1. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if approval will be forthcoming for proposed chief superintendent appointments in An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40593/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Garda Promotions)

Deputy Jim O’Callaghan: Why will the Government not fill the existing vacancies at the rank of chief superintendent in An Garda Síochána?
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2. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the date on which Ireland will ratify the Istanbul Convention. (Question 40595/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - UN Conventions Ratification)

Deputy Jonathan O’Brien: I ask the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, who I presume will take this question, the date on which the Istanbul Convention will be ratified.
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3. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the action being taken following the recent paramilitary activity; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40594/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Paramilitary Groups)

Deputy Jim O’Callaghan: There has been a recent upsurge in paramilitary activity from dissident groups. What is the Minister going to do about it?
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4. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) who was killed in 2011 in a hit-and-run incident; if her attention has been further drawn to the family’s concern that if the guilty party had been properly dealt with before the fatal incident, the person would not have been killed, and that the family allege there is evidence of failure, cover up and corruption at the level of the Garda, the courts, her Department and the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP; if she will call for a public inquiry into the circumstances of the person’s death and its aftermath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40592/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Garda Investigations)

Deputy Gino Kenny: I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle for facilitating me. I will abbreviate my question to the Minister. Has her attention been drawn to the case of a person who was killed in 2011 in a hit-and-run incident? Has her attention been drawn to the family’s concerns that if the guilty party had been properly dealt with before the fatal incident, the person would not have been killed? The family alleges there is evidence of failure of inquiry.
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5. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she still has full confidence in the Garda Commissioner, with particular reference to the manner in which Garda personnel making protected disclosures are dealt with in view of the fact that the Garda Commissioner is now in position for over two years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40597/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Protected Disclosures)

Deputy Mick Wallace: The Tánaiste is responsible for overseeing An Garda Síochána and setting its priorities. She has an obligation to ensure that the force is managed in an appropriate fashion. Given that she is the only one who has authority over the Garda Commissioner, is she still 100% confident in how the Commissioner has been functioning, especially in light of how the latter has handled protected disclosures among other matters?
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6. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will meet the two serving Garda whistleblowers whose legal teams have been in contact with her requesting a meeting and access to reports commissioned in relation to their cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40318/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Protected Disclosures)

Deputy Clare Daly: This question relates to the undermining of the position of whistleblowers. They are the victims of bullying and harassment. These are matters that have been brought directly to the Minister’s attention by a number of serving whistleblowers, at the heart of which is the Garda Commissioner. On the Minister’s point to Deputy Wallace, it is normal procedure in any organisation when somebody is the subject of a major inquiry or serious allegations that they are suspended. Afte...

7. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which she will fund the Labour Court recommendations (details supplied) made since budget day; if she will revise the estimates based on that decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36754/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Garda Remuneration)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald)(Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I welcome the decision by Garda Representative Association and Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors members to accept the independent recommendation of the Labour Court which sought to address the concerns that have been articulated in relation to their pay and conditions, the pay and conditions of new recruits, and their access to the statutory dispute resolution bodies. 
Arising fro...

8. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the increase in the number of gardaí that the Cork city division can expect in 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40453/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Garda Strength)

Deputy Billy Kelleher: I would like to ask the increase in the number of gardaí in the Cork city division we can expect in 2017.
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9. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if any of the Garda station closures in counties Sligo and Leitrim are likely to be reversed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40457/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Garda Station Closures)

Deputy Eamon Scanlon: I ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice if any Garda station closures in counties Sligo and Leitrim are likely to be reversed and if she will make a statement on the matter.
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10. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if the decrease in the number of community gardaí in County Limerick in recent years will be reversed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40450/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Garda Deployment)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): This Government is committed to ensuring visible, effective and responsive policing throughout the country in order to strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and prevent crime. To make this a reality for all, the Government has in place a plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. In 2017, fu...

11. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views as to whether there is a legal barrier in view of the lack of any barrier to ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from a legal perspective and only from a policy point of view; the policy of Government that has informed the failure to ratify the convention; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40440/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

Deputy Gino Kenny: I ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views as to whether there is a legal barrier in view of the lack of any barrier to ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
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12. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will report on the “What Would You Do?” awareness campaign relating to domestic violence and abuse. (Question 40442/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Domestic Violence)

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: This question relates to the high-profile “What Would You Do?” domestic violence awareness campaign, which was launched recently and on which almost €1 million is being spent. While I welcome anything that raises awareness of domestic violence and violence against women, my issue with this campaign is that it puts the onus on intervention by other people and individuals and does not answer the question of what people should do.
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13. Deputy James Lawless asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the implementation of the recent recommendations from the report of the independent review group on her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40299/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Departmental Reform)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): My Department has implemented significant reform through a Programme for Change following the report of the Independent Review Group which recommended a range of organisational and cultural changes. Some actions involve strengthening structural and governance processes while others focused on changing organisational behaviour. It should be noted that many of the changes overlap with the actions set out in the Civil Ser...

14. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the measures that will be taken to address the low burglary detection rate in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40452/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Crime Levels)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I understand that the Deputy is referring to detection rates highlighted in the ‘Garda Recorded Crime Statistics 2010-2014’, which was published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) last week. The first thing that needs to be said is that this publication provides an analysis of data up to the end of 2014 only, and it would be entirely incorrect to suggest that it represents an assessment of the current situation in r...

15. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality whether she will consider an independent public inquiry into the death of a person (details supplied) and the subsequent Garda actions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40437/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Commissions of Inquiry)

Deputy Bríd Smith: I am aware that this question has been brought before the Minister and previous Ministers with responsibility for justice many times in the Dáil. It relates to the case of the murder of Shane O’Farrell. I am raising it again. Those of us in the House will continue to raise it until we see a form of justice that is appropriate to the events that took place. We should have a discussion about those events and determine where we stand. I call on the Minister to outline her po...

16. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to amend the law on the advertising of gambling; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40307/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Gambling Legislation)

Deputy Anne Rabbitte: What plans does the Minister for Justice and Equality have to amend the law on the advertising of gambling? I ask for a statement in that regard.
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17. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay in delivering on the implementation of UNCRPD here; the efforts being taken to speed up the process taking into account a ten-year delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40300/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - 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...

18. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the full extent of the scale and value of assets seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau in the past five years; if all such properties have been disposed and the proceeds retained by the State; the status of any such properties not yet disposed of in this context; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40419/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Criminal Assets Bureau)

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: This question seeks to ascertain the extent, scale and volume of assets confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau over recent years, the extent to which the assets have been successfully disposed of for the benefit of the State and if the Minister will make a statement on the matter.
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19. Deputy Jim O’Callaghan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the recent CSO survey which indicated a fall in detection rates for certain categories of crime; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40391/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Crime Levels)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I understand that the Deputy is referring to detection rates highlighted in the ‘Garda Recorded Crime Statistics 2010-2014’, which was published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) last week. The first thing that needs to be said is that this publication provides an analysis of data up to the end of 2014 only, and it would be entirely incorrect to suggest that it represents an assessment of the current situation in r...

20. Deputy John Lahart asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if there are plans in place to increase the number of Garda detectives in the Dublin region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40444/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Garda Deployment)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner 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. 
I am informe...

21. Deputy James Lawless asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the measures that will be taken to address a burglary detection rate of less than 10% in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40458/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Crime Levels)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I understand that the Deputy is referring to detection rates highlighted in the ‘Garda Recorded Crime Statistics 2010-2014’, which was published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) last week. The first thing that needs to be said is that this publication provides an analysis of data up to the end of 2014 only, and it would be entirely incorrect to suggest that it represents an assessment of the current situation in r...

22. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if, in the event of an investigation that may be initiated following the report and review relating to two protected disclosures (details supplied), she will consider suspending the Garda Commissioner, in view of the fact that she might have control of much of the information required; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40426/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Protected Disclosures)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy is aware, following advice received from the Attorney General, I appointed Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill to undertake a review of certain protected disclosures which were made to me. In essence, Judge O’Neill was asked to review allegations of wrongdoing contained in the disclosures; to make whatever inquiries he considered appropriate in relation to the review and to report on the conclusion of his review...

23. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to ensure that asylum seekers here will not face another Christmas in the direct provision system that has been described as a severe violation of human rights; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40438/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Direct Provision System)

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Persons who arrive in Ireland seeking international protection are offered shelter and accommodation in State provided accommodation to meet their immediate needs. This includes mainstream access to health, education and social protection services. While the operation of this system is kept under continual review, there are no plans to replace it with any other system at present. I am satisfied that this syst...

24. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to amend the Refugee Act 1996 to allow asylum seekers here to work, particularly in view of the well documented negative effects of enforced unemployment, which according to the HSE can compound mental health issues with boredom, depression, sense of isolation and loss of self esteem; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40429/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Legislative Measures)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Section 9(4)(b) of the Refugee Act 1996, provides that applicants for international protection shall not seek or enter employment or carry on any business, trade or profession during the period before the final determination of their application. This legislation is being replaced by the International Protection Act 2015, which is expected to be commenced on 31 December, 2016. There has been no change in the policy in ...

25. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the measures that will be taken to address the low burglary detection rate in County Wicklow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40454/16 asked on 16 Dec 2016 - Crime Levels)

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I understand that the Deputy is referring to detection rates highlighted in the ‘Garda Recorded Crime Statistics 2010-2014’, which was published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) last week. The first thing that needs to be said is that this publication provides an analysis of data up to the end of 2014 only, and it would be entirely incorrect to suggest that it represents an assessment of the current situation in r...