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Question

6. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of his proposed legislation regarding regulation of private security personnel that fall outside the remit of the Private Security Authority. [20943/19]

Answer

Deputy Charles Flanagan: I secured Government approval last month to bring the regulation of private security personnel, employed to assist in enforcing court orders, within the remit of the Private Security Authority. The proposals for this measure and related matters are contained in the report of an interdepartmental working group, which was published on my Department’s website on 9 April 2019. The key recommendation of the report is that the Private Security Services Act 2004 be amended to bring security personnel assisting in enforcing court orders within the remit of the security services licensable by the Private Security Authority. This means that such persons will require a licence to operate in this area and will have to meet the standards and qualifications set by the authority. The Act will be amended to include enforcement guard as a new category of security service to be licensed by the Private Security Authority.  An enforcement guard will be defined as a person performing the following functions: removing persons from a premises or place in order to take legal possession of the premises or place; controlling, supervising, regulating or restricting entry to a premises or place in order to take legal possession of the premises or place; and seizing property or goods in lieu of an outstanding debt.
My proposals also include amendments to other legislation in this area, such as repealing a provision in relation to the display of court messengers' names and places of residence in court houses, in the interests of the safety of such personnel.  I also propose to amend section 33 of the Private Security Services Act 2004, as amended, to allow the register of licences to be available on the Internet as well as the authority’s offices. My Department is working with the Office of the Attorney General to bring forward the necessary legislative provisions and we will keep the Deputy informed. The debate on the Brighter Evenings Bill which I brought forward was taken by the Minister's predecessor, former Deputy Shatter. A clear issue was how we would protect our school children on darker mornings and so on. It is interesting that the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, when he was Chair of the justice committee, held extensive discussions on this matter. Many who participated in the discussions were of the opinion that if we could not have full summer time, we should make winter time far shorter such that, at least, the period of winter time post Christmas would be no longer than that pre Christmas. Again, harmonisation would be required and countries would have to act together. In general and on balance, most people believe it would enhance our lives. We were delighted that the European Parliament felt the same way.