147. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of inward applications received for transfer under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act 1995 to date; the number of new applications received since 1 January 2018; the number decided since 1 January 2018, by country of application by prisoners; the number being considered by the Office of the Chief State Solicitor; the number that have been returned with advices from the Office of the Chief State Solicitor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28838/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I wish to advise the Deputy that since the Act came into operation on 1 November 1995, 552 inward applications have been received up to 2nd July 2019, of which 10 were received in 2018 and a further 6 in 2019. During that period 154 prisoners have transferred here from abroad.
I can further advise the Deputy that since 1 January 2018, I have made decisions on 4 applications to transfer here from the UK and Northern Ireland respectively. Three of these cases were refused and one was approved. I am informed by my officials of the Irish Prison Service that in that timeframe, 10 more cases were closed in view of the fact that 9 prisoners were released in their sentencing state and 1 applicant withdrew their application.
The Deputy will appreciate that where a sentenced person is seeking to transfer into this country, legal confirmation is obtained from the State's legal officers that the offence for which the sentence is being served would also constitute an offence under Irish Law. As at 2 July 2019 there are 30 live cases at various stages of progression with the Irish Prison Service.
The Office of the Chief State's Solicitor's have provided the necessary legal advise to the Irish Prison Service on 17 of these cases and is currently considering the remaining 13 cases. The Deputy will appreciate that some of these cases refer to years prior to 2018.