Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Bank Security.

144.

asked the Minister for Justice if there have been any discussions with banking interests regarding the provision of security measures to prevent bank raids; and, if so, the outcome of such discussions.

145.

asked the Minister for Justice what steps have been taken to ensure the safety of bank officials and customers in view of the number of bank raids recently.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 and 145 together.

I would refer the Deputy to the answer I gave on 5th November, 1970, to two similar questions. The position remains as stated by me then.

Is the Minister saying that he cannot even point to one item of progress for the past year? Nothing has happened since he gave a similar reply a year ago?

That is not true. Constant discussions are being held.

Surely the reply should be different from what it was a year ago?

No, it could not be because what it was a year ago was that matters of this kind are being discussed constantly between the Garda and the banks and the result of those discussions must always remain confidential.

Can the Minister say if the discussions have been successful? In view of the successful bank raids that have been carried out they would not appear to have been successful. Either they have not been successful or the Minister is falling down on his job as Minister for Justice and I think that is the case.

Might I ask the Minister if specialised security detection equipment is in the possession of Garda stations in provincial areas to enable them to carry out investigations and whether or not specific Garda barracks and stores are, in fact, in the possession of gelignite?

That would be a confidential matter.

Is the Minister aware that a similar statement was issued in May or June and again in August and September and, even after that, there were further raids?

There was not a similar statement made before.

We were told last May or June that precautions were being taken. After a raid in, I think, August, a statement from the Government Information Bureau on behalf of the Minister's Department stated that adequate precautions were being taken. There were further raids and, about three weeks ago, a similar statement was issued, saying precautions were being taken and the Minister was improving on the necessary safeguards and so on.

The precautions taken are by way of improvements.

Would the Minister not consider replacing some of the Garda barracks?

That does not arise.

That is a separate question.

The people have lost the personal contact with the members of the Garda force which they enjoyed in the past.