Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ceisteanna (530)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

530. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the resources available to the National Economic Crime Bureau; the personnel strength of the bureau by rank and civilian grade; the number of external expert consultants on retainer or engaged by the bureau in the past three years; the number of cases the bureau has closed off in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13474/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the distribution of personnel is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and I, as Minister have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Commissioner that Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategies, are continually monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda Resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.

I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) (formerly the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation) was established on 1 September 2016. The Bureau has dedicated expert staff, including professional forensic accountants, to address white collar and other fraud and economic crimes, and includes the restructured Garda Cyber Crime Bureau, the Money-laundering Investigation Unit and a new Foreign Bribery and Corruption Unit.

I am further informed by the Commissioner that as of 31 January 2019, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 63 Garda and 17 Garda civilian staff assigned to the GNECB.

The Commissioner also advises that Garda management within the Bureau are working with local Garda management, at District and Divisional levels, to ensure the necessary tools and training are provided to enable and empower District and Divisional resources to investigate cases of economic crime at that level, with advice and guidance available from within the Bureau. The Bureau is now also placing a greater emphasis on ensuring that economic crime of lesser amounts that are currently reported to the Bureau are assessed and transmitted to District Officers for investigation, with more complex cases, routinely involving significant amounts, being investigated by the Bureau.

For the Deputy’s information I have set out in tabular form the number of Gardaí by rank and civilians by grade attached to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau as of 31 January 2019 the latest date for which figures are currently available, as supplied by the Commissioner.

I have requested the information sought by the Deputy from the Garda Commissioner in relation to the number of external expert consultants on retainer or engaged by the bureau in the past three years and the number of cases the bureau has closed off in the past five years, I will write to the Deputy on receipt of same.

Strength Of The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau by rank - formerly Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation

Year

CS

SU

IN

SG

GD

TOTAL

2019

1

1

3

11

47

63

*Up to 31 January 2019

Civilian Strength by grade in the Economic Crime Bureau – formerly Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation

Year

Accountant Grade 2

Executive Officer

Clerical Officer

Total

2019

3

3

11

17

*Up to 31 January 2019

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 530 for answer on Tuesday, 26 March 2019. At the time I provided figures for the number of personnel working at different grades in the Bureau and indicated that I would request the further information sought by the Deputy from the Garda Commissioner. I have since received that information am therefore in a position to respond further.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. I am assured by the Commissioner that Garda personnel assigned throughout the country, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategies, are continually monitored and reviewed. Such monitoring ensures that optimum use is made of Garda Resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.
I am informed by the Commissioner that there are currently no external expert consultants on retainer in the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), however in the past three years, there have been four external consultants retained as part of specific investigations carried out by the GNECB.
I am further informed that the GNECB has an extensive workload and that there has been 167 cases finalised in the Courts during the last five years. However it should be noted that this figure can fluctuate where ongoing matters progress, convictions are recorded and appeals are lodged.
I am including with this letter a copy of my original response to the parliamentary question, for your ease of reference.
I hope that this information is of assistance.