1. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a new Garda Commissioner will be appointed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44295/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Commissioner Appointment)

Deputy Jim O’Callaghan: It is almost six weeks since the former Garda Commissioner retired. When will the Government appoint a new Garda Commissioner?
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2. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the processes An Garda Síochána has prepared to deal with the issue of those who were the subject of a conviction related to a fixed-charge penalty notice and who may have faced consequences more significant than a fine, such as being taken into custody and loss of reputation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44296/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Penalty Points System Offences)

Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: As the Minister will be aware, 14,700 people wrongly received convictions for motoring offences having paid fixed charges. Others - the number is not yet clear - might have faced more significant consequences such as being taken into custody and loss of reputation and other related consequences. I wish the Minister to comment on the processes the Garda has initiated to deal with this issue.
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3. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to bring forward new measures to deter criminal assaults on young persons under the age of 18 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44322/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Crime Prevention)

Deputy Jim O’Callaghan: Throughout this city and country, teenage boys are frequently being subjected to gratuitous criminal assaults. Sometimes those criminal assaults are by other teenage boys. These issues do not receive any recognition in newspapers or the national media, but the events have a very significant and negative impact on young teenage boys. Are there measures Deputy Charles Flanagan, as Minister for Justice and Equality, can take to prevent these criminal assaults which have s...

4. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of refugees expected to arrive here by the end of 2017 in accordance with the EU relocation programme developed in response to the Syrian refugee crisis; the locations of those who have already arrived; and his plans to settle these refugees around the country. (Question 44534/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Refugee Resettlement Programme)

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Questions were taken more quickly than I thought they would be, but I appreciate being able to ask this one. It arises from a concern I have about Syrian refugees based in Greece who have looked to be assigned in Ireland and who have been told that they cannot come here because we do not have accommodation. I know that refugees here are in welcoming centres, but they have been in them for too long and need to be located in the community. I ask the Minister for an update on ...

5. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on whether the Charleton liaison committee should continue to be funded; and his further views on whether the liaison committee is working equally in the best interests of all gardaí involved in the disclosures tribunal. (Question 44293/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Tribunals of Inquiry)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): First of all let me say for the benefit of the Deputy that the Disclosures Tribunal was appointed following the passage of resolutions by this House and Seanad Éireann on 16 February 2017. Those resolutions require the Tribunal to report to the Clerk of Dáil Éireann with its findings and recommendations. Therefore, I do not propose to say or do anything which could be interpreted as impinging on its independence.
As the Deputy will be ...

6. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each Garda station in the Dublin northern division and in the Dublin western division as of 30 September 2017; and the number of new recruits assigned to each division since recruitment resumed in 2014. (Question 44203/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Deputy Darragh O’Brien: I will address Ceist Uimh. 6. Will the Minister outline the number of new recruits assigned to the Dublin north division and the Dublin west division, as of 30 September 2017, since recruitment resumed in 2014? The reason is that in the north Dublin and west Dublin area, especially the north Dublin area, we have lost one in five gardaí in the past six years and the pace of replacement has not kept up at all with that. Community policing, an issue I will address also, h...

7. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when Stepaside Garda station will reopen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44071/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Station Closures)

Deputy Marc MacSharry: When will Stepaside Garda station be reopened? It follows a decision that caused much public controversy. Let us contrast this decision with the tangible lack of action in the advancement of work on a new regional Garda headquarters in Sligo where there is no running water and no shower facilities in the Garda station. The cells have been condemned to the extent that members of the Garda who arrest individuals must transport them 15 miles to the station in Ballymote.
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8. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the date on which he expects the Legal Services Regulatory Authority to be fully operational; and when it will be regulating the legal profession. (Question 44211/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Departmental Bodies Establishment)

Deputy Jim O’Callaghan: In July 2016 the Minister’s predecessor, now Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, signed the commencement order to begin the operation of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority and a chairperson and a board were put in place. Some 15 months later, the authority is not operational to hear complaints from the public about members of the legal profession. When will the authority be operational in order that members of t...

9. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress he has made with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Garda Commissioner and the Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners in identifying more effective possible solutions which can assist in dealing with the use of scrambler and quad bikes; the responsibilities he has assigned to each agency; the timeframe in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44080/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Anti-Social Behaviour)

Deputy Jack Chambers: Deputy John Curran cannot be here and sends his apologies. He has asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to outline the progress he has made with the Ministers for Transport, Tourism and Sport; Housing, Planning and Local Government; the Garda Commissioner and the Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners in establishing a multi-agency approach in order to ascertain if there are additional legislative or other solutions which could assist in dealing with use of scrambler ...

10. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 233 and 234 of 10 October 2017, his plans to rethink his strategy regarding women in respect of the building of a larger prison facility and the promotion of step-down facilities rather than non-custodial alternatives and supported independent living. (Question 44225/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Prison Service Strategies)

Deputy Clare Daly: This question arises on foot of previous parliamentary questions I have submitted regarding our attitude to penal policy in the context of the incarceration of women. I have concerns about the fact that the Minister is investing resources in larger facilities for women prisoners. While everybody agrees that there needs to be a new facility in Limerick, why does it have to be so big? Why are we putting resources into step-down facilities and where is the evidence that this i...

11. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his Department will publish a new statement of strategy in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44213/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Departmental Strategy Statements)

Deputy Jim O’Callaghan: If the Minister listens carefully to this question and gives a proper answer to it, he will see that it relates to a proposal that could have the effect of reducing his workload. As those of us who cover the justice and equality portfolio and are members of the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality are well aware, the breadth and jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and Equality is enormous. Its remit extends to areas like equality, disabilities, property rights,...

12. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce increased payments for children living in direct provision; the measures he is taking to address the vulnerable position of children in direct provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44223/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Direct Provision System)

Deputy Paul Murphy: I am sure the Minister is well aware, having visited direct provision centres and met children who live there, of the particularly vulnerable position that they are in. What measures has he taken to address their situation? Are there are any plans to introduce increased payments for children living in direct provision?
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13. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he has taken since receiving Mr. Justice John L. Murray’s review of the law on retention of and access to communications data report; if he has engaged with other Departments with regard to the findings of this review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44276/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Data Retention)

Deputy Mick Wallace: I appreciate the Department of Justice and Equality has drafted new proposed legislation to address the damning indictment of the State’s surveillance of its citizens in the report from Mr. Justice Murray. What other steps has the Minister taken or intends to take with regard to the findings of the review? Will the Minister consider directing State agencies to discontinue accessing the data of Irish’s pending the final resolution of issues pertaining to the Communications ...

14. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each Garda station in the Dublin southern division and in the Dublin eastern division as of 30 September 2017; and the number of new recruits assigned to each division since recruitment resumed in 2014. (Question 44208/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Deputy Darragh O’Brien: I will address Ceist Uimh. 6. Will the Minister outline the number of new recruits assigned to the Dublin north division and the Dublin west division, as of 30 September 2017, since recruitment resumed in 2014? The reason is that in the north Dublin and west Dublin area, especially the north Dublin area, we have lost one in five gardaí in the past six years and the pace of replacement has not kept up at all with that. Community policing, an issue I will address also, h...

15. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which the right to work for persons seeking asylum arising from the Supreme Court ruling (details supplied) will be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44224/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Employment Rights)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 15, 19 and 20 together.
Section 16(3)(b) of the International Protection Act 2015 provides that applicants for international protection shall not seek, enter or be in employment or engage for gain in any business, trade or profession during the period before the final determination of their application.
The Supreme Court judgment in the case of N.V.H. v. The Minister for Justice and Equality found, on 3...

16. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which adequate resources continue to be made available to An Garda Síochána to combat organised crime; if sufficient intelligence, technology or other resources are adequate to make serious inroads on the structures operated by the criminal gangs; if sufficient powers exist to deal adequately with the situation; if further legislation is required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44218/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Organised Crime)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will be aware that only last week I announced the additional resource allocations for the Justice sector in Budget 2018. 
A total budget of €1.65 billion has been provided to An Garda Síochána in 2018, an increase of 2% on 2017. It should be noted that the Garda allocation substantially continues to benefit from the significant additional funding that was provided in 2016, and maintained in 2017, to fund the sustained respon...

17. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the Garda youth diversion project; the number of children admitted to the Garda youth diversion programme in 2016 and to date in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43691/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Youth Diversion Projects)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware the statutory framework relating to young offenders and the Garda Diversion Programme is set out in the Children Act 2001. The Act essentially provides that where a young person is responsible for committing a crime s/he shall be considered for admission to the Diversion Programme. In order for a young person to be admitted to the Programme s/he must take responsibility for their offending behaviour; agree t...

18. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of dedicated community gardaí in the service of An Garda Síochána for each of the past seven years; the number of dedicated community gardaí in the Cork city Garda district for each of the past seven years; and the commitment of his Department to the national model of community policing. (Question 44244/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Community Policing)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 18 and 24 together.
Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. It provides a means of recognising that every community – both urban and rural – has its own concerns and expectations.
I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda National Model of Community Policing plays a key part in responding to crime by taking into account and responding to local conditions and needs. Clear o...

19. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce legislation to allow persons seeking international protection the right to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44243/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Employment Rights)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 15, 19 and 20 together.
Section 16(3)(b) of the International Protection Act 2015 provides that applicants for international protection shall not seek, enter or be in employment or engage for gain in any business, trade or profession during the period before the final determination of their application.
The Supreme Court judgment in the case of N.V.H. v. The Minister for Justice and Equality found, on 3...

20. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the timeframe to allow adults in direct provision the ability to work; when he expects legislation to be presented before the Houses of the Oireachtas; if his Department has engaged civil society groups working in the area of direct provision with regard to the drafting of such legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44273/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Employment Rights)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 15, 19 and 20 together.
Section 16(3)(b) of the International Protection Act 2015 provides that applicants for international protection shall not seek, enter or be in employment or engage for gain in any business, trade or profession during the period before the final determination of their application.
The Supreme Court judgment in the case of N.V.H. v. The Minister for Justice and Equality found, on 3...

21. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each Garda station in the Dublin north central division and in the Dublin south central division as of 30 September 2017; and the number of new recruits assigned to each division since recruitment resumed in 2014. (Question 44205/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Deputy Darragh O’Brien: I will address Ceist Uimh. 6. Will the Minister outline the number of new recruits assigned to the Dublin north division and the Dublin west division, as of 30 September 2017, since recruitment resumed in 2014? The reason is that in the north Dublin and west Dublin area, especially the north Dublin area, we have lost one in five gardaí in the past six years and the pace of replacement has not kept up at all with that. Community policing, an issue I will address also, h...

22. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each of the Cork divisions who had been trained and in a position to test for drug driving when the new test was introduced in April 2017; the number of gardaí available at the end of April, May, June, July, August and September 2017; the number of tests that have been carried out in each Cork division; and the number of positive results identified by those dates. (Question 44192/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Operations)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I have sought the information requested by the Deputy from An Garda Síochána and will contact the Deputy directly on receipt of a Garda report in relation to these statistics. 
While An Garda Síochána has been testing Irish drivers for drugs, with the assistance of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS), since 1999, the Deputy will be aware that my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, commenced the drug driving p...

23. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will make provision for family members over 18 years of age and those in a more extended family to be included in family reunification visas for persons who are here as part of the Irish refugee protection programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44222/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Refugee Resettlement Programme)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP), allows for Syrians and other eligible nationalities to benefit from resettlement and relocation schemes, and offers them protection status in Ireland in their own right including all the rights and privileges that that entails. Family reunification entitlements for those granted International Protection in Ireland are governed by Sections 56 and 57 of the Internatio...

24. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the new community policing teams will be in place in each Garda district as outlined in An Garda Síochána’s modernisation and renewal programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44073/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Community Policing)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 18 and 24 together.
Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána. It provides a means of recognising that every community – both urban and rural – has its own concerns and expectations.
I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda National Model of Community Policing plays a key part in responding to crime by taking into account and responding to local conditions and needs. Clear o...

25. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of refugees who have been accepted here since the Irish refugee protection programme was announced in September 2015; if he is satisfied with the rate of acceptance with regard to refugee allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44274/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Refugee Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established by Government Decision on 10 September 2015 as a direct response to the humanitarian crisis that developed in Southern Europe as a consequence of mass migration from areas of conflict in the Middle East and Africa. Under this programme, the Government has pledged to accept a total of 4,000 persons into the State, 2,622 through the EU relocation mechanism established by two ...