Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (60)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

60. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to tackle serious crime, cross-Border crimes and rural crime in view of concerns raised relating to these areas by organisations representing gardaí. [26880/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I can assure the Deputy that investing in the capacity of An Garda Síochána to tackle criminals and enforce the law effectively is a key objective of the Government's response to tackling crime.

The Government has dedicated very significant resources to support An Garda Síochána in tackling the activities of criminal gangs, including mobile criminal gangs, that seek to target our communities.

The Deputy will be aware that there are a number of successful Garda operations in place to disrupt the activities of criminal gangs.

This concentrated policing activity has produced in the region of 10,000 arrests and 11,550 charges covering a range of offences which, in addition to burglary, have included handling stolen property, possession of firearms and drugs offences. An Garda Síochána will continue to bring pressure on the gangs and individuals responsible for these type of offences.

The Deputy will also be familiar with Operation Hybrid which has been deployed as a result of an escalation in violence between organised crime gangs in the Dublin Metropolitan Region. The strategic objective of Operation Hybrid is to have a three-pronged approach - preventative, investigative and targeted. As of 5 May, there have been in the region of 76,700 high visibility checkpoints carried out under Operation Hybrid.

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. This represents an increase of over 6% over the initial allocation for 2018.

With respect to tackling cross border crime, there is strong ongoing co-operation between the Gardaí and the PSNI in respect of the full range of policing activities. A joint Cross-Border Policing Strategy operates between the two services. The Strategy covers the range of policing activities and contains a series of initiatives in which both police services are actively engaged.

The Joint Agency Task Force established under the Fresh Start Agreement engages the two police services in a lead role in structured strategic and operational co-operation in combating cross-border organised crime. The Joint Agency Task Force is a positive example of the extensive North-South co-operation that is undertaken between the police and other law enforcement agencies aimed at tackling crime and enhancing the safety of all communities on this island.

I can assure the Deputy that the Government remains committed to ensuring An Garda Síochána have all the necessary resources to tackle all forms of criminality that affects our communities