Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (247, 286)

Michael McGrath

Question:

247. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of ATM thefts involving the removal of the ATM machine from a bank for each year since 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16338/19]

View answer

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

286. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will convene an emergency meeting with officials in Northern Ireland to identify a cross-Border response to the increase in ATM robberies in the Border region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16743/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 and 286 together.

I share the Deputies' concern about the recent ATM robberies, on both sides of the Border. These are crimes that have a significant impact on both businesses and communities and I condemn the criminals behind them in the strongest terms.

The Deputies will be aware that there is already strong ongoing co-operation between the Gardaí and the PSNI, and both An Garda Síochána and the PSNI are conducting investigations into these robberies. I am confident that those responsible will be identified.

The Garda authorities have confirmed that there have been three incidents of ATM robberies in this State, most recently the ATM robberies in Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan in April; Kingscourt, Co. Cavan in March; and one in Ballybay, Co. Monaghan in December 2018. There were no recorded incidents between 2012 and 2017, however there was an attempted robbery in Co. Wicklow in May 2011 and in Co. Carlow in 2010.

I can assure the Deputies that Gardaí continue to monitor all new and emerging crime trends in the State to ensure all resources are allocated in an effective manner and that the best possible police service is provided to the public.

I can also advise the Deputies that there are a number of avenues through which An Garda Síochána work with the PSNI to combat organised crime and other cross-Border issues. There is a joint Cross-Border Policing Strategy operated between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI, which covers a range of policing activities and contains a series of initiatives in which both police services are actively engaged.

Furthermore, the Joint Agency Task Force established under the Fresh Start Agreement engages An Garda Síochána and the PSNI in a lead role (with other agencies) in structured strategic and operational co-operation in combatting cross-Border organised crime, while the Cross-Border Seminar on Organised Crime is an annual event. It is organised jointly by the two Justice Departments and the two police services and it focuses on co-operation and best practice in countering organised crime that seeks to exploit the Border.

Ensuring that this type of co-operation can continue into the future is a key priority for me and my Department, in any Brexit outcome.