Thursday, 7 February 2013

Questions (7, 25)

Robert Troy

Question:

7. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Defence if in view of recent events in County Louth, his plans to augment the Defence Forces presence in Border areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6202/13]

View answer

John McGuinness

Question:

25. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide a greater Defence Forces presence in Border counties in the wake of recent events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6207/13]

View answer

Oral answers (3 contributions) (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 and 25 together.

The primary responsibility for the maintenance of law and order rests with An Garda Síochána. The Defence Forces, pursuant to their role of rendering aid to the civil power, assist An Garda Síochána when requested to do so. The Defence Forces, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, keep the threat level under continual review.

There has been no request from An Garda Síochána for additional assistance such as would warrant a general increase in the level of Defence Forces personnel deployed in the Border regions.

In my capacity as Minister for Justice and Equality, I assure the Deputies that resources will not be an issue and every effort is being made by An Garda Síochána to bring to justice the perpetrators of the most heinous crime that resulted in the very callous and barbaric murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe. The Garda Síochána has not indicated that there is a need for an engagement by the Defence Forces in the manner the Deputy is suggesting and, ultimately, it is a matter for the Garda authorities.

I ask the Minister to keep the matter under continual review. We are all very conscious of the activity of criminal gangs along the Border. We are aware that some of them describe themselves as dissident republicans. We know they are criminals and that their activities are particularly nefarious. Should the need to arise for the military to be involved in supporting the civil power, it is important that it could respond quickly.

There is a level of disappointment in the Border region that we no longer have a military presence between Finner Camp and Dundalk. The Minister will also be aware of the disappointment over the closure of the very modern and well-equipped Dún Uí Néill camp in Cavan. I accept the Minister's assurance that should the need arise, the necessary military participation and involvement will be available.

Of course, I can give the Deputy that assurance.