Thursday, 21 November 2019

Ceisteanna (101)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

101. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of times he has met with the Garda Commissioner and other Garda officials to discuss insurance reform since he became Minister; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48315/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, I engage regularly and on an ongoing basis with the Garda Commissioner and members of his management team in my role as Minister for Justice and Equality, as do my officials.  These engagements take various forms and cover the full range of issues of relevance to our roles.

In addition, I am aware that Minister of State D’Arcy has met with the Commissioner earlier

this year in order to discuss insurance issues.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Cost of Insurance Working Group (CIWG) specifically called for An Garda Síochána to explore the potential for further cooperation between it and the insurance sector in relation to insurance fraud investigation.  An industry-funded Garda insurance fraud unit was one option considered in this regard. While the Commissioner has indicated that he does not support industry funding of Garda units, he is open to considering other industry-funded proposals to combat insurance fraud. 

I am informed that the Commissioner is of the view that a Divisional focus on insurance fraud is preferable to the establishment of a centralised investigation unit. This approach is aligned with the Divisional-focused Garda model. It is the intention of the Commissioner that the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) will guide Divisions and provide training in the investigation of insurance fraud. Over a number of years, the GNECB and the Garda Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) have delivered training courses to Garda members engaged in economic crime-related investigations, across all Garda divisions.

Since 2015, in conjunction with the Garda Síochána Training College and University College Dublin (UCD), GNECB and GNCCB have offered an accredited course to over 40 members per annum, drawn from all Garda Divisions, as well as from specialist units engaged in the investigation of economic crime. Representatives from the private sector, including the insurance industry are invited to contribute to the course, thereby providing specialist insight into relevant insurance sector-related topics. On completion of training, successful candidates are awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Fraud and E-Crime Investigation from UCD.