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Question

101. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons, by gender, who were committed to prison for non-payment of fines for each year since 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7458/15]

102. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the category of offences committed by persons who were committed to prison for non-payment of fines in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7459/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 101 and 102 together.
I wish to advise the Deputy that a breakdown of the number of persons by gender who were committed to prison solely for non-payment of fines for each of the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 is set out in the following table.
In the case of 2014, these figures are provisional pending the publication of the Irish Prison Service Annual Report 2014 which is subject to change.

Year Male Female Total
2007 1,075 159 1,234
2008 2,036 307 2,343
2009 3,721 629 4,350
2010 5,053 942 5,995
2011 5,536 1,191 6,727
2012 5,940 1,536 7,476
2013 5,625 1,740 7,365
2014 5,984 2,156 8,140

I can advise the Deputy that the number of such persons held in custody at any one time is a tiny fraction of the overall prisoner population. To illustrate this point, on 18 February, 2015, 3 people, 0.1 percent, out of a prison population of 3,755 in custody that day fell into this category.
The information in relation to the category of offences committed by the 8,140 persons who were committed to prison for non payment of fines in 2014 is not readily available. I will forward the information to the Deputy as soon as it is to hand.