Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 32 - Crime prevention [3017/16].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 32 - Crime prevention [3017/16]. (27 Jan 2016)

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32. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which she continues, through An Garda Síochána, to combat gun crime, drug gangs, the intimidation of witnesses, people trafficking and other criminal activities; if she will provide the necessary resources to An Garda Síochána; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3017/16]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continue to confront and oppose all forms of crime, including those referred to. Crime trends are monitored by Garda management on an ongoing basis and the necessary crime prevention and investigation resources are allocated accordingly.


The Government is investing heavily in those policing resources. In particular, the Capital Plan 2016 - 2021 makes provision for the ongoing delivery of new Garda vehicles, as well as very significant investment in new technology and information systems for An Garda Síochána, amounting to an investment of €205m over the life of the Plan. In addition, the Government has ended the moratorium on Garda recruitment and Budget 2016 made provision for the recruitment of 600 new Gardaí this year bringing to 1,150 the number of new Gardaí who will have been recruited since the reopening of the Garda College in Templemore in September 2014.


It is unfortunately the case that gun crime has for some time been an inherent part of organised criminal activity in Ireland, as it is in other similar jurisdictions. Gardaí continue to tackle this type of crime through a range of targeted and intelligence based operations, often disrupting and preventing incidents, as well as detecting and prosecuting those involved. Heavy penalties are provided for weapons offences in our criminal law and mandatory minimum penalties have been introduced for certain firearms offences.


A series of strong legislative measures are also in place to underpin the State’s response to organised crime and these are being fully utilised by the Gardaí. Ultimately, the only effective way to combat organised crime is by disrupting and prosecuting those involved in its operations, and especially the drugs trade which is at the heart of much of its profits. Therefore substantial efforts by An Garda Síochána and Customs are devoted to damaging this activity, and to bringing those involved before the Courts. In this regard any attempts to intimidate witnesses are taken extremely seriously and are fully investigated by An Garda Síochána, with prosecutions being pursued where appropriate.


The considerable powers already available to Gardaí to tackle serious crime have been supplemented further by the establishment last year of a DNA Database which has the capacity to link suspects to unsolved crimes using forensic evidence, and will greatly assist Gardaí in investigating a whole range serious offences.


In addition to these enforcement measures, An Garda Síochána also engage extensively with communities in a range of fora to address local concerns relating to crime and community safety, including the impact that organised crime can have at a community level.


In relation to human trafficking, there are strong legislative, administrative and operational measures in place in Ireland to combat and prevent trafficking in human beings. The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008, with penalties of up to life imprisonment for human trafficking, greatly strengthened the law in this area and this legislation was further bolstered in 2013 with other forms of exploitation, including forced begging and forced criminal activities, being addressed in law. A dedicated Anti-Human Trafficking Unit was established in the Department of Justice and Equality with the purpose of ensuring that the State's response to human trafficking is coordinated and comprehensive. A new National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking in Ireland is currently being finalised. For a number of years An Garda Síochána, in its Annual Policing Plan, has identified trafficking in human beings as one of its priorities with an increased focus given to prevention and detection of human trafficking. Specific detailed training is provided to Gardai with over 900 participants in the in-depth training course developed jointly by An Garda Síochána and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and which also incudes participants from the PSNI.


In conclusion, I can assure the Deputy that all crime trends continue to be monitored and I remain in close contact with the Commissioner to ensure that we do all we can in terms of keeping legislation under review and providing the necessary policing resources to confront crime in all its forms and make our communities safer.

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
27 January 2016

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