14 December 2016
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D., today joined the Garda Commissioner to launch a new Garda Armed Support Unit (ASU) for the Dublin area.
The Tánaiste paid tribute to the determined response which Gardaí have made to the scourge of criminal gangs, saying – “The actions of An Garda Síochána in fearlessly opposing vicious criminal elements is a true example of service and commitment to the communities which they serve”
“There are not many of us who would willingly confront the callous individuals who orchestrate the activities of criminal gangs, but members of An Garda Síochána do so on a daily basis, and at great personal risk."
Plans for the ASU were announced in the wake of the vicious series of gang-related murders. In the aftermath of the feud between criminal gangs, Gardaí deployed emergency resources to help stem the violence and protect the communities most at risk.
The Tánaiste has also introduced a raft of new measures which are already in place to counter organised crime, including new laws to target the proceeds of crime, and significant extra resources for An Garda Siochána.
Note to editors
Government response to organised crime
The Government has enacted new legislation to further target criminal activities including the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act 2016 which provides additional powers for Gardaí; in particular, powers to allow in certain circumstances for the immediate seizure of assets suspected of being the proceeds of crime to prevent them being disposed of. The thresholds applying under the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 are also to be reduced from €13,000 to €5,000.
The Tánaiste has made new regulations to reduce the prescribed amount of cash suspected of being the proceeds of crime which can be seized, from €6,500 to €1,000.
In addition, the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Act 2016, brought forward by the Minister for Health, contains new provisions to counteract the illegal sale of prescription drugs.
The Tánaiste signed the rules of court to complete the establishment of a second Special Criminal Court, so that it can deal with the backlog of cases on hand.
Increased Garda Resources
Very substantial investments have been made in policing resources, including an additional €55 million provided in 2016
The investment in a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose Garda fleet is continuing will continue under the Government’s Capital Plan 2016-2021 which provides €46 million for new Garda vehicles, ensuring that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive, on the roads and in the community.
There are further investments in Garda airborne surveillance and enhanced technology and ICT systems with €330 million, including €205 million under the Capital Plan, being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 to enable An Garda Síochána to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies in the fight against crime.
All of these investments underline the commitment in the Programme for Government to resource and equip An Garda Síochána to provide enhanced policing and support local communities in all areas of the country.
Plans are in place to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. In 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide ranging reform plan in train in An Garda Síochána. Appointments will also be made to the Garda Reserve of approximately 300.