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”.
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the number of applications that were successful under the CGT entrepreneurial relief scheme; and the cost to the Exchequer.
REPLY (Sept 17, 2014)
Minister Michael Noonan:
Section 45 of Finance (No 2) Act of 2013 provides for a capital gains tax relief for entrepreneurs who reinvest the proceeds from the disposal of assets made on or after 1 January 2010 in certain chargeable business assets. Commencement of the legislative provisions is subject to EU state-aid approval. Discussions with the EU Commission about State Aid clearance are ongoing. I hope that these will result in a positive outcome in the near future. Notwithstanding that the legislative provisions have yet to be commenced, the CGT relief will only apply, among other conditions, where new chargeable business assets acquired after 1 January 2014 are disposed of having been held for a minimum period of 3 years after that date.
January 15, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated number of person's imprisoned in Ireland for non-payment of court fines in each of the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: A breakdown of the number of persons imprisoned solely for non-payment of fines for each of the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 is set out above.
I can advise the Deputy that the number of such persons held in custody at any one time is a tiny fraction of the overall prisoner population. To illustrate this point, on 14 January, 2014, 6 people, 0.15 percent, out of a prison population of 3,973 in custody that day fell into this category.
January 15, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the average sentence actually served by persons for non-payment of court fines; and the average current cost to the State, per day, of accommodating a typical fine defaulter in the prison system.
Reply from Minister Alan Shatter: I wish to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide the information without a manual examination of records. This exercise would entail the diversion of a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time which could not be justified in current circumstances.
However, I can advise that in 2012 there were a total of 8,304 committals to prison for non-payment of a Court ordered fine. Based on a statistical sample, the Irish Prison Service has determined that the vast majority of these committals spent less than 2 days in custody and on average spent 1 day in custody.
I am strongly of the view that we need to keep the numbers of people committed to prison for the non-payment of fines to the absolute minimum. The Fines Payment and Recovery Bill, which was published last July and scheduled for Dáil Committee Stage on 22 January, represents a major reform of our fine payment and recovery system and provides for the payment of fines by instalment and attachment of earnings.
Allowing everyone to pay a fine by instalment and introducing attachment of earnings are important new reforms to the fine collection system which will lead to improved collection rates for fines. The new measures provided for, combined with the requirement that judges must take a person’s financial circumstances into account when setting a fine, should result in a reduction in the number of people committed to prison.
When this Bill is enacted, it will be easier for people to pay a fine and where they fail to do so, there will be sufficient alternatives available to the courts to all but eliminate the need to commit anyone to prison for the non-payment of fines.
The average cost of accommodating a typical fine defaulter based on the 2012 'Cost of Offender figures (including variable costs of prisoner catering, prisoner gratuity, bedding, prisoner toiletries, dentist fees and medicines) equates to €10.44 per prisoner space per day.