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Confidence in the Minister for Justice and Equality: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

Vote from 29/05/2013


Deputy Niall Collins moved a motion of no confidence in Deputy Alan Shatter on the 28th of May. Deputy James Reilly sought to counter this based on Deputy Shatter's past performance.


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Background information

Deputy Niall Collins moved a motion of no confidence in Deputy Alan Shatter on the 28th of May. Deputy James Reilly sought to counter this based on Deputy Shatter's past performance.

The following motion was moved by Deputy Niall Collins on Tuesday, 28 May 2013:
That Dáil Éireann has no confidence in the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD
Debate resumed on amendment No. 2:
To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” and substitute the following:
“commends the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, for the strong progress made in the ongoing programme of modernisation and reform of An Garda Síochána, in particular the consolidation of the Garda station network which will provide an additional 61,000 frontline Garda patrol hours in 2013 and the reform of the Garda roster system which better targets Garda personnel for duty at times of greater demand for policing services;
supports the Minister’s commitment to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, An Garda Síochána is provided with sufficient resources to enable them to deliver an effective and efficient policing service; and notes that, despite the continued severity of the budgetary and economic conditions and the severe under-funding provided by the previous Government:
— the strength of the Garda force has been maintained above 13,000 members;
— Garda promotions have been ensured to maintain the balance in ranks;
— there has been continued investment in Garda equipment with, for example, €9 million provided for the Garda fleet in 2012-2013; and
— provision has been made for the construction of three new Garda divisional headquarters;
welcomes the overall reduction in recorded crimes in 2012 and acknowledges the ongoing initiatives of the Minister and the Garda Síochána in tackling crime and im- proving community safety, noting in particular the progress of Operation Fiacla in tack- ling burglary and significant reductions in many categories of crime including drugs offences and weapons and explosives offences, and the continued successes of actions taken against organised crime in the State, resulting in significant drug seizures and the return of revenue to the Exchequer by the Criminal Assets Bureau;
supports the Minister’s ongoing and significant programme of investment in, and re- form of, the prison system and the sentencing and management of offenders, including:
— the provision of additional prison spaces and the upgrading of existing prison facilities to provide in-cell sanitation by 2016;
— continued reductions in payroll and operating costs across the prisons;
— requiring the courts to consider community service options for non-violent and less serious offenders;
— the improvement of the independent oversight of prisons and of prisoner com- plaints mechanisms;
— the establishment of the penal policy review group; and
— the introduction of an incentivised regimes scheme to incentivise better be- haviour by prisoners;
commends the Minister’s ongoing engagement with his counterparts in Northern Ireland and Britain in maintaining resolute opposition to the criminal terrorists opposed to peace on the island and in developing and enhancing North-South co-operation in criminal justice and policing with the aim of improving community safety on the island of Ireland;
welcomes the reforms of the State’s immigration and citizenship procedures in order to support the State’s economic recovery and promote better integration for non-nationals resident here, noting in particular:
— the immigrant investor and start-up entrepreneur programmes; — the new visa waiver programme;
— the clearing of the backlog of applications for citizenship;
— the new formal ceremony for new naturalised citizens; and
— streamlined immigration procedures;
recognises the importance of the historic and fundamental reform of the State’s insolvency and bankruptcy law in the Personal Insolvency Act 2012 and the establishment by the Minister of the Insolvency Service of Ireland, considering these are vital elements of the Government’s strategy to return the country to stability and economic growth, and measures which will provide much-needed, new supports for people genuinely experiencing severe financial difficulties;
commends the Minister’s initiative to establish the interdepartmental committee, chaired by Senator Martin McAleese, to investigate and to set out the facts of the State’s involvement with the Magdalen laundries, and his decision to establish a scheme to pro- vide supports for the women involved;
supports the Minister’s major programme of reform to the criminal and civil law, including:
— the Criminal Justice (Withholding of Information on Offences against Chil- dren and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 dealing with the disclosure of information about serious offences committed against children or vulnerable adults;
— the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 to provide a mandatory vetting system for persons working with children or vulnerable adults;
— the Criminal Law (Defence and the Dwelling) Act 2011 to make clear that a person may use reasonable force to defend themselves in their home;
— the Criminal Justice Act 2011 to provide improved powers for the Garda in combating white collar crime;
— the Criminal Justice (Search Warrants) Act 2012, which provides for the issue of search warrants by gardaí in exceptional circumstances of urgency;
— the Criminal Justice Bill 2013, which will provide a power to temporarily close down mobile phone transmissions where there is a serious terrorist bomb threat;
— the forthcoming Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill, which will provide for a DNA database and appropriate safeguards on its use for combating crime;
— the Criminal Justice (Community Service) (Amendment) Act 2011, which pro- motes the use of community service rather than imprisonment in appropriate cases;
— the Twenty-Ninth Amendment of the Constitution (Judges’ Remuneration) Act 2011, which enabled salary reductions to be applied to the Judiciary;
— the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011, a far-reaching and overdue reform of the regulation of the legal profession;
— the Courts Bill 2013, which will enhance the role of the District and Circuit Courts and provide for the appropriate reporting of family law cases;
— the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012, which facilitates the reha- bilitation of once-off offenders; and
— the Europol Act 2012 and the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Bill 2013 both of which give legislative effect to EU developments in the fight against international crime; and
looks forward to further legislative reforms;
commends the successful conclusion of discussions, as set out in the Haddington Road agreement, with the staff representatives in the Irish Prison Service, An Garda Sío- chána and the Defence Forces and looks forward to a successful outcome of the ballot on these proposals for the benefit of the country as a whole;
acknowledges that the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Defence have, over the last two years, delivered on their extensive remit while remaining within budget;
commends the Minister on the significant achievements made in the ongoing programme of reform and re-organisation of the Defence Forces taking account of the constraints imposed by the continued severity of the budgetary and economic conditions, notably in stabilising the strength of the Defence Forces at 9,500 and in the consolidation of military units and barracks;
recognises the important actions taken by the Minister to guarantee the stability of the Reserve Defence Force, including twinning reserve units with the Permanent Defence Force;
supports the renewed and enhanced role of the Permanent Defence Force in the UN international peacekeeping operation in Lebanon and also in the EU training missions in Mali and Somalia; and
expresses full confidence in the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD
- (Minister for Health)

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