Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Armed Robberies.

38.

asked the Minister for Justice the number of armed robberies since 1 January 1979.

The Garda authorities state that the number of armed robberies reported to them during the period commencing on 1 January 1979 and ending on 31 May 1979 was 94.

Would the Minister agree that nearly £300,000 has been taken in these robberies since the beginning of the year and that the Garda have recovered only £3,000? Does he regard that state of affairs as satisfactory?

The Deputy should not be too hasty in trying to condemn the Garda for their efforts.

I am not condemning the Garda. I am condemning the Minister.

The Deputy should remember that in the matter of armed bank robberies the detection rate is running at about 50 per cent. We would all like to see it at 100 per cent.

Could the Minister tell us the total amount involved in the 94 bank robberies?

Approximately £810,000.

It is still running at the rate of £2 million per annum the Government achieved last year.

Fianna Fáil productivity.

It is up on last year.

In view of the increasing rate of bank robberies, would the Minister not reconsider the whole security position? It is now evident that no matter how many gardaí we have on the ground, there will always be bank robberies. The security position in the Republic is not anywhere near the type they have in Northern Ireland. Because of stubbornness on the part of the Minister or for some other reason that I fail to understand, he has not instructed people in places where money is kept to make these places more secure.

I have pointed out that the detection rate has improved considerably as a result of measures taken by the Garda to combat armed raiders. There has been a 50 per cent detection rate in bank robberies and the Deputy should remember there has been a reduction in the number of armed raids in the period mentioned in the question by comparison with the same period in 1977.

How much has been recovered?

It is a very small amount, less than £10,000.

Despite the Minister's statement that there has been a 50 per cent detection rate?

That is so.

Does the Minister regard that as satisfactory?

May I ask the Minister whether he has had any discussions with banks or other institutions on the security measures taken normally by countries where bank robberies are quite frequent? Many countries have security doors to be opened by someone inside on identity being given.

The Deputy will know from his term in office that discussions were held.

Has anything happened?

Could I ask the Minister one question? Have there been proposals put to the Minister with the agreement of the Garda and has he dealt with those?

That is a separate matter.

That is a matter for the Garda Commissioner.

He will be the third Commissioner. Is the Minister satisfied with the position, because responsibility for security rests with him?

The Deputy should not try to have me acting as Garda Commissioner. I am the Minister for Justice.

We do not want a third Commissioner.

I want to answer the question. Please let me try to answer it.

The Minister put his foot in it. Two Garda Commissioners are enough.

The remaining questions will appear on tomorrow's Order Paper.