The detailed deployment of Garda personnel and resources to individual areas is a matter for the Garda authorities. The Garda BSE operation commenced on 28 March 1996, following the Government decision on the total prohibition of the importation of beef and beef products. An operational plan was drawn up by the Garda authorities to fulfil the obligations of the Garda Síochána in relation to the enforcement of the Government decision.
Garda involvement in this operation has been kept under continuous review by the Garda authorities and adjustments have been made as necessary to the number of static and mobile patrols of the Border area. These have been in response to the changing policing requirements of the operation and were made in consultation with my own Department as well as the Departments of Agriculture and Defence and Customs and Excise officials. The most recent phase of the operation commenced on 24 February 1997 and involves a rolling checkpoint strategy. I understand from the Garda authorities that while the number of static checkpoints along the Border has been decreased the total number of checkpoints will, in reality, be maintained. The Garda authorities are satisfied that this new strategy will prove to be a more effective deterrent overall against the illegal importation of beef and beef products across the Border. However, they have assured me that the situation will continue to be kept under review and any necessary changes made.