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 ...

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...

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 ...

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...