Burke, Ray

Tuesday, 4 February 1992

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 415 No. 3

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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Recruitment and Promotions.

Was asked: when promotions in the Garda will be implemented and the number of Garda recruits his Department will sanction, or have sanctioned for recruitment in 1992; and if he will make a statement on the matte...More Button

Two hundred and sixty Garda trainees will be appointed during 1992 from the recruitment competition currently in progress, from which a total of 1,000 Garda trainees will be appointed. The first inta...More Button

The recruitment of an additional 1,000 members is ongoing. There were 13,370 applicants for the 1,000 positions, 7,777 male and 5,593 female; 8,588 met the educational qualifications and 4,200 have be...More Button

It has always been my policy in the Department of Justice to ensure the maximum number of members of the force are on the street instead of in offices behind desks. They are trained to be out among t...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Report on Fraud Squad.

Was asked: if he will outline (a) the recommendations made in the Garda Authorities' report on the Fraud Squad which have been implemented to date (b) the recommendations that remain to be implemented and (c) hi...More Button

As I indicated in my response to the priority question put down by Deputy Seán Barrett on 22 October 1991, the recommendations made by the Garda authorities in their review of the Garda Fraud Squad wi...More Button

I do not understand the Deputy's disappointment because, as I have said, recommendations have been made and have been acted on. For example, the Garda authorities recommended the appointment of addi...More Button

The resources given to the squad and the changes being considered which will give us a structure along the lines of the British Serious Fraud Office will ensure maximum protection for the citizens of ...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Garda Pay.

Was asked: if he will establish a special commission on Garda pay as sought by the Garda Representative Association; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It might be helpful to the House if I were to describe briefly the current mechanism for dealing with pay in the Garda Síochána. After long and detailed discussions some years back with the associatio...More Button

I have answered that already.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Free Legal Advice Centre Funding.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the ongoing financial difficulties being experienced by the Free Legal Advice Centre; if so, if he has received any request for financial assistance from this organi...More Button

Was asked: if he will respond positively to the letter of 16 January 1992 sent to him by the Free Legal Advice Centre Limited requesting funding to enable FLAC to continue to maintain their services; and if he w...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the free legal aid services provided by the Free Legal Advice Centre will soon be forced to terminate; and if he will outline the urgent steps he propo...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the service provided by the Free Legal Advice Centre may be forced to close; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he intends to provide financial assistance to the Free Legal Advice Centre to enable them to carry on providing the very valuable service to the public in 1992; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on a recent comment made by the chairperson of the Free Legal Advice Centre that the free legal advice service will close early in 1992 unless they receive a substantial in...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 15, 16, 17, 29, 31 and 130 together.More Button

I share the Deputy's concern about this matter and this is why I took this decision. I also had to be conscious of the civil legal aid scheme, the Government scheme. I am very impressed with the wor...More Button

The intention is that it will be made available as soon as possible, and the Deputy can be assured that there will be no undue delay in this regard.More Button

I have made a major step forward today in, for the first time, recognising in a subhead for the Department of Justice that a contribution will be made to FLAC. That is a major step and is something f...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Irish Citizenship for Hong Kong Citizens.

Was asked: whether many citizens of Hong Kong have applied for Irish citizenship; and if he will outline his reaction to such applications.More Button

Records are not maintained in such a way as would enable the information sought to be made available readily. It would have to be specially compiled and this would involve the diversion of scarce st...More Button

The applications are processed as quickly as possible, but by the nature of the documentation required unfortunately delays sometimes occur which none of us like to see. However, more and more cases ...More Button

I can assure the Deputy that the matter of extra personnel is very actively under consideration but of course it is a matter of resources. With all the demands made on the Department of Justice in r...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Wandering Horses.

Was asked: if he will introduce a system requiring that all horses maintained in urban areas should be ear-tagged and registered in order to eliminate the widespread difficulties caused by wandering horses.More Button

As I have stated in response to previous questions of this nature, my responsibility for wandering or straying animals, including horses, is limited to providing for the impounding of such animals whe...More Button

I share the Deputy's concern in relation to this problem which is experienced to a varying degree in every constituency. As regards the implementation of the 1985 Act, the Garda are doing everything ...More Button

There is merit in freeze-marking but I am no expert on this subject and I do not want to make judgements as to the best way forward. However, this is a matter that is worthy of examination. The Depar...More Button

First, I want to refute the suggestion of complacency. I can be accused of many things but I am not complacent on any issue. The Deputy can rest assured that all the resources available to the Garda...More Button

The Deputy should put down a question on that.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Illegal Importation of Arms.

Was asked: if he has made any representations to the Libyan authorities in regard to their indication that they would reveal details of arms supplied to the IRA.More Button

Was asked: if the Garda investigation into the importation of arms from Libya on behalf of the Provisional IRA in the vessel Eksund and other earlier shipments is now concluded; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 57 together. The Garda investigations into illegal importations of arms on behalf of the Provisional IRA are continuing. With regard to Deputy Barry's question...More Button

On the question of trade with Libya, may I suggest the Deputy address his question to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. However, on the question of the armaments I have given the Garda Síochána my ful...More Button

I draw the Deputy's attention to the response in the House of the Minister for Foreign Affairs who was questioned on 7 November about what assurances had been sought from the Libyan Government on endi...More Button

Yes, certainly. I know there have been on-going discussions on this question and the Egyptian authorities have offered to help which we appreciate. Indeed, we appreciate any offer of help at home or...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Search Warrants Statistics.

Was asked: if he will give details of the number of search warrants that were refused by the courts in 1991; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Records are not maintained either in court offices or in Garda headquarters in such a way as to enable the information sought in the question to be provided readily. However, I have asked the Garda au...More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Control of Distribution/Sale of Audio-Video Recordings.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the distribution/sale of audio and video tapes on the Irish market which appear to demean and degrade women and promote violence in a fashion likely to encourage imp...More Button

In relation to video tapes, the House will be aware that the Video Recordings Act, 1989, was enacted to control and regulate the supply and importation of video recordings. This Act is being brought ...More Button

One cannot just press a button and have legislation arrive. The issue is one to be examined but I do consider that the short term solution is to do as I have done; first, appeal to retailers to take...More Button

That will be done very shortly. The legislation is being implemented on a staged basis with the co-operation of the Film Censor's Office and the trade generally — it is a step by step process. I wis...More Button

The programme is very extensive, as Members could imagine, because of the number of videos available in shops already and the number of new videos coming on to the market all of the time. There is a ...More Button

That would appear to be a separate question.More Button

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Offenders Rehabilitation Programmes.

Was asked: if any investigations have been carried out into successful alternative programmes of rehabilitation for offenders in other EC countries, particularly in relation to petty offenders, in the light of t...More Button

There is a wide range of alternatives to custody in operation in this country, including fines, probation, compensation orders, deferment of sentence, suspended sentence and community service orders. ...More Button

I have taken initiatives in relation to support for victims of crime. I have increased the amount of money available to the Victims Support Group. I have tried to assist victims by making available a ...More Button

Written Answers. - Alcohol Consumption in Public Places.

Was asked: when he intends introducing legislation to prohibit the consuming of alcohol in public places other than in properly licensed premises, having regard to (1) the nuisance being caused to the public, pa...More Button

I would draw the Deputy's attention to the reply I gave to Questions Nos. 88 and 89 on 28 May last in which I indicated that I had been informed by the Garda authorities that the incidence of drinking...More Button

Written Answers. - Family Mediation Service.

Was asked: if it is his intention to establish a family mediation service.More Button

Any decision on the future of the family mediation service will have to await the results of the deliberations of the review committee which I expect to appoint very shortly. It would be inappropriat...More Button

Written Answers. - County Dublin Shooting Incidents.

Was asked: if he will outline the result of Garda inquiries into shooting incidents in the Ronanstown and Neilstown areas of Dublin on 4 and 5 January 1992; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It is not the practice for the Minister for Justice to give detailed information to the House about individual Garda investigations except in singular instances where the circumstances of an investiga...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Document Leak.

Was asked: the outcome of the Garda investigation into the leaking of a confidential Garda document to the Provisional IRA in April 1991; if he will outline the steps which have been taken to deal with the findi...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that to date the investigation in question has been inconclusive in establishing how a copy of a Garda internal document came into the possession of unauthorised...More Button

Written Answers. - Bank Holding Centres Security.

Was asked: if he has had discussions with the chairman and board of AIB and the other main banking groups including the Central Bank, about the level of security at the various holding centres, following the £2....More Button

Was asked: if he will outline the progress that has been made by the Garda authorities in their investigations into the armed raid on the AIB cash depot in County Waterford on 6 January, 1992; if he will give de...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to recent reports which stated that Garda surveillance at the AIB cash holding centre in Waterford city had been stepped up earlier last year after the discovery by the...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30, 32 and 59 together. The security arrangements in operation at cash holding centres are the subject of constant review by the banks in consultation with the Garda S...More Button

Written Answers. - Citizenship Legislation Amendment.

Was asked: when he proposes to introduce legislation to amend the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1986, to enable thousands of people who applied for citizenship in 1986 to complete the procedure and avai...More Button

As I have informed the House on previous occasions, I could not undertake, by way of response to a parliamentary question, to disclose what particular legislative proposals I may have. Any such propo...More Button

Written Answers. - Sentenced Persons Transfer.

Was asked: when he intends to ratify the signing of the Convention on the Transfer of Prisoners; and the reason there appears to be a delay in this ratification.More Button

Was asked: when the Government proposes to ratify the European Convention on the Transfer of Prisoners which was signed in 1986; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the need to ratify the European Convention on the repatriation of prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of prisoners in British jails who are from the Republic of Ireland; if his attention has been drawn to the great hardship being caused to the families of these prisoners in the context of t...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 34, 51, 126 and 131 together. Ireland is a party to the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons but legislation will be required to enable it...More Button

Written Answers. - Interdepartmental Committee on Crime.

Was asked: if, in regard to his statement made to the Dáil on 26 November 1991, regarding the establishment of an interdepartmental committee to draft a comprehensive response to the problems of crime and vandal...More Button

The Committee in question has met on three occasions since my announcement of its establishment. Several additional subcommittee meetings have also taken place with interested parties. The committee...More Button

Written Answers. - Dublin Crime Problem.

Was asked: if he will outline the steps he is taking to deal with crime and vandalism problems in Dublin.More Button

I would refer the Deputy to the 1992 Law Enforcement Package which I published in December 1991 and in which I outlined the approach and the measures that would be taken this year in preserving law an...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda In-Service Training.

Was asked: if, in view of the fact that the first contact a victim of crime has with the criminal justice system is through the Garda, he has any proposals to include in the Garda Síochána training programme an ...More Button

I would refer the Deputy to the reply I gave to a question in identical terms by Deputy Michael Ferris on 2 May 1991 (Question No. 30).More Button

Written Answers. - Fatal Accident Compensation Awards.

Was asked: if he will increase the amount of compensation payable for mental distress to the relatives of victims of fatal accidents as laid down under civil liability legislation; and if he will make a statemen...More Button

I have no proposals to increase the level of compensation payable for mental distress under the Civil Liability Acts.More Button

Written Answers. - Bank Security Service Funding.

Was asked: if he will outline (a) the cost of providing a protection service for moneys belonging to the banks and (b) the amount which is paid by the banks in return for this service.More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the current costs of services provided by the Garda Síochána for the security of bank moneys are not readily available and I am of the view that to ask the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Proposed Family Home Legislation.

Was asked: when it is intended to introduce the promised Family Home Bill, especially in view of the judgment given by the Supreme Court on 5 December 1991; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if, in the light of the Supreme Court decision in December 1991 concerning the automatic right of women in the family home, he will outline when the proposed Family Home Bill which aims to rectify thi...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 42 and 47 together. I intend to introduce legislation as soon as possible to give each spouse equal rights in the ownership of the family home and contents.More Button

Written Answers. - Land Registry Service.

Was asked: if he will outline the steps he proposes to take to eliminate land registry delays, particularly in the context of Statutory Instrument number 363/1991 wherein it is proposed to increase and change th...More Button

I have already announced that it is my intention to reconstitute the Land Registry and Registry of Deeds as a semi-State body. This will give the Registries a commercial orientation and will enable t...More Button

Written Answers. - Legislation on Homosexual Activities.

Was asked: the reasons for the delay in bringing forward legislation to decriminalise homosexual activities between consenting adults in view of the fact that (a) he promised in December 1990 that it would be in...More Button

While the decision of the European Court in this matter was delivered in October 1988 the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission, which consider the issues raised by the case in a broader contex...More Button

Written Answers. - Prisoner Release Statistics.

Was asked: if he will outline according to place of custody for each of the years (a) 1988, (b) 1989 and (c) 1990 the number of prisoners which were given premature release due to a lack of accommodation.More Button

I should like, first, to make the point that, with rare exceptions, releases before the expiry dates of sentences are by way of temporary release under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act, 1960...More Button

Written Answers. - Dublin Car Theft.

Was asked: if he will outline (1) the number of cars stolen in Dublin city on a monthly basis, and (2) the breakdown in terms of the age of the car.More Button

Such of the information sought by the Deputy as is readily available is set out in the following tabular statement. Figures for 1991 are not yet available. TABLE Theft and Unauthorised Taking of Moto...More Button

Written Answers. - Security Companies Registration.

Was asked: if he has any proposals to register security companies.More Button

I would refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 153 of 12 February 1991 in which I informed the House that I had no plans to introduce a system of compulsory registration of security firms. I mig...More Button

Written Answers. - Citizenship Applications.

Was asked: whether the financial circumstances of applicants is a factor which is considered on applications for citizenship; if wealthy applicants are given preference; and if so the amount of wealth required t...More Button

The wealth of an individual making an application for naturalisation is not a consideration, except in the context that it may be considered that a wealthy person is less likely to become a burden on ...More Button

Written Answers. - Garda Fraud Investigation.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on a recent media report (details supplied) which stated that the head of the fraud squad (details supplied) in Frankfurt had commented that he was surprised the Garda frau...More Button

It is not the practice for the Minister for Justice to give detailed information to the House about individual Garda investigations except in singular instances where the circumstances of an investiga...More Button

Written Answers. - Genetic Fingerprinting Test.

Was asked: the reason for his delay in making an order under section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence) Act, 1990, to bring the Act into operation so that the technique of genetic fingerprinting can b...More Button

Regulations under section 5 of the Act, specifying in detail the procedures to be followed by the Garda Síochána in the taking of samples for forensic testing, are needed before a commencement order i...More Button

Written Answers. - Extradition Act Amendment.

Was asked: if he will outline the present position in regard to the legislation promised to amend the Extradition (European Convention on Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, in the light of the Supreme Court ju...More Button

The position is as I outlined it on 26 November 1991 in reply to parliamentary questions. (Official Report, 26 November 1991, columns 817-822).More Button

Written Answers. - Crime Statistics.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to any increase in the crime rate with particular reference to attacks on women and elderly people; if he will outline the detection rate in relation to reported crime ...More Button

Garda crime statistics are not maintained in a way which would show the proportion of criminal cases in which the victims were women and consequently it is not possible to say whether the proportion o...More Button

Written Answers. - Divorce Referendum.

Was asked: if any consideration has been given by the Government to the holding of a referendum on divorce at the same time as the Maastricht referendum; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Government have taken no decision to hold a referendum on divorce but the White Paper on marital breakdown will be published shortly.More Button

Written Answers. - North-South Criminal Law Harmonisation.

Was asked: if he will give details of the action, if any, that has been taken under article 8 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement to consider whether there are areas of criminal law applying in Northern Ireland and in ...More Button

The question of possible harmonisation of areas of the criminal law applying in this State and Northern Ireland, which might with benefit be harmonised, has been discussed within the framework of the ...More Button

Written Answers. - Prison Overcrowding.

Was asked: if he will give details by place of custody, for the years (a) 1988, (b) 1989 and (c) 1990 of the daily average number of prisoners, both sentenced and on remand, affected by overcrowding which is def...More Button

The daily average number of prisoners in all the prisons and places of detention administered by my Department for the years 1988-90 is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Child Sexual Abuse.

Was asked: if, in the light of recent reports on the incidence of child sexual abuse, he intends to update the criminal law to deal with this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, I published yesterday a Criminal Evidence Bill which takes account of the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission on the giving of evidence by children in cases of s...More Button

Written Answers. - Gardaí Serving in Angola.

Was asked: if he will outline the action he has taken to address and alleviate the poor working conditions and needs of the ten gardaí working with the United Nations in the People's Republic of Angola; if he en...More Button

The safety and welfare of both our Garda and military contingents serving with the United Nations in Angola is a matter to which the Government attach considerable importance. As I indicated in my co...More Button

Written Answers. - Courthouse Repairs Funding.

Was asked: if he has made provision in the Estimates for 1992, to enable essential repairs to be carried out to courthouses around the country; and if so, if he will outline the amount he has provided for this w...More Button

A sum of £1,250,000 has been provided in the 1992 Estimates for the Courts Vote in respect of capital works on courthouses.More Button

Was asked: if his Department have recouped to any local authority the capital cost of any approved renovation work to courthouses carried out in 1991; if so, if he will give details of (a) the location of these ...More Button

A total of £498,063 was expended in 1991 in the recoupment to local authorities of the capital cost of approved renovation work to courthouses during the year. Details are as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Dublin Garda Statistics.

Was asked: if he will give details of (a) the total Garda strength at the most recent available date and (b) the way in which this compares with the figures on the same date in 1990 for the following Garda stati...More Button

The particulars sought in the question are set out in the following table:More Button

Written Answers. - Dublin Crime Statistics.

Was asked: if he will give details of (a) the latest available crime figures for 1991 and (b) the way in which these compare with the figures for the same period in 1990, for the following Garda stations: (1) Cl...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that official figures for recorded indictable crime in 1991 are not yet available.More Button

Written Answers. - Prisoner Transfer Request.

Was asked: if he will outline the operational reasons a prisoner (details supplied) cannot be transferred to Mountjoy for personal and family reasons; when these problems will be overcome; when the prisoner can ...More Button

It would be contrary to established practice to disclose particulars of operational considerations applying in relation to individual prisoners. I am aware of the special family circumstances existin...More Button

Written Answers. - Visa Application.

Was asked: if it is the general practice to grant visas to spouses of Irish citizens resident in the State; and if he will review the application of a person (details supplied) for a visa.More Button

All visa applications are considered on an individual basis, including applications from the spouses of Irish nationals. I will review the visa application of the person mentioned in the question and ...More Button

Written Answers. - Killala (Mayo) Garda Station.

Was asked: if it is intended to close the Garda station in Killala, County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are no proposals to close, downgrade, or reduce the services provided by Killala Garda station.More Button

Written Answers. - Asylum Applications.

Was asked: if he will outline, in respect of each of the years (a) 1988, (b) 1989, (c) 1990 and (d) 1991, the number of asylum requests received by this country and the number of requests granted, respectively.More Button

The information sought is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Funding.

Was asked: if he will outline the annual expenditure on (a) the courts, (b) the Garda and (c) the prison service, for each of the years (1) 1980, (2) 1982, (3) 1984, (4) 1986, (5) 1988, (6) 1990.More Button

The information sought in the question in-so-far as it relates to expenditure under the control of my Department is contained in the appropriation accounts for each of the six years referred to, copie...More Button

Written Answers. - District Court Statistics.

Was asked: if he will outline (a) the annual caseload of the district courts for each of the years (1) 1980, (2) 1982, (3) 1984, (4) 1986, (5) 1988, (6) 1990; and (b) the average annual number of judges of the D...More Button

The caseload of the District Court for the years specified by the Deputy is as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - District Court Jurisdiction.

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person remanded to Mountjoy is brought to a District Court outside of the Dublin region to be further remanded; and if he has any plans to alter this...More Button

The question of remand prisoners travelling for further remand to District Courts some distance from the prison where they are held is being examined in my Department. Any proposals I may have followi...More Button

Written Answers. - Naturalisation Applications.

Was asked: if he will give details of the total number of certificates of naturalisation as Irish citizens granted in each of the last three years with a breakdown showing the country of origin of the applicants...More Button

The numbers of certificates of naturalisation granted in 1989, 1990 and 1991 were 299, 179 and 188 respectively. Records are not maintained in such a way as to enable a breakdown of the country of or...More Button

Written Answers. - Political Asylum Applications.

Was asked: if he will give details for the last ten years of (1) the number of applications he has received for political asylum, (2) the countries which these applicants come from, (3) the number that were succ...More Button

The records in my Department in relation to asylum matters are not maintained in such a way as to enable the information sought to be extracted without the diversion of a disproportionate amount of sc...More Button

Written Answers. - Suicide Statistics.

Was asked: if he will give details of the number of suicides that have been recorded for each of the years 1980 to date in each prison operated by his Department.More Button

The details sought by the Deputy are as follows:More Button

Written Answers. - Naturalisation Application.

Was asked: if he will outline the difficulties, if any, surrounding the application for naturalisation of citizenship of a person (details supplied); when this person's application was first received; when a dec...More Button

An application for a certificate of naturalisation in respect of the person in question was received in my Department in April 1991. The application is being considered and I would expect that a deci...More Button

Written Answers. - Family Mediation Service.

Was asked: if he will provide a permanent and expanded family mediation service; and if he will appoint a permanent full time co-ordinator for this service.More Button

Any decision on the future of the family mediation service will have to await the results of the deliberations of the review committee which I expect to appoint very shortly. It would be inappropria...More Button

Written Answers. - Paid Sick Leave.

Was asked: if he will arrange to have outstanding sick pay paid as a matter of urgency to a person (details supplied) given the particular circumstances of the case.More Button

This is at present being considered in consultation with the chief medical officer for the civil service and a decision on the grant of paid sick leave for the particular period in question will be is...More Button

Written Answers. - Status of Arrest Warrant.

Was asked: if he will confirm in relation to the case of a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon who was charged with serious arms and ammunition offences in Limerick on 8 October 1981, and who later abs...More Button

It is not the practice for Ministers for Justice to disclose the existence or otherwise of a warrant for the arrest of person. Nor is it the practice to disclose where proceedings have been initiated...More Button


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