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 ...

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...

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...

1. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his Department’s plans to conduct market research. (Question 41633/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Departmental Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together. The strategic communications unit in my Department represents a step change in how we as a Government communicate with our people. It is about informing people of the work of Government in a co-ordinated, focused and cross-governmental way so that it becomes easier for people to understand what the Government is doing and the full range of State services, benefits and entitlements available to people, both new and cur...

2. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on changes to his Department’s website; and if changes are being made to merrionstreet.ie. (Question 41863/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Departmental Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together. The strategic communications unit in my Department represents a step change in how we as a Government communicate with our people. It is about informing people of the work of Government in a co-ordinated, focused and cross-governmental way so that it becomes easier for people to understand what the Government is doing and the full range of State services, benefits and entitlements available to people, both new and cur...

3. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on plans in his Department to conduct market research. (Question 42741/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Departmental Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together. The strategic communications unit in my Department represents a step change in how we as a Government communicate with our people. It is about informing people of the work of Government in a co-ordinated, focused and cross-governmental way so that it becomes easier for people to understand what the Government is doing and the full range of State services, benefits and entitlements available to people, both new and cur...

4. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the advertising undertaken by his Department. (Question 43749/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Departmental Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together. The strategic communications unit in my Department represents a step change in how we as a Government communicate with our people. It is about informing people of the work of Government in a co-ordinated, focused and cross-governmental way so that it becomes easier for people to understand what the Government is doing and the full range of State services, benefits and entitlements available to people, both new and cur...

5. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on changes to his Department’s website; and if changes are planned in respect of the website of the Government Information Service, merrionstreet.ie. (Question 43823/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Departmental Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together. The strategic communications unit in my Department represents a step change in how we as a Government communicate with our people. It is about informing people of the work of Government in a co-ordinated, focused and cross-governmental way so that it becomes easier for people to understand what the Government is doing and the full range of State services, benefits and entitlements available to people, both new and cur...

6. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the status of the commitment in his own Department’s strategy statement to examine the balance of power and responsibility between the government and the civil service. (Question 43829/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Departmental Communications)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, together. The strategic communications unit in my Department represents a step change in how we as a Government communicate with our people. It is about informing people of the work of Government in a co-ordinated, focused and cross-governmental way so that it becomes easier for people to understand what the Government is doing and the full range of State services, benefits and entitlements available to people, both new and cur...

7. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet Committee A (Economy) last met. (Question 41642/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 10, inclusive, together.
Cabinet Committee A held its first meeting on 12 September. Its focus is on economic issues, including implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 and preparation of a new, more focused, action plan for next year; labour market policies, including implementation of Pathways to Work and responding to emerging skills pressures; competitiveness and productivity challenges for businesses, including pressures from rece...

8. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet Committee A (Economy) last met; and when it is scheduled to meet again. (Question 42742/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 10, inclusive, together.
Cabinet Committee A held its first meeting on 12 September. Its focus is on economic issues, including implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 and preparation of a new, more focused, action plan for next year; labour market policies, including implementation of Pathways to Work and responding to emerging skills pressures; competitiveness and productivity challenges for businesses, including pressures from rece...

9. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet Committee A (Economy) last met. (Question 43751/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 10, inclusive, together.
Cabinet Committee A held its first meeting on 12 September. Its focus is on economic issues, including implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 and preparation of a new, more focused, action plan for next year; labour market policies, including implementation of Pathways to Work and responding to emerging skills pressures; competitiveness and productivity challenges for businesses, including pressures from rece...

10. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Taoiseach when Cabinet Committee A (Economy) will next meet. (Question 43786/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Cabinet Committee Meetings)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 10, inclusive, together.
Cabinet Committee A held its first meeting on 12 September. Its focus is on economic issues, including implementation of the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 and preparation of a new, more focused, action plan for next year; labour market policies, including implementation of Pathways to Work and responding to emerging skills pressures; competitiveness and productivity challenges for businesses, including pressures from rece...

11. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his attendance at the EU digital summit in Tallinn, Estonia, on 29 September 2017. (Question 41635/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - EU Summits)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 to 16, inclusive, together.
The digital summit in Tallinn was an important opportunity for EU leaders to discuss the evolution of digital technologies and their wide-ranging implications in a less formal setting than regular European Council business. The Estonian Presidency prepared a very useful, forward-looking agenda to stimulate discussion on how Europe can develop its competitive advantages in a fast-changing digital world which is re-sha...