Flanagan, Charles

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2017: Second Stage [Private Members] (Continued)

I thank Deputy O'Callaghan for the opportunity to engage with Members of the House on the critically important issues of Garda accountability and Garda oversight. I welcome the opportunity for Mem...More Button

My opposition to the Bill is primarily based on, but not limited to, the issue of its timing, which does not take account of the process under way through the Commission on the Future of Policing...More Button

A fundamental difficulty with this Bill is that it is being introduced at a time when the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland, which was established in April of this year following co...More Button

The terms of reference require the commission to bring forward proposals addressing the following five themes: the structures and management arrangements required for the most effective delivery ...More Button

While I appreciate that the Deputy's Bill has been initiated in the spirit of trying to contribute positively to the overall governance and oversight architecture for An Garda Síochána, I strongl...More Button

Furthermore, I wish to draw the attention of Members of the House to section 62O of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. This section requires the Policing Authority to prepare a report on its effective...More Button

While it is clearly the case that lawmaking in the State is the exclusive prerogative of the Oireachtas, I feel it would assist our deliberations if the views of the Policing Authority on Deputy ...More Button

To take up the point about security, I will now address what is perhaps the most serious difficulty with this legislation, namely, that it makes no distinction between policing and security matte...More Button

I will now turn briefly to the main provisions of the Bill. I will outline some of the key areas of concern, always bearing in mind the concerns already outlined in respect of security matters. ...More Button

Section 3 purports to enable the authority to dismiss summarily any member of An Garda Síochána where it forms the opinion that, by reason of the member's conduct, his or her continued membership...More Button

It is unclear how this provision which appears to provide the authority with power to summarily dismiss would work, having regard to the fact that the Act of 2005 contains detailed procedures to gu...More Button

That is not true. It is not true at all.More Button

It is a question of fact.More Button

Does Sinn Féin have confidence in the Garda? It is not right to say the public does not have confidence in the Garda.More Button

I thank Deputies for their contributions. Although I have indicated on behalf of the Government that I cannot support the legislation, I am pleased the House had an opportunity to debate this issu...More Button

I have always believed that we should have debates dealing with facts. For this reason, I reject Deputy Ó Laoghaire's comment in respect of public trust and confidence in the Garda. I expected ...More Button

I acknowledge that this is a very difficult time for the Garda Síochána. I also acknowledge that many of the practices thrown up in independent and internal Garda reports are unacceptable. This...More Button

I reiterate the Government's full support for the Policing Authority and for the authority having appropriate powers to carry out its oversight functions in an effective and efficient manner. Ho...More Button

The Bill also has the potential to create internal conflict with the existing legislative framework establishing the Policing Authority. Perhaps the most serious area of potential conflict is th...More Button

I reiterate that while I welcome the sincere and genuine commitment of the proposer of the Bill to the reform programme of An Garda Síochána, I strongly believe we should allow the Policing Autho...More Button

When we have the commission's report we will be in a position to consider a comprehensive package of proposals that will address the governance and accountability framework. That the commission ...More Button

I acknowledge Deputy O'Callaghan's sincerity and commitment and the spirit in which the Bill was introduced. However, having regard to the arguments I have made, it is the view of the Government...More Button

Immigrant Investor Programme Administration

Was asked: if he will report on the immigrant investment programme and recent changes in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of my Department that the most recent changes to the Immigrant Investor Programme occurred  in December 2016.  At that time the Tána...More Button

I am advised that the increase in the investment threshold has in no way impacted negatively on the number of applications received.  Indeed, the quality of application received has improved and ...More Button

Garda Strength

Was asked: the number of gardaí in County Kildare by station on 30 April 2016 and 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no ...More Button

Garda Data

Was asked: the number of gardaí in County Laois by station on 30 April 2016 and 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of gardaí to be recruited to counties Laois and Offaly; the number recruited for these counties since 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if additional community gardaí will be made available to counties Laois and Offaly in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 101, 111 and 113 together.

  As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, in...More Button

Stardust Fire

Was asked: the position regarding the ongoing review into the Stardust fire; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government established an independent Stardust Assessment to evaluate the claim of new and updated evidence presented by the Stardust Victims’ Committee relating to the Stardust tragedy. Judge ...More Button

I brought the report to the Cabinet meeting on 7 November 2017, following receipt of those advices. The report was accepted by the Government and furnished to the Stardust Victims’ Committee imm...More Button

I published the report later on 7 November and also laid the report before the Houses of the Oireachtas on the same date, given that the assessment process was initiated on foot of a Dáil Motion ...More Button

I would like to express my gratitude to Judge McCartan for the work he undertook in preparing his report.  The judge was nominated by the relatives as a person they trusted and I am grateful to h...More Button

Having carefully considered the two previous independent reports on the Stardust tragedy and considered all material made available to him, Judge McCartan concluded that no further new enquiry is...More Button

The Stardust Fire was undoubtedly one of the greatest tragedies in the history of this country and the Government established this independent assessment process to ensure that all available evid...More Button

Residency Permits

Was asked: when stamp 4 will be renewed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person referred to by the Deputy was granted Long Term Residency (Stamp 4) on 03 February 2009 for ...More Button

Based on the information supplied, INIS is unable to advise on whether the person referred to by the Deputy is eligible for Stamp 4 permission.  It is open to the person concerned to submit an ap...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Garda Commissioner Appointment

Was asked: his plans to appoint a Garda Commissioner before the work of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland is completed.More Button

As the Deputy is aware the Policing Authority under section 9 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, has responsibility for nominating persons for appointment by the Government to the post of ...More Button

This will be the first time that the new legislative process is utilised and I have consulted with the Chair of the Authority about a process to identify and appoint a permanent Commissioner to A...More Button

I am pleased to say that the Authority has commenced the groundwork for the recruitment process in advance of the formal triggering of the statutory process by Government. I see this process tak...More Button

Subject to the progress that the Authority makes over the coming weeks I would expect that the Government will be in a position to formally approve the Authority to invite the Public Appointments...More Button

Equality Issues

Was asked: if there are standard practices in place to ensure companies and semi-State bodies do not discriminate against persons that may be computer illiterate by moving all services online; and if he will ...More Button

Immigration Policy

Was asked: when final arrangements to allow asylum seekers to work will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Supreme Court judgment in the case of N.V.H. v. The Minister for Justice and Equality found, on 30 May last, that in an international protection system with no temporal limits as to when...More Button

Direct Provision System

Was asked: his plans to address the lack of privacy in direct accommodation, particularly for young women and girls; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Deportation Orders Re-examination

Was asked: if the position of persons (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the persons concerned are the subject of Deportation Orders made on 15 September 2017. More Button

These orders require the persons concerned to remove themselves from the State and to remain out of the State. The enforcement of the deportation order is a matter for the Garda National Immigra...More Button

I am satisfied that the decisions made in these cases were made after a detailed examination of all relevant factors and under all applicable legislation. This being the case, I see no basis for...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Rural Crime

Was asked: the measures he will take to combat rural crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I want to assure the Deputy that I am very much aware of the impact of crime on rural communities, including the serious damage done by organised gangs who target rural areas to engage in burglary ...More Button

Crime Data

Was asked: the reported crime figures for Counties Laois and Offaly over each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Central Statistics Office (CSO), as the national statistical agency, is responsible for the compilation and publication of the official recorded crime statistics, and the CSO has established a ...More Button

Question No. 111 answered with Question No. 101.More Button

Garda Stations

Was asked: if the pilot project in respect of the reopening of Garda stations has commenced; the stations that have reopened; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána, including the opening and closin...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for a Partnership Government commits to a pilot scheme to reopen 6 Garda stations, both urban and rural, to determine possible positive impacts that suc...More Button

At its meeting on 13 June 2017, the Government noted the Garda Commissioner’s interim Report in this regard, which analysed population and crime trends and the availability of stations for possib...More Button

I am informed that work is ongoing in An Garda Síochána to finalise the report and I understand that it is expected to be received shortly, at which point it will be brought to Government.More Button

Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 101.More Button

Visa Applications

Was asked: the reason a visa was not granted to a person (details supplied); the alternative options the person has; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned submitted an application for De Facto Partner Immigration Permission on 18 May 20...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Was asked: when a person's (details supplied) residency visa will be renewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it is not possible to identify the person referred to by the Deputy due to the lack of detail provided....More Button

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 establ...More Button

Garda Deployment

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 109 of 19 October 2017, the reason the Government has allowed such a divergence arise in the number of gardaí per capita in view of the fact there is one garda...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no ...More Button

In regard to the deployment of Garda personnel, a distribution model is used which takes into account all relevant factors including population, crime trends and the policing needs of each indivi...More Button

I am advised that ratios such as the number of Garda per head of population are not an appropriate tool to use when considering the allocation of Garda resources as they fail to take account of, ...More Button

I am informed by the Commissioner that the Garda strength of the Meath Division on 30 September 2017, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 293 compared to a strength of 27...More Button

I am further informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, close to 1,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assi...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, Operation Thor, which is effective in all Garda Divisions including the Meath Division, involves a broad range of activities to tackle organised crime gangs and other prol...More Button

This Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and ...More Button

I am pleased to say that Budget 2018 will support the continuation of this high level of investment in the Garda workforce and ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 rem...More Button

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána.  We are now rebuildi...More Button

This investment in personnel is complemented by substantial investment in resources across the board for An Garda Síochána. Some €330 million, including €205 million under the Capital Plan, is b...More Button

The Deputy may wish to be aware that on foot of a commitment in the Programme for Government, the Garda Síochána Inspectorate, at the request of the Policing Authority, is carrying out a review o...More Button

- the changing environments in rural, developing urban and suburban areas;More Button

- the views of local communities;More Button

- the allocation to and deployment of Garda resources at the local policing level, including the use of the Garda Reserve, Garda facilities and Garda equipment; andMore Button

- relevant recommendations made in previous Inspectorate reports.More Button

The review will be comprehensive including a consultative process with local communities. It is the view of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate that the review should be completed within the first h...More Button

Road Safety

Was asked: the number of speed cameras operating on average in each county to date in 2017 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I would like thank the Deputy for raising the serious issue of speeding on our roads, particularly given the onset of the darker winter months and the greater likelihood of inclement weather. Road...More Button

Leave to Remain

Was asked: further to Question No. 127 of 19 October 2017, if the matter will be investigated with a view to clarification; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the renewal decision letter of the person concerned advised the person concerned of the requirement tha...More Button

As previously stated, responsibility for the registration process referred to is vested in the Garda National Immigration Bureau. More Button

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 establ...More Button

Was asked: further to Question No. 336 of 20 September 2017, if compassionate consideration will be given to offering leave to remain or an extension of residency status in the case of persons (details suppli...More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the persons concerned are a husband and wife who are the subject of deportation orders made on 11 March...More Button

Both persons were deported from the State on 04 June 2006, however, according to information received from their legal representatives, they returned to this State the year after they were deport...More Button

Representations were received on behalf of the persons concerned requesting that the deportation orders be revoked, pursuant to the provisions of section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as ame...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Immigration Status

Was asked: if a submission in respect of a wish to require residency status has been received in the relevant section of his Department from a person (details supplied); if further initiative is required on t...More Button

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that it is not possible to identify the person referred to by the Deputy due to the lack of detail provided...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Was asked: when an appointment will be facilitated in order to update a stamp-4 permission in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that registration and renewal of immigration permissions for the greater Dublin area is carried out at its B...More Button

Appointments are released Monday – Friday at 10am for dates, 8 weeks in the future. A small number of near-term appointments are also released each afternoon at 2:30pm.  INIS advises applicants t...More Button

It is recognised that genuine emergency situations can arise and in that regard INIS has in place procedures to deal with these on a case-by-case basis.  Enquiries in this regard should be addres...More Button

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 pu...More Button

Was asked: if a submission by a person (details supplied) will be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as ...More Button

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 all other applicable legislation...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Was asked: the current and expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the person concerned is the subject of a Deportation Order made on 12 November 2008, following the refu...More Button

Representations were received from the person concerned requesting that the Deportation Order be revoked, pursuant to the provisions of section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended).  Fo...More Button

The Deputy might wish to note that the effect of a Deportation Order is that the person named on the Order is legally obliged to leave the State and to remain out of the State. The enforcement o...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Naturalisation Applications

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) can have their case for naturalisation progressed, notwithstanding their inability to obtain a national passport from their homeland, which has already been explained...More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the processing of the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by th...More Button

Persons making an application for a certificate of naturalisation are required to provide satisfactory evidence of their identity and nationality. This is usually in the form of a currently vali...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, 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 a...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Was asked: when a conclusion will be reached in the determination of eligibility for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that there is no record of a current application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referre...More Button

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationali...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Was asked: if consideration will be given to granting naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by...More Button

It is open to any individual to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements as prescribed in the Irish Nationali...More Button

Detailed information on Irish citizenship and naturalisation, as well as the relevant application forms, is available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie.  The website also contains guidance o...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Was asked: the progress to date in the determination of eligibility for naturalisation or long-term residency in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that, in response to a notification pursuant to the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as ...More Button

These representations, together with all other information and documentation on file, will be fully considered, under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and all other applicab...More Button

The position in relation to the immigration status of Long Term Residency is that, at the date of application, a person applying for such status must have been legally resident in the State for o...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application by a person (details supplied); when a decision will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the processing of the application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by th...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, 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 al...More Button

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. While most straightforward cases are generally processed within six months,...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Family Reunification Applications

Was asked: the expected status in respect of naturalisation or leave to remain in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that an application for family reunification was received in November 2016 in respect of the person concern...More Button

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 establ...More Button

Registration of Title

Was asked: when the case of persons (details supplied) will be finalised with the Land Registry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I can inform the Deputy that under the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006, the Property Registration Authority (PRA) was established as and from 4 November 2006. The PRA replaces the Registr...More Button

The Deputy will be aware of the service to T.D.s and Senators which provides information on the current status of applications, such as the subject of this question, which was introduced in May 2...More Button

I can further inform the Deputy that his query has been forwarded to the PRA for attention and direct reply via the above mentioned service.More Button

Prisoner Transfers

Was asked: the status of the prisoner transfer scheme following the Supreme Court judgment in a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question 207 of 12 October 2017. The position remains as stated. For convenience I repeat that reply below.More Button

On 12 July, 2016, the Supreme Court dismissed the State's appeal in the case known as 'O'Farrell, McDonald, Rafferty -v- The Governor of Portlaoise Prison'. The case concerns an appeal taken by ...More Button

The judgement is detailed and has implications for the continuance in its present form of the process operated by the Irish Prison Service for transferring prisoners from other States to Ireland....More Button