Header Item Written Answers Nos. 294 - 310
 Header Item Emergency Planning
 Header Item Emergency Planning
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Overseas Missions
 Header Item Overseas Visits
 Header Item Appointments to State Boards
 Header Item Property Services Regulation
 Header Item Garda Misconduct Allegations
 Header Item Visa Applications
 Header Item Proposed Legislation
 Header Item Garda Investigations
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Immigration Policy
 Header Item Garda Deployment

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 860 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 294 - 310

Emergency Planning

 294. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the preparations in place in the event of bad weather over the next few months in relation to roads and other infrastructure.  [46051/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I, along with my colleagues Deputy Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Deputy Paudie Coffey, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, launched the Government's annual 'Be Winter Ready' 2014-2015 Information Campaign on 13 November, 2014. The campaign aims to inform and reassure people that the Government has made preparations for the winter. Through a dedicated website www.winterready.ie, advice is being made available from a wide range of sources including Government Departments, An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive, Local Authorities and the transport providers. The advice has been categorised under various headings including: the Home, Road Safety, Schools, the Farming Community and the Business Sector and outlines how Government Departments and Agencies are addressing the necessary preparations for the winter, particularly with regard to our roads and other infrastructures should we experience bad weather periods.

  The launch coincided with a meeting of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, which I chair, which dealt with winter-preparedness issues from a “whole of Government” perspective. Updates were provided by the relevant lead Government Departments and agencies for the various sectors all of whom have honed their responses based on experiences over the last few years.

Emergency Planning

 295. Deputy Alan Farrell Information on Alan Farrell Zoom on Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the amount of funding provided to the Office of Emergency Planning in preparation for winter; the way this funding is being administered within the Office of Emergency Planning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45816/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The estimated cost of Winter Ready 2014/15 is approximately €40,000. The Winter Ready campaign was introduced by the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning in November 2011 to provide advice and information to help the public be better prepared to deal with a period of severe weather. A website www.winterready.ie is available to provide practical advice and contact details of the main services that can provide help in extreme weather-related emergencies. The campaign aims to inform and reassure people that the Government has made preparations for the winter. The key message of the campaign is “to be prepared, stay safe and know where to get help should you need it”.

  A cross Departmental working group of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning has met on a regular basis during 2014 to oversee the development of the 2014/15 ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign by the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP). The role of the OEP is to ensure that there is a “whole of Government” approach to emergency planning while each lead Department/Agency retains responsibility for their specific winter preparedness.

Pension Provisions

 296. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 97 of 13 November 2014, if the position in respect of the person's disability pension has been approved by the court with particular reference to the fact that the current status had previously been quashed in 1987; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45827/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The original decision of March 1987, to take the total compensation into consideration in deciding the rate of disability pension applicable in this case, was quashed on foot of a High Court Order of 23 November 1987, and a review of the case was ordered to be undertaken.

While the High Court Order quashed the original decision of March 1987 and ordered that a review of the case be undertaken, the court did not express any view as to the outcome of the review.

A new Ministerial decision was made following this review. The fresh decision taken was not approved by the High Court, nor was such approval required. As previously outlined I am satisfied that the High Court Order did not preclude the then Minister for Defence from arriving at the same decision and I do not believe that the decision made was in conflict with the High Court Order.

Overseas Missions

 297. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the anti-malarial medications being provided for those members of the Defence Forces travelling to Sierra Leone; if he is satisfied that Defence Forces' policy in regard to the use of anti-malaria medication is in line with international best practice.  [45836/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), formerly The Irish Medicines Board (IMB), is the statutory authority with responsibility for the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines in Ireland. There are three anti-malarial medications licensed by the HPRA , in use in the Defence Forces, namely Lariam (mefloquine), Malarone and Doxycycline.   The malaria chemoprophylactic agent of choice for use in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be Lariam.

  The choice of chemoprophylaxis is dependent on a number of factors including the type of malaria in the destination, resistance to particular drugs, the profile of the traveller (contra-indications, underlying health conditions, purpose of travel), the duration of travel and adherence issues. The choice of medication for the particular mission in Sierra Leone is a medical decision made by Medical Officers in the Defence Forces on the basis of best international practice having regard to the specific circumstances of the mission and the individual member of the Defence Forces. Lariam requires a “lead in” time of approximately four weeks before deployment. However, if there exists an operational imperative which requires “immediate” deployment i.e. (deployment within less than a week) Doxycycline may be used. If the deployment duration was less than four weeks Malarone may be used. The malaria chemoprophylactic agent used for Sierra Leone is in keeping with this guidance.

  Former Ministers for Defence have had the various allegations surrounding the use of Lariam investigated thoroughly and obtained the advice of leading medical experts, who concur with the prescribing practices followed by the Defence Forces. Anti-malarial medications must remain in the formulary of medications prescribed by the Medical Corps for Defence Forces personnel on appropriate overseas missions, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, to ensure that our military personnel can have effective protection from the very serious risks posed by this highly dangerous disease.

Overseas Visits

 298. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of official overseas trips that he has undertaken since he assumed office; if he will detail the venues visited; and the official overseas trips planned between now and December 2015.  [46137/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney During each Presidency of the Council of the European Union, one formal and one informal meeting of Defence Ministers is held. Defence Ministers meet as the ‘Foreign Affairs Council in Defence Ministers’ format’. These Council meetings are held in Brussels or Luxembourg at the invitation of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Since I was appointed as Minister for Defence on 11 July 2014, I have attended the informal meeting of Defence Ministers held during the Italian Presidency in Milan from 9 to 10 September. I also attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Defence Ministers format in Brussels on 18 November.

  In accordance with usual practice, an invitation was extended to the Taoiseach to attend a meeting which took place, in Wales, on 4 September between NATO Heads of State and Government and non-NATO countries that contribute to the UN mandated and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. I attended this meeting accompanied by a senior official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.    

  I also attended the meeting of 52 Defence Ministers, representing NATO members and partners. The main purpose of this meeting was to reaffirm the relationship with NATO and to discuss improvements to interoperability between NATO Member Countries and Partners.     

  I attended a US hosted summit on ‘Strengthening UN Peace Operations’ in New York from 25 to 26 September   .

I intend to travel to the Middle East (Lebanon and Israel) between 4 and 7 December , with the primary purpose of visiting   the Irish troops serving with UN missions in the region – UNIFIL, UNDOF and UNTSO.

  In 2015, it is my intention to attend informal meetings of EU Defence Ministers in Riga, Latvia, scheduled for 18 and 19 February and in Luxembourg in July. Two Foreign Affairs Councils in Defence Ministers format are planned on 8 May and 17 November 2015. It is my intention to also attend these meetings.

Appointments to State Boards

 299. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Defence Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of State board appointments that have been made under the aegis of his Department in 2014 without being advertised; the number that have been made of persons who had not formally applied for consideration of the particular appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46544/14]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The only body under the aegis of my Department is the Army Pensions Board. The Army Pensions Board is an independent statutory body established under the Army Pensions Act, 1927.

  The Act specifies that the Board shall consist of a chairman and two ordinary members. The two ordinary members must be qualified medical practitioners of whom one must be an officer of the Army Medical Corps. The chairman and the non military ordinary member are appointed by the Minister for Defence with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Army Medical Corps ordinary member is appointed by the Minister for Defence on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces.

The position of Army Medical Corps ordinary member on the Board became vacant in October 2014 due to the deployment overseas of Commandant Adam Lagun. On the recommendation of the Chief of Staff Commandant Syed Shah was temporarily appointed to the Board for the period 16 October 2014 to 31 May 2015 to cover this temporary vacancy. As the Army Pensions Act 1927 specifies that one of the ordinary members must be an officer of the Army Medical Corps, this position was not publicly advertised. Details of Commandant Shah’s appointment to the Army Pensions Board were published in the Iris Oifigiúil on 4 November 2014.

Property Services Regulation

 300. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her plans to amend legislation governing the way management companies charge fees in relation to residential estate management; the purpose of any proposed legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46045/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The primary purpose of the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 is to reform the law relating to the ownership and management of common areas of multi-unit developments and to facilitate the fair, efficient and effective management of owners' management companies (OMCs). These are bodies established for the management of such areas, the membership of which comprise the owners of residential units within the development.

  As regards service charges, the position is that section 18 of the 2011 Act requires each OMC to establish and maintain a scheme of annual service charges to fund the costs of insurance, maintenance and other common or shared services. These service charges must be calculated on a transparent basis, be apportioned on an equitable basis between residential unit owners and be approved by the owners themselves at a meeting of the OMC. In summary, the Act gives residential unit owners a direct role in determining the level of annual service charge, the level of services to be funded and the manner in which such services are to be provided. While I have no plans to amend the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 at present, the operation of the Act is being kept under review in my Department.

Garda Misconduct Allegations

 301. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will meet with a victim of abuse (details supplied) who is campaigning for justice for their child who was killed in 1973 in Dalkey, County Dublin (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46219/14]

 350. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she has received any recent report on Garda investigations into the death of a person (details supplied); and if she is prepared to meet with the mother of the person and the victim of abuse; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46209/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 301 and 350 together.

The matter to which the Deputy refers is amongst complaints being considered under the mechanism established for the independent review of certain allegations of Garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations, which have been made to me as Minister for Justice and Equality, or the Taoiseach, with a view to determining to what extent and in what manner further action may be required in each case.

A panel consisting of two Senior and five Junior Counsel was established for the purpose. The counsel appointed to the panel were all selected on the basis of their experience of the criminal justice system. The review of each complaint will consist of an examination of the papers in the complaint by a counsel from the panel. Following the review of each complaint a recommendation will be made as to whether any further action is desirable and could practicably be taken. In the circumstances a meeting with the person referred to by the Deputy would not be appropriate at the current time.

Visa Applications

 302. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the progress to date in the determination of a visa application in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45767/14]

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, having no valid basis to remain in the State, was notified, by letter dated 22nd August, 2013, that the then Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of them, in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended). They were given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making written representations to the then Minister setting out the reasons why they should not have a Deportation Order made against them. Written representations have been submitted by and on behalf of the person concerned.

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered in advance of a final decision being made.

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.

Proposed Legislation

 303. Deputy Joe Higgins Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will introduce legislation to make the purchasing of prostitution an offence; the steps she will take to provide help and assistance to prostitutes seeking to leave prostitution; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45772/14]

 304. Deputy Robert Dowds Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her plans to introduce legislation to tackle prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45774/14]

 312. 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 if she will support the proposed legislation to end sex trafficking and prostitution as a matter of priority. [45900/14]

 321. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald regarding her plans to introduce new legislation regarding the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, if she will take account of concerns and views of those working in the industry. [45986/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 303, 304, 312 and 321 together.

On 27 November, I published the General Scheme of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014. The General Scheme of the Bill includes wide ranging provisions to enhance the protection of children and vulnerable persons from sexual abuse and exploitation. In addition, two new offences of purchasing, in the context of prostitution, sexual services will be created.

The first is a general offence of purchasing sexual services which carries a penalty of a fine of up to €500 for a first offence and fines of up to €1000 for a second or subsequent offence. The second is the more serious offence of purchasing a sexual service from a trafficked person and carries a potential penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine. In both cases, the person selling the sexual service will not be subject to an offence.

These proposals have been developed following extensive consultation, initiated by my Department, dating back to 2012 and which includes a recommendation from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence to introduce such an offence. I have met with representatives from both sides of the debate, including those working in the industry, and my Department has received numerous representations expressing views from both sides.

I am satisfied that it is necessary to take steps to tackle the trafficking and wider exploitation of persons through prostitution. Unlike the existing offences relating to prostitution such as soliciting, loitering or brothel keeping, the new offences will specifically target the demand for prostitution.

My Department will continue to provide help and assistance to victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation including those seeking to leave prostitution. In 2014, the Department of Justice and Equality allocated €172,000 to Ruhama, an NGO working with women in prostitution and those exiting prostitution, in order to support Ruhama's work in assisting women victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Support services to suspected victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, including those in prostitution, are provided by the Reception and Integration Agency, the Human Trafficking Team of the HSE, the Legal Aid Board and An Garda Síochána in relation to accommodation; medical care and planning; psychological assistance; material assistance; legal aid and advice; accessing the labour market and vocational training, personal security; translation and interpretation services; etc. The Women's Health Service of the HSE also provides medical and other support services to women in prostitution and exiting prostitution.

In terms of the specific question concerning the trafficking of persons for prostitution and sexual exploitation, I would draw the Deputy's attention to the existing legislative provisions addressing the trafficking of persons for the purposes of exploitation (including sexual exploitation) which can attract significant penalties. The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 prohibits trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Any person found guilty of such an offence shall be liable to imprisonment for life or a lesser term, and at the discretion of the court, to a fine. It is also an offence for a person to solicit or importune a trafficked person for the purposes of prostitution with a potential penalty of imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or a fine.

Garda Investigations

 305. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald further to Parliamentary Question No 115 of 2 October 2014, the number of complaints of petrol stretching the Gardaí in Mayo Divisions have received for each month from June 2014 to date in 2014; the position regarding these complaints; the number that have been investigated resulting in a person being charged or a file being forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.  [45781/14]

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

Naturalisation Applications

 306. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will review a stamp 4 application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [45825/14]

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 in question was illegally present in the State from 12 September 2003 until the person concerned was granted permission on 15 October 2014, as a dependent family member of their spouse who was granted permission under the 2004 Student Probationary Extension scheme. This permission brings the person in line with their spouse's permission.

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 of too long awaited.

Naturalisation Applications

 307. Deputy Paul Murphy Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will abolish or reduce the fees and charges related to naturalisation; her views on the joint statement by the Immigrant Council of Ireland and NASC on 24 November 2014 on this matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45843/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald The joint statement by the Immigrant Council of Ireland and NASC of 24th November 2014 asserts that the naturalisation fees in the State are, or are among, the highest in the world. The cost of naturalisation is not easily comparable across jurisdictions as the range of fees, fee structures and concessions available are diverse. Some countries charge relatively small amounts during the naturalisation process but make acquiring the required residence to apply for naturalisation very costly. Some countries charge both local and federal naturalisation fees that can bring the cost to more than twice that in the State. Naturalisation costs in the UK are higher than those in the State and significantly higher for some categories of applicant. The headline accompanying the joint statement is therefore misleading as the cost to naturalise in the State is not the highest in the world nor is it anywhere close to being the highest. It is notable that the volume of applications for a certificate of naturalisation increased by over 50% in 2011, the year that the application fee was introduced, and increased further in 2012. In relation to encouraging democratic participation, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department has been pro-active in this area and a leaflet informing new citizens of their right to register and vote in all elections in the State and how to register has been included in all ceremony packs since 20 May 2013.

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Regulations 2011 set out the prescribed fees to be paid by an applicant for a certificate of naturalisation. An application fee of €175 is payable on application for a certificate of naturalisation and a fee is payable by applicants on the issue of a certificate of naturalisation. The standard certification fee is €950, while a reduced fee of €200 applies in the case of an application made on behalf of a minor or in certain cases where the application is made by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen. In the case of refugees and stateless persons the certification fee is nil.

The standard fees payable by an applicant are designed to reflect the effort and cost involved in processing applications for a certificate of naturalisation.

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process. I might also add that following the grant of citizenship it is no longer necessary for the person concerned to register their presence in the State with the Garda National Immigration Bureau which requires the payment of a fee of €300 per registration.

All of the fees payable under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 are kept under ongoing review by my Department. However, there are no plans to reduce or abolish these fees.

Departmental Funding

 308. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will provide a breakdown in tabular form of the budget of the Office of Promotion of Migrant Integration.  [45892/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin The Estimates of Public Expenditure for 2015 are not yet finalised.

  The 2014 allocation for the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration was €2,312,000, of which €968,000 was for pay, and €1,344,000 for non-pay expenditure.

  Expenditure from January to end November 2014 was as follows:

-
Salaries, wages and allowances844,057
Travel and subsistence22,716
Incidental expenses*59,541
Postal and telecommunications services4,342
Office machinery and other office supplies1,992
Grants654,490
Total1,587,138
  *Including costs relating to the resettlement of programme refugees.

Immigration Policy

 309. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will provide an updated report of the work of Office of the Promotion of Migrant Integration; the work which the office will undertake in 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [45893/14]

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 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, 2014 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 is ongoing and will continue into 2015 when a draft strategy will be published and observations invited from key stakeholders before finalisation.

  In light of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, 90 persons displaced by the Syrian conflict and who had taken refuge in the Lebanon and Jordan were selected for admission to Ireland under a UNHCR resettlement programme by the resettlement team of the Office. Seventy eight of the refugees have arrived to date and have been resettled. This figure includes three serious medical cases (including two children) and their families, who are receiving appropriate medical treatment. A further twelve refugees will arrive in December. In 2015, 100 refugees will be admitted, the majority from Syria. The resettlement team also continue to work with programme refugees admitted under previous years programmes.

  The Office also continues to monitor the prevalence of racist incidents and publishes information in this regard on its website. Other ongoing work is the provision of integration related material via the Office website and circulation lists, dealing with international reporting obligations and representation at integration related national and international fora. The Office provides funding for the promotion of integration to some local authorities and national sports and other organisations. It also administers EU funding for this purpose. This work will continue on 2015.

Garda Deployment

 310. 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 if she will increase Garda patrols in local communities especially in Dublin 5 (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45898/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy will be aware, one of the primary functions of the Garda Commissioner under the Garda Síochána Acts, is to direct and control An Garda Síochána. In this regard, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of all resources, including fully sworn members and Reserve Gardaí, among the Garda Regions, Divisions and Districts. Garda management keep this distribution under continuing review in the context of security assessments, 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 area concerned is patrolled by Gardaí assigned to the Santry Garda station, which has a complement of 89 Gardaí. There are also ten Garda Reserves and four Civilians attached to the station.

  As the Deputy will be aware the first intake since 2009 of 100 new recruits entered training at the Garda College in Templemore on Monday 15th September 2014. This marked a positive step forward for policing in Ireland. Furthermore, the process of recruiting 200 additional Gardaí to the force will continue over the next few months. The Garda Commissioner, will of course, continue to keep the needs of Santry Garda station under review within the overall context of the needs of Garda Divisions throughout the country.


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