Written answers

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Department of Justice and Equality

Female Genital Mutilation

Neasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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168. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to develop and implement a national action plan to end the practice of female genital mutilation here by 2030; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23107/20]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy will be glad to know that female genital mutilation has been an offence in Ireland since 2012. The Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012, sponsored by the Minister for Health, made female genital mutilation and offence and created related offences.

Addressing this serious issue in Ireland falls primarily under the remit of my colleague, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, T.D., and the Health Service Executive is responsible for addressing the health implications arising from female genital mutilation.

In so far as concerns my remit, the Second National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2016-2021 contains a commitment to raise awareness of female genital mutilation within An Garda Síochána. This is being actioned through:

- Delivery of a training module twice a year to frontline Gardaí; and

- Development and dissemination of an Information Guide for all members of An Garda Síochána.

The latest Report of the Monitoring Committee for the Strategy notes that this action is meeting the targets as set out in the Strategy.

Action 61 of the Migrant Integration Strategy, sets out the State’s obligation across Departments to provide intercultural awareness training to staff where it is appropriate to their role. For frontline staff such as medical and Gardaí, this is particularly important as they may be the first point of contact with at-risk women and girls. An Garda Síochána is committed under Action 63 of the Migrant Integration Strategy to continue to implement a victim-centred policy and good investigative practices in racial or other similar crimes.

I note that the first conviction under that legislation was secured in the courts in November of last year and An Garda Síochána took the opportunity to highlight through the national media the dangers and the illegal nature of the practice.

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