Committee against Torture
List of issues prior to submission of the second periodic report of Ireland *
The Committee against Torture, at its thirty-eighth session (A/62/44, paras. 23 and 24), established an optional procedure which consists in the preparation and adoption of a list of issues to be transmitted to the State party concerned prior to the submission of its periodic report. The replies of the State party to this list of issues will constitute its report under article 19 of the Convention.
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (CAT/C/IRL/CO/1, para. 8), the State party’s follow-up replies (CAT/C/IRL/CO/1/add.1) and the request for clarification by the Rapporteur for the follow-up on the concluding observations of the Committee dated 22 May 2013, please provide information on:
(a)The status of the merger between the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority with a view to the establishment of the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and whether a chief commissioner has been appointed;
(b)Whether the new Commission retained funds saved as a result of the merger, as set out in the response of the State Party to the Rapporteur for the follow-up dated 8 August 2013, and if so, how much and for what purposes were funds used. Please clarify whether the new Commission enjoys full financial autonomy and is fully independent from Government departments, notably from the Department of Justice and Equality, and directly accountable to parliament, in line with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles);
(c)Whether appropriate funding for the new Commission has been addressed in the context of the 2013 and subsequent budgets, as well as the need for appropriate staffing levels, without secondment from the civil service; has the Commission or another body been designated as a national human rights institution?
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations and noting the State party’s articulated commitment to developing standards for suspects and accused persons from the European Union, please outline the State party’s position regarding access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and the right to notify a relative or other person promptly following a person being detained or arrested.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 27), please provide updated information on:
(a)Incidents of domestic violence against girls and women and specific statistics regarding the sex, age and family relationship of victims and perpetrators, as well as on investigations, prosecutions and convictions relating to sexual and domestic violence;
(b)Efforts made to prevent domestic violence, including through the implementation of the national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, 2010-2014;
(c)Specific measures taken to enhance funding of refuge and support services provided to victims of domestic violence, including access to safe emergency accommodation for all who need it, including dependent migrant women in violent relationships and any independent complaints mechanism for asylum seekers who experience sexual violence while residing in State facilities or centres;
(d)Any amendments to the Domestic Violence Act of 1996 that would include clear criteria to grant safety and barring orders and extend eligibility for all parties in line with internationally recognized best practice. Please include data for the period since the last review on the number of safety orders and other barring (protection) orders issued annually by the courts and whether and how they are made available to individuals outside of traditional court hours. In view of the confirmation by the State party during the universal periodic review that Ireland is studying the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and can accept its terms “in principle,” please provide information on the status of the State party’s consideration of ratification of the Convention;
(e)Any steps taken to afford independent status under legislation to migrant women with dependent immigration status who are subjected to domestic violence, which would enable them to receive legal protection and separate residence permits.
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 26), please provide updated information on:
(a)Measures concerning the law and practice in the State party that may be in place to resolve the uncertainty for women and their medical doctors regarding domestic procedures and the risk of criminal investigation or punishment, specifically with regard to clarifying the scope of legal abortion through statutory law, including in cases of rape. Please also clarify whether the Offences against the Person Act 1861 has been repealed;
(b)Whether adequate guidelines exist in the State party for medical and other professionals on the criteria to be met for legal termination of pregnancies, whether adequate procedures exist to challenge differing medical opinions and whether adequate services for carrying out abortions exist in the State party. Please include information on whether current legislation regarding termination of pregnancy upholds a woman’s rights to freedom from discrimination and prevents other breaches of the Convention;
(c)Follow-up to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v. Ireland case, to the findings of the report published in November 2012 by the expert group established to address the case and on any amendments or other revisions envisaged to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013;
(d)Measures taken to protect reproductive health providers from harassment, intimidation and smear campaigns, on the results of the investigation by the Health Service Executive into accusations made against a number of reproductive health providers and whether certain provisions of the Access to Information Act (1995) have been reviewed to remove obstacles faced by reproductive health providers.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 25), the State party’s follow-up replies and the request for clarification by the Rapporteur for the follow-up on the concluding observations, please provide updated information on:
(a)The number of women in the State party who have undergone female genital mutilation;
(b)Whether the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012, now signed into law, and supplemented with a national action plan and an operational plan to prevent and combat female genital mutilation, has been implemented and with what results? Specifically, whether the key performance indicators been developed and utilized and what the outcome has been;
(c)Whether programmes have been developed to sensitize and raise awareness of all segments of the population with regard to the harmful effects of female genital mutilation, whether the Health Service Executive has printed information leaflets on the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012, for the general public and whether it has reprinted and circulated an updated resource pack on female genital mutilation to health professionals and relevant staff in maternity and associated settings;
(d)Whether the dual criminality requirement has been removed from the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012, given that it can impede the successful prosecution of offenders from certain countries.
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 9), please provide updated information on specific measures taken to implement the State party’s commitment to enforce the prohibition on impermissible uses of Irish airports, especially with regard to allegations of breaches of its obligations under the Convention resulting from any involvement in rendition programmes, and on the outcome of any investigations.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 10), please provide updated information on the enactment (incl. date of publication) of the draft immigration, residence and protection bill 2010 and any amendment or replacement bill with a view to bringing it into line with the requirements of the Convention, especially with regard to the rights of migrants to judicial review or administrative action. Also please inform the Committee of any amendments to legislation that would make an appeal before the Refugee Appeals Tribunal have a suspensive effect on the impugned decision. Please provide information on the results of any investigations undertaken to ensure that due process is applied in the processing of applications for refugee status. Please clarify how the criteria for recognition of asylum seekers meet the State party’s obligations under the Convention.
With reference to the previous concluding observations (para. 7), please provide updated information on measures to ensure that any persons detained for reasons related to immigration are held in appropriate facilities, separate from convicted and remand prisoners who are detained in ordinary prison facilities.
Articles 5, 7 and 8
Please provide information on whether the State party has rejected, for any reason, requests for extradition by another State of an individual suspected of having committed an offence of torture and which has started prosecution proceedings as a result. Please provide information on any new cases that have reached trial and with what result.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 30), please provide information on:
(a)Any measures taken to introduce specific training on the provisions of the Convention and in particular the prohibition of torture by law enforcement personnel, on any methodologies developed to assess its effectiveness and impact and any measures to strengthen training in hospitals, medical and social institutions;
(b)Any efforts to implement a gender-sensitive approach to the training of those involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of women subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment and on any training of law enforcement personnel and others on the treatment of groups at risk of ill-treatment, such as children, migrants, Travellers, Roma and other vulnerable groups;
(c)Measures to ensure that medical personnel and others involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of persons subjected to arrest, detention or imprisonment and professionals involved in the documentation and investigation of torture are provided with training on the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol).
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 11), please provide information on:
(a)Whether and how the prison-building programme has or has not kept pace with the increased size of the incarcerated prisoner population, what specific time frames have been adopted for the construction of new prison facilities in line with international standards and in particular any decisions taken regarding the Thornton Hall prison project;
(b)The adoption of a policy focusing on the development of alternative, non-custodial sanctions, including the enactment of the bill amending the Criminal Justice (Community Service) Act 1983, requiring community service to be considered as an alternative to custody in cases of custodial sentences of 12 months or less;
(c) In line with the 6 February 2013 ministerial response to a parliamentary question, please update the Committee on the expected completion and contents of the inspection of places of detention bill;
(d)The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and on the establishment of a national preventive mechanism.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 12), please provide specific updated information on progress made in the elimination, since the adoption of the Committee’s previous concluding observations, of the practice of “slopping out” in instances where prisoners share cells without in-cell sanitation, including any specific timeline for its definitive elimination, on whether camping style toilets have been introduced in all prisons lacking in-cell sanitation and whether cells in Cork and Limerick prisons have been equipped with sanitary facilities. Additionally, please clarify whether the prison authorities permit detainees to be released from their cells to use toilet facilities at all times and in which prison facilities.
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 13), please provide information on steps taken by the State party to follow the guidance given by the Inspector of Prisons in his report dated 7 April 2011 concerning the appropriate use of safety observation and close observation cells.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 14), please provide updated information on measures taken to improve the standard of health care, including mental health care, in all prisons in the State party, taking into account the guidance provided by the Inspector of Prisons in his report dated 18 April 2011.
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 15), please provide updated information, including statistical data, on the efforts made by the State party to tackle inter-prisoner violence, including such concerns of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment regarding stabbings, slashing and assaults with objects and, in particular, with regard to:
(a)Addressing factors such as the availability of illegal drugs, the existence of feuding gangs, lack of purposeful activities, lack of space and poor material conditions;
(b)Addressing the issue of intimidation of the Traveller community, in particular in Cork prison, and investigating allegations of such intimidation;
(c)Providing training on the management of inter-prisoner violence to sufficient members of staff;
(d)Results of any enquiry into the death of Gary Douche in Mountjoy prison on 1 August 2006. Also, please provide information on other deaths in custody since the consideration of the State party’s initial report, including the number and results of any investigations or post mortem proceedings, as well as whether any officials have been held responsible and if so, with what sanction or result;
(e)Reducing incidents of inter-prisoner violence and ensuring effective remedies, including protection, for prisoners subjected to such violent events.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 6), please provide information on measures taken by the State party since the adoption of the Committee’s concluding observations to house remand prisoners in accommodation areas separated from those for sentenced prisoners.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 2), please provide an update on the construction of new national children detention facilities at Oberstown. Also, please provide information on steps taken to end the detention of children in St. Patrick’s Institution.
Articles 12, 13 and 14
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 18), please provide information on:
(a)Steps taken to establish an independent and effective complaint and investigation mechanism to facilitate the submission of complaints by all prisoners, including alleged victims of torture and ill-treatment by police, public officials or persons acting on their behalf or with their consent;
(b)Measures taken to ensure that complainants are protected in practice against any intimidation or reprisals as a consequence of their complaints;
(c)The number of complaints made concerning allegations of torture and ill-treatment by public officials, prison staff, and persons acting with the acquiescence or consent of State officials;
(d)The number and results of any investigations into allegations of torture or ill-treatment since the adoption of the previous concluding observations, the number of prosecutions and the number of convictions. Please clarify whether external organizations and investigators are permitted to investigate complaints in the absence of public inquiries and an effective complaints and investigation mechanism;
(e)Redress provided to victims of torture and ill-treatment.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 19), please provide information on:
(a)The number of complaints of torture and ill-treatment filed against officials, including police officers and persons responsible for places of detention or confinement, and the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions imposed;
(b)The number of cases referred to the Garda Síochána for follow-up;
(c)The enactment of the Criminal Justice Bill 2011 and whether interviews were held only when the detainee was able to consult a lawyer prior to the interview, as well as on the use of closed-circuit television in interview rooms;
(d)The steps taken by the State party to ensure by law that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment by police are directly investigated by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and any measures taken to repeal section 106, part 4, of the Garda Síochána Act (2005) in order to ensure the full independence of the Commission when conducting examinations on the practices, policies and procedures of the police. Please clarify the number of cases received, considered admissible and referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Please explain why only 41 out of 149 cases (out of 7,718 deemed admissible) were reportedly sent for prosecution. Please comment on concerns raised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties that the complaints mechanism of the Commission can send complaints (“leaseback”) back to the Gardai regarding alleged criminal conduct of a Garda member, what the final outcome of these prosecutions has been and what measures have been established to reduce delays in the deliberations;
(e)The allocation of sufficient funds to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission so that it can carry out its duties promptly and impartially and deal with the accumulated backlog of complaints and investigations.
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 20), the State party’s follow-up replies and the request for clarification by the Rapporteur for the follow-up on the concluding observations, the Committee notes the State party’s formal statement that, as far as the Ryan Commission report is concerned, it “accepted all of the recommendations” and the large number of financial awards by the Redress Board to victims of institutional abuse. However, as only one case was prosecuted resulting in a conviction and the State party has informed the Committee that only one other investigation is proceeding with the expectation that it will be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Committee’s recommendations, including that all cases of abuse be investigated and perpetrators be prosecuted and punished, are unrealized, whether or not formally accepted. Accordingly, please provide updated information on:
(a)The implementation so far of the recommendations of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the Ryan Report Implementation Plan), including the principal developments contained in the final progress report on the Ryan Report Implementation Plan and the plans to continue ensuring the Ryan Report Implementation Plan is fully implemented, including any new body that may be established to replace it;
(b)How the Board of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund has advertised for applications from victims to avail themselves of the Fund;
(c)The number of persons who have availed themselves of the Fund to date;
(d)Any additional investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for abuses against individual children. Specifically, please update the Committee about the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions as a result of the Ryan Report, including measures to provide redress to the victims. Please clarify what measures, if any, will be taken regarding the 14 cases submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions but on which he recommended no prosecutions. In the one case in which an individual was sentenced, please state why 18 months of a 2-year sentence were suspended and what the Government of the State party is doing to ensure prosecution and punishment as well as redress in the many cases that were uncovered as a result of the Ryan report. Please state whether any of the results of the 18 serious incidents, including deaths of children in care, are being reviewed and what measures have been taken to examine suicides and investigate whether any deaths from natural causes actually resulted from beatings or inter-prisoner violence, or were at the hands of police guards in the facilities examined by the Ryan Report;
(e)Status of the review and implementation of the Garda Síochána policy on the investigation of sexual crimes, crimes against children and child welfare, on the outcome of the prosecutions directed by the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to cases submitted by the Garda Síochána and on the number and status of any new cases submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions identified as a result of the Garda helpline and the status of investigations and prosecutions in this connection.
In view of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 21), the State party’s follow-up replies and appendices,and the request for clarification by the Rapporteur for the follow-up on the concluding observations, the Committee seeks updated information on developments related to the Magdalen Laundries, where it is alleged that physical, psychological and other ill-treatment was committed, amounting to breaches of the Convention. In this regard, the Committee noted with interest that the State party commissioned an interdepartmental committee chaired by Senator Martin McAleese to establish the facts of State involvement in the Magdalen Laundries and followed it by acknowledging some areas of State involvement, making a public apology and embarking on a plan of redress. Understanding, as the State party has written, that the Inter-Departmental Committee “had no remit to investigate or make determinations about allegations of torture or any other criminal offence”, the Committee requests updated information on the following issues:
(a)Although the Inter-Departmental Committee was authorized only to establish the facts of State involvement in the Magdalen Laundries, the State party’s reply to the Rapporteur for the follow-up on the concluding observations states that the report of the Inter-Departmental “established the facts,” is comprehensive, objective and conducted under the supervision of an independent chairperson. Since the Committee did not have the power to compel evidence to be given and could only receive what was forwarded voluntarily, please explain why the State party considers that it has obtained all the relevant evidence and facts. Please clarify how the Committee, comprised of representatives of the government agencies involved with the running of the Magdalen Laundries, can be considered as definitive solely because the chair was independent;
(b)Please clarify the basis on which testimonies submitted to the Inter-Departmental Committee were included or excluded from the report, with attention in particular paid to the 22 testimonies submitted by the advocacy group, Justice for Magdalenes, only 7 of which are included in the report. Was survivor testimony given a lesser rank or status in this inquiry than written records of the State and the religious orders? In view of the fact that several of the cases cited by non-governmental sources highlight physical and psychological abuse or assault, please clarify what measures the State party has taken to investigate their claims promptly and thoroughly. Further, please inform the Committee as to the reasoning behind the State party’s view that it is first necessary to identify “systematic” torture before launching an inquiry into claims of physical or psychological abuse at the Magdalen Laundries;
(c)As the duration of stay was not recorded for 45 per cent of admissions to the Magdalen Laundries, according to the report of the Inter-Departmental Committee, amounting to 5,047 women, please clarify whether the State party considers that the report provides a comprehensive and accurate evaluation of the number of victims and abuses encountered. Please also clarify whether the State party compelled the private actors that ran the Magdalen Laundries to give evidence and whether and why there may be plans to do so in the future. Please also indicate whether the figures provided voluntarily by the private actors have been subjected to independent audit;
(d)Please provide information, including statistics where relevant, on the measures established to inform persons confined in the Magdalen Laundries of the possibility of lodging criminal complaints and of instituting prompt, independent and thorough investigations into all complaints made by persons claiming to be victims of criminal abuse in the Magdalen Laundries and on any subsequent inquiries and other follow-up after the publication in 2013 of the report of the Inter-Departmental Committee and since the date of the State party’s reply to the Rapporteur for the follow-up on the concluding observations. Please inform the Committee whether the State party has considered establishing an ombudsperson or representative to assist the alleged victims in lodging complaints. Please clarify what formal authorization or legislation, if any, is required to ensure statutory powers of investigation for such inquiries;
(e)Please inform the Committee about the specific measures of redress that have been taken by the State party pursuant to the publication in 2013 of the report of Mr. Justice John Quirke on the establishment of an ex gratia scheme and related matters for the benefit of those women who were admitted to and worked in the Magdalen Laundries. Please indicate how the State party will ensure the ex gratia scheme announced by Judge Quirke to assist survivors will be independently monitored, and how any appeals will be handled. How will any former persons confined in the Magdalen Laundries but currently living outside Ireland be informed and included under the scheme? Please report on how many persons have approached the Government seeking redress or participation in the ex gratia scheme so far and how many have received payments and other assistance and in what amounts;
(f)Please clarify how the State party will give effect to Judge Quirke’s recommendation that benefits will be provided to women living in jurisdictions outside Ireland and will “apply with equal force to their circumstances, their tax liabilities and the social and other benefits to which they are entitled”. In particular, please inform the Committee how health care will be provided to those former Magdalen women living outside Ireland.
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 23), please provide information on whether legislation has been reviewed to include in the mandate of the Ombudsman for Children the power to investigate complaints of torture and ill-treatment of children held at St. Patrick’s Institution. Also, please indicate if a mechanism for lodging complaints by children held in St. Patrick’s Institution has been established.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 24), please indicate whether corporal punishment of children has been prohibited in all settings, in the home and in certain alternative care settings. Please provide information of any progress regarding the definition of what constitutes reasonable chastisement. Also, please provide information on the conduct of any public campaigns to educate parents and the general public about the harmful effects of corporal punishment and to promote positive non-violent forms of discipline as an alternative to corporal punishment.
Please provide data on the number of women prisoners, which has reportedly grown substantially. Please comment on the numbers detained or convicted, the crimes and reasons for increased levels of incarceration. Please provide detailed information on practical and policy measures aimed at reducing custodial sentences for non-violent crimes.
With reference to the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 28), please provide information on the status of the report of the Steering Group on the review the Mental Health Act of 2001 as well as an update on the assisted decision-making (capacity) bill and whether it can be applied retroactively. Please provide updated information concerning the definition of a voluntary patient in an approved mental health centre and on the process and number of mentally disabled persons reclassified from voluntary to involuntary. Please provide relevant statistics. Please provide information on any independent inspections regarding alleged abuse and mistreatment in residential settings of persons with intellectual disabilities.
In light of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (para. 29), please provide updated information on specific measures taken by the State party to protect separated and unaccompanied minors. Is a guardian ad litem or adviser appointed for all such children irrespective of whether they have made an application for protection or not? Also please provide an update concerning children who were missing or unaccounted for at the time of review of the State party’s initial report.
Please provide updated information on the measures taken by the State party to respond to any threats of terrorism and please describe if and how these anti-terrorism measures have affected human rights safeguards in law and practice and how it has ensured that those measures comply with all its obligations under international law, especially the Convention, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 1624 (2005). Please describe the relevant training given to law enforcement officers; the number of persons convicted under such legislation; the legal safeguards and remedies available to persons subjected to anti-terrorist measures in law and in practice; whether there are complaints of non-observance of international standards; and the outcome of those complaints.
General information on other measures and developments relating to the implementation of the Convention in the State party
Please provide detailed information on any other relevant legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures taken since the consideration of the previous report that implement the provisions of the Convention or the Committee’s recommendations. This may include institutional developments, plans or programmes, including resources allocated and statistical data, or any other information that the State party considers relevant.