Header Item Written Answers Nos. 621-641
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Liquor Licensing Laws
 Header Item Immigration Data
 Header Item Liquor Licensing Laws
 Header Item Civil Partnership Legislation
 Header Item Criminal Law
 Header Item Victim Support Services
 Header Item Registration Certificate
 Header Item Citizenship Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Leave to Remain
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Residency Permits
 Header Item Road Traffic Accidents Data
 Header Item Direct Provision Data
 Header Item 
 Header Item Immigration Policy
 Header Item Crime Data
 Header Item Citizenship Applications

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 850 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 621-641

Garda Deployment

 621. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will consider allocating additional resources to the gardaí so that they may increase the number of gardaí on active duty in Dublin city centre; and if she will consider bringing forward zero tolerance legislation and regulations when it comes to certain activities, including public street drinking, drug use, begging, breaches in planning law, and cycling on footpaths. [33730/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the detailed distribution of all resources, including personnel and vehicles, 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.

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) North Central and South Central Divisions on 31 July 2014, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 618 and 661 respectively. There were also 154 Garda Reserves and almost 70 Civilians supporting these full time members.

The exercise of discretion by individual members of An Garda Síochána forms an important part of its policing ethos. Alternatives to prosecutions to deal with incidents of public disorder and other anti - social behaviours such as juvenile / adult caution or Fixed Charge Penalty notices form part of the current response in appropriate circumstances and can serve better to providing an effective and efficient system.

Liquor Licensing Laws

 622. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her plans to review the section of the Intoxicating Liquor Act which prevents occasional licences for dances being granted for events in marquees in view of the financial implications this has for festivals throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33741/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The statutory position is that section 11 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1962 permits the District Court, under certain conditions, to grant an 'occasional licence' to the holder of an on-licence on the occasion of a special event which is being held at a place to which no licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor is attached. However, subsection (2)(b)(i) provides that an occasional licence in respect of a dance shall not be granted unless it is held elsewhere than in the open air or in a tent, marquee or other such structure.

The Government Legislation Programme provides for future publication of a Sale of Alcohol Bill which will update the law relating to the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in licensed premises and registered clubs. The Bill will repeal the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2011, as well as the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008, and replace them with streamlined and updated provisions. As regards any updating of statutory provisions relating to the grant of 'occasional licences' currently set out in section 11 of the 1962 Act, I am conscious of the paramount importance of appropriate fire safety and health and safety standards and the need to ensure the continued safety of persons in venues where special events are taking place. I am keeping this matter under review.

Immigration Data

 623. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the progress to date in the determination of an application to upgrade from Stamp 3 to Stamp 4 in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33748/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned is currently registered in the State under Stamp 3 conditions valid until 1 April 2015, which is renewable directly with their local immigration officer shortly before its expiry date.

  An application for residency in the State under Stamp 4 conditions on the basis of family dependency of an Irish national arising from their mother's naturalisation was received on 24 June 2014. Such applications are dealt with in chronological order and INIS are currently processing applications received in April 2014.

  Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

  Question No. 624 answered with Question No. 579.

Liquor Licensing Laws

 625. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her plans to enact sections 9 and 16 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33778/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The position is that the Government has already agreed to replace the current RRAI voluntary code of practice on the display and sale of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets with a statutory code of practice under section 17 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 2011. It is intended that the statutory code will operate for a 2-year period, after which its effectiveness will be jointly evaluated by the Departments of Justice and Equality and Health. The results of this joint evaluation will inform any future decision on implementing the statutory provisions on structural separation which are set out in section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008. Preparatory work on the statutory code of practice is currently under way and I hope to be in a position to launch a consultation process on the contents of the code, as required under section 17 of the 2011 Act, in the coming weeks.

Section 16 of the 2008 Act, which contains provisions for the making of regulations concerning conditions for the sale, supply and consumption of intoxicating liquor, was commenced with effect from 30 July 2008. However, from the outset it was recognised that a joint North/South approach to restricting alcohol promotions would be desirable; otherwise, the effectiveness of any measures introduced in this jurisdiction could be undermined by means of increased cross-border shopping if similar measures were not introduced in Northern Ireland. During discussions in early 2012 between my predecessor and the Minister for Social Development in Northern Ireland, the desirability of implementing a joint North/South approach to restricting certain 'volume-based' alcohol promotions was agreed.

The Department of Social Development in Northern Ireland subsequently launched a consultation process on draft proposals to restrict bulk purchases of alcohol products in supermarkets and other premises with off-licences. Arising from this consultation process, and following the expression of concerns by the Assembly's Social Development Committee, the Minister announced that he had decided not to proceed with restrictions on bulk purchases from off-licences. I am currently considering this matter.

As regards future action, the position is that the Government has agreed that the forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will give Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) statutory enforcement powers in relation to regulations made under section 16 of the 2008 Act. Following enactment of this legislation, I will consider how best to proceed with the making of such regulations. In this context, I remain conscious that the effectiveness of any future restrictions in this jurisdiction could be undermined by the lack of corresponding measures in Northern Ireland.

Civil Partnership Legislation

 626. Deputy John Lyons Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if proposals have been finalised for existing and future civil partnerships as part of same-sex marriage legislation and in the event the constitutional amendment is passed in the 2015 referendum. [33800/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald It is my intention to shortly seek Government approval of the General Schemes of the Referendum Bill and of the Implementing Bill for the marriage equality referendum. Work is currently being undertaken on proposals to address the situation of existing and future civil partnerships, in the event that the constitutional amendment is passed in the 2015 referendum, as part of our preparations for the referendum. These proposals will be included in the Memorandum that I intend to bring to Government in shortly.

Criminal Law

 627. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding the progress of the criminal law (sexual offences) (amendment) Bill 2013; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [33810/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy is aware, the Cabinet approved the drafting of the Sexual Offences Bill in December last.

This is a wide ranging piece of legislation which includes legislative provisions to further enhance the protection of children and vulnerable persons from sexual abuse and exploitation. The Bill will facilitate full compliance with the criminal law provisions of a number of EU, UN and Council of Europe legal instruments. The Bill will also implement the recommendations of two Oireachtas committees, reform the law on incest and update the Sex Offenders Act 2001.

In addition the Bill will reform the law concerning sexual offences against vulnerable persons. In considering this, my Department published a discussion document in July and is conducting a public consultation process. Interested parties are welcome to make submissions until the end of this month. The purpose of the Document is to invite views from interested parties on legislative proposals to replace section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 (protection of mentally impaired persons). Further details are available on my Department's website.

The Bill is priority legislation and is currently being drafted. As the Deputy will appreciate, this is a complex piece of legislation and it is not possible to indicate, at present, when the legislation will be enacted. However, I am hopeful that the General Scheme of the Bill will be published in the coming months.

Victim Support Services

 628. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding support services for persons (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33854/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I empathise greatly with all victims of crime, including those referred to by the Deputy. Funding for organisations that support and assist victims of crime generally is provided under the aegis of my Department. A number of these organisations, which have branch networks throughout the country, work with victims of so-called "tiger kidnapping". Funding is also provided to a number of accessible and affordable counselling services which assist victims of crime.

Any victim of crime may contact the Crime Victims Helpline which offers a service of listening, informing and, where relevant, referring people to support services for victims of crime in their local area. The Helpline can be contacted at 116006.

Finally, I understand that employers of those affected by such crimes as a result of their duties in the financial sector have policies and procedures in place to help them come to terms with the trauma they suffer and to manage the impacts on the family members involved. These include training for front-line staff and managers in trauma management, counselling and practical advice after an incident and personal security advice for the family as well as occupational health assistance. Alternate accommodation and facilities for families may be provided while a victim's home is being investigated as a crime scene and assistance may also be given throughout any court process.

Registration Certificate

 629. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if a Garda National Immigration Bureau card will be re-issued in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33869/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Persons who are issued with a registration certificate (in practice this is the card referred to by the Deputy) should be aware that it is an important document which should be kept safely at all times. The loss or theft of a registration certificate should be reported immediately to An Garda Síochána.

The person concerned should apply to her local registration officer, An Garda Síochána to obtain a replacement certificate. She will be required to pay the fee for the issue of a registration certificate which is currently €300 unless she is in an exempt category as provided for in the Immigration Act 2004 (Registration Certificate Fee) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 444 of 2012).

Citizenship Applications

 630. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding an application for citizenship in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33870/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned has applied for a right of residency in the State, accompanied by a right to work, based on their parentage of an Irish citizen child, and based also on the principles of the Zambrano Judgment. This application is under consideration at present.

  I am advised also that an application for a Certificate of Naturalisation has been received from the person concerned. This application is being processed with a view to establishing whether the person concerned meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation in areas such as good character and lawful residence. A letter issued to the person concerned on 7th May, 2014, and again on 8th September, 2014, in relation to this application, requesting the submission of certain information. The person concerned was given a period of seven days to respond to that latest request. This application can be further considered upon receipt of the requested information.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

 631. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33871/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a valid application for a certificate of naturalisation has been received from the person referred to by the Deputy.

The application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Leave to Remain

 632. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding an application for leave to remain in the State in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33876/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned has applied for a right of residency in the State, accompanied by a right to work, based on their parentage of an Irish citizen child, and based also on the principles of the Zambrano Judgment. This application is under consideration at present.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

 633. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the progress made to date in the determination of an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33877/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that a valid application for a certificate of naturalisation has been received from the person referred to by the Deputy.

The application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been established specifically for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Residency Permits

 634. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the current and-or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [33879/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department, that the person mentioned by the Deputy entered the State on 04 August 2006.

  INIS is not aware of any application for permission to remain in the State having ever been made by this person, who should now make arrangements to leave the State immediately as they are currently present here without the permission of the Minister.

  Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process.The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Road Traffic Accidents Data

 635. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of reported road traffic accidents or traffic incidents at Gregan West, Ballyvaughan, County Clare, in the past five years. [33885/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on 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.

Direct Provision Data

 636. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding direct provision; the number of persons in direct provision in 2014; the number who are children; the way in which these numbers compare with the numbers in the previous nine years; if she will provide a breakdown for the past ten years of the number of persons in direct provision who have been granted asylum, given permission to remain or been returned to their country of origin; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [33901/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Direct Provision system is managed by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department. For the most part, this represents a cashless system with the State assuming responsibility for providing suitable accommodation for asylum seekers on a full board basis. RIA currently provides full board accommodation and ancillary services to just over 4,300 persons in 34 centres across the State. It is of note that the number of new asylum seekers to date in 2014 is approximately 40% higher than the same period in 2013.

In relation to statistical queries such as these, it is important to state that RIA is keen to provide as much detail as is practicable on the system which it is charged with operating. Extensive statistical information is on its website - www.ria.gov.ie including Annual Reports covering the years from 2007 to 2013 inclusive. These Annual Reports provide a variety of information, including a breakdown of the numbers of adults and children in each direct provision centre and the length of time persons, overall, have been residing in the direct provision system. The statistics in relation to the numbers granted asylum, permission to remain or returned to their country of origin over the last ten years have been compiled but further checking across various databases is required to ensure the accuracy of the figures. This information will be conveyed to the Deputy as soon as possible.

  Question No. 637 answered with Question No. 579.

 638. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the measures in place to protect children in direct provision as well as those who might be vulnerable adults; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33903/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Reception & Integration Agency (RIA) is a functional unit of the Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department and is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers under the government policy of direct provision and dispersal. Currently, 4,311 persons are residing in 34 asylum accommodation centres under contract to RIA.

RIA affords the highest priority to the safeguarding and protection of children. RIA is, and will always be, compliant with all legislative requirements in this area. RIA has a fully staffed child and family service unit, the head of which is seconded from the HSE and whose role is to manage, deliver, coordinate, monitor and plan all matters relating to child and family services for all residents in the direct provision system. The unit also acts as a conduit between RIA and the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), the latter having statutory functions in this area.

A key feature of the Irish system of accommodating asylum seekers is that services are ‘mainstreamed’. Social Work supports for children and vulnerable adults in centres are thus provided through HSE/Tusla on the same basis as for children and vulnerable adults in the wider community. Centre staff are provided with training and with any guidance needed on a day-to-day basis by the Child & Family Services Unit in RIA.

In addition to the standard accommodation services and supports provided through Direct Provision accommodation centres, both RIA and other State service providers, particularly the HSE and Tusla, link in with those centres to provide on-site services and monitoring of children and families through Public Health Nurse and GP services, social work teams, mental health specialists and through the positive engagement of accommodation centre management teams.

Although parents who live in direct provision centres have the primary responsibility for the care and welfare of their children who reside with them. RIA operates a Child Protection Policy based on Tusla's Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children. In each family centre there is a Designated Liaison Person appointed to deal with Child Protection and Welfare concerns. A notice is displayed in all family centres which give the name(s) and contact number(s) of the Designated Contact Person(s) for the centre. All DLPs must have undertaken Children First training, and in almost all centres the Centre Manager is also a DLP. In larger centres there is more than one DLP. RIA also encourages the DLPs to source Children First Training for staff who may, in the course of their work, come in direct contact with children i.e. housekeepers, chefs, kitchen staff: all of which is dependent on the availability of training from the Child and Family Agency, Tusla. A more user-friendly version of this policy has been agreed with Tusla and will be published shortly and appropriate training arranged.

RIA advise that there is no evidence that child protection referrals to Tusla for children in Direct Provision are over the national average or that there is a disproportionate number of cases under the Child Care Act, 1991 involving such children relative to the population generally.

In relation to vulnerable adults, RIA will always act on advice from social workers and medical personnel. In this context it is important to note that RIA's Child Protection and Welfare Policy compliments other policies and procedures in place designed to protect residents and monitor contractors.;

- the House Rules which set out the rights and obligations on residents and management and each could engage in a complaints mechanism in the event that the other failed in their obligations. The Rules' aim is to ensure that problems are resolved quickly and ‘on the spot’ rather than having to resort to written complaints. Residents, however, can put their complaints in writing and, if unresolved, can be referred upwards to RIA. In certain cases, a first instance complaint can be made directly to RIA.

- Garda vetting policy. All accommodation centre staff are Garda Vetted.

- RIA has ‘one to one’ clinics where residents can make complaints without management being present.

- RIA has a Code of Practice for persons working in centres.

- RIA has an inspections process. Although the purpose is primarily to determine whether contractual obligations are being met, inspectors also have direct engagement with the residents in the rooms being visited.

- RIA's Sexual harassment and Domestic Violence policy which has been agreed in conjunction with NGOs such as AkidWa and Ruhama and the UNHCR.

Immigration Policy

 639. Deputy Joanna Tuffy Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the position regarding policies to do with integration and multiculturalism; if there is a framework for dialogue with leaders of new communities in Ireland so that issues of concern can be discussed (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33905/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Programme for Government contains a commitment to promote policies which integrate minority ethnic groups in Ireland, and which promote social inclusion, equality, diversity and the participation of immigrants in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities. A significant level of activity is taking place in pursuit of this commitment.

  The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration, an Office operating under the ambit of my Department, has a cross-Departmental mandate to develop, lead and co-ordinate migrant integration policy across other Government Departments, agencies and services. The Office is currently engaged in a review of our approach to the integration of migrants with a view to the preparation of a new updated overall integration strategy in keeping with the Government’s commitment to the integration of migrants. A Cross Departmental Group on Integration was reconstituted in March to this end with a mandate to review the activities being undertaken by Government Departments and agencies directed to promoting the integration of migrants, preparing a Draft Integration Strategy taking account of the policies and actions already being implemented, and undertaking consultation with key stakeholders. A public consultation process was subsequently launched on 28 March 2014 as part of the review. Over eighty submissions were received from stakeholders, a large number of whom have now met with the Cross-Departmental Group on Integration. The Cross Departmental Group has also held a number of thematic meetings focussing on key policy areas relevant to the integration of migrants, including education, access to public services and social inclusion, and the promotion of intercultural awareness and combatting racism. Work on the development of the updated integration strategy, which will include further thematic meetings and engagement with stakeholders, is ongoing. In addition, theOffice for the Promotion of Migrant Integration has established an NGO Forum where it meets key NGOs working in the integration area a couple of times a year.

  More generally it should be noted that the activities of a number of key Departments and agencies in the field of integration are already being taken forward on the basis of specific strategies to ensure that their services respond to Ireland’s changed demographic in an interculturally sensitive and inclusive manner. The strategies developed include: an Intercultural Health Strategy; an Intercultural Education Strategy; a Cultural and Arts Policy and Strategy; the Garda Síochána Diversity Strategy; and an Action Strategy for Integrated Workplaces. In addition, many local authorities too have developed action plans, often with the assistance of funding provided by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration.

  The phenomenon of individuals travelling from all over Europe to the fighting in the Middle East has been an issue of concern to the majority of European States, including Ireland, and others internationally.

  There is obvious serious concern over the radicalisation and security risks some individuals may pose on returning to their home countries.

  From an Irish perspective the Gardaí continue to monitor the situation and, in line with best international practice, to promote engagement with communities to counter the threat of radicalisation.

  The Garda Síochána also maintains a close working relationship with their counterparts in the EU and other countries in respect of ongoing, international efforts to counter terrorism generally.

Crime Data

 640. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of crimes reported to gardaí in County Kerry from 1 June to 1 September in the years 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014. [33909/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. I have requested the CSO to provide statistics directly to the Deputy.

Citizenship Applications

 641. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the progress made to date in determining an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33923/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Officials in the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) inform me that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's question.

  Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in her absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must

- be of full age

- be of good character

- have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years

- intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation

- have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows

(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and

(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

  A foreign national who is married to, or is the civil partner of, an Irish citizen for at least three years may apply for naturalisation under section 15A of the Irish Naturalisation and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, where they have been continuously resident in the island of Ireland for the year immediately prior to the date of their application and for two out of the four years prior to that year. The marriage or civil partnership must be subsisting and recognised under Irish law. Section 15A provides that the Minister may waive certain conditions for naturalisation if satisfied that the applicant would suffer serious consequences in respect of his or her bodily integrity or liberty if not granted Irish citizenship.

  Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in her absolute discretion, waive some or all of the statutory conditions in certain circumstances i.e. where an applicant is of Irish descent or of Irish associations; where an applicant is a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; or where an applicant is a Stateless person within the meaning of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless persons.

  It is open to any individual to lodge an application for citizenship if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended.

  Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.


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