Thursday, 25 October 2018
Department of Justice and Equality
175. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the breakdown of the €43,920,000 capital allocation in the justice division within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 24 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44474/18]
Capital funding of €43.570 million in 2019 relates to the construction of a new Forensic Science Laboratory in Backweston Co. Kildare. While certain enabling works have already been carried out on the site it is expected that the construction of the new laboratory will commence in 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2021. The balance of the capital allocation of €0.350 million relates to ICT expenditure.
176. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the breakdown of the €51,517,000 capital allocation in the courts service within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 22 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44475/18]
As the Deputy is aware, following the publication by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform of the Estimates for Public Services on 9 October 2018, the capital allocation for 2019 for the Courts Service was confirmed at €51.517 million. It comprises €8.92 million for maintenance and development of new and existing Information Communication Technology (ICT) systems, €4.88 million for courthouse capital works and €37.717 million for unitary charge payments in relation to the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin and a number of regional courthouses provided under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements.
As the Deputy will also be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that €6.1 million of the €8.92 million ICT allocation for 2019 is contractually committed and this includes managed services, software licences, hardware/software support, database/network administration as well as Lotus Notes support. The balance allows for a small number of system upgrades and other ICT projects.
A breakdown of the ICT allocation for 2019 is as follows:
|Hardware and Software Upgrades||€1,363,500|
|New e-Filing Systems (Supreme Court and Legal Cost Adjudicator)||€625,000|
|Justice Hub Projects||€446,400|
The Courts Service has also provided a list of ICT projects due to be completed in 2019 as set out below:
- Firewall Replacement;
- Legal Cost Adjudicator;
- e-Filing Supreme Court;
- Courts Service Website;
- Supreme Court Website;
- Agresso Upgrade.
The Courts Service has advised that the allocation of €4.88 million for courthouse capital works will allow for ongoing preparatory work on a dedicated Dublin Family Court complex on Hammond Lane; possible further site acquisitions as a prerequisite step to enable future development of courthouses in a small number of County towns and a condition assessment survey of court buildings.
A breakdown of the Courthouse Capital allocation is as follows:
- €1.38 million for repayment of Cork Loan (principal only element) - 2019 repayments to Cork City Council in respect of the refurbishment it carried out to Washington Street Courthouse in 2003;
- €0.98 million for capital lease payments;
The balance of €2.52 million will be used to progress a variety of projects, which are in various stages of development and could include, depending on the availability of resources and other variables, the following during 2019:
- Ongoing preparatory work on a dedicated Dublin Family Court complex on Hammond Lane;
- A condition survey of approximately 70 court buildings nationwide (intended to be completed in 2019) to ascertain the physical condition of each courthouse building, to identify works required to bring each building up to an acceptable standard and to determine ongoing maintenance requirements;
- Minor capital works required to enhance buildings and physical infrastructure in Dublin and nationwide;
- Site acquisitions as a prerequisite step to enable the future development/extension and refurbishment of courthouse facilities at a number of County town venues;
- Preparations for courthouse developments at Dungloe and Tuam.
The Courts Service has also advised that the contractual commitment relating to the PPP contracts for the Criminal Courts of Justice Complex in Dublin is €22.973 million and the seven Regional Courthouses is €14.744 million, amounting to €37.717m of the overall capital allocation for 2019.
177. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the €92,340,000 capital allocation in An Garda Síochána within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 20 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project in tabular form; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44525/18]
The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote and as such is responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources at his disposal. Those resources have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2018 of more than €1.6 billion. And I can confirm that €1.76 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2019, which represents an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018.
The 2019 allocation includes a capital provision of some €92 million, which represents an increase of over €30 million as compared to 2018. The provision will facilitate investment of €65 million in Garda ICT, a further €10 million investment in the Garda fleet and an investment of €17 million in the Garda estate. This capital investment is a key enabler in the reform programme and will be one of the main pillars on which the future of policing will be built.
It is a matter for the Garda Commissioner to determine how the resources at his disposal can best be deployed. I understand that Garda management keeps the distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure their optimum use.
In terms of ICT investment, the provision of €65 million will enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in delivering professional policing and security services for the community and deliver on reform. I understand from the Garda authorities that the specific list of projects to be undertaken in 2019 has yet to be finalised and as such it is not possible to provide a list of specific projects at this time.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the budget of €10 million available for the purchase and fit out of Garda vehicles in 2019 will enable the replacement of vehicles reaching end of life or beyond economic repair. While the funds made available are expected to enable increase in the size of the fleet, I am informed that the number of additional vehicles and the mix of types and the fit-out required will be determined by the Commissioner in accordance with operational priorities. Responsibility for the efficient deployment of all official Garda vehicles in each Division is assigned to the Divisional Officer, who may allocate vehicles between districts and stations as required by operational requirements.
In relation to the Garda estate, the Deputy will appreciate that the programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. As Minister, I have no direct role in these matters.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that the €17 million allocated to the Garda estate will support a number of projects including commencement of works on the new Garda facility at Military Road to replace Harcourt Square, the refurbishment of the Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station (on which works have commenced in 2018), as well as supporting the continued progress in delivery of the Garda Building and Refurbishment Programme 2016-2021, which is benefiting over 30 locations nationwide based on Garda priorities.
178. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the €100,000 capital allocation in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 25 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project in tabular form; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44526/18]
As the Deputy is aware, the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission (the Commission) is an independent statutory body, established on 1 November 2014 under the Irish Human Rights and Commission Act 2014.
The statutory mandate of the Commission is to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland and to build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding. The Commission is Ireland’s National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and National Equality Body (NEB).
I am informed that the allocation of €100,000 is estimated on the basis of spending for similar needs in previous years. The capital amount of €100,000 will be split two thirds for office equipment and external IT services, and one third for office premises. A total of €65,000 is expected to be spent primarily on the implementation of a new IT system (€50,000) and IT equipment for new staff (€15,000). A total of €35,000 is expected to be spent primarily on minor office adjustments, primarily to accommodate new staff, (€25,000) and associated office equipment for new staff (€10,000).
179. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the details of the €32,330 capital allocation in the Prisons Division within his Department for 2019, that is, Vote 21 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project in tabular form; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44527/18]
The capital allocation for the Prisons Vote in 2019 comprises €32.3 million of which the redevelopment of the Limerick Prison will account for the majority of the expenditure. The allocation also includes other building/refurbishment works to be carried out across various locations within the Prison Estate. In addition this expenditure will include investment in Cell Windows, CCTV, Security and Fire Safety Systems. The balance of the allocation relates to investment in ICT and replacement vehicles for the Prisons Transport Fleet. Details of the proposed expenditure are included in the table below.
Proposed Capital Expenditure for 2019 – Irish Prison Service;
|Limerick Prison Complex||19,500,000|
|Estate Wide Projects||10,830,000|
|ICT & Fleet Investment||2,000,000|
|Total Proposed Expenditure||32,330,000|