Header Item Written Answers Nos. 142-148
 Header Item Garda Compensation
 Header Item Departmental Staff Redeployment
 Header Item Prisoner Releases
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Migrant Integration
 Header Item Employment Rights

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 898 No. 1

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Written Answers Nos. 142-148

Garda Compensation

 142. Deputy Bobby Aylward Information on Bobby Aylward Zoom on Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of Garda Síochána compensation claims that are currently under assessment within her Department, from gardaí either previously or presently stationed or residing in County Carlow, which have been with her Department for at least 24 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41861/15]

 143. Deputy Bobby Aylward Information on Bobby Aylward Zoom on Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of Garda Síochána compensation claims that are currently under assessment within her Department, from gardaí either previously or presently stationed or residing in County Carlow, which have been with her Department for at least 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41862/15]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.

  The Garda Compensation Acts 1941 and 1945 provide for compensation for malicious injury or death inflicted upon members of An Garda Síochána, while they are on duty or related to their service as such members.

  Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide the Deputy with the breakdown of claims as requested above. Computerised records are not maintained in a manner that facilitates a breakdown by the county or the year in which each application was received and such information could only be obtained by the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of staff time and resources.

My Department is currently reviewing the Garda compensation caseload with the intention to reduce the processing time involved in assessing cases and to collate and publish statistics relating to the compensation process on the Department's website.

Departmental Staff Redeployment

 144. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 125 on 8 October 2015, her views on a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41863/15]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I wish to advise the Deputy that the two staff members referred to in Parliamentary Question No. 125 of 8 October 2015 will be transferring from my Department to another public service body in Tralee on Friday, 11 December 2015.

Prisoner Releases

 145. Deputy Regina Doherty Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of premature and early releases from Irish prisons in the past ten years, in tabular form. [41866/15]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that the statistics requested by the Deputy are not readily available. The available information is currently being collated and I will respond to the Deputy as soon as the information is to hand.

Naturalisation Applications

 146. 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 examine and expedite an application for naturalisation by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry, as all requested information has been submitted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41931/15]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I refer the Deputy to my response to his Parliamentary Question No. 124 of Thursday, 12 November 2015 in relation to the person concerned. The position remains unchanged.

Migrant Integration

 147. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the status of the integration strategy; when it will be finalised and published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41947/15]

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 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 the 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 established in March, 2014 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 as part of the review. Over eighty submissions were received from stakeholders, a large number of whom met with the Cross-Departmental Group on Integration. The Group also held a number of thematic meetings focusing 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 combating racism. Work on the development of the updated Integration Strategy is ongoing and a draft was recently sent to key stakeholders for their observations with a view to the Strategy being published as soon as possible.

Employment Rights

 148. Deputy Colm Keaveney Information on Colm Keaveney Zoom on Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the legal advice given regarding Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that necessitates a reservation, as signalled in her Department's roadmap to ratification of the convention; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42003/15]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Article 27(1) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits:

“...discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions;”.

Article 27 of the Convention is not consistent with Article 3(4) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000, the EU Framework Employment Directive, which provides that:

“Member States may provide that this Directive, in so far as it relates to discrimination on the grounds of disability and age, shall not apply to the armed forces.”

  Having regard to the specific nature of the occupations in question, section 37(6) of the Employment Equality Act, as amended, provides:

“In relation to discrimination on the age ground or the disability ground, nothing in this Part or Part II applies to employment—
  (a) in the Defence Forces,

  (b) in the Garda Síochána, or

  (c) in the prison service.”

  Other EU Member States have entered reservations to Article 27(1) of the Convention. The United Kingdom asserts that the prohibition shall not apply to the admission into or service in any of its naval, military or armed forces. Slovakia’s reservation, along with the armed services, also includes armed security forces, armed corps, the National Security Office, the Slovak Information Service and the Fire and Rescue Corps. In their reservations, Greece and Cyprus cite Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000. The EU, which ratified the CRPD on 23 December 2010, entered a reservation to Article 27(1), stating that pursuant to Council Directive 2000/78/EC, Member States may enter their own reservations to the extent that the Council Directive provides them with the right to exclude non-discrimination on the grounds of disability with respect to employment in the armed forces from the scope of the Directive.

  It is therefore proposed that Ireland follow suit and enter a reservation to Article 27(1) in relation to employment in the Defence Forces, in An Garda Síochána, and in the prison service, as provided in section 37(6) of the Employment Equality Act.


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