More Button

Construction works on this site are ongoing. It is envisaged that the necessary building site and subsequent fit-out works, including lockings, commissioning of safety and monitoring equipment, fur...More Button

Written Answers. - Maternity Legislation.

Was asked: when the promised legislation to give effect to the recommendations of the report of the working group on the review and improvement of the maternity legislation, which was published in February 20...More Button

The report of the working group on the review and improvement of maternity protection legislation was presented to the social partners on 25 January 2001 and was published on 28 February 2001. The ...More Button

The other recommendations of the group will require the drafting of primary legislation and regulations. In this regard, Government approval was obtained on 17 July 2002 for the drafting of a Bill ...More Button

Written Answers. - Anti-Racism Measures.

Was asked: the progress which has been made in regard to the review of the Prohibition of Incitement to Racial Religious or National Hatred Act, 1989; when he expects the review to be completed; the further a...More Button

A review of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989 which prohibits both actions intended to stir up hatred and actions likely to stir up hatred is currently under way in my Department. T...More Button

The Government has introduced comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and other measures to combat racism and discrimination and has a number of ongoing measures dealing with racism and racia...More Button

Written Answers. - Legislative Review.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the report of the Hederman Committee on the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act, 1998.More Button

The report of the committee reviewing the Offences against the State Acts, 1939 to 1998, was published on 2 August of this year. The committee had already produced an interim report on the Special ...More Button

Written Answers. - Asylum Applications.

Was asked: the number of applications for asylum received during 2001 and to date in 2002; the number of applications processed in that period; the decisions made; the number of deportation orders made in tha...More Button

Was asked: the number of applications for asylum currently with his Department and awaiting decision; the average length of time taken to process such applications; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 166 together.More Button

The information sought by the Deputies is set out in the following tabular statement.More Button

The current statistics clearly indicate that significant progress continues to be made in relation to the processing of asylum applications and that the increase in processing capacity which has be...More Button

*includes applications withdrawn.More Button

*Excluding withdrawalsMore Button

Was asked: if he will consider withdrawing the re-admission agreement with the Nigerian Government which allows for the re-admission of persons at the request of the contracting states, in view of the concern...More Button

The re-admission agreement with Nigeria to which the Deputy refers was approved by the Government on 27 March 2001, signed on 29 August 2001 and ratified by Ireland on 28 March 2002. The agreement ...More Button

Was asked: the figures relating to the operation of the Dublin Convention; and the numbers of those being transferred between EU member states.More Button

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of 2002 (to 4 October 2002) is set out in the following tabular statement. This information covers the situation between Ireland and other states ...More Button

*“Requests” under the Dublin Convention may refer to more than one person or multiple requests may be sent to different states concerning the same applicant.More Button

Deportation Orders: since November 1999, 338 of the deportation orders signed by the Minister have related to Dublin Convention removals as at 4 October 2002. Of this figure, 96 removals have been ...More Button

Written Answers. - Prisoner Treatment.

Was asked: the investigation which has been held into the treatment of persons (details supplied) arrested in Dublin 2 in April 1998, who received an apology and undisclosed damages in a settlement announced ...More Button

The case to which the Deputy is referring was the subject of extensive media reporting in July of this year. Following the settlement made in the High Court on 12 July 2002, I sought a full Garda r...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: if he has satisfied himself that his Department is operating effectively and efficiently and is adequately resourced from the point of view of personnel and otherwise.More Button

One of the most reliable indicators of the efficiency and effectiveness of any organisation is its performance in the implementation of strategies for the management of the organisation and its res...More Button

Substantial progress was recorded over the past 18 months in particular in the implementation of strategic planning, performance management and development, a staff training and development program...More Button

While I am satisfied that my Department is operating efficiently and effectively in line with the public service as a whole, I recognise the need for continuous improvement in the implementation o...More Button

The new strategy statement is to be prepared by 6 December 2002 under the terms of the Public Service Management Act, 1997. This statement will incorporate the commitments set out in the Agreed Pro...More Button

In terms of the services provided by my Department, the emphasis has been, and continues to be, firmly on delivering greater efficiency and effectiveness as the Department has rolled out a comprehe...More Button

There has been considerable expansion over recent years in the area of staff resources and related costs, particularly, though not exclusively, in the asylum and immigration area. The level of thes...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Investigations.

Was asked: the number of items of evidence awaiting examination at the Forensic Science Laboratory at the latest date for which figures are available; the number of prosecutions awaiting examination of items ...More Button

The number of cases on hand at the Forensic Science Laboratory on 15 October 2002 was 11,825. In relation to the number of prosecutions awaiting examination of items of evidence at the laboratory, ...More Button

As regards staffing, the position is that additional posts have been sanctioned at scientific, technical and administrative level in the laboratory. Arrangements have been made with the Civil Servi...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Transport.

Was asked: the plans he has for the provision of reinforced Garda cars, especially having regard to the tragic death of two gardaí in a joyriding incident in Dublin earlier in 2002; and if he will make...More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that Garda policy is to put the health and safety of its members as top priority when purchasing vehicles. I am also advised that there are no plans to purchas...More Button

The Euro New Car Assessment Programme provides consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. ENCAP was established in 1997 and...More Button

Four vehicles, which have a five star ENCAP rating, have been purchased for use by the Garda Síochána this year for evaluation purposes. Research by the Garda authorities is also cont...More Button

I am further advised by the Garda authorities that the policy of the Garda Síochána is one of continuous research in its assessment of new vehicle purchases, especially having regard ...More Button

Was asked: the current position regarding the provision of a second Garda helicopter; the reason for the long delay in view of the fact that it was supposed to have been ready by the beginning of 2001; when i...More Button

The Government approved the purchase of a second Garda helicopter in November 1998. A tender competition was held and an EC135 was ordered. The EC135 represented a new generation of helicopter tech...More Button

Following construction, the craft was delivered to the UK for the fitting out of specialised police equipment. The fitting out of most of the specialised equipment on the EC135 was subsequently com...More Button

This committee, having considered the various issues, submitted an interim report to my predecessor in which they recommended, for legal reasons, that the EC135 be introduced into service on an int...More Button

I understand that the placement process which involves the manufacturer providing an audited document trail to the Air Corps is currently at an advanced stage and upon receipt of responses to a sma...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the Garda patrol fleet is up to date in terms of vehicles of recent vintage; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the following tables are an age profile of the Garda fleet for the various categories of vehicles. The age profile will continue to be lowered as new vehi...More Button

Over 170 new vehicles are due to come into service for the remainder of the year and this will lower the age profile substantially as all older motorcycles have yet to be replaced.More Button

Ages of Garda FleetMore Button

I am also advised that analyses have shown that the most economical mileage for Garda vehicles to be as follows:More Button

100,000 miles for cars and vansMore Button

40,000-50,000 miles for bikes up to 550ccMore Button

50,000-60,000 miles for bikes of 750ccMore Button

80,000-100,000 miles for bikes of 1100ccMore Button

The policy of the Garda Síochána – as laid down by the Garda Commissioner – is, as far as is possible, to adhere to these limits when replacing the fleet. Average yearly m...More Button

Question No. 166 answered with Question No. 34.More Button

Written Answers. - Legal Aid Service.

Was asked: the steps he proposes to take to address the serious and ever increasing issue of long waiting lists for legal aid, with particular reference to the family law areas; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

Was asked: his proposals to improve the legal aid service with particular reference to meet the needs of those forced to remain on waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 155 together. I can inform the Deputy that the grant-in-aid made available to the Legal Aid Board has increased significantly in recent years, up from €...More Button

I can also inform the Deputy that over 20% of applications received by the board are treated as priority cases and the people concerned receive an immediate appointment with a solicitor and are not...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which legal aid is available to the general public; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the commonly held view that only serious criminals have ready access to such servi...More Button

Under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act, l962 and the regulations made under it, free legal aid may be granted, in certain circumstances, for the defence of any person of insufficient means in ...More Button

The Supreme Court judgment in the 1976 case, State (Healy) v. Donoghue established that an accused person has, in certain circumstances, which are quite wide in practice, a constitutional right to ...More Button

Under the Act, the courts are responsible for the granting of legal aid. An applicant for legal aid must establish to the satisfaction of the court that his or her means are insufficient to enable ...More Button

When granting legal aid the court must also be satisfied that, by reason of the “gravity of the charge” or “exceptional circumstances,” it is essential in the interests of justice that the applican...More Button

It is generally recognised the criminal legal aid scheme has served accused persons well who would otherwise have been unable to retain their own legal representation.More Button

Question No. 157 answered with Question No. 44.More Button

Written Answers. - Crime Prevention.

Was asked: the extent to which Garda strength is adequate to meet requirements, having regard to the needs generated by organised crime, increased crime levels generally and public concern; and if he will mak...More Button

Was asked: the measures he proposes to combat increased levels of organised crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 41 and 159 together.More Button

Organised crime is a relatively recent phenomenon in Ireland. Its development has been influenced to a considerable extent by the creation of, and consequent need to supply, an illegal drugs marke...More Button

In addition, the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau and other specialised Garda support units such as the national drugs unit, the national immigration unit, the Bureau of Fraud Investigat...More Button

The specialised Garda support units, which operate under the direction of a dedicated assistant commissioner, work closely with and act as an expert resource centre for all sections of the Garda S&...More Button

I have been informed by the Garda authorities that changes in crime levels, developments in organised crime and public concerns in this regard are monitored on a regular basis. The deployment of Ga...More Button

I might mention that the total personnel strength of An Garda Síochána (all ranks) for the years ending 31 December 1997 to 31 December 2002 and the personnel strength at present is s...More Button

This represents an increase of 905 in that period, or 8.25%.More Button

An additional 122 gardaí are due to be attested to the Garda Síochána on 28 November 2002.More Button

Written Answers. - Closed Circuit Television Systems.

Was asked: the moneys which have been allocated for the provision of closed circuit television systems in 2002; the projected figure for 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A sum of €4.966 million has been allocated in the 2002 Estimates towards the installation of CCTV systems in approved areas. The allocation for 2003 has not yet been finalised.More Button

Written Answers. - Child Care Services.

Was asked: the plans he has to ensure the wider provision of child care, having regard to the findings of a recent study showing that more than half of Ireland's female workforce use their own annual leave to...More Button

There have been very significant developments in relation to the provision of child care over the last number of years. In 1997, the Government established the Partnership 2000 Expert Working Group...More Button

Child care was identified as a priority area for investment in the National Development Plan 2000 to 2006 and my Department has been given responsibility for the co-ordination of child care service...More Button

The equal opportunities child care programme has an equal opportunities and social inclusion perspective and facilitates the further development and expansion of child care facilities to address th...More Button

Since the availability of funding was formally announced in April 2000, funding of over €132.6 million has been committed to over 1,300 child care projects on the ground, both in the community...More Button

In addition, my colleague, the Minister for Finance makes available a number of incentives in relation to child care, such as capital allowances for capital expenditure on the construction, extensi...More Button

The Parental Leave Act also provides for limited paid leave –force majeure leave – to allow employees, both male and female, deal with family emergencies resulting from illness o...More Button

The provisions of the Parental Leave Act assist working mothers and fathers to combine their work and family responsibilities. The programme for Government and the progress of my Department's equa...More Button

Written Answers. - Crime Levels.

Was asked: the steps he intends to take to deal with the serious escalation in crime levels and particularly the level of violent assaults, revealed in the Garda crime figures for 2001; and if he will make a ...More Button

Was asked: if he proposes to take measures to combat the increase in unlawful killings; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: his proposals to curb increasing levels of street violence, particularly in view of the number of fatalities which have occurred in such circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he proposes initiatives to combat increased levels of crime under the various headings; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 44, 154, 157 and 163 together.More Button

The statistics furnished by the Garda Commissioner in relation to headline or serious offences for 2001 are indeed disappointing. Although in the period 1996 to 2000, the figures for recorded indic...More Button

While these figures, especially in relation to violent assaults, are obviously a cause for concern, they also reflect the targeting of resources and the resultant increased activity on the part of ...More Button

In addition, Garda operations which target such behaviour play a vital role in combating this type of crime. Operation Encounter is focused on all issues of public order occurring in the community....More Button

The Government will continue to focus on youth crime by supporting and developing evidence-based preventative measures and interventions aimed at young offenders and those most at risk of offending...More Button

A major expansion of Garda CCTV systems is currently under way with systems to be installed in the following 17 areas – Athlone, Ballyfermot, Bray, Carlow, Castlebar, Clondalkin, Clonmel, Dun...More Button

Was asked: the steps he intends to take to address the serious public concern regarding crime levels reflected in the survey undertaken by research and evaluation services on behalf of the gardaí, whic...More Button

First of all I can inform the Deputy that I welcome this survey as it adds to our sources of crime data and this, in conjunction with reported crime statistics, gives us a clearer picture of the na...More Button

In order to enhance our knowledge of crime and victimisation, and to inform policy on this matter, the Deputy may be aware that I have obtained Government approval to have a national crime victimis...More Button

Written Answers. - Proposed Legislation.

Was asked: when the promised legislation to provide for an independent Garda inspectorate will be published and enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when the legislation, announced by him on 4 September 2002 to provide greater accountability of the Garda will be published and enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 45 and 46 together.More Button

As indicated in the Government legislation programme – autumn session 2002, as published by the Government Chief Whip on 7 October 2002, a Bill to introduce new inspection arrangements for th...More Button

On foot of a recent Government decision the Bill will also include measures to provide for a new performance and accountability framework for the Garda Síochána as announced by me on ...More Button

Written Answers. - Prison Staff.

Was asked: the proposals he has to reduce the very high level of overtime in the prison service; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The prison service has for a number of years been operating with an ever growing dependence on overtime. In 2001 the cost of overtime was nearly 30% of the overall pay costs for the service. This o...More Button

Since my appointment as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, it has been my stated aim to address the high overtime costs in the prison service. In meetings which I have had with both the...More Button

This work is well advanced and has been greatly facilitated by detailed prison by prison recommendations on more efficient prison staffing by an expert management staffing organisation review team,...More Button

This process is both lengthy and complex but is being afforded a high level of priority by the management of the Irish Prison Service so that realistic proposals for change in the short term can be...More Button

Written Answers. - Drug Seizures.

Was asked: in regard to the speech he delivered at the Garda Training College on 4 July 2002, the basis on which he is seeking a 50% increase in the number of people charged with drug offences over the next s...More Button

I would like to advise the Deputy that unfortunately some aspects of my address at the Garda graduation ceremony on 4 July 2002, to which he refers, were incorrectly represented in one of the nati...More Button

Rather than making any reference to the increasing numbers charged with drug offences, what I actually did was refer to key aims and performance indicators in the national drugs strategy which are ...More Button

In relation to the principal objectives of public policy on tackling the drugs problem, while such supply reduction actions obviously play a key role, they will to continue to form just one element...More Button

The national drugs strategy 2001-08 brings together all elements of this drugs policy into a single framework. It is the result of the most comprehensive analysis and assessment of the drugs proble...More Button

Written Answers. - Illegal Immigrants.

Was asked: the categories of economic aid which will be tied to compliance by non-EU member states with standards relating to repatriation of illegal immigrants and failed asylum applicants; and the categorie...More Button

I am to inform the Deputy that in so far as my responsibilities relate to the repatriation of illegal immigrants and failed asylum applicants, no decision has been made which links categories of e...More Button

Written Answers. - Ministerial Appointments.

Was asked: the details of each appointment of nomination made by his Department to bodies, boards or agencies under the aegis of his Department since 1 January 2002; the method used in selecting people for su...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following tabular statement:More Button

Written Answers. - Prisoner Welfare.

Was asked: the reason the annual forum of the national steering group on deaths in custody has been cancelled for 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The national steering group on deaths in custody agreed to postpone the forum, initially scheduled for later this year, until next spring at the request of the Irish Prisons Service and as part of ...More Button

Each prison and place of detention operates a local suicide awareness group, which is composed of representatives of the various disciplines in the prison, e.g. management, prison psychology servic...More Button

The Deputy should be assured that all of the suicide awareness groups in the prison system continue to function as normal and that, quite separate from the annual forum, the national steering group...More Button

Written Answers. - Firearms Policy.

Was asked: the position in regard to firearms held by the Garda since 1972; the representations he has received from the National Rifle and Pistol Association of Ireland on this matter; and if he will make a ...More Button

An order entitled the Firearms (Temporary Custody ) Order, 1972 was made by the Minister for Justice on 2 August 1972. The order required all persons residing in the State to surrender to the Garda...More Button

It was considered necessary in the public interest that the surrendered weapons should continue to remain in Garda custody having regard to the prevailing circumstances.More Button

The practice that only shotguns, crossbows, unrifled airguns and rifles up to .22 calibre could be licensed, was continued up to 1993. Following a review in that year, the practice was revised so a...More Button

I would also advise the Deputy that in the context of an ongoing review of firearms policy, I have received representations from the National Rifle and Pistol Association of Ireland and that the as...More Button

Written Answers. - Tribunals of Inquiry.

Was asked: the representations he has received from a family (details supplied) in County Donegal regarding its con cerns about the inadequacy of the terms of reference of the Morris tribunal; if he will cons...More Button

Representations have been received from the family concerned and also from legal representatives acting on their behalf and on behalf of others. A response to their principal concerns was issued by...More Button

As regards the terms of reference, it is my view that the terms of reference as adopted by the Houses of the Oireachtas are definite, as required by the Tribunal of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts, and com...More Button

It is, however, a matter for the tribunal to pursue its inquiries as it sees fit. If, for any reason, the tribunal believes that the existing terms of reference in some way constrain it from inquir...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Report.

Was asked: if he has received the report he has sought from the Garda into the circumstances in which letters addressed to Members of the Oireachtas were seized on 23 November 2001; if the report has determin...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the matter is still under review. I have requested that the report is expedited and I will communicate as quickly as possible with the Deputy once I have...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Deployment.

Was asked: the reason for the proposed reduction in Garda numbers at a station (details supplied) in County Cork; and if this station will maintain its existing numbers in view of the rapid expansion of the p...More Button

I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the current personnel strength of the Garda station referred to in the question is one garda. I am further informed that local Garda management is...More Button

However, I am advised that the situation will be kept under review and when additional personnel next become available the needs of area referred to in the question will be fully considered within ...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which adequate personnel are available to the Garda, particularly to facilitate extra foot patrols; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Garda authorities have advised me that the total personnel strength of the Garda Síochána, all ranks for the years ending 31 December 1997 to 31 December 2001 and the personnel st...More Button

This represents an increase of 905 in that period or 8.25%. An additional 122 gardaí are due to be attested to the Garda Síochána on 28 November 2002. The allocation of garda&i...More Button

Question No. 163 answered with Question No. 44.More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Estimates.

Was asked: the details of the appropriation-in-aid raised by his Department in 2000 and 2001; his estimate for the outturn for 2002; and the percentage yearly increase in each subhead.More Button

The appropriations-in-aid received by my Department in 2000 and 2001 and the projected receipts in 2002 are as follows:More Button

Appropriations-in-aid are confined to one subhead only on each vote. The percentage yearly increase is as follows:More Button

Was asked: the revenue from charges related to public services which his Department approves to be raised by agencies under his aegis, which are not included in appropriations in aid for 2000, 2001 and 2002.More Button

The revenues from charges related to public services, for which my Department is responsible and which are not appropriations-in-aid, for the period referred to, are as follows:More Button

These revenues do not include receipts for court imposed penalties or receipts from fines on-the-spot notices.More Button

Written Answers. - Equality Legislation.

Was asked: if he will legislate for exemptions from equality legislation, for example, to allow for discrimination against travellers; and his views on whether such an exemption would undermine the integrity ...More Button

I have no proposals to exclude Travellers from the Employment Equality Act, 1998 or the Equal Status Act, 2000.More Button

Written Answers. - Human Rights Issues.

Was asked: if future appointments to the Human Rights Commission will be in full accordance with the Paris Principles; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he plans to fulfil the terms of the Good Friday Agreement by making the Human Rights Commission fully operational; the reason this has not to date happened; the further impediments which remai...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 150 and 151 together.More Button

Under the provisions of the Human Rights Commission Acts, 2000 and 2001, appointments to the Human Rights Commission are a matter for the Government. In making appointments to the commission, the G...More Button

The Human Rights Commission was formally established by Ministerial Order on 25 July 2001. However, the former president of the commission, Mr. Justice Donal Barrington, who was appointed a year be...More Button

I wish to make it clear that no impediments have ever existed to the full operation of the commission. The process of establishment has been somewhat slower than expected, but that is due to the am...More Button

Written Answers. - Refugee Status.

Was asked: his views on whether persecution on the basis of gender is a ground for a well-founded claim to convention refugee status.More Button

The 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees and section 2 of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended, defines a refugee, inter alia, as a person who, owing to a well founded fear...More Button

In relation to the issue of gender specific persecution, section 1 of the Refugee Act, as amended, defines “membership of a particular social group” as including “membership of a trade union and al...More Button

Consideration of individual applications for refugee status based on gender grounds or otherwise is a matter for two independent statutory offices, namely, the Office of the Refugee Applications Co...More Button

Written Answers. - Prisoner Releases.

Was asked: the extent to which prisoners are currently released prior to completion of sentence other than on supervised day release; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As a result of the additional prison spaces provided over the last number of years, the Prison Service is now in a position to accommodate almost all those sentenced by the courts for the full dura...More Button

Prisoners are not granted early release as a matter of course and I must stress that the overriding concern in considering applications for temporary release from prisoners is the safety of the pub...More Button

Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 44.More Button

Question No. 155 answered with Question No. 40.More Button

Written Answers. - Courts Service.

Was asked: the level of funding likely to be available to the Court Service for the renovation of courthouses in 2002 and in 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Courts Service budget provision for 2002 for courthouses, capital works is €21.2 million. The budget provision for 2003 has not yet been finalised.More Button

Written Answers. - Deportation Orders.

Was asked: the number of non-nationals deported since the beginning of 2002; if information is available regarding the fate of any such people after deportation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The number of non-nationals deported since 1 January 2002 to date is 467.More Button

No information is available regarding the circumstances of such persons after their deportation. However careful consideration is given beforehand to each individual case in accordance with the pro...More Button

Written Answers. - Missing Persons.

Was asked: the total number of people currently listed as missing persons; if this number is on the increase; if there is ongoing dialogue with the relatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am assured by the Garda authorities that the Garda Síochána does all in its power to locate missing persons and that it provides considerable support for families.More Button

The Garda authorities have informed me that the effectiveness of the working methods and procedures employed in missing persons cases are continually reviewed. As a result, substantial changes were...More Button

Garda statistics reveal that approximately 99% of those reported missing in any year are accounted for by the end of that year. It must be realised that most of the people who go missing do not do ...More Button

I recognise the anguish suffered by the families of missing persons and in this regard, my Department is funding a dedicated helpline which is to provide information and emotional support ser vices...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the number of persons who were untraced at the end of each year, from 1990 to 2000, the last year for which published figures are available is as follows:More Button

The current figures and those for 2001 are not yet to hand but I will arrange to have them forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: the total estimated cost of changes, including the dis-use of old stationery, the purchase of new letterheads, stationery, and changes to websites and so on and all other costs incurred as a result...More Button

I can inform the Deputy that no changes have occurred in my Department arising out of the formation of the new Government which would lead to any of the expenses as described by the Deputy.More Button