Header Item Written Answers Nos. 906-923
 Header Item Refugee Appeals Tribunal
 Header Item Electronic Tagging
 Header Item Direct Provision System
 Header Item Refugee Numbers
 Header Item International Agreements
 Header Item Departmental Legal Costs
 Header Item Garda Vetting Applications
 Header Item Personal Debt
 Header Item Departmental Programmes
 Header Item Garda Vetting Applications
 Header Item Road Traffic Accidents Data
 Header Item Hoax Calls
 Header Item Garda Recruitment
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Direct Provision System
 Header Item Direct Provision System

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Unrevised

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Written Answers Nos. 906-923

Refugee Appeals Tribunal

 906. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the serving members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal and the dates on which their terms expire.  [34947/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The details requested by the Deputy are as follows:

Serving Tribunal Member Expiry Date of Term of Office
 Michelle O'Gorman, B.L.  16 July, 2013
 David Andrews, S.C.  3 August, 2013
 Ben Garvey, B.L.  25 September, 2013
 Paul Christopher, B.L.  27 November, 2013
 Fergus O'Connor, B.L.  27 November, 2013
 Paul Gormley, B.L.  27 November, 2013


Due to the fall in asylum applications and the consequential fall in appeals lodged with the Tribunal in recent years, there has not been a requirement to appoint Tribunal Members since I took office. However, in light of the low number of members now serving, I decided that a selection process involving the Public Appointments Service be conducted to draw up a panel of suitably qualified persons from which appointments to the Tribunal could be made. This process is in its final stages and I expect to be in a position shortly to appoint new Tribunal Members as the need arises.

Electronic Tagging

 907. 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 the total cost to date of the electronic tagging programme; the number of persons on remand and conditional release respectively with an electronic tag; the number of persons on the sex offenders register with an electronic tag; the total number of electronic tags available and in use within the justice system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [34948/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Part 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 provides for the introduction of electronic monitoring in this jurisdiction. The relevant order commencing the provisions in the context of a restriction of movement condition applying to the granting of temporary release was made in 2010.

The Irish Prison Service signed a contract on 15 February 2013 for the provision of electronically monitored temporary release by Chubb Ireland. This is used mainly for the monitoring of hospital in-patients who have been granted temporary release from prison. I can advise the Deputy that the contract is for a duration of two years effective from 1 March 2013 and allows for a significant reduction in staffing costs for hospital escorts. There are currently two offenders on conditional release with an electronic tag. The cost to date since 1 March 2013 is €6,500 approximately (excluding VAT) which accounts for 11 live units and monitoring.

The Deputy may wish to note that legislative proposals being considered in the context of development of a General Scheme of a Sexual Offences Bill include measures for the electronic monitoring of sex offenders in specific circumstances.

In addition, electronic monitoring is being examined by the Group conducting an all encompassing strategic review of penal policy. I expect the Group to report later this year and it is the intention to publish their report.

Direct Provision System

 908. 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 the number of persons in the direct provision system for less than six months; between six and 12 months; in excess of one, two, three, four, five, six or seven years; the total cost to the Exchequer of the current system; the specific steps being taken to address the delays in processing immigration applications involving persons in the direct provision system; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [34949/13]

 909. 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 the total cost of asylum accommodation for the year 2012; the cost to date in 2013; and the corresponding figures for the number of persons accommodated within the direct provision system  [34950/13]

 911. 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 the number of persons residing here who are awaiting a decision on asylum status; the cost of accommodating those persons here; the breakdown of the nationality of those persons in State provided accommodation and those outside the direct provision system, respectively; the corresponding figures for leave to remain applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [34952/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I propose to take Questions Nos. 908, 909 and 911 together.

  The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal.

  It is important to note that RIA itself has no function in determining whether someone should stay or not in its accommodation. Its function is to provide accommodation and related services to those who have sought international protection and who otherwise have no means of supporting themselves. In essence, RIA accommodates all those who make a claim for international protection and who seek accommodation until such time as they:

  (i) leave voluntarily;

  (ii) are removed - either by way of deportation or Dublin II transfer;

  (iii) are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection; or

  (iv) are granted leave to remain, either through the process set out in the Immigration Act, 1999 or are granted permission to remain in the State on some other basis

  The following are the details of expenditure by RIA and occupancy:

Year Expenditure outturn Occupancy at year end
2010 €79.1 million 6,107
2011 €69.5 million 5,423
2012 €62.3 million 4,841
2013 to date €25.75 million - end June (Full year estimate is €57.5 million) 4,616 (at 7 July)
  

In relation to steps being taken to address delays in processing, work on the details of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010 is ongoing at my Department pursuant to current Government policy which is committed, under the Programme for National Recovery, to introduce comprehensive reforms of the immigration, residency and asylum systems, which will include a statutory appeals system and set out rights and obligations in a transparent way.

  As I have outlined previously to the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence, several hundred amendments to the Bill are anticipated, the majority of a technical nature. I also expressed the considered view that instead of engaging in an extremely cumbersome process of tabling hundreds of amendments to the 2010 Bill, it would be much more efficient to publish a new and enhanced text. Such an approach can incorporate the many anticipated amendments while addressing key outstanding issues, several of which have been of concern to Members. This proposition was broadly welcomed by the Joint Committee and work on the Bill continues, therefore, on that basis while also taking account of any intervening matters of relevance such as decisions by the Courts.

  It remains my objective under this new approach, and subject to having to deal with the competing legislative demands of our EU-IMF-ECB Programme commitments, to be in a position to bring a revised Bill to Government for approval and publication before the end of the year.

  Pending the enactment and commencement of the new legislation and with a view to improving processing in the area of international protection, I am proposing to introduce new arrangements for the processing of subsidiary protection applications in light of recent judgments in the Superior Courts. My Department, in consultation with the Attorney General's Office, is developing a new legislative and administrative framework for the processing of current and future subsidiary protection applications. This work is being given high priority and applicants will be advised of the new arrangements as soon as possible.

  Below are two tables of statistics. The first table provides a breakdown of RIA residents giving details of the numbers of persons from the date of their initial asylum application. It is important to note that protection applicants are not required to live in RIA accommodation and in many cases may move in and out of the direct provision system as their circumstances change. Therefore, while the statistics below will show the length of time that has elapsed since those persons who are currently availing of RIA accommodation made their initial application, this does not necessarily mean that they have been residing in RIA accommodation for all of that time. The second table provides a nationality breakdown for those residents.

  In relation to such detail for persons outside RIA accommodation in the asylum and leave to remain processes, this is a more complex undertaking and the information cannot be provided in the time available. Material not already provided in this answer is currently being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy directly.

  Persons in RIA accommodation:
Number of years from initial application Total
0-6 months 277
6-12 months 289
1-2 years 431
2-3 years 490
3-4 years 589
4-5 years 701
5-6 years 707
6-7 years 532
7 + years 600
Total 4,616
  

In relation to the nationalities of those in Direct Provision accommodation, the breakdown is as follows:
INIS Reporting & Analysis Unit  -
Report run date: 11-Jul-2013  -
 -  -
 - Total
Nigeria 1,211
Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The 415
Pakistan 309
Zimbabwe 255
South Africa 154
Ghana 153
Cameroon 151
Afghanistan 142
Somalia 135
Sudan 95
Albania 85
Algeria 84
Malawi 76
Uganda 71
Iraq 70
Kenya 68
Georgia 60
Bangladesh 57
Angola 54
Liberia 54
Iran (Islamic Republic Of) 53
Sierra Leone 49
Kosovo / UNSCR 1244 44
Eritrea 41
Cote D'Ivoire 34
Burundi 33
Congo, The Republic Of The 32
Moldova, Republic Of 31
Ethiopia 29
Rwanda 29
Guinea 28
Mauritius 27
Togo 26
Israel 25
Russian Federation 23
Armenia 22
Benin 21
Bhutan 21
Morocco 21
Ukraine 20
Niger 19
Nepal 14
Palestinian Territory, Occupied 14
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 12
Bolivia 11
Egypt 11
Mali 11
India 10
Malaysia 10
Serbia 10
China (Including Hong Kong) 9
Syrian Arab Republic 9
Turkey 9
Belarus 8
Sri Lanka 8
Chad 7
Myanmar 7
Botswana 6
Tanzania, United Republic Of 6
Azerbaijan 5
Jamaica 5
Lebanon 5
Lesotho 5
Stateless 5
Swaziland 5
Yemen 5
Cape Verde 4
Guyana 4
Venezuela 4
Brazil 3
Chile 3
Ireland (Children with Irish citizenship) 3
Kazakhstan 3
Kuwait 3
Zambia 3
Burkina Faso 2
Central African Republic 2
Gambia 2
Guinea-Bissau 2
Kyrgyzstan 2
Namibia 2
Philippines 2
Viet Nam 2
Belize 1
Canada 1
Cuba 1
Equatorial Guinea 1
Former Yugoslavia 1
Gabon 1
Germany 1
Korea, Republic Of (South Korea) 1
Senegal 1
The Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia 1
Tunisia 1
United States Of America 1
 Other (unclassified)   24
Total 4,616

Refugee Numbers

 910. 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 the number of new applicants who sought protection from the State to date in 2013; the breakdown of the nationality of those persons; the corresponding figure for 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34951/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The number of new applications for refugee status in 2013 (to end June) was 465. The corresponding figure to end June 2012 was 449.

  The nationality breakdown in respect of those applications is as follows:

Nationality Applications Received 2012 (to end June) Applications Received 2013 (to end June)
Afghanistan 13 23
Albania 16 24
Algeria 15 16
Bangladesh 13 15
Cameroon less than 10 11
China less than 10 12
DR Congo 18 34
Georgia less than 10 10
Iraq less than 10 10
Malawi 16 13
Mauritius 11 13
Moldova 13 less than 10
Nepal 11 less than 10
Nigeria 80 63
Pakistan 60 58
South Africa 24 15
Syria less than 10 26
Zimbabwe 16 24
Others (all countries with less than 10 applications) 143 98
  

A detailed breakdown in respect of countries of origin involving less than 10 applications has not been provided for the years in question owing to the confidentiality provisions of the Refugee Act. Under those provisions, I am obliged to take all practicable steps to ensure that the identity of applicants is kept confidential. Accordingly, where such small numbers are involved, I do not wish to provide details that could potentially lead to the identification of individual persons.

  Question No. 911 answered with Question No. 908.

International Agreements

 912. Deputy Andrew Doyle Information on Andrew Doyle Zoom on Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the current extradition agreements with Brazil; if recent discussions or negotiations have taken place on this matter within his Department or with the Brazilian authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [34974/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter There is currently no bilateral extradition treaty in place between Ireland and Brazil.

Departmental Legal Costs

 913. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he has sought and received legal advice outside the Office of the Attorney General; the number of times advice was sought per year in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; the costs of outside legal advice per year in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [34986/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I wish to advise the Deputy that it has not been possible to collate the information requested in the time available. I will forward a response to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Garda Vetting Applications

 914. Deputy John Deasy Information on John Deasy Zoom on John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if his attention has been drawn to the average four to seven month delay in processing Garda clearance applications for unemployed persons interviewed by community employment supervisors for placement on schemes involving working with persons with disabilities; the steps he will take to relieve this impasse; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [35091/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current average processing time for applications is approximately 14 weeks from date of receipt. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion. All organisations registered for Garda Vetting are aware of the processing time-frames for the receipt of Garda vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.

I remain in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner as to how best the service can continue to be delivered and improved upon, while at all times protecting the integrity of the process. Clearly, the protection of children and vulnerable adults is the primary objective of the Garda Central Vetting Unit and this must remain the case.

The possibility of introducing an e-vetting system has been assessed and the Garda authorities are now in the process of developing a system which will enable vetting applications to be submitted electronically through a secure web service. In addition, the system will facilitate the checking and monitoring of applications. The relevant work is being pursued on a priority basis and it will be completed as quickly as possible.

With further assignments of staff this month, staffing at the Unit will be of the order of 140 (whole-time equivalent) staff, which represents an increase in staff assigned to the Unit of almost 50% since March this year. As staff become fully trained on the vetting process I expect there will be a positive effect on vetting times. My Department is also examining the scope for the redeployment of additional personnel from within the public service to the Unit.

Personal Debt

 915. Deputy Liam Twomey Information on Liam Twomey Zoom on Liam Twomey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if his Department has made representations to, or has any contact with, UK authorities or agencies in connection with Irish citizens availing of the UK insolvency regime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35095/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I would refer the Deputy to my response to Questions No. 486 and 487 of 26 February 2013, which was as follows:

  I take it that the Deputy is referring to the provisions of the EU Regulation on insolvency proceedings of 2000, which came into effect in 2002. That Regulation is a mutual recognition instrument and does not seek to harmonise EU insolvency laws. In determining an application for the opening of an insolvency proceeding, for which it would have exclusive power as the primary proceedings, of a company or of a natural person, the Regulation requires that a court should determine the centre of main interest (COMI) of the applicant in the context of assuming jurisdiction.

  It is a matter for the court to satisfy itself that the provisions in its national law in this regard have been observed. For example, The UK Courts can and have refused or revoked insolvency proceedings where an abuse has been detected. Indeed, this has occurred with certain individuals, who were subsequently subject to insolvency proceedings in this jurisdiction.

  A company or natural person is entitled to change a COMI and could do so for the purposes, inter alia  of taking advantage of more favourable insolvency legislation. This entitlement arises under the broad rubric of freedom of movement in the Internal Market and such freedom has been enforced by decisions of the European Court of Justice. The country in which the debts are incurred is not necessarily material, but the relocation must not be artificial. The question of COMI is determined at the date the application for the insolvency proceeding is made and not at the time the debts were incurred. Orders made in insolvency proceedings in another EU jurisdiction, including an order discharging a person from bankruptcy, are enforceable against creditors elsewhere in the EU.

  In response to the economic downturn across Europe, the EU has published a proposal to modernise cross-border insolvency law which seeks to make cross-border insolvency proceedings more efficient, benefiting both debtors and creditors throughout the EU. One of the primary aims of the new Regulation will be to give potentially viable companies and entrepreneurs a second chance before being declared insolvent. The proposal also addresses a range of other insolvency issues.

  I arranged that the initial discussion on the proposed Regulation took place at the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting of EU Justice Ministers held in Dublin Castle on the 17 and 18 of January last. The Ministers, including my British colleague, engaged in a very detailed and constructive discussion on the proposals contained in the Regulation. I emphasised the importance of a more uniform approach across the EU in regard to the establishment of the centre of main interest so as to combat potential abuses in this regard which have given rise to allegations of "bankruptcy tourism".

  Detailed consideration of the provisions contained in the new draft Regulation has now commenced in a Working Group chaired by the Irish Presidency.

  I have nothing further to add to that response other than to say that a first examination of the draft Regulation was concluded by the Council Working Group during the Irish Presidency.

The following information was provided under Standing Order 40A

I can inform you that my Department has made no such representation, nor has it had any such contact with any UK authorities or agency in connection with Irish citizens availing of the UK insolvency regime as is requested in the Deputy’s question. It would not be proper for my Department to seek to intervene in civil law proceedings of this nature in another jurisdiction to which it was not a party.

  The issue of bankruptcy tourism has featured as part of the discussion between EU Justice Ministers in the context of considering the EU Commissioner’s proposed new measure on insolvency, and I emphasised the importance of insuring that rules relating to the jurisdictional competence of EU member states’ courts are properly complied with where bankruptcy proceedings are initiated.

  As already explained to the Deputy, a company or natural person is entitled to change their centre of main interest, COMI, and could do so for the purposes, inter alia, of taking advantage of more favourable insolvency legislation. This entitlement arises under the broad rubric of freedom of movement in the Internal Market and such freedom has been enforced by decisions of the European Court of Justice. The EU regulation on Insolvency Proceedings of 2000, which came into effect in 2002, requires that, in determining an application for the opening of an insolvency proceeding, for which it would have exclusive power as the primary proceedings, that a court should determine the centre of main interest, COMI, of the applicant in the context of assuming jurisdiction. Orders made in insolvency proceedings in another EU jurisdcation, including an order adjudicating or discharging a person from bankruptcy, are enforceable against creditors elsewhere in the EU.

Departmental Programmes

 916. Deputy Peadar Tóibín Information on Peadar Tóibín Zoom on Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of applications under the immigrant investor programme and the start-up entrepreneur programme since the programmes were opened to applications; the number of pending applications; the number of successful applications; and the value of investments made under each programme.  [35097/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter Eleven applications have been received under the Immigrant Investor Programme, nine of those applications have been approved and two are under consideration. Twenty nine applications have been received under the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme, thirteen of those applications have been granted and seven are under consideration. Over €10 million has been committed under the programmes.

Garda Vetting Applications

 917. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide, in tabular form, on a county basis the timeline for processing applications for Garda clearance from the date of initial application to the date of final decision; the measures being taken to reduce the waiting times for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [35114/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that applications for Garda vetting received from registered organisations are recorded by name and date of birth of the person for whom a vetting request is being made and not by reference to geographical origin. Accordingly, it is not possible to provide the information sought by the Deputy.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current average processing time for applications is approximately 14 weeks from date of receipt. However, seasonal fluctuations and the necessity to seek additional information on particular applications can result in this processing time being exceeded on occasion. All organisations registered for Garda Vetting are aware of the processing time-frames for the receipt of Garda vetting and have been advised to factor this into their recruitment and selection process.

I remain in ongoing contact with the Garda Commissioner as to how best the service can continue to be delivered and improved upon, while at all times protecting the integrity of the process. Clearly, the protection of children and vulnerable adults is the primary objective of the Garda Central Vetting Unit and this must remain the case.

The possibility of introducing an e-vetting system has been assessed and the Garda authorities are now in the process of developing a system which will enable vetting applications to be submitted electronically through a secure web service. In addition, the system will facilitate the checking and monitoring of applications. The relevant work is being pursued on a priority basis and it will be completed as quickly as possible.

With further assignments of staff this month, staffing at the Unit will be of the order of 140 (whole-time equivalent) staff, which represents an increase in staff assigned to the Unit of almost 50% since March this year. As staff become fully trained on the vetting process I expect there will be a positive effect on vetting times. My Department is also examining the scope for the redeployment of additional personnel from within the public service to the Unit.

Road Traffic Accidents Data

 918. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of drivers involved in fatal and non-fatal collisions who were unaccompanied drivers on learner's permit in each of the years 2010, 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [35125/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter 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.

Hoax Calls

 919. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number of hoax calls received by An Garda Síochána in each county in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012; the cost incurred as result of these calls in tabular from; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [35138/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter 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.

Garda Recruitment

 920. Deputy Noel Coonan Information on Noel Coonan Zoom on Noel Coonan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the position on the recommencement of Garda recruitment; the timeframe for same; if proposals have gone to the Cabinet and the feedback on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [35145/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I do believe that it is important for an organisation such as An Garda Síochána to have some regular intakes of new recruits, even if on a modest scale. In this context, I am very pleased to have received sanction from my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, to hold a recruitment competition for An Garda Síochána.  I will now make arrangements with the Public Appointments Service so that they can do the necessary preparatory work to deal with what is expected to be a very large number of applications later this year.

Garda Investigations

 921. Deputy Michael P. Kitt Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he has any information on the theft of six valuable oil paintings from a church (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35177/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am informed by the Garda authorities that this matter remains under investigation by An Garda Síochána and that a number of lines of enquiry are being followed. In these circumstances I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to make any further comment on the matter.

Direct Provision System

 922. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide a yearly breakdown, from 2003 to date in 2013, of the number of persons who have committed suicide while resident in a direct provision centre here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [35362/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers under the Government policy of direct provision and dispersal.

  The collation of statistics on deaths of asylum seekers living in direct provision commenced in 2002. During the period 2003 to 2013, there have been 53 deaths of asylum seekers who were residing in direct provision accommodation prior to their deaths.

  While RIA may have general knowledge of the cause of death - perhaps by way of information arising from the specified medical needs of the resident concerned prior to his or her death - it does not, indeed cannot, hold or have access to death certificates. In most cases, the deaths would have occurred outside the asylum centres themselves e.g. in hospitals. If the HSE or a Coroner were to raise an issue relating to the accommodation in which a deceased person lived prior to their death - this has never happened - then RIA would respond accordingly. Where information is provided to centre managers by relatives or friends of the deceased, this is recorded by RIA and indicates that the causes of death ranged from cancers, heart conditions to traffic accidents and, in the case of deaths of children under the age of five, it is believed that a number were suspected cot deaths and still births. It needs to be emphasised that these records are based on informal information and are not official records of death.

  Given previous misinterpretations of statistics provided in this respect, it is important to say that only one of these deaths can with certainty be said to be a suicide and that involved a newly arrived asylum seeker taking his own life in 2008 while in hospital.

  The number of asylum seekers who died between 2003 and 2013 while being provided with accommodation by RIA in direct provision centres is set out in the following table.

Year Number of Deaths
2003 8
2004 3
2005 6
2006 4
2007 8
2008 8
2009 2
2010 6
2011 1
2012 6
2013 to date 1
Total 53
  

While all of these deaths are, of course, tragic, they need to be viewed proportionately and against the background that RIA has provided accommodation for over 51,000 persons over the course of the twelve years the direct provision policy has been in place.

  The above relates only to asylum seekers living in the Direct Provision system. Some asylum seekers choose not to avail of the Direct Provision system and stay with friends or relatives. It is possible that, during the period in question, there could have been deaths among this cohort but such data is not available to RIA.

Direct Provision System

 923. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide a yearly breakdown, from 2003 to date in 2013, of the number of persons who have been sexually assaulted while resident in a direct provision centre here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [35363/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will appreciate that allegations of sexual assault, or any criminal offence, committed anywhere in the State, including in a direct provision centre would be a matter for investigation by An Garda Síochána. I am advised that Garda records are not maintained in such as fashion as to facilitate the provision of the specific information sought by the Deputy without the application of a disproportionate amount of resources.


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