December 17, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if members of the Garda Reserve gain any credits from their work in the Garda Reserve when making a full application to join An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: Recruitment to An Garda Síochána is governed by the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013. These regulations provide that in a competition for full-time membership of An Garda Síochána, the Public Appointments Service shall give due recognition to any satisfactory service by the candidate as a Reserve member of the Garda Síochána.
Answered on June 18, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding planning for the proposed extension and refurbishment of Waterford Courthouse (pictured); what the development will entail; the estimated total cost; and when he expects the project to commence construction.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: In July 2012 the Government announced an investment package which includes seven courthouse projects, including Waterford.
As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions. In order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that discussions are ongoing with the Office of Public Works and the National Development Finance Agency in order to progress the projects. The projects are to be procured and delivered through a Public Private Partnership.
I am informed that the Office of Public Works is currently working on a design for the Waterford project. The development will include 6 courtrooms, replacing the current 2 courtrooms, and improved facilities for all court users, including jurors, persons in custody, and victim support. Consultation facilities will also be improved. There will be discussions with court users on the proposed design in the coming weeks.
I am informed that the delivery of a project of this scale as a traditional capital project would be likely to cost in excess of €20m. However, as the project is to be delivered on a Public Private Partnership basis, the total cost will include not only the cost of construction but also the costs of maintenance and other services to be provided by the PPP company. This will be paid by way of charges over a period of 25 years.
It is intended that this project will go through the Part 9 Planning process later this year with the PPP procurement process commencing around the end of the year. I am informed that construction could commence during 2015 with the project being completed and the courthouse being operational during 2016.
Answered on June 18, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will outline the legal position regarding the powers of an Garda Síochána to deal with anti-social behaviour in private residential streets and estates; and the avenues of civil redress citizens may pursue.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: There is a range of strong legislative provisions available to an An Garda Síochána to combat anti-social behaviour.
The following are some of the more important pieces of legislation and there are many others which may be relevant depending on the nature and gravity of the behaviour at issue.
The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 modernised the law in relation to anti-social behaviour and related criminal actions. It provides for a range of offences which cover behaviours such as disorderly conduct, threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour, wilful obstruction, trespass and entry with intent to commit an offence as well as categories of violent behaviour. The Act also provides for offences for failure to comply with Garda directions.
In addition, the Intoxicating Liquor Acts 2003 and 2008 and the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003 provide Gardaí with powers to address public order problems and anti-social behaviour related to the misuse of alcohol. The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003 provides Gardaí with powers to deal with anti-social conduct attributable to excessive drinking, including exclusion orders in respect of premises and closure orders for licensed premises and catering outlets following anti-social behaviour related offences. The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 gives further powers to Gardaí to tackle the misuse of alcohol, including the power to seize alcohol in the possession of an under 18 year old which they suspect is for consumption in a public place. Gardaí may can also seize alcohol to forestall public disorder or damage to property. Fixed charge notices may be issued for the offences of intoxication in a public place and disorderly conduct in a public place. This option has the benefit of a more efficient use of Garda and Court resources, while also allowing an offender who complies with the notice to avoid a possible criminal record.
Where anti-social behaviour is directed at property, the Gardaí may have recourse to the provisions of the Criminal Damage Act 1991 which provides a range of offences and penalties, up to and including, on conviction on indictment, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years for the damage, threat of damage or possession of anything with intent to damage, a person’s property.
Part 11 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 provides for civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by adults and Part 13 of the Act relates to anti-social behaviour by children. These provisions set out an incremental procedure for addressing anti-social behaviour. With regard to children, these range from a warning from a member of An Garda Síochána, to a good behaviour contract involving the child and his or her parents or guardian, to referral to the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme and finally to the making of a behaviour order by the Children Court. With regard to adults, they include a warning and the making of a civil order by the court.
I am advised that there are some issues which come within the remit of my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government which could be relevant to the matters referred to in the Deputy's question. In the case of private rented dwellings landlords are responsible for enforcing the obligations that apply to their tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. In this regard the Act prohibits a tenant in a private residential tenancy from engaging in anti-social behaviour in, or in the vicinity of, a dwelling to which the Act applies it also allows a landlord to terminate any tenancy where the tenant is engaging in or allowing others to engage in such behaviour, subject to a notice period of only 7 days in the case of serious anti-social behaviour or 28 days in the case of less serious but persistent behaviour.
The Residential Tenancies Act also provides that a third party directly and adversely affected by anti-social behaviour may, subject to certain conditions, refer a complaint to the Private Residential Tenancies Board against a landlord who has failed to enforce tenant obligations. A specific condition is that the third party complainant must have taken reasonable steps to resolve the matter by communicating or attempting to communicate with the parties to the tenancy concerned.
In relation to avenues of civil redress generally, it is, of course, always open to a person to seek independent legal advice in relation to the forms of redress, including civil remedies, which might be relevant to particular situations.
Answered on June 11, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the levels of immigration of non-nationals into the country in each of the past five years.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: EEA nationals, of which many thousands reside in the State and who are subject to EU freedom of movement legislation, are not required to seek permission to reside in the State and accordingly the immigration authorities do not maintain statistics on the numbers of such persons present here.
Non-EEA nationals, subject to certain exemptions such as persons under the age of 16, who have permission to reside in the State are obliged to register their presence in the State. Based on the figures available from the register of non-nationals, the number of non-EEA nationals granted permission to reside in the State for the first time in the period 2008 to 2012, inclusive, was 130,128.
For the purpose of context, the Deputy may wish to note that Census 2011 showed that overall Ireland’s non-Irish national population accounts for 12% of the national population or some 544,000 people, the majority being from EEA countries.
Answered on June 11, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons who have been deported from the State each year in the past four years.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: The number of persons removed from the State on foot of Deportation Orders made under Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 in respect of 2010 was 343; 280 persons were removed in 2011, 303 were removed in 2012 and 57 were removed by the end of the first quarter 2013.
In addition, people are refused entry into the State at airports and other ports of entry for various reasons.The number of persons removed under this category together with other persons who were transferred under the Dublin Regulation to the EU member state in which they first claimed asylum and EU nationals who were returned to their countries of origin on foot of an EU Removal Order totalled 2,876 in respect of 2010, 2,719 in respect of of 2011, 2,364 in respect of 2012 and 459 by the end of the first quarter 2013.
Answered on June 11, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of asylum requests that were refused and were granted each year in the past five years.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: It is important that the asylum recognition rate not be perceived as some target to be achieved irrespective of the merits of applications. Applications for refugee status in the State are assessed at first instance by the statutory independent Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and on appeal by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal in accordance with a prescribed legal framework and exclusively on their merits having regard to their subjective and objective elements. Accordingly, the recognition rate will change from year to year, and in 2012 stood at 9%. The information the Deputy has requested is detailed in the table above.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current number of persons incarcerated in Irish prisons; and the number for each of the last five years.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: I can inform the Deputy that there were 4,245 persons in custody on 27 May 2013.
A breakdown of the number of persons in custody on the same date for the previous five years is included in the above table.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prison officers employed by the State for each of the past five years.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: I wish to inform the Deputy that the attached table outlines the number of Prison Officer grades (all grades, from Recruit Prison Officer to Governor level) employed by the Irish Prison Service for each of the past five years. Figures are based on whole time equivalent numbers serving on 31st December for each year:
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of retirees from the Garda Síochána from all ranks in each of the past five years.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the number of members, broken down by rank, who have retired from the force on voluntary, compulsory or other grounds, in the years ending 31 December 2008 to 2012 and up to 30 April 2013, the latest date for which figures are readily available, is set out in the attached table.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Gardaí deployed to the traffic corps in each of the past five years.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organisation and I have no direct function in the matter. This allocation of resources is constantly monitored in the context of demographics, crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public.
I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that while all Gardaí have responsibility, inter alia, to deal with Traffic Policing issues as and when they arise, the number of personnel assigned to the Traffic Corps on 31 December 2008 to 2012 and also on 30 April 2013, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as set out in the table hereunder:
Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which Deputies may ask questions of Members of the Government relating to Public Affairs connected with their Departments, or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible. The Taoiseach answers questions on his own Department on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.