Written Answers. - Mounted Police Units.

Liam Fitzgerald

Question:

56 Mr. L. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Justice her views on whether mounted police units should be provided in all Irish cities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9152/97]

The question of establishing a Garda mounted police unit has been considered many times over the years. Records in my Department indicate that, back in 1953, the idea was proposed by the then Deputy Commissioner but the matter was not progressed. Over the years successive Ministers for Justice have rejected the idea.

However, I have again been looking at the whole question of the introduction of a mounted police unit for the Garda Síochána. The Garda Commissioner has recently set up a small group within An Garda Síochána to examine the feasibility of establishing a Garda mounted unit and to assess the operational benefits of having one. I understand that deliberations and research by this group are ongoing and a final report is not yet available. I will, of course, consider any proposals put to me by the Garda authorities arising from this study group's examination of the issue.