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International Terrorism

Dáil Éireann Debate, Friday - 16 September 2016

Friday, 16 September 2016

Questions (51)

Mattie McGrath


51. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the measures in place to monitor, detect and prevent the public dissemination of extreme Islamist ideologies (details supplied); her proposals to change the existing law around deportation of persons engaged in such practices; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24831/16]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The need to counter violent extremism is well recognised by the authorities here, particularly in the context of the current international terrorist threat environment. International best practice indicates that a multidimensional approach is required to address the potential for violent radicalisation and our policies concerned with integration, equality, combating discrimination and building positive relationships with our minority communities are central.

In the circumstances of the current international threat environment a focus may unfairly be brought to bear on our Muslim community. I am sure the Deputy will agree that the actions of a small number of violent extremists do not reflect the views of the majority of our Muslim community, which is a peace-loving community of citizens that contributes much to the cultural vibrancy of the State.

An Garda Síochána operates a progressive community engagement programme with all our minority communities through the Garda Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office (GRIDO) and the national network of Garda Ethnic Liaison Officers. Interaction with our Muslim community, especially with the main mosques and cultural centres, is conducted on the community policing model which serves the general policing needs of the community. The GRIDO model has been identified as a model of best international practice by the UN Counter Terrorism Committee in the context of combating radicalisation.

Community engagement is also regarded as an essential component of strategies designed to deal with this issue and included as a key action in the EU's Strategy for Countering Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism. Ireland contributed to the formulation of this Strategy and on an ongoing basis to EU responses to this threat. An Garda Síochána is a member of the EU's Radicalisation Awareness Network.

While the expert assessment of the threat of a terrorist attack from this source is that is not considered likely, there are a number of persons in the State whose activities in support of extremism give rise to concern. The Garda Authorities will continue to take appropriate measures to monitor their activities and take any appropriate action to prevent and detect any criminal activity.

It is also important that An Garda Síochána is supported by the necessary legislative powers to counter violent radicalisation. The Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) (Amendment) Act 2015 which came into force in June 2015, further enhanced the powers available by the creation of three new offences of public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment for terrorism and training for terrorism. These offences will carry sentences of up to 10 years imprisonment on conviction on indictment.

I have made clear previously that all the options available under the law, including immigration law, to deal with those who constitute a threat to the security of the State will be used and that remains the position. Any decision whether or not to make a deportation order against an individual is based on the specific circumstances of their case. There is a range of grounds that must be considered in this context and these include national security and public policy, and also the character and conduct of the individual concerned.