270. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the sale and supply of alcohol; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48906/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Alcohol Sales)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, I am not in a position in my capacity as Minister for Justice and Equality to provide legal advice in answer to a Parliamentary Question.
The general position is that conditions applicable to the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor are set out in the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2011. Under section 17(3) of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, it is an offence for a licensee, with intent to evade the conditio...

271. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if her Department has published its annual report for 2013. (Question 48775/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Departmental Reports)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): My Department’s Annual Report was published in September 2014 and is available at www.justice.ie.
 ...

272. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide a full list of events where An Garda Síochána charged private organisers for policing events in the years 2012, 2013 and to date in 2014, with a breakdown of the amount An Garda Síochána received per event. (Question 48791/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Policing at Private Events)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Section 30 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides a statutory basis for the Garda Commissioner, as Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote, to charge for police services on a non-public duty basis for commercial events such as sports fixtures and concerts.
In that context, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the monies recouped by An Garda Síochána for policing services at various events in 2012, 2013 and to 16 December 2014 a...

273. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 143 of 18 September 2014, if she will provide an update; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48853/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Driver Safety)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána liaise with all relevant Government Departments on a regular basis in relation to road traffic matters, including question of public and professional driver safety. In particular, An Garda Síochána has provided advice to the Taxi Regulation Directorate of the National Transport Authority (NTA) in relation to crime perpetrated against Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) Ope...

274. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prosecutions for fuel laundering that took place over the past year; and if she will provide a county breakdown of the location where the offences took place. (Question 48909/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Criminal Prosecutions Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I have requested the information sought by the Deputy from the Garda authorities and I will be in contact with the Deputy again when the information is to hand. 
 ...

275. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to review mandatory sentencing (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48945/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Sentencing Policy)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The mandatory sentence for murder is life imprisonment, as provided by section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1990. A sentence of life imprisonment means that the prisoner is subject to that sentence for the rest of his or her life. Such a prisoner has no right to be released early at any stage. If granted temporary release, the prisoner remains subject to the life sentence and can be recalled to prison at any stage. Currently a perso...

276. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to review the parole system (details supplied) in Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48946/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Judicial Reviews)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I published the Report of the Penal Policy Review Group on 17 September, 2014.
The Report contains 43 recommendations, some of which can be implemented in the short to medium term, while others will require a more long term approach. As an initial step, I recently obtained the agreement, in principle, of Government to proceed immediately with the implementation of a number of key recommendations including bringing forward legislativ...

277. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to amend section 120 of the Succession Act 1965 (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48947/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Succession Act)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, I am not in a position in my capacity as Minister for Justice and Equality to make reference to a specific case in answer to a Parliamentary Question.
Shortcomings in the scope of the succession rules applicable in cases where a spouse has been found guilty of the unlawful killing of the other spouse have been revealed in a number of high profile cases. I share the concerns that any person might benefit...

278. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of warrants outstanding for the different Garda districts in Dublin for the past three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48964/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Garda Warrants)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.
 ...

279. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide an update regarding the Garda’s work in dealing with cash-for-gold signs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48967/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Cash for Gold Trade)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I wish to inform the Deputy that Dublin City Council has advised An Garda Síochána that the issue of ‘cars for cash signs’ is being dealt with by them as a litter problem and that it continues to remove these signs across the city on a regular basis. Where such businesses are identified, Gardaí conduct enquiries to establish their bona fides and where there are suspicions of criminality the matter is fully investigated and appropria...

280. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to introduce new regulation for cash for gold shops; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48968/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Proposed Legislation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am committed to examining the best approach to regulation in the area of cash for gold business providers, having regard to the potentially significant impact on legitimate businesses. It is important to recognise that any legislation in this area would have a potentially significant impact on a broad range of businesses. There are a large number of legitimate businesses such as jewellers, antique dealers etc., as well as ‘cash for...

281. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to refurbish Garda stations in Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48969/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Garda Station Refurbishment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The programme of refurbishment of Garda accommodation is based on agreed accommodation priorities which are established by An Garda Síochána. This programme is progressed by An Garda Síochána in co-operation with the Office of Public Works, who have responsibility for capital expenditure in this area.
In that context, I am informed by the Garda authorities that a programme of cell refurbishment is currently underway at a number of G...

282. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the new cars and vehicles that have been purchased for Garda R and J districts for the past five years; her plans for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48970/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Garda Transport Provision)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The provision and allocation of Garda transport is a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the light of her identified operational requirements and the availability of resources. Responsibility for the efficient deployment of Garda vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between stations, as required by operational circumstances.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that the allocati...

283. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of community gardaí by rank involved in community policing for Garda R and J districts; her views on the rostering plan in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48971/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Garda Deployment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of personnel, including community Gardaí, among the Garda Regions, Divisions, and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of these resources.
The Deputy will be aware that all Gardaí have responsibility, in...

284. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the mediation Bill; the contents of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49013/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Proposed Legislation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): My intention is to publish the Mediation Bill in the next session and thereafter to proceed quickly with enactment of the legislation. The Bill will contain provisions designed to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings, thereby reducing legal costs for the parties, speeding up the resolution of disputes, and relieving the stress involved in court proceedings.
 ...

285. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to introduce legislation to set a maximum tree height limit similar to the UK, to avoid disputes among neighbours; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49014/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Proposed Legislation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Difficulties experienced by property owners arising from trees and high hedges on neighbouring land were raised in both the Dáil and Seanad during passage of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009. My Department consulted on the matter with the Law Reform Commission and it took the view that unreasonable interference caused by high trees or hedges was a matter in any particular case for tort law or more generally for planning ...

286. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the priorities in her Department for the remainder of the term of this Government; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49027/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Departmental Programmes)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): My Department is committed to implementing the priorities set out in the Programme for Government and in the Statement of Government Priorities 2014 - 2016, which was published by the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste last July. These will form the basis for the work of my Department for the remainder of this Government’s term of office.
Delivering the comprehensive Justice Reform Programme which is aimed at enhancing the administration an...

287. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide the detail of her recent meeting with the Stardust victims committee; if the inquiry will be reopened in view of new evidence presented to her; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49047/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Stardust Fire)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I met with the Stardust Relatives’ and Victims Committee in July of this year and this meeting provided an opportunity for me to hear their concerns at first hand. At that meeting the Committee and their representatives set out, in some detail, their concerns in relation to the Inquiries into this matter that have been undertaken previously and some related financial issues that have arisen. I indicated to the Committee that, while ...

288. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the investigation into a crime (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49048/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Garda Investigations)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am of course aware of the issues connected with the tragic case referred to and which have been raised by the family over a number of years. To enable me to respond fully to the Deputy’s request I am seeking an updated report from the Garda authorities and I will contact him directly when this is to hand.
 ...

289. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the proposals to provide new accommodation for Bailieborough Garda district headquarters, County Cavan; the stage of this particular project; when the project is expected to proceed to the next stage; when construction is likely to commence; the estimated cost of this building project; if financial provision is made in her Department’s Estimate for 2015 to enable construction to commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49065/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Garda Station Refurbishment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The programme of refurbishment of Garda accommodation is based on agreed accommodation priorities which are established by An Garda Síochána. This programme is progressed by An Garda Síochána in co-operation with the Office of Public Works, who have responsibility for capital expenditure in this area.
In that context, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the provision of a new District Headquarters in Bailieborough will contin...

290. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality regarding spouses of Irish nationals, the number of joint spouse visa applications and applications for permission to remain that have been refused on financial grounds since the introduction of the family reunification guidelines, by nationality of the applicant. (Question 49072/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Visa Applications)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Around 140 applications for Irish entry visas for the purpose of joining Irish spouse or partners, out of a total of around 840 such applications, have been refused to date in 2014 i.e. since the coming into force of the Family Reunification Guidelines on 1 January 2014. These applications would have been refused for a range of reasons, including, in some cases, the financial capacity of the Irish national sponsor. It would not be ...

291. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality regarding stolen firearms, if statistics are available indicating the proportion of all firearms recorded as stolen that are in cases where such firearms were taken from a licenceholder; if she will provide this ratio for each year in the past ten years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49103/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Crime Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I have asked the Garda Commissioner for a report in relation to the matter and will write to the Deputy when I have further information.
 ...

292. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in view of the court challenges which are mounted against a refusal to award a firearms licence, if she will indicate the cost to the State of court proceedings in these matters since 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49106/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Firearms Licences)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Deputy will appreciate that firearms legislation provides for an appeal to the District Court where a firearms licence has been refused by An Garda Síochána. I am informed that the information sought regarding such cases is not readily available to An Garda Síochána or the Courts Service. The work required to collate this information would require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort and could not be...

293. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide in tabular form the number of staff in her Department currently on a sabbatical-career break broken down by zero to six months, six to 12 months, one to two years, two to three years, four to five years and more than five years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49130/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Departmental Staff Career Breaks)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can inform the Deputy that, as of 16 December, 2014, the numbers of staff in my Department on career break is as set out in a table. The information is provided in tabular format as requested and, while not requested by the Deputy, I have also included information for staff on career break in the 3-4 year category. The Deputy should note that the term sabbatical is not utilised in the context of leave granted to staff.
 Len...

294. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide, in tabular form, the total photography costs for her Department since coming to office inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49145/14 asked on 18 Dec 2014 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The photography costs incurred by my Department from the date of my appointment on the 8th May to date are €553.50.
I can inform the Deputy that photographic services are only used by my Department to mark and provide a record of significant occasions. Consideration is given at all times to the costs involved and best value for money is always a priority when sourcing such services.
 Occasion Photographer Cost Appointment...