Header Item Written Answers Nos. 41-49
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Crime Levels
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Human Trafficking
 Header Item Consular Services Expenditure
 Header Item Irish Communities Abroad

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 801 No. 4
Unrevised

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Written Answers Nos. 41-49

Garda Investigations

 41. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter further to Parliamentary Question No. 8 of 20 June 2012, the current status of the Garda review of the murder of Fr. Niall Molloy in Clara, County Offaly, in July 1985; if he will accede to the request by the family for an independent inquiry into the priest's violent death; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20588/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am advised by the Garda authorities that the examination surrounding the circumstances of the death of Father Niall Molloy is almost complete and that a report of this examination is expected to be submitted to the Commissioner sometime this month. Upon receipt of a report from the Commissioner I will review the situation.

I understand that the officers carrying out the examination are continuing to keep the family members of the deceased updated on progress. While I fully appreciate the concerns of the family, in any case where criminal behaviour is suspected it is only through a Garda investigation, and where evidence of criminal wrongdoing is available through the submission of a file by the Gardaí to the Director of Public Prosecutions, that persons can be brought fully to account.

Therefore, I hope that the Deputy will agree that, in the first instance, we need to allow the present Garda examination to proceed to its conclusion, which, as I have indicated, will be shortly.

  Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 37.

Crime Levels

 43. Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter steps that are being taken to ensure incidents of racism are not under-reported; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20840/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I can advise the Deputy that An Garda Síochána is very conscious of the impact of racist incidents and relevant structures are in place to support appropriate policing responses and to encourage reporting.

All members of An Garda Síochána are tasked with enforcing all legislation relating to criminal matters, including the relevant provisions relating to racist behaviour. On receipt of any complaint the matter will be subject of a full investigation by An Garda Síochána and on completion of such investigation an Investigation File will be submitted to the Law Officers who, on being satisfied that there is sufficient evidence available to warrant a prosecution, will direct what charges, if any, are to be proffered.

The Garda Racial Intercultural and Diversity Office (GRIDO) has responsibility for coordinating, monitoring and advising on all aspects of policing Ireland's diverse communities. GRIDO monitors the reporting and recording of hate and racist crime on a continual basis.

There are currently a total of 322 Garda Ethnic Liaison Officers (ELOs) appointed to work with minority communities at local level. These officers combined with GRIDO play a fundamental role in liaising with minority groups and work in partnership to encourage tolerance, respect and understanding within communities and to help prevent hate and racist crime. GRIDO and ELOs provide advice and assistance to victims of hate or racist crime where required or deemed necessary.

In addition to the work of the Gardaí, the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, which operates under my Department's remit, provides substantial funding to local authorities around the country to support local programmes that educate the public on issues such as immigration, integration and anti-racism.

  Question No. 44 answered with Question No. 37.

Proposed Legislation

 45. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter when he intends to bring forward legislation or amending legislation to facilitate separate family law courts. [20852/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Programme for Government includes a commitment to hold a Referendum to amend the Constitution to provide for a separate family court structure. The intention is that if the Referendum is approved by the People, detailed implementing legislation of the type referred to by the Deputy will be introduced. In the meantime, work on the drafting of the Scheme of a Referendum Bill is proceeding in my Department.

Human Trafficking

 46. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter his plans to improve shortfalls in the identification of human trafficking victims as highlighted by the OSCE and several US trafficking in persons reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20831/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The process for the identification of victims of human trafficking used in Ireland is based on the model developed by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM); this envisages a two step process involving an assessment of the varying indicators and a detailed interview with the individual. Participation by front-line and policy personnel working in this area in various national and international training initiatives ensures that policy and processes in this regard are informed by the latest developments and in particular any new methods of identification of victims of human trafficking.

  The OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Human Trafficking visited Ireland in early 2012 and the Report of her visit was published in March 2013. This Report recognised Ireland's dynamic anti-trafficking policy and the development of good practices based on a human rights approach and good governance. The Report also complimented Ireland's comprehensive institutional system, coordination mechanism and consultation and cooperation with Non-Governmental Organisations and International Organisations. The full report, including the Government's response is available on www.blueblindfold.gov.ie. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report has given Ireland Tier 1 rating for its efforts in combating the crime of human trafficking. In addition, Ireland also had the benefit during 2012 of a country visit from the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) who carried out a week long country visit in November; the final report from GRETA will be available in the coming months.

  The contents and recommendations of these Reports, including any observations in relation to the identification process, will be taken into account in the process of drafting a new National Action Plan in this area during 2013. The views of these international organisations, developments at European Union level, along with consultations with other state agencies and civil society will significantly inform the direction and content of the new National Action Plan.

  While the reports of these international bodies are a welcome acknowledgement of the work we have done in this area, they also represent important learning opportunities for developing and refining our policies and processes; we cannot be complacent with regard to our efforts to identify victims, prosecute those who perpetrate this crime or in seeking to ensure that the victims of this human rights abuse are afforded the supports and services they require.

  Question No. 47 answered with Question No. 17.

Consular Services Expenditure

 48. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore further to Parliamentary Question No. 157 of 23 April 2013 if he will confirm the salary and related costs of diplomatic representation of staff posted from Ireland in 2011 and 2012; the capital expenditure expended on diplomatic representation in those years; if he will provide in tabular form the number of staff employed in diplomatic representation whose annual salary lies in the following ranges: €100-150,000, €150-200,000, €200-250,000 and more than €250,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20866/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore As indicated in my reply to Question No 157 on 23 April 2013, Ireland maintains 73 Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad to represent and promote the values and interests of the State and our people and provide frontline services to Irish citizens. I have set out in the table below the salary and related costs of staff posted from Ireland who were working at these Missions in 2011 and 2012.

YEAR SALARY ALLOWANCES
2011 €21,327,390 €8,998,026
2012 €20,367,563 €8,709,948


  In 2011, capital expenditure on Missions was €933,901. In 2012 it was €878,604.

  The number of HQ-based staff working at our Missions abroad whose annual salary lies in the ranges €100-150,000, €150-200,000, €200-250,000 and more than €250,000 is as follows:
SALARY RANGE NUMBER OF STAFF
100,000-150,000 46
150,000-200,000 4
200,000-250,000 0
>250,000 0

Irish Communities Abroad

 49. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if he will provide an update on his efforts to engage with Irish citizens who work and reside abroad. [20906/13]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Maintaining and strengthening links with Irish communities overseas has always been a key objective of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as demonstrated by its inclusion in the high level goals set out in the Department’s 2011 – 2014 Strategy Statement. Following the Report of the Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants of 2002, the Irish Abroad Unit was established in 2004 to address the needs of our most vulnerable emigrants abroad and to provide greater strategic direction to the Government’s engagement with the Diaspora.

  In partnership with our Missions abroad, the Unit works to support the most vulnerable of our emigrants, pursue appropriate legal avenues for emigration, support Irish immigration centres and new arrivals, address issues which facilitate assimilation in new home, manage our diaspora recognition programmes and engage the key influencers and leverage their experience and expertise as we work towards economic recovery.

Today, our Diaspora engagement policy has two key strands. First, through the Emigrant Support Programme, we work with almost 200 Irish community organisations in over 20 countries to provide support to Irish emigrants. Since 2004, Irish groups ranging from those providing front line services to those most at need including the elderly, isolated, vulnerable and new arrivals to those working in the culture and heritage space have received grants of over €104 million under the Programme. Details of all grant recipients since 2006 can be found on my Department’s website at http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=298.  I am pleased that, despite the difficult financial situation we face, the Government has maintained the 2013 funding for the ESP at €11.59 million, the same level as 2012. In addition to supporting the most vulnerable of our diaspora, we have in recent years enhanced our engagement with communities dealing with large numbers of new emigrants, particularly, in Australia and Canada. In Canada, we support the new Irish Canadian Immigration Centre in Toronto, which I opened during my visit to Toronto in March 2012, while in Australia, the main welfare bureaus in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane all secured additional funding in 2012. Projects aimed at supporting the needs of new emigrants will be the focus of the 2013 programme which has just closed.

  The second element of our policy is focussed around the work of the Global Irish Network, a group of over 300 of the most influential Irish connected business figures drawn from 40 countries. Over the past three years, the Network has proved particularly effective in the following areas: as a source of structured advice from key players in priority markets, sectors and within multinational companies; the facilitation of high level access to decision makers in major corporations for the Government and Irish companies; a direct role in job creation through high level FDI Forums (such as the President Clinton “Invest in Ireland” roundtable n February, 2012), formal involvement in developing trade missions and Connect Ireland; over 100 members have signed up to support exporters under the Global Irish Contacts Programme providing expertise in 32 markets across 14 sectors; support and assistance with our work to build a strong international reputation; and participation in a number of new initiatives including the Gathering, the Farmleigh Fellowship, the Irish Technology Leadership Group and within the agri-food sector.

  In addition to the above programmes, the Department also works closely with our missions in the United States to address the position of the undocumented Irish and to reform our migration arrangements with the US and manages our diaspora recognition programmes such as the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad and the Certificate of Irish Heritage.


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