Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (123)

Bernard Durkan


123. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which he remains satisfied that adequate resources are made available to An Garda Síochána to enable it to combat gangland wars; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27181/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the allocation of the very substantial resources that An Garda Síochána receives. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities.

A core focus of the work carried out by An Garda Síochána is aimed at tackling drugs and organised crime. An Garda Síochána continues to develop and implement operations and strategies to target, dismantle and disrupt organised criminal networks, utilising advanced analytical and intelligence methodologies. It is important to note that Gardaí, supported by the significant resources allocated to it by this Government, have made important progress in tackling the insidious threat of organised crime. The resources available to the Commissioner have reached unprecedented levels and I am pleased that Budget 2019 provides for the continuation of this with an increase of €110 million in the Garda Vote to bring total provision available in 2019 to €1.76 billion which includes up to €95 million for the payment of overtime.

The Criminal Assets Bureau was established as a national multi-disciplinary agency specialising in targeting the proceeds of crime. The Bureau draws together the necessary expertise from a number of Departments and agencies. The Bureau has for some considerable time maintained a presence in each of the Garda Divisions through the operation of the Divisional Assets Profiler Programme. Under this Programme asset profilers are providing a criminal asset profiling service across the Garda Divisions in relation to persons or suspects operating within the area, with particular reference to those involved in serious and organised crime. The Bureau utilises the local knowledge supplied to it by the asset profilers which enables it to target the proceeds of crime in local communities. I can inform the Deputy that a number of legislative measures have been introduced to tackle gang-related and associated crime including the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2016 which provides additional powers for Gardaí; in particular, powers to allow for the immediate seizure of assets suspected of being the proceeds of crime to prevent them being disposed of.

Since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, almost 2,800 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. This and on-going recruitment will clearly provide significant additional policing hours throughout the country, both in terms of the increase in new Gardaí and the redeployment of Gardaí to frontline policing duties due to civilianisation of their current roles. These new resources coming on stream have allowed the Commissioner to allocate additional resources to the specialist bureaus that comprise Garda Special Crime Operations including the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

The Garda capital allocation has increased from €61 million to €92 million in 2019, a 50% increase. This will facilitate investment of around €65 million in ICT which is now an important element of the fight against organised crime. This substantial investment will provide new and leading edge technology to support our front line Gardaí in their daily work in tackling the scourge of organised crime in our communities.

I can assure the Deputy that I remain in close contact with the Commissioner to ensure that the necessary resources are available to An Garda Síochána to robustly confront and tackle those involved in organised criminal acts.