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Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I welcome the Bill which I am aware is an interim measure as the Government intends, I hope, to bring forward much more fundamental legislation to regulate gambling. That is what is needed and what has been long promised. The gambling control Bill was drafted by then Minister, Alan Shatter, in 2013. The ongoing delay is very disappointing. Almost six years later, Private Members'...

Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I am glad to hear that. The Minister of State might develop the point. When the Bill is eventually brought before the Oireachtas, we will have to remember that it will primarily be to prevent harmful gambling and regulate the many people who enjoy gambling safely. Many people gamble responsibly and there is no proposal to ban gambling. There are people involved in the gambling...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I thank the officials for appearing before us. This is a very important part of the committee's valuable engagement on this matter in recent weeks. I am sure the officials have been following our hearings. I reiterate my view that direct provision has lost the confidence of the residents and the Irish people. The committee's responsibility now is to formulate a proposal in our report that...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I appreciate there is an obligation first and foremost to provide a bed but the rate of increase is exponential. It is terrifying. If that rate of increase continues, it is possible that we will have 800 or 900 people in emergency accommodation. As well as seeking to provide additional direct provision places, is the Department also advertising for emergency accommodation at this time?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: Ms Buckley stated that the first time this issue arose was in August when, over two weekends, people were refused a bed. Was a case taken by X and Y against the Department relating to an application for accommodation in September last year?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: This case related to somebody who was seeking readmission to direct provision but was refused. Did the Department lose that case?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I understand the reception regulations allow for the use of emergency accommodation but they specifies that this must be for short periods. Ms Buckley indicated that some people are prioritised, for example, children of school-going age, for accommodation in direct provision centres but that some applicants are in emergency accommodation for perhaps six to nine months. On that basis, is it...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: It seems to me to be plausible that the Department is in breach of the regulation, rather than the directive. I know the Department will never admit that. Having people in emergency accommodation for six or nine months does not appear to be in keeping with the spirit or the letter of the regulations. Much has been hung on improvements, including the new standards. The Department has...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: Will that be in the few weeks before the recess?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: That is welcome and I look forward to seeing them. The other element on which much has been hung is the vulnerability assessments under the recast directive. What is the current position regarding the vulnerability assessments?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: Will Ms Buckley elaborate on the non-health related elements of the screening?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: That is obviously appropriate but it sounds somewhat reactive. Does Ms Buckley believe the managers of direct provision centres necessarily have the ability to evaluate and engage with the vulnerabilities they may encounter?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: Ms Buckley mentioned gender orientation. An issue recently arose in respect of gender identity, that of the sad case of Sylva Tukula. I have put my criticisms of the handling of that case on record. The coroner's office should have been notified of her wishes and of the fact that there were people who wished to remember her with dignity. I understand there was also an issue in that she...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I welcome that. I hope that things will be handled differently in future. Communication with the coroner's office will be key in that regard. I will raise two final issues, which relate more directly to direct provision per se. I have previously raised the matter of location. It is not my view that all centres should be located in Dublin or anything like that. While I have the...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality: Direct Provision and the International Protection Application Process: Discussion (Resumed) (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I will finish on these two points. I asked a question at the last committee hearing. I told the witnesses I had a concern about the Department's culture and attitude in respect of INIS and RIA. When I suggested the system might be too adversarial, Dr. Liam Thornton said he felt I was being generous in so describing the attitude and referred to the existence of a culture of disbelief. He...

Select Committee on Justice and Equality: Courts (Establishment and Constitution) (Amendment) Bill 2019: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I wish to make a general remark.

Select Committee on Justice and Equality: Courts (Establishment and Constitution) (Amendment) Bill 2019: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I welcome the Bill. There is a significant backlog in the Court of Appeal so obviously it is welcome that this is being addressed. We will support the Bill. We have no amendments and I imagine we will have none on Report Stage either. A related matter arises concerning the courts and the Judiciary and so on. The Judicial Council Bill is proceeding to Report Stage this week in the...

Select Committee on Justice and Equality: Land and Conveyancing Law Reform (Amendment) Bill 2019: Committee Stage (19 Jun 2019)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire: I welcome the Minister of State and his officials. While a lot more needs to be done in this area, this is useful legislation. We are discussing amendments Nos. 1 and 3 but I wish to refer to section 2 first. There is an enormous issue, generally speaking, with the civil legal aid-----

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