26. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration is being given to a substantial increase in resources for the Cavan-Monaghan Garda division in view of the policing needs of this Border division and additional demands that may arise for the security services due to Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44266/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 44 together.
I should say at the outset that the distribution of Gardaí is exclusively the statutory responsibility of the Garda Commissioner.
I can say however that this Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. The substantial incre...

27. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on his recent meeting with the UK Home Secretary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44074/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Ministerial Meetings)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can inform the Deputy that I met with the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP, last Wednesday 11 October, in London. We were joined at the meeting by Justice Secretary, David Lidington MP, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire MP. 
Our discussions focused on the ongoing cooperation between Ireland and the United Kingdom on criminal justice, immigration, security and civil justice matters. The meeting formed part o...

28. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to direct all State agencies under his remit, in addition to issuing guidelines to all other State agencies not under his specific remit, to discontinue accessing the data of Irish citizens pending the final resolution of issues pertaining to the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011 and-or amending legislation conforming with EU law and obligations under the ECHR; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44275/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Data Protection)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Deputy will wish to know that under the current law on access to certain communications data that is retained by communications service providers access to this data is available only to An Garda Síochána, the Revenue Commissioners, the Permanent Defence Forces, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority.
The law provides that access to such data by these agencies is only permitted...

29. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on the operation of the speed detection vehicles of a company (details supplied) since 2011; his plans to introduce further legislation to strengthen the role of the company’s staff in court cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44082/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Road Safety Strategy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): A new contract for the provision and operation of the safety camera network on Irish roads was concluded on 17 August 2016. The contract for the safety camera service, which was awarded following a public procurement competition, is with Road Safety Operations Ireland, trading as GoSafe. The new safety camera contract is an agreement between the Minister for Justice and Equality, the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána and Road Safety O...

30. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the action he will take regarding the findings and recommendations of the Committee of Public Accounts report on Templemore, specifically those that relate to his Department. (Question 44215/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda College)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Public Accounts Committee published a report of its examination of matters in relation to financial procedures at the Garda College, Templemore on 18 July last. It follows from the Interim Audit Report prepared by the Garda Internal Audit Section of An Garda Síochána and published by the Garda Commissioner last March. The PAC report makes a number of findings and recommendations in relation to An Garda Síochána and my Department. T...

31. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each Garda station in the Cork city division as of 30 September 2017; and the number of new recruits assigned to the division since recruitment resumed in 2014. (Question 44209/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.
 This Government i...

32. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the supports for persons here as part of the Irish refugee protection programme; if he has had engagement with these refugees to improve the level of support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44221/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Refugee Resettlement Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): 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 pledged to accept a total of 4,000 persons into the State; 2,622 through the EU relocation mechanism...

33. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the timeframe for the implementation of the outstanding recommendations of the McMahon report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44279/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Asylum Support Services)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Report of the Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers, also known as the Justice McMahon report, was published in June 2015. Its recommendations have implications for a number of Government Departments and services. 
My Department has since published three itemised progress reports on the implementation of its 173 recommendations; the...

34. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the blocks preventing the immediate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44195/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Finian McGrath): Ireland signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007 and since then, successive Governments have emphasised Ireland’s strong commitment to proceed to ratification as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. This Government remains committed to ratification of the Convention. 
It ...

35. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the redress scheme for the Magdalene survivors especially those living abroad; and if there has been progress regarding the recommendation of a person (details supplied) to discuss a memorial. (Question 44217/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Magdalen Laundries Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): To date awards totalling almost €25.7 million have been paid out to 682 women under the Ex Gratia Magdalene Restorative Justice Scheme administered by my Department. 166 of these are in respect of women who are resident outside the State and I expect 4 others to receive their payments in the coming weeks, bringing this to a total of 170. 
As the Deputy is aware, the women are also entitled to other benefits under the Scheme. Each wo...

36. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the initiatives he has taken or the progress made on dealing with drugs entering prisons and drug treatment in prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44226/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Drugs in Prisons)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by my officials that the Irish Prison Service policy ‘Keeping Drugs out of Prison’ was introduced in 2006 to address many aspects of drug use in prison, including measures to reduce the use of illegal drugs in the prison setting.
In 2008, the Operational Support Group was established which received resources and investment in order to implement the key objectives of Keeping Drugs out of Prison. A key role of the Operatio...

37. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the Policing Authority’s third quarterly report on progress by An Garda Síochána in implementing the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate report Changing Policing in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44214/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Policing Authority Reports)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware there is an extensive programme of reform underway affecting all aspects of the administration and operation of An Garda Síochána. This follows the Government’s approval in July 2016 of a Five Year Reform and High Level Workforce Plan for An Garda Síochána which combines the Government’s response to the Garda Inspectorate report ‘Changing Policing in Ireland’ and the commitments in the Programme for a Partne...

38. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on pursuing an amnesty for young persons who are undocumented and have been living here since childhood and who effectively are restricted regarding employment, training and further education. (Question 43709/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Immigration Policy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 41 together.
Successive Ministers have informed the House that there are no plans to introduce a general regularisation scheme for those who are currently illegally resident in the State. Any such proposals could give rise to any number of unpredictable and potentially very costly impacts across the full range of public and social services. In particularly, there may well be significant implica...

39. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the strategy in place for minors who are deemed unsuitable to enter the youth diversion programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44278/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Youth Justice Strategy)

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 a young person who is responsible for committing a crime shall be considered for admission to the Programme. The Diversion Programme has been very successful in its primary purpose of diverting young offenders away from the criminal justice system.
It is...

40. Deputy Frank O’Rourke asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the additional gardaí and resources committed to north County Kildare will be deployed with particular reference to areas that have been experiencing increasing incidences of anti-social behaviour and disturbances (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44137/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.
This Government is...

41. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to establish a time bound scheme with transparent criteria to regularise the position of undocumented migrants here. (Question 44241/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Immigration Policy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 41 together.
Successive Ministers have informed the House that there are no plans to introduce a general regularisation scheme for those who are currently illegally resident in the State. Any such proposals could give rise to any number of unpredictable and potentially very costly impacts across the full range of public and social services. In particularly, there may well be significant implica...

42. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the recent call by the Chief Justice for reform of the civil justice system in order to allow access to justice for all citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44212/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Court Procedures)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy may be aware, a Group to review the administration of civil justice in the State, chaired by the President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly, was established recently. Membership, reporting structures and the remit of the Group are in the process of being finalised and the first meeting of the Group is scheduled for 9 November 2017. 
The Group is to report to me within two years, and will make recommendations for c...

43. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the professional standards unit of An Garda Síochána is carrying out a review of or a report on the juvenile diversion programme; if the volume and details of cases recorded manually match those recorded in PULSE; if so, when his attention was drawn to this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44294/17 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 a young person who is responsible for committing a crime shall be considered for admission to the Programme. The Diversion Programme has been very successful in its primary purpose of diverting young offenders away from the criminal justice system.
Where...

44. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if particular consideration will be given to the policing needs of the Cavan Monaghan garda division in the allocation of garda resources in view of the long land border with a neighbouring jurisdiction and the reduction in garda personnel since 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44265/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 44 together.
I should say at the outset that the distribution of Gardaí is exclusively the statutory responsibility of the Garda Commissioner.
I can say however that this Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. The substantial incre...

45. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on whether the European travel information and authorisation system is having a negative effect on civil liberties and on the ability of non-EU nationals to visit Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44220/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - European Security Strategy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): A proposal to establish a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) with similar objectives to the US ‘ESTA’ system was put forward by the European Commission on 16 November 2016.
The proposal builds upon the measures in the Schengen acquis that concern the crossing of borders and in which Ireland and the UK do not participate. Therefore, Ireland (along with the UK) is not taking part in the adoption of this Regulati...

46. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44196/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - UN Declarations)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Finian McGrath): I wholeheartedly support the aims of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and will use the day in December to raise awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities. I would encourage groups operating in the Disability Sector to highlight and support the occasion. This year, the theme of the day is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” and in this context I have pro...

47. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to amend both the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009 and the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993 to comply with European union law with regard to data protection, further to Mr. Justice John L. Murray’s review of the law on retention of and access to communications data report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44277/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Data Protection)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): In July 2016 the Government approved proposals to draft a Bill making amendments to the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993 and the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009 in order to modernise in certain respects the legal framework for the lawful interception of communications and electronic surveillance.
Work is ongoing in my Department, in consultation with the Attorney General’s Of...

48. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of reserved judgments currently outstanding in the High Court over three months, one year and two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44245/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Court Judgments)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy may be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions. Furthermore, the scheduling of court cases and the allocation of court business is a matter for the President of the High Court and the presiding judge who are, under the Constitution, independent in the exercise of their judicial functio...

49. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which extra Garda personnel are likely to be deployed throughout the country in accordance with demographic requirements and crime levels; the extent to which deployment is likely to take place in the next 12 months to address the most serious identifiable shortages throughout the regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44219/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources among the various Garda Divisions and Districts, and I as Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. 
I am assured by the Garda Commissioner that personnel assigned throughout the country, together with the overall policing arrangements and operational strategies are continually monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures th...

50. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the manner in which the Garda Commissioner will be replaced; and when the vacancy will be filled. (Question 44242/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Garda Commissioner Appointment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware the Policing Authority under section 9 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, has responsibility for nominating persons for appointment by the Government to the post of Garda Commissioner.
This will be the first time that the new legislative process is utilised and I have consulted with the Chair of the Authority about a process to identify and appoint a permanent Commissioner to An Garda Síochána. We are a...