Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Armed Raids.

143.

asked the Minister for Justice (a) the number of raids in which firearms were used during the past five years; (b) the number of people arrested in connection with such raids; (c) the sentences passed on those convicted; (d) the amount of money,et cetera, stolen in each raid; (e) the number of raids for which no one was arrested; and if he is satisfied with the measures taken to date to apprehend those responsible for such raids.

As regards (a), (b) and (c) of the question the position is as stated in the reply which I gave to the Deputy's question on 15th July last, regarding robberies in which firearms were used.

The particulars sought at (d) and (e) of the question, in respect of the years up to 30th September, 1970, are contained in Appendix E to the annual Report of the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána on Crime, copies of which are available in the Library. In the year ended 30th September, 1971, there were 31 armed robberies in respect of which 19 persons were arrested. There were no arrests in relation to 23 of the robberies. Particulars of the sentences passed and of the amount of money stolen are given in the attached statement, which, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, will be circulated with the Official Report.

I am satisfied that the Garda are making every effort to apprehend those responsible for the crimes concerned.

Following is the statement:

Sentences passed.

(a) 2 persons each sentenced to 9 years imprisonment.

Case against one person dismissed.

1 person awaiting trial.

(b) 1 person sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

(c) 1 person discharged. 1 person returned for trial.

(d) 1 person in custody awaiting trial.

(e) 3 cases pending in court.

(f) 1 case pending in court.

(g) 3 persons awaiting trial.

(h) 1 person sentenced to 2 years detention in St. Patrick's.

2 persons each sentenced to 52 days detention.

1 person sentenced to 6 months detention (suspended).

Amount of money reported stolen in each robbery.*

£

£

£

£

£

£

1,654

48

353

65

38

4,462

1,000

150

1,284

100

49

8

40

7

1,746

230

2,901

505

20

240

20

3,014

960

3,070

1,435

581

17,000

801

2,788

* In two cases no money was taken.

Since those responsible for 23 of the armed robberies carried out have not been apprehended, would the Minister not agree that it is not a further 400 gardaí who are required but about 2,000 so as to safeguard people's property and, perhaps, their lives in the years ahead?

I have stated already that I have arranged for 400 extra gardaí to be recruited and that I am examining the position in consultation with the Commissioner.

The Minister should do something before some of the subversive elements become strong enough to challenge our depleted Garda and Army forces?

That does not arise.

In relation to the number of robberies, can the Minister give any indication as to what extent one particular illegal organisation have been responsible? Can he say whether they executed half the number of robberies?

That is a separate question.

A reply to that question would entail some assumptions.

Statements have been made that one particular illegal organisation which consists of about 30 men——

Maybe we are not thinking of the same one.

This is not relevant. It has nothing to do with the question.

I can assure the Minister that widespread statements are being made.

Since at least six members of the organisation which I think the Deputy has in mind are in custody awaiting trial for various charges, it would be improper of me to make comment.

It is about time they were brought to trial.