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Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 3 July 2012

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Questions (27)

Micheál Martin


3Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach when the National Security Committee will next meet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19788/12]

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Oral answers (3 contributions) (Question to Taoiseach)

Having regard to the confidential nature of the work of the National Security Committee, it would not be appropriate to disclose information about the dates of individual meetings or any of its proceedings. The committee is chaired by the Secretary General to the Government and comprises representatives at the highest level of the Departments of Justice and Equality, Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces. It is concerned with ensuring the Government and I are advised of high level security issues and the responses to them, but does not involve operational security matters. The committee meets as required and will continue to do so. In addition to the meetings, the members liaise on an ongoing basis to monitor developments which might have national security implications, in particular in the international arena.

I understand the committee, by its nature, discusses confidential matters. I presume the committee still monitors dissident activity in the North and the Republic, especially given the arrests this morning. Is there any evidence of increased dissident activity in this jurisdiction, particularly in the Border region? I am endeavouring to ascertain if the committee is meeting more regularly, given the increased possibility of international threats arising from the upcoming Olympics in London this month. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether those issues have been a subject matter for discussion?

The matter has not been discussed at Government level but the Secretary General to the Government and the members of the committee keep in close liaison on a regular basis. The committee meets as often as necessary. With regard to dissident activity, it is fair to say the evidence of what has been happening over a period leads to an understanding that there must be heightened awareness and great collaboration between the Garda in this jurisdiction and the PSNI in Northern Ireland. The relationship between the Ministers responsible for justice matters is very strong in that regard. The Deputy may also be aware of activity by the Garda in thwarting a number of potential bomb threats and cases where bomb-making equipment has been discovered and confiscated. The issue is of concern to us all and we have discussed this at the recent North-South Ministerial Council at Farmleigh. As I mentioned, this committee meets as often as necessary, and the personnel involved keep in close contact. It deals with matters of concern to everybody on this island.