Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (25, 26, 27)

Dinny McGinley

Question:

22 Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of persons he envisages appointing as members of the Garda reserve force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6351/04]

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Dan Neville

Question:

24 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has satisfied himself that giving the same powers to members of a Garda reserve force as available to those in the permanent force is in the interests of the security of the State; and if he has further satisfied himself that such a decision will be in the interests of the citizens. [6350/04]

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Olwyn Enright

Question:

40 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the anticipated cost of training a recruit for the Garda reserve force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6355/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 24 and 40 together.

The draft scheme of the Garda Síochána Bill made public in July 2003 made reference to a "Garda Síochána Reserve". Deputies will note that the Garda Síochána Bill, as published, does not refer to a reserve but rather it provides in section 14 for the appointment of volunteer members.

As is explained in the explanatory and financial memorandum to the Bill, section 14 provides a basis in law for the resources of the Garda Síochána to be supplemented by the appointment of persons as volunteer members of the Garda Síochána. It is an enabling provision only, and I must emphasise that no decision on the appointment of such members has been taken by the Government. The questions on numbers of persons to be appointed and the associated costs are therefore premature.

As regards the question of powers for any volunteer members, I draw the Deputies' attention to subsection (2) which provides that no person may be appointed as a volunteer member unless he or she has completed the prescribed training.

I have to respect the fact that the Garda Síochána Bill will be debated next week in the Seanad and it would be inappropriate if in the House we were to pre-empt their discussions on any aspect of the Bill. I do not wish therefore to start going into any more detail on items which are appropriate to the Second Stage or Committee Stage debates on the Bill.