There are separate Minister’s Office and Minister of a State’s Offices dealing with high-level policy issues and liaison between the Minister, Department, scheduling of Legislation, interaction with Dáil and other stakeholders.
The Department of Justice seeks to maintain and enhance community security and promote a fair society through the development of a range of policies underpinning the protection of human rights and freedom, security of the State, an effective and balanced approach to tackling crime, progress towards the elimination of discrimination, promotion of equal opportunities and tolerance. It aims to ensure access to justice, fair and equal standards and accountability.
The Department is responsible for the development of national integration policy. It has a cross-department mandate to coordinate policy across Government Departments, agencies and services.
The Department is structured around 12 areas, comprising one of a number of more divisions. Each is headed by a Management Advisory Committee. They are as follows:
- Asylum, Immigration & Citizenship
- Civil Law Reform, Courts Policy, Equality & Disability
- Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
- Crime, Security, Northern Ireland, Mutual Assistance & Extradition
- Criminal Law Reform and Human Rights
- EU/International Matters
- Garda Siochana
- Human Resources, Corporate Services, Project Development, Internal Audit
- Irish Prison Service
- Reception & Integration Agency
- Youth Justice
- Prisons and Probation Policy
The Courts’ Policy Division deals with matters affecting courts, the Constitution, the courts offices, Garda authorities, Attorney Generals, the cabinet handbook, electronic statute book, consultation with the legal professions. It monitors and liaises with the court services to ensure it performs its roles.
It has a role in relation to judicial appointments, the appointments of court officers. It deals with a variety of issues such as court fees, publication of various matters and Iris Oifigiul, the Official Gazette. It deals with certain functions under local authority pounds, HR matters in respect of judges, and tax clearance in relation to various schemes.
The Courts Policy Division coordinates and integrates policy objectives across the criminal justice and court system. It deals with Rules of Court, judicial appointments, preparation of material in terms of the Minister’s responsibility to the Dáil.
This is also responsible for policy underlying Courts legislation, administration of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, Ad – Hoc Garda Station Scheme and the Attorney General’s Scheme.
The Department deals with the appointment of Peace Commissioners.
The Law Reform Division deals with Civil and Criminal Law Reform.
The Irish Prisons Service is divided into a number of sections. The Corporate Services Directive deals with broad issues of procurement and management. The Estate Management Directive deals with land and property matters.
The Finance Directorate deals with financial matters affecting prison staff, miscellaneous civil compensations schemes, escorts and criminal injury compensation in relation to prison officers. The Human Resources Directorate deals with training, development and human resources issues for prison staff. It administers a wide range of human resources issues relating to the prison service.
The Parole Board reviews cases of prisoners referred to it by the Minister and provides advice on the administration of sentences for individual prisoners. The Parole Board advises in relation to the administration of wrong prison sentences.It is a non-statutory body reviewing cases of prisoners referred to it by the Minister.
The Prisons and Probation Policy Division also deals with the Central Mental Hospital and issues surrounding prisoners of unsound mind including The Mental Health (Criminal Law) Review Board.
The Inspector of Prisons is appointed on a statutory basis.
Petitions may be made to the Minister in relation to remission and reduction of penalties. The power to remit and mitigate penalties is one for the Minister personally. It only be allowed in exceptional cases.
The Education Service provides for the coordination and provision of education for prisoners. Policies and standards are set. Coordination takes place with a range of educational bodies including VECs, Public Library Services, the Arts Council as well as the Department of Education. The Chaplaincy Service makes religious services available to offenders.
The Work and Vocational and Training Services Directorate liaise with bodies in Ireland and outside Ireland in relation to vocational and pre-vocational training for offenders. It works with the prison authorities and sets policies and standards for allocating resources.
The Irish Prison Service has its own structures. The Corporate Service Directive includes strategic development, business support and payment. The Estate Management Directorate is responsible for the development and implementation of policy in relation to the prison accommodation, maintenance, and enforcement. The Finance Directorate deals with administration and financial management as well as compensation schemes.
The Operations Directorate deals with the coordination and general operation of prison institutions including control and management of prisoner numbers, general sentencing management, monitoring long-term offenders on reviewable temporary release, mitigation of fines, security procedures, victim liaison, prison transfers.
The Regimes Directorate develops and improves policy to contribute to the balancing of custodial and rehabilitation functions. It coordinates and supports, multi-disciplinary teams relating to general service, prison service, professional grades, responsible for education, work and training, chaplaincy, prisoner programs, drug treatment and living conditions of prisoners.
The Psychology Service provides mental health care services to offenders, offence-focused intervention services for drug misusers, risk assessment, management training and the development of prison regimes and multidisciplinary work.
The Office of the Inspector of Prisons and places of detention inspects and reports on prisons and places of detention, on behalf of the department. It reviews the quality of the regime; health, safety and welfare of prisoners and well-being, conditions questions of propriety and humanity and general inadequacies.
The Prisons and Probation Policy Division is responsible for the strategic direction of the Prison Service and the Probation Services. It monitors the performance of Service in line with objectives.
International Justice Issues
The Department acts as a central authority in Child Abduction and Maintenance Recovery, under cross-border Conventions on enforcement.
The Mutual Assistance and Extradition Division deals with mutual assistance on criminal matters within the EU and otherwise and on extradition.
The Mutual Assistance and Extradition Division seeks to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the State’s involvement in mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, surrender and extradition. Judicial co-operation in international matters under on conventions in criminal matters are dealt with.
The Corporate Services Division administers departmental functions and a range of legislation including that relating to Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal, Legal Aid Board, Forensic Science Laboratory, Office of the Censorship of Publications, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, Office of the Film Censor, Property Registration Authority.
The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence was established in 2007. It seeks to ensure the delivery of a well-coordinated “whole Government” responses to that above issues.
The Organisation Development Unit includes coordination and preparation of the department’s strategy statements and annual progress reports.
The Project Development Division administers schemes relating to the Internet Advisory Board and the Commission for the Support for Victims of Crime.
The Crime I Division deals with policy matters in a wide range of criminal areas. Crime II division deals with a wide range of other areas,in particular with organised crime, drug trafficking. Crime IV Division deals with firearms and explosives weapons issues and legislation.
Crime Division I is responsible for crime policy in the broad sense, excluding drugs and organised crime and terrorist national security crime. It contributes to the development of a comprehensive strategy to tackle crime and ensure all agencies deal with crime in a cohesive way, including development of objectives and policies to assisting and Garda Síochána and other agencies. This covers crime and criminal law enforcement policy, road traffic law and crime prevention policy. In road traffic matters it liaises with the Garda Síochána, Department of Transport and the Road Safety Authority .
Crime II Division deals with drugs, money laundering and organised crime. It develops the Department’s policy in local, national and international areas. It monitors progress of the Government’s policies and facilitates the Criminal Assets Bureau, participates in international organisations in relation to maximising cooperation in dealing with international aspects of money laundering, drug trafficking and organised crime.
Crime IV Division administers firearms and explosives legislation. It deals with Registers of Firearms Dealers and licensing in the area of firearms and explosive. It is involved in the Graffiti Removal Scheme and is involved in Data Protection in criminal matter. It liaises with the Department of Foreign Affairs in relation to issues affecting military aircraft and civilian aircraft carrying war, weapon and dangerous goods through the state.
The Criminal Law Codification Secretariat supports the Criminal Law Codification Advisory Committee.
The Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development Program seeks to target areas of disadvantage by State agency. A number of target areas in cities and towns have been identified.
The Disability Equality Division deals with the Disability Act, Disability statutes and associated legislation and policy. It seeks to develop a legal framework in line with government policy to support equal participation in society by persons with disabilities.
The Diversity & Equality Law division deals with equality issues. It seeks to develop policy and framework to advance equal opportunities in employment and access to goods and services. It has particular responsibilities in relation to issues affecting the travellers community.
The Gender Equality Division seeks to promote equality of opportunity for men and women. It participates in national, international and the EU Forums.
Immigration and Asylum
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service deals with naturalisation, refugee and immigration matters.
The Reception and Integration Agency is responsible for planning and coordinating services for asylum seekers; accommodation of asylum seekers through the direct provision system and assisting in the voluntary repatriation.
The International Policy Division develops and represents the national position at EU level, in the areas of immigration, asylum, free movements of persons. It participates in Justice and Home Affairs and Equality matters at EU level and with other institutions.
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has a number of subdivisions. The Asylum Policy Division deals with the development and administration of legislation from a policy perspective and the general policy relating to asylum seekers. It ensures legislation complies with EU requirements. It participates at EU level on various matters and projects.
The Immigration and Citizen Operations Division administers law and policy as it affects non-nationals in relation to admission, residency and removal from the State and the Irish Citizenship.
The Ministerial Decisions Division decides on asylum applications based on the recommendations of the Refugee Application Commissioner or Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The Repatriation Division deals with failed asylum cases and illegal immigrants. It encourages voluntary repatriation. It gives effect to transfer of persons under the EU-Dublin Regulation.
The Irish Youth Justice Service is an executive office of the Department. It deals with youth justice matters. It has its own national director. It develops youth justice policy and a national strategy to deliver it. It has links with other child related strategy.
It manages and develops child detention facilities. It manages the implementation of the Children’s Act and coordinates the delivery of the service at the national and local level.
The Office of the Minister for Children deals with harmonising policy affecting children
The Garda Division deals with the role for the Minister under Garda legislation and policy matters. The Garda Division is made up of four units: The Financial Resources, Human Resources Policy, Accountability, Governance & Performance Policy.
The Accountability Division deals with a range of matters relating to the Gardai including inquiries, claims for compensation against the State and claims for compensation by members in Garda Síochána. The Finance & Resources Unit deals with accommodation and equipment for the Gardai Síochána and the maintenance of Garda buildings.
The Governance & Performance Policy Division seeks to advance structural and service reforms in the Gardai to ensure that it is performing its functions in an efficient and effective manner. It develops the Performance Management Framework for An Garda Síochána. It liaises with the Garda Síochána Inspectorate.
The Human Resources Policy Division liaises with the Garda staff associations including the Garda Representative Body, Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, Association of Garda Superintendents and the Association of Chief Superintendents.
The Security & Northern Ireland Division is responsible for policies and services connected with the preservation of the security of the State; and Northern Ireland. It is responsible for operating provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and providing support to Government participants in institutions under that Agreement. It is responsible for matters relating to terrorist offenses as well as legislation arising from decommissioning, independent monitoring and the location of victims’ remains.
The Department deals with issues affecting Northern Ireland including decommissioning, terrorist offenses, the Independent Monitoring Commission Act, terrorism issues and the location of victims’ remains.
The Human Resources Division is responsible for human resources across the Departments and its associated offices including the Probation and Welfare Service.
The Information Technology Division deals with the provision of and support in the area of IT solutions and services.
Internal Audit reports directly to the Secretary-General.
The Press Office deals with media issues affecting the Department.
The Organisation Development Unit oversees organisational change in the Department as part of the civil service-wide Strategic Management Initiative.
The Human Resources section deals with recruitment, training, development and staff issues, industrial relationship, over time discipline, absenteeism etc. The Healthcare Directorate deals with psychiatric nursing, health, dental and ancillary services in connection with prisons.
The Project Development Division contributes to project development in areas under the remit of the department. It works on issues relating to Harmful Use of the Internet, Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime, Gaming and Lotteries and Miscellaneous matters.
Services and Units
The Financial Shared Services Centre deals with a number of schemes, payment of wages, Prompt Payment of account Acts, free legal aid, ad hoc schemes and Garda Síochána remuneration.
The Freedom of Information Unit deals with freedom of information matters within the Department of Justice.
The Garda Division deals with policy and legal matters relating to the Garda Síochána.
The Gender Equality Division seeks to promote policy, EU and International Conventions on the Equality for Men and Women.
The Human Resources Division deals with employment, training and development issues for staff.
The Information Technology Division deals with procurement and best practice relating to the placing of contracts and the acquisition of goods and services.
The Internal Audit Unit deals with internal audit and control matters.
The International Policy Division coordinates principally with other divisions, with European Union matters and the permanent representatives in Belfast, Brussels and with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Irish Youth Justice Service deals with criminal justice matters affecting children. In particular, it is involved with the Children Act and guidelines, reviews and programs in the area of youth justice.