Collins, Gerard

Wednesday, 13 May 1987

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 372 No. 8

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Statements. - Incident at Emyvale, County Monaghan.

Before I go into the details of what happened at Emyvale, County Monaghan on the evening of Monday last there are two points I want to make clear. There is a long and hallowed tradition in our count...More Button

Will the Deputy repeat his question, please?More Button

I regret that Deputies such as Deputy Kemmy and others who might like an opportunity to contribute and let us have their views on this matter are not in a position to do so because of the way business...More Button

I have not that information to hand but whoever was in charge would have been designated by the chief superintendent in the Garda division to be in charge of a unit there.More Button

I deny that. It is untrue.More Button

Deputy Noonan raised matters concerning the Church authorities and how the paramilitaries are going to respect Church grounds, having regard to the situation which has developed in Northern Ireland i...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Appeals Against Acquittal.

As mentioned in this House on previous occasions, parliamentary questions about possible legislation present particular problems for Ministers for Justice because of the very wide range of their respo...More Button

The DPP has approached the Department with proposals for a number of changes in criminal procedure. These are being examined at present and, when this examination has been completed, I will be in a po...More Button

I cannot go beyond what I have said to Deputy Harney at present. A number of suggestions by the Director of Public Prosecutions are being considered. When they have received due consideration I will t...More Button

I would be prepared to examine Deputy Noonan's suggestion. If the Deputy gives me a little time to look into the matter along the lines he suggests I will communicate with him, advising him of my int...More Button

I will take up the point mentioned by Deputy Kelly with officials of the Department of Justice. I will see what is the position and will communicate with the Deputy on the matter.More Button

I am not too sure that I could oblige Deputy McCartan in that respect——More Button

I am not too sure that I can. If the Deputy would allow me to discuss the matter with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions I will see if we can meet him some part of the way on it.More Button

As I have said already to Deputy Harney, I have a number of proposals before me with regard to changes from the Director of Public Prosecutions which are being examined. Until such time as that exami...More Button

Until such time as the submission by the Director of Public Prosecutions is examined and firm proposals come to me for submission to the Government I would rather not go beyond that at present.More Button

I am advised that there are many problems and difficulties to be overcome, that it is not as simple as it appears on the surface, that the proposals — to put it mildly — would be extremely controversi...More Button

I agree with Deputy Kelly.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Overtime.

I propose to take Question No. 4 and Priority Question No. 49 together. The provision in the Garda Síochána Vote for overtime this year is £10 million, as compared with expenditure of £13.4 million in...More Button

To the best of my knowledge I do not think a cost-benefit analysis has been undertaken. It is something that is important, something that has been brought to my attention in recent times, something t...More Button

I accept that.More Button

With regard to the first part of the Deputy's question there has been always some unexpected event which has a cost factor as far as Garda involvement is concerned. It happens to be a referendum this...More Button

No decision in this regard has been taken.More Button

I might suggest to the Deputy that he supported a Government in 1983 who provided about the same amount of money for Garda overtime.More Button

I am quite satisfied that with the existing moneys available to the Department of Justice for the Garda Síochána Vote we will have proper, acceptable and efficient levels of manning.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Review Group.

Before setting up the Garda review group which is referred to in the Programme for Government, I intend having discussions with the Commissioner and with all the Garda representative associations and ...More Button

I expect to be in a position to go to the Government for formal approval in the matter in the reasonably near future.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ground Rents.

The Landlord and Tenant (Group Rents) Act, 1978, which I initiated prevented the creation of new ground rents on dwelling houses. In the same year I initiated the Landlord and Tenant (Group Rents) (N...More Button

The Deputy must understand that the two pieces of legislation to which I referred and which came into operation in 1978 have been of considerable benefit to those genuinely interested in buying out th...More Button

I am prepared to have a look at section 28 of the 1978 Bill. As regards the second matter raised, I will also give that consideration.More Button

With regard to the backlog, I am advised the figure is around 5,300. The arrears mainly arose from the rush of purchase applications which were lodged in 1983-84 to take advantage of the old fees. ...More Button

Successive Ministers for Justice have made it clear that existing ground rents can be terminated in one of two ways, by purchase or by confishcation of the ground landlords' property, and that termina...More Button

I could give the Deputies word for word the contents of the letter I put my name to at that time. I said I would introduce a scheme leading to the abolition of ground rents —“leading” was the key wo...More Button

The Deputy has a good memory.More Button

I understand the scheme will expire very shortly.More Button

Very shortly. I will have to discuss the matter with my colleagues in Government before I am in a position to make any further announcement on it.More Button

I have already dealt with that supplementary question. Any proposals for further legislation on ground rents will be announced in the ordinary way in due course. Beyond that I cannot go.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Training Centre, Templemore.

In addition to preliminary training courses for recruits, a number of other training courses are provided at the Garda Training Centre, Templemore. These courses include driving courses, promotion cou...More Button

I appreciate the Deputy's concern. I do not have the information about the numbers involved but I will have it compiled and forwarded to him as soon as I can.More Button

There are a number of decisions to be made with regard to the facilities at Templemore. The buildings are old Army barracks dating back to the last century. As the Deputy will know, they are in very...More Button

There need be no concern among the staff in Templemore. I gave an assurance to them when I visited Templemore a couple of weeks ago — I will be back there tommorrow and, if necessary, I will repeat i...More Button

No, it will stay in Templemore. Successive Ministers for Justice have always looked forward to going to Templemore to meet new recruits at the passing out parade.More Button

That would be a sort of patchwork operation which would not benefit anyone in the long term and would be a waste of public money.More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that as courses are prepared and listed to take place in Templemore the civilian staff will be required to play their part in seeing that these courses go on.More Button

That is so.More Button

I do not want the Deputy to think I am trying to score a political point but I only established this committee in the past couple of weeks because I felt there was an urgent need for it.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Border Security.

It is established practice in the public interest not to disclose details of the numbers of gardaí involved in Border security. The costs associated with Border duty are not separately compiled and t...More Button

Additional gardaí have been deployed on Border duties.More Button

The Deputy should know that such information would not be helpful and that it was not given in the past when sought by members of the Opposition after meetings of the Anglo-Irish Conference.More Button

If additional numbers of gardaí are assigned by the Garda Commissioner to the Border divisions, naturally there will be an additional cost involved.More Button

That is so.More Button

Yes. If additional manpower is required in Border divisions, it can only come from other divisions.More Button

No. The Deputy knows perfectly well that no additional moneys are available to any Department for any reason for 1987.More Button

Definitely not.More Button

The Deputy probably was not here this morning.More Button

If I knew what the Deputy meant by the question perhaps I could answer it.More Button

It was dealt with this morning. The decisions in regard to Emyvale were taken by the Garda Commissioner and his Deputy Commissioners and we must be guided by their professionalism in this area.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Phone-tapping Legislation.

I am having the question of legislation to regulate the interception of communications examined at present. Any proposals I may have in this regard will, in accordance with normal practice, be announc...More Button

The Deputy should be advised that when legislation lapses on the fall of a Government the incoming Government will decide what Bills are put on the Order Paper. When the Government have made their d...More Button

I will repeat my original answer: the question of legislation in this area is being examined at present. It will be brought before the Government and when they have had an opportunity of considering ...More Button

It is not the practice to state a Minister's attitude or decision in regard to legislation which has not yet gone before the Government.More Button

The Bill about which we are talking was presented to the Dáil on 5 December 1985 and was awaiting a Second Stage reading when the Dáil was dissolved in 1987. I am examining the Bill at present, I wil...More Button

When the Government have made up their minds on the matter the Bill can be brought before the House if it is the Government's decision to have the Bill reintroduced.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Residence Permits and Naturalisation Orders.

A citizen from a member state of the European Community residing in the State may apply to his local Garda station or, if resident in Dublin, to my Department for an application form for a residence p...More Button

I have no information in my brief to help me in the question from Deputy McCartan but I will inquire into the matter and communicate with him.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Back-up Units.

I am not aware nor is the commissioner whom I have consulted on the matter, that there is widespread concern in the Garda Síochána at the absence of armed Garda back-up units, as alleged by the Deput...More Button

I take the point made by Deputy Cooney. The position in the earlier days, as Deputy Cooney has said, was that the armed back-up facility was practically always provided by the Army but during the las...More Button

It would be preferable but I cannot say whether it would be practical.More Button

I accept the Deputy's comments. This is a matter about which the Garda authorities are very conscious and it is a matter which is kept under constant review.More Button

To my knowledge the Army are very much relied on and have to provide armed back-up services to the Garda Síochána. The Army are used at quite a number of checkpoints, even on a permanent basis. Ther...More Button

I am not sure whether the Deputy's figures are accurate as regards the number of gardaí in Dundalk.More Button

The establishing of and the provision of personnel for checkpoints is a matter for the Garda Commissioner who knows he has Army resources available to him if he feels there is a need for them.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Amendment of Courts (No. 3) Act, 1986.

The Courts (No. 3) Act, 1986 was drafted to deal specifically with defects identified in the summons procedure by the Supreme Court in a judgement last December. The provisions of the Act take accoun...More Button

I am aware that the situation is very unsatisfactory at the present time. The Director of Public Prosecutions has been unable to bring successful proceedings in a number of District Court cases becau...More Button

I am not so aware and I have nothing whatsoever in my brief to inform me on this subject.More Button

I shall inquire into it for Deputy Harney and will be in touch with her in this matter.More Button

I am aware, as Deputy Taylor suggests, of what the president of the Garda representative association said on the matter. I have already mentioned to the House that I am assured by my Department that ...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Licensing Laws.

I propose to take Priority Question No. 47 and Questions Nos. 29 and 62 together. The Government's decision on this and on other legislation will be announced in the ordinary way in due course.More Button

I understand.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Penal Servitude.

The average period of imprisonment or penal servitude actually served by persons sentenced to life imprisonment or penal servitude for life who have been released during the period 1977 to date and re...More Button

With regard to the question, which is essentially a statistical question, I should tell Deputy Harney that the information which she sought in relation to all prisoners released from 1977 to date woul...More Button

Having regard to the content of the question, the answer is no.More Button

A number of factors are taken into consideration. The wide variation of the length of sentences served is partly explained by the fact that life sentences are mandatory on conviction for non-capital ...More Button

As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Minister's responsibility to deal with this situation. I have no proposals at present to change that procedure.More Button

Is the Deputy suggesting that an average of eight years and eight months is too short?More Button

Perhaps the Deputy should know that we are in line with all western democracies in this area at present. There is a view held that perhaps that amount of time is even too long. The Deputy would make ...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Extradition Warrants.

I take it, from the terms of the question, that the Deputy is referring to the issuing in other jurisdictions of warrants which are sent to this country for execution. The issuing of such warrants is...More Button

I suggest that the McIntyre case is a separate question for answer on another day. With regard to the question about whether there is consultation between the Garda and the law officers on such matte...More Button

There were a number of instances where technical difficulties arose in regard to the warrants received from Britain and the North. There were errors and formal defects of one kind or another and beca...More Button

The Deputy can rest assured that every effort is being made to ensure that proper warrants are issued and then properly executed.More Button

Difficulties of one shape or another have arisen and they have to be avoided. Every effort is being made to ensure that anything that would interfere with the execution of a warrant will be removed.More Button

The Deputy should realise that is an entirely separate question for another day.More Button

It is for another day and the Deputy is aware of that.More Button

Written Answers. - Dundalk, Louth, Para-military Activity.

I am aware that what might be termed “vigilante punishments” were administered, apparently by para-military activists, in Dundalk in mid-November last. Arising out of Garda investigations into the mat...More Button

Written Answers. - Security Arrangements for Visiting Dignatories.

Arrangements for ensuring the security of visiting dignatories are matters for the Garda authorities and are kept under constant review by them. I am satisfied that the Garda authorities take the ste...More Button

Written Answers. - Compulsory Registration.

I am conscious of the desirability of extending compulsory registration but as this would have the effect of increasing the workload of the Land Registry I cannot consider doing so at present because ...More Button

Written Answers. - Peace Commissioners' Legislation.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17 and 43 together. In two recent Supreme Court judgements, the latest in December last, serious doubts were raised about the constitutional competence of peace commi...More Button

Written Answers. - Death of Priest.

As indicated by my predecessor in reply to Question No. 195 on 9 December 1986 this case has been the subject of a Garda investigation, a criminal trial and a coroner's inquest, which is, in effect, a...More Button

Written Answers. - Solicitors Acts.

As the Deputy will be aware from statements made by my predecessors, proposals to amend the Solicitors Acts have been under examination in my Department. The Government decision on these matters will...More Button

Written Answers. - Civil Appeals Court.

I have no such plans at present. I am aware that the Chief Justice recently raised this issue for debate. If a formal proposal were to be made to me I would, of course, give it full consideration.More Button

Written Answers. - Wheatfield (Dublin) Prison.

The place of detention for 320 young male offenders being constructed at Wheatfield is on schedule for completion before the end of this year and is likely to be in operation reasonably early in 1988....More Button

Written Answers. - Cost of Maintaining an Offender in Custody.

The average cost of maintaining an offender in custody in the prisons and places of detention in 1986 was £30,000 approximately. This figure does not include any element in respect of capital expendit...More Button

Written Answers. - Repeal of Vagrancy Laws.

As the Deputy is no doubt aware only one section — section 4 — of the Vagrancy Act, 1824, is in force in the State. The Law Reform Commission's Report on Vagrancy and Related Offences contains recomm...More Button

Written Answers. - Mitigation of Fines.

Pursuant to section 23 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1951, 7,359 fines were mitigated and in 44 cases fines were substituted for custodial sentences in the years 1982 to 1986.More Button

Written Answers. - Reform of Conveyancing Laws.

As the Deputy is aware the reform of conveyancing law and practice in areas where this would lead to savings for house purchasers is among the matters which the recently appointed Law Reform Commissi...More Button

Written Answers. - Amendment of Statute of Limitations.

The re-constituted Law Reform Commission were requested by the former Attorney General to examine a number of matters. Among these was the law relating to compensation in personal injury cases, includ...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda/RUC Task Force.

As the Deputy is aware, Garda/RUC working parties were set up following the establishment of the Inter-Governmental Conference in 1985 to carry out a series of studies of various aspects of cross-Bord...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Síochána Recruitment.

On the basis of current trends, the number of members expected to retire from the Garda Síochána in 1987 is expected to be in the region of 250. Resignations for other reasons and deaths, dismissals ...More Button

Written Answers. - Incidence of AIDS.

I should make it clear initially that, at present, there is no diagnosed case of AIDS within the prison system and there is no evidence that the AIDS virus has been spread among offenders while in cus...More Button

Written Answers. - Civilian Staff at Garda Offices.

The appointment of additional civilian staff to Garda offices cannot be considered in isolation from the overall Government policy in relation to staffing in the public service. As announced in the b...More Button

Written Answers. - Payment of Fines.

My Department has received no complaints in that regard and indeed, I am conscious that there are existing arrangements under which an offender may request a court for an extension of time in which to...More Button

Written Answers. - Child Sexual Abuse.

While I am aware of statistics relating to the matter referred to in the question which have recently been reported in the media, the only information in this connection available to me as Minister fo...More Button

Written Answers. - Crime Problem.

While the level of crime in our society remains a matter of great concern, I am happy to put on record the fact that the level of recorded indictable crime decreased by over 10 per cent during the per...More Button

Written Answers. - Alleged Offences.

The matter mentioned in the press report referred to in the question, in so far as they relate to alleged offences in this jurisdiction, have been investigated by the Garda. The Garda authorities inf...More Button

Written Answers. - Women's Prison Conditions.

Substantial work has been undertaken in recent years to improve the accommodation available at the women's prison in Mountjoy.More Button

Written Answers. - Death Penalty Abolition.

For reasons which have been explained in this House on previous occasions, I could not undertake to indicate, by way of reply to parliamentary questions, what specific legislative proposals I might ha...More Button

Written Answers. - Deployment of Gardaí in Border Areas.

The arrangements for the policing of individual areas and the allocation of manpower and other resources to individual stations are matters for the Garda authorities, having regard to their assessment...More Button

Written Answers. - Incitement to Hatred.

The question of legislation to prohibit incitement to national, racial or religious hatred is under consideration and any proposals I may have in this regard will be announced in the ordinary way in d...More Button

Written Answers. - Policing Arrangements.

The arrangements for the policing of individual areas and the allocation of manpower and other resources to individual stations are matters for the Garda authorities, having regard to their assessment...More Button

Written Answers. - Irish Association for Victim Support.

The Irish Association for Victim Support is to be commended as an organisation for providing, on a voluntary basis, a variety of support services for the victims of crime and I fully support this work...More Button

Written Answers. - Data Protection Legislation.

The Government has approved the drafting of legislation to give effect to the Council of Europe Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data, whic...More Button

Written Answers. - Commissions and Special Inquiries.

The provision of £145,000 covers four items, as follows:— 1. Data Protection Authority By far the greater part (£116,000) of this sum represents a contingency provision to meet the cost of a data pro...More Button

Written Answers. - Moneylending Legislation.

The law in relation to moneylending is contained in the Moneylenders Acts, 1900 and 1933. I am aware that views have been expressed to the effect that this legislation is unsatisfactory and that alleg...More Button

Written Answers. - Land Registry Application.

I am informed by the Registrar of Titles that this was an application for registration of title, based on possession, under section 49 of the Registration of Title Act, 1964. There have been long del...More Button

Written Answers. - Marriage Breakdown Report.

The Government's decisions on the proposals mentioned will be announced in the ordinary way in due course.More Button

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