Dec 16, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost in each year to date in 2014 of providing a Garda cold case unit; the successful cases that have been resolved by the unit to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY (Minister Frances Fitzgerald):
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the function of the Serious Crime Review Team (SCRT) is to assist Senior Investigating Officers assigned to the case in question in bringing investigations to a successful conclusion by identifying further investigative opportunities and ensuring that investigations conform to approved best practice guidelines.
At the conclusion of each review a substantive report is provided to the Senior Investigating Officer who considers the opportunities for further investigation for dissemination back into the investigative and operational units. Recommendations with organisational relevance are disseminated within An Garda Síochána to improve overall investigative capability.
I am advised that the SCRT continues to review serious unsolved cases, including homicide and missing persons cases, and continues to identify evidence and witnesses to assist in the investigation of these cases.
Currently a number of cases, which have been reviewed, have been returned for further attention by the Senior Investigating Officer and the local investigation team. A number of other cases are under preliminary consideration to evaluate the viability of a full review by the SCRT.
The Garda authorities have provided the attached information detailing the annual costs directly attributable to the Unit since 2007
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to Circuit Court proceedings that have been postponed and delayed around the country due to the appointment of persons to the new Court of Appeal and vacancies arising in the Circuit Court as a result of this; when she expects replacement appointments to be made in the Circuit Court so that Circuit Court sittings can proceed as normal; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY (Nov 18, 2014)
Minister Frances Fitzgerald:
The scheduling of court cases and the allocation of court business is a matter for the Presidents of the courts and the presiding judge who are under the Constitution independent in the exercise of their judicial functions. There are currently seven vacancies on the Circuit Court arising from a retirement on 30 September 2014; the elevation of one judge to the Court of Appeal on 29 October 2014 and the elevation of five judges to the High Court on 30 October 2014. The Government is, of course, cognisant of the need to ensure that the establishment of the Court of Appeal does not adversely affect the business of the other court jurisdictions. As the Deputy will note, the vacancies in the Circuit Court have only recently arisen and it is my intention to request that the Government make the nominations shortly with a view to the appointments being made by the President in the coming weeks.
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the definition of a Stateless person in Irish law.
REPLY (Oct 7, 2014)
Minister Frances Fitzgerald:
There is no statutory definition of stateless person under Irish law. However, the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 (as amended), refers to a stateless person as "within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons of the 28th day of September 1954". Article 1 of this Convention defines a stateless person as someone “who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”.
March 4, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will consider including Springboard courses under the childcare and employment training support scheme.
Reply from Minister Frances Fitzgerald:
Funding is made available by my Department to support a number of childcare programmes which provide a range of supports to parents of pre-school and after-school children, including the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme.
The CETS programme provides funding to support parents, who are participating in Solas and the Education Training Boards training and education courses, with the cost of childcare. The eligibility criteria for parents availing of this support is determined by Solas and the Education Training Boards, which come under the remit of the Department of Education and Skills. A number of new strands to the programme have been added, including an after-school programme which provides support to social welfare recipients returning to employment and a further strand which provides support to parents participating in Community Employment schemes. Eligibility for support under these strands is determined by the Department of Social Protection.
The function of my Department is to monitor the take-up of childcare places available to those parents approved for support and to administer the relevant funding. Determining which courses will enable parents to qualify for support under the CETS programme is therefore a matter for the Departments of Social Protection and Education and Skills.