Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (1040)

Matt Carthy

Question:

1040. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of full-time equivalent staff assigned to the special investigations unit or its successor investigations division within his Department in each of the years 2011 to date in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8853/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Investigations Division within my Department was established in 2014. Prior to the establishment of this Division, investigations and prosecutions were carried out by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). Although investigations are carried out by many line divisions within my Department, the Investigations Division is the specialist Division with responsibility for the more complex and serious cases.

Investigations Division is a key element of my Department’s enforcement capability, underpinning the quality and traceability standards which facilitate trade and provide reassurance in relation to food safety and authenticity to consumers and customers in Ireland and abroad. All such investigations are carried out with a view to meeting the standard of proof required for prosecution through the courts.

The table below shows the staff numbers in the Investigations Division from 2014 to date. The figures given are the number of staff assigned as of year end.

Year

Number of staff

2014

9

2015

7

2016

12

2017

8

2018

7

2019

8

2020

7

2021 - to date

8

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was a component of an another Division prior to 2014, without a full time Head of Division, so exact staff numbers for the area are difficult to pinpoint for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013. Investigations Division has been a full Division of the Department, with a full time Head of Division allocated to it, since 2014.

The Review of Investigations and Prosecutions within DAFM, completed in 2018, made a number of recommendations for the staffing of the Division which have been implemented over the course of the last two years. The staffing of the Division is reviewed regularly to ensure that it is adequately resourced and has the range of skills required to meet requirements.

Questions Nos. 1041 and 1042 answered with Question No. 1037.