I propose to take Questions Nos. 744 to 748, inclusive, together.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána uses the “Facebook”, “Twitter” and “Flickr” social media sites to disseminate information, including crime prevention advice and traffic advice during major events. In addition, the sites are used to promote local Garda initiatives and to circulate information regarding property that has been stolen, lost or recovered. The relevant Garda services are administered by the Garda Press and Public Relations Office.
I am further informed that an initiative is currently being run within the Meath Garda Division where the Crime Prevention Officer is linked to the Facebook social media site. In this way the site provides information on upcoming crime prevention events and seminars taking place in the Division. It also seeks the public's assistance with regard to specific crime incidents and provides appropriate feedback. In addition, I understand that a District Headquarters in the Cavan/Monaghan Division is using Facebook in connection with crime prevention.
With regard to the Kerry Garda Division, I understand that Facebook is utilised by the Community Policing Unit in Tralee in association with Lee Strand in respect of the Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards. This is a Community Policing initiative which is an annual event that recognises the contribution of teenagers within the local community.
The Garda authorities have also indicated that they are aware of the potential of social media in terms of enabling the Force to engage with the public. In that context they are currently examining how its use by An Garda Síochána should be developed further.